BAD therapy rant: I went to a new therapist today, got a lot I want to work on but I know I‘ve putting in good work already, mental health is best it’s ever been. Show up. Reception desk glass is slid shut. They don’t acknowledge me. There is no way to get their attention besides knocking on the glass, which I wouldn’t do to fish so I eventually just say “hello” progressively louder til they acknowledge me. Find out the licensed therapist I was supposed see and confirmed a few hours before is now not going to see me and I’ll see someone else (I later find out this is a substance abuse and addiction counselor. I do not use substances nor do I have a history of addiction)
I had called ahead previously to get blank copies of intake paperwork. I was denied. I explained I have a medical condition that makes it painful for me to write a lot at once and need time to fill it out over a couple of sessions. Denied again, told this is due to privacy concerns - it can’t leave the office (it’s blank forms??). I arrive early to complete paperwork and after 45 minutes I’m still not done. They finally give up and the “front desk person” leads me to my session. Turns out she’s who I’m seeing. She’s wearing slippers. It’s in a second waiting room with a glass window. She doesn’t bother latching the door. I do. This is not comfortable for me.
Several times I am forced to repeat info I’ve given her moments ago. She then proceeds to tell me that I’m “feeling hopeless” about my future (I’m actually quite hopeful) because I deny her platitudes about a cure or a medicine being right around the corner for my degenerative, incurable, UNTREATABLE illness (ehlers-danlos syndrome). I said no, I just keep up with the latest research and I know there isn’t anything in the works, and I’m ok with that, but I am still angry about the things it has cost me (two businesses) and what I know it will continue to take from me. I tell her I’m working to prepare financially for my uncertain future as there may come a day, sooner than I’d like, when I can no longer work (fact). She tells me I need to live for the moment. I tell her I do live for the moment, I actually have travel plans this weekend, but to not plan for my own financial needs given my health status would be irresponsible. By this point, our session has been TWICE interrupted by a family member of hers popping their head in. Apparently this joint is family owned. Unprofessional. I’m displeased. Therapy sessions are never to be interrupted. And then she commits the cardinal sin of therapy. She says “you could have it worse.”
“You could have it worse.” These are words not uttered by therapists, and are a mindset they actively work against because comparing trauma and struggles is invalidating and minimizing. It’s also a common phrase uttered by narcissists in the middle of emotionally manipulating you.
“You could have it worse. Some people die at a young age.” So I say ok, lets go ahead and compare that. Some people die at a young age. True. And some people, like me, are facing the next 60 years watching their bodies gradually betray them while enduring one of the most painful health conditions known to man. In no way do I want to be dead, but is one really better than the other? She’s tells me I’m morbid. I’m not the one who brought up death.
My session ends and I have another ten minutes of paperwork ahead of me. During this time all staff completely disappears. I end up having to slide open the glass divider to the reception desk and dump the paperwork. I’ve been there over two hours.
I get home and decide to read reviews on this place. Hoping it’s a fluke. It isn’t. Rampant complaints of unprofessionalism, shady billing practices, and the thing I found most horrifying: pushing people into 6-hours-a-day group therapy sessions with other people, many of whom are there by court mandate. SIX HOURS A DAY. Guess what the “counselor” had tried to sell me on not five minutes into the session? Group therapy. I have a job. A wonderful, lucrative job that I enjoy and would very much like to keep. I do not have six hours a day for outpatient counseling, nor does my mental health in any way warrant that sort of intensive therapy.
My primary care physician told me to find a psychiatrist to manage my meds. That’s how this all started. My appointment is back at this office. They’ve already moved it once. I will be canceling it. If the good therapy I have received has taught me anything, it’s to pay attention to red flags, and they were flying them high tonight!