What was your worst therapy experience?.

This was actually one of my better experiences in therapy, but my last therapist was just clueless. I had previously terminated with her because she couldn't help me, but I found myself needing support and unable to schedule with someone regularly, so I went back to her for a few months until I could find someone new.

She would encourage me to email her between sessions. After the first one or two emails, I told her the out-of-session contact was too stressful for me, but she kept encouraging it because, she said, my emails were really helping her understand and change her approach to her "other" autistic clients. One problem is I don't think I'm autistic.

Finally, out of concern for her other clients, I sent a long email explaining that my behaviors (poor eye contact, extreme anxiety, difficulty connecting with emotions) are actually based in shame and early attachment trauma. I gave some examples (because I figured she was kinda dense); shaming things my mom used to tell me, and a (possibly recurring) incident in which she would swing me at the top of the stairs threatening to throw me. I specifically stated I did not intend to process any of this with her but only wanted her to understand where I was coming from so she would stop using me as some kind of autism case study.

Of course, next session she wants me to tell her more about my childhood. She said something like, "I work with trauma, I've heard all sorts of things." I said no.

I have no emotion surrounding the memory of my mom threatening to throw me down the stairs, so she suggested I remember it again but force myself to feel fear. I was like, no, pretty sure that would harm me, thanks anyway. This was typical of the dumb exercises she would suggest and I would politely decline to do.

Also she still kept referring to me as autistic. Whatever.

When my schedule stabilized and I found a new therapist (my current one) and told her I'd be switching, she was surprised because I'd opened up to her and made so much progress. What progress? The only reason I told her anything at all was because I was nervous for her other clients!

At that time her areas of interest as listed on her practice's website included eating disorders, self-injury, and teenage issues, and I left feeling really disturbed that someone with no understanding of shame behavior or trauma would work with these populations. But I just looked at her bio again, and she's changed her areas of interest (now it's more like CBT and motivational thinking type stuff). I am so relieved right now!!

So anyway, it was not a bad experience for me, because like I said I'd already worked with her and I had no expectation of her actually helping me but just let all her nonsense bounce off of me. (Except when I actually terminated. I was a bit of a wreck.) I'm still hopelessly attached to this therapist.

/r/TalkTherapy Thread