Therapists are paid to give us advice.
Hopefully, that advice is good and it improves our lives, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Hey, they’re only human, too, so I guess sometimes they just get sidetracked and dish out bad advice on occasion, as well.
Want to hear some good AND bad advice that people received from their therapists?
Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.
1. That’s reassuring.
“My psychologist told me as a 16 year old that I will never recover and that I should prepare for a struggling life.”
2. Good enough.
“I was in hospital after having had a suspected miscarriage of a very much wanted child. The hospital knew about my mental health history so they wouldn’t release me without having spoken to a psychiatrist.
It was Sunday morning so the dude wasn’t on site, so I’m lying in a hospital bed and they bring in a phone and the psych is on the other end. I say hello and he says “so I’ve heard you had a miscarriage”.
Me – “well that’s what they think, it’s not certain yet but…”
Psych – “So are you going to kill yourself if we send you home?”
I was like, what the fuck? No empathy or “how are you feeling about this” or “do you have loved ones at home”. Just, like, let us know if you’re killing yourself or not.
I said “I’m not sure. Probably not”.
Apparently that was good enough and they sent me home an hour later.”
3. That’ll fix it!
“I had a religious therapist once tell me I just needed more water to solve my depression.
She concluded this by having me hold out my arms and she tested the strength of each one by pushing down on it and I had to resist against it.
Looking back I should have told her it was BS but I was so caught off guard i was just like, well ok I’ll have some more water.”
4. A pivotal moment.
“I had a psychologist that I was only occasionally seeing at the start of my mental health decline (not his doing, but the help I needed then was more then the once a week meetings could fix).
He had such patience with me and my fear of never getting “over” my anxiety and depression.
He looked at me on our 3rd session and told me straightforward “what if you don’t get better? What if you have this all your life? Why not try to work with it and learn to manage rather than fight it?”
And that really was a pivotal moment on self acceptance for what was going on with me, that this isn’t going to go away like I want it too.
It caught me by surprise, because I was so angry at myself for being depressed, I didn’t think to just accept it.
I’ve been through different programs, doctors and hospitals since, but his words really stuck with me.”
5. Can’t help you.
“”There’s nothing I can do for you. Your problems are untreatable.”
I was 11. The honesty is now appreciated, but at the time it was so traumatic that I repressed the memory of hearing that and acted out so horribly that Toronto health care people have seen me as The Enemy ever since then.”
“I had a Psychologist lean in sort of conspiratorially and ask if I was a spiritual person.
I replied yes and she proceeded to tell me that upon hearing the traumas I’d been through she wanted me to know that I was probably from a cursed bloodline and that I could talk to people from her church about it if I wanted to find out more about it.”
7. Don’t cry.
“I went to a psychologist for a little while for my anxiety and it was clear he wasn’t right for me (much, much older than I was, never let me speak, always changed topics, etc) so I was planning on finding a different person to talk to.
But the kicker was went I was talking about my mother and started crying. To preface, he was big on rationality and staying rational (which is an understandable thing if you’re trying to help with anxiety but he did it in all the wrong ways).
I started crying, and this grown ass man looked at me and said something I will never forget with utmost seriousness.
“Don’t cry. Crying is an irrational response.”
Went through the rest of the session feeling like shit and never went back.”
8. You’re right!
“I had explained to my psychologist how I felt really bad about not wanting to go out on another date with this guy. Felt really bad, guilty, everything.
He looked at me and said ” Well why dont you fucking marry him?”. I just sat open eyed and then laughed, and said “wow, your right…” and never thought about that again. So now, whenever i feel bad about something inconsequential or little I think back to his words haha.
My psychologist was amazing though and I always valued his bluntness as that was usually the best way to get through to me.”
9. Family counseling.
“My mom got family counseling with me (her son) and her and after she had her ten minutes alone with the counselor she called me in for my ten and she told me something I’ll never forget “ya just go live with your dad”(parents were divorced) and so I did and I haven’t had a problem since.”
10. You can leave.
“I was depressed as all hell my first semester of college, and told my therapist about wanting to injure myself or half-ass a suicide attempt so people would take me seriously when I told them I was caving under pressure.
Described the all-nighters, 70+ hours of studio work, cutthroat competition, pressure to perform, vindictive professors. Lamented that this was “the thing to do” after high school and I had to stay on track.
