Would you ever try therapy again?
Knowing what I now know about therapy, the answer is No. I think it is too risky and it’s always a bad idea to take chances with your mental health. Around the world people cope with all kinds of very serious problems and real trauma without any therapy at all. The vast majority of people who have ever lived somehow muddled through without therapy or therapeutic notions like “repression” or “the unconscious”. Surveying the works of philosophers, artists and writers over centuries, it is obvious that emotional suffering is simply a part of human existence. Clearly therapy is not necessary to live, or even to live well.
Also, I recovered from the therapy con, plus getting used for sex and assaulted by whatshisname, all on my own. It wasn’t easy, in fact it was one of the most difficult experiences I’ve had in the last decade, but I did it. So what can a therapist do for me that I can’t do for myself? Nothing.
A few bad apples?
At some point, someone will raise this question. They think that surely I must be wrong, that most therapists are ethical and competent.
The truth is, no one knows how many bad apples there are. No one even knows how many formal complaints have been filed with regulators. Even if that number were available, it would not represent all cases of therapist misconduct, just as rape statistics don’t account for all rapes.
Thousands of therapy sessions happen every day behind closed doors. The sessions are usually not recorded. Regulators consider the therapist’s notes the more reliable record of what transpired, not the client’s own notes or recollections. Rarely will a therapist make a record of their own misconduct or mistakes.
There simply isn’t enough evidence.
Someone will rebut with “Well then, tiac, since you yourself admit that there isn’t enough evidence, isn’t it unfair of you to bash therapy like this?”
Therapists are out there taking money from vulnerable people to conduct useless and/or dangerous therapies, and doing much worse in some cases. I’m blogging for free to warn people of the risks of bad therapy. Ethics-wise, I think what I’m doing is OK.
Aren’t you just bitter, tiac?
For a while, I was, kind of. Angry and feeling a like a chump are better ways to describe what I experienced.
Nowadays, I don’t think or feel much about it. In fact it has taken some discipline to finish off this blog as I have moved on to other things. That’s part of the story too – that even if you have been fucked over by a therapist, eventually you will get past it. It will just become a memory of a bad time when you trusted the wrong person. It won’t feel great to dwell on it, but from time to time you will, and you’ll only see more clearly each time how nuts it all was, and how far you have come. And probably, you’ll see that you didn’t really need therapy at all, since in the end YOU figured out a solution to your problem.
Why does therapy persist? Why do we still believe in it?
Because emotional pain is so very, very painful that the possibility of a solution is often the only thing that gives us hope. We believe in therapy because the alternative is so frightening: there may not be an end to our pain, except death. Fucking hell, with these options, OF COURSE we believe in therapy.
I saw a documentary about our society’s heavy use of anti-depressants which contained the following comment: We live in an uninhabitable society, that’s why you feel bad.
Elsewhere, I’ve come across the notion that if we set out to create a society that was least able to meet people’s emotional needs, we’d come up with… pretