Bad Advice from Your Therapist

Recently after years of education and training I finally became a full blown therapist. Okay, technically I'm a therapist intern, but I'm trusted enough to have real life clients of my own. Basically I'm a therapist in training wheels, which makes everything about to tell you okay to say.

Anyways, I'm a therapist now. The majority of my clients are adolescents to early adults, either with mood or adjustment disorders. This means they have anxiety, depression, or are simply having trouble dealing with all the changes going on in their life.

Also, all of my clients are female. This one I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm not mad about it. Every week I get to spend up to an hour with these individuals, talking about their lives and seeing what we can do together to improve their quality of life. Most weeks I'm on it, prepared, and purposeful with the words I share. Others, shit like this comes out of my mouth.



The time I dissed God

One of my clients is 12 years old and experiences stomach pains due to stress. Together we've been working on loosening up and spending her weekends doing age appropriate things. Somehow we started talking about weekend events in the city, which is when I let her know the cherry blossom parade was this coming weekend.

Remembering that she attends church most weekends, my professional advice was to tell her, "yeah, you should just skip church this weekend. Honestly, I don't think God would even mind that much. What's one weekend, you know?" Since I obviously don't have a direct line to any higher powers maybe I shouldn't be speaking on behalf of her God, but hey, I'm just trying to get this girl to have some damn fun.

That time we bonded over our RBF

Another client of mine struggles with friends who don't always support her opinions. Whether we like it or not, we care what are friends think of us, it's a basic human need. In therapy we've been talking about her feeling as if no one understands her, labelling her as judgemental and too vocal. Some way or another something she said resonated with me, which led me to say this.

"Maybe you just have a dirty looking face. And I don't mean that in a mean way, I have a resting bitch face. It's just our faces. What are we supposed to do, smile all the time like fools?" With any other client this would have been interpreted totally differently, but thankfully this client and I have a great relationship where we were able to laugh at our bitch faces and move on with the conversation.


That time I went full on bad cop

If you've ever taken any courses on mental health you've probably heard the three things therapists need in order to be effective. Congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Empathy, empathy, empathy! If you don't have it, switch professions, immediately. Typically it's easy to have empathy for a client, especially when I've formed a relationship with them and start to learn why they do the things they do. But when I have to hear that my client hit one of their teachers, empathy is out the door and waiting for the next train home.

Maybe it's because my sister is a teacher or maybe it's because I'm mad she was raised to think that was okay, but something in me snapped and all of my good vibes and understanding was gone. I literally told my client, "you're lucky your teacher likes you. Because had you hit me, I'd call the cops on you immediately and we would never work again. So maybe you should think of it like that before your suspension is over." My client looked at me like I was the biggest backstabber she'd ever met, but whatever, I'm her therapist not her best friend.



Have you ever had a therapist or just a really bad piece of advice? Share your experience in the comments below!
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2 comments

  1. I'm in grad school for marriage and family therapy right now, and I've yet to see my first client yet. Nice to read from someone going through it haha

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    Replies
    1. How exciting! I did a full two years before I saw clients, it's definitely worth all the work and late nights!

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