She told me I could leave.
That had never occurred to me. I packed some essentials and drove home that night. I checked into a mental health facility just past midnight.”
11. A wakeup call.
“I had an eating disorder that I lied to myself about and considered just ‘disordered eating’.
Anyway, the self delusion ran deep. I also believed my therapist was an eating disorder specialist. When I moved from the city I was living in, to the city I’m in now, we were wrapping up our final session and when I asked what she used as my diagnostic code, she told me she was treating me for an eating disorder.
I was shocked; but I said I knew she was an eating disorder specialist. She then told me she’s not, she’s a drug and family therapist. Long story short, i was totally deluded and had my entirely own narrative.”
12. Not cool.
“I had a therapist call me an underachiever.
As he sat and talked about all the great things his son of the same age had done. Which was not really much of anything. What a Dick, that shit sticks with you.
I need freaking therapy for going in talking to a therapist.”
13. No longer blind.
“I was 27 before it was brought to my attention that I have debilitating self loathing and I dont like myself.
Legit, I was totally blind to it.”
14. The last straw.
“A psychologist I visited briefly (to treat anxiety and depression) began telling me really personal details about other clients and their sessions.
And not vague stuff, more like “he was hearing voices and the voices said they wanted him to kill me [psychologist] and that was extra scary because he is the owner of [local NFL team]!! Isn’t that scary??” Or “she was addicted to cocaine and cheating on her husband, who is the owner of [local mall chain].”
I grew increasingly uncomfortable with these personal anecdotes, and they began to take up larger and larger chunks of our sessions. By the end there, I would have to interrupt her to redirect her back to MY issues. I was paying her to help me address them, after all.
The last straw was when she left the office for over 15 minutes to go eat lunch, then charged me for a full session.
I confronted her, saying I didn’t want to hear these private and confidential stories anymore, and that I would prefer to stay focused on my issues during our sessions, as I was hoping she could teach me how to work through them (crazy, right?)
She immediately raised her voice at me and tried to tell me I was imagining the whole thing and having some sort of delusion (an issue I’ve never been diagnosed with or struggled with).
Then she backpedaled and tried to say that all those stories had been from HER imagination, meant to benefit me. I pointed out the contradiction and expressed that I didn’t want to spend large chunks of our sessions talking about people in her personal life, imaginary or otherwise.
That’s when she cracked up and told me that I wasn’t “worthy” of someone with her talents, and could never hope to achieve mental health.
I walked out and haven’t been back to therapy since. Got into a supportive community, and they helped me heal, WITHOUT gaslighting me or breaking confidentiality.”
“I tried to see a therapist for some light-to-moderate incest-based trauma, and chose the wrongest shrink.
I didn’t exactly do my research: I picked the closest therapist to my office, that my insurance covered; it was billed as generic family therapy – “Perfect, I thought!” And booked an appointment for immediately after work.
When I walked up to the front door, I noticed that it said “Christian Marriage and Family Therapy”. I was immediately uncomfortable, but I was trying to be more open-minded towards those with a religious bent, and figured that as long as they could do their job; their religion was no concern of mine!
I explained to the gent, manning the desk that I wanted to talk about some mildly disturbing experiences, and I wasn’t religious, or even aware that I had booked an appointment at a religious clinic. He was very kind and explained that he helped all sorts of people, and had heard it all. Then he lead me to the therapy office, which consisted of a very large chair, a tiny rickety footstool, and wall-to-wall racks of tapes. I told him about a traumatic experience that had happened days previously, and his reaction shocked me. My therapist:
cried; he at me through watery eyes and said “I don’t know what to say…”
tried to convince me that I wanted to have kids some day and that only him resolving my trauma would help me be the best mother I could be. I still don’t want kids, so that was confusing
Expressed a relentless interest in trying past-life regression and/or hypnotherapy. I point-blank asked him: “wasn’t that proven to be ineffective in the 70’s?” And he assured me that he had been a part of a lot experiments and tests in the 70’s; and this was the real deal!
the last thing he said to me, after I told him I didn’t want to have another appointment, was to rub his hands together and say “Wouldn’t it be great to get into that head of yours; like a steel-trap!”
To date, this was one of the most surreal things that has ever happened to me.”
How about you?
What’s the best or worst thing you’ve ever heard from a therapist?
Talk to us in the comments, please!