I keep an informal list of the sorts of terrible things that clients have told me about past therapy experiences. Here are some that are so bad that they make me cringe.
- “My old therapist left in the middle of a session to talk to a workman about some repairs.”
- “This one counselor fell asleep while I was talking.”
- “This therapist I went to once said that I was fine and that I’d be okay and not to worry… and that was all.”
Yikes. Counseling experiences like this give therapy a bad name. Making the important decision to seek out counseling is hard enough — but going to one therapist after another trying to find a good fit can add huge amounts of stress (not to mention cost) during what’s usually already a stressful time. Many people just decide that counseling isn’t for them and they try to find other ways to cope with what’s difficult in their lives.
I’ve made lots of mistakes as a therapist, but I can promise you that I will never leave a session, never fall asleep, and never tell you to just stop worrying. I subscribe to a national code of ethics and take it seriously. I work hard to give the folks who walk through my door the kind of experience I would want for myself or a loved one — the kind of experience that includes being professional, acting respectfully and doing my best to understand you and the series of events that have led to this difficult moment in your life.
So, that’s my promise to you. I hope for and work toward the day when all therapy is quality therapy. Our lives are important and we deserve nothing less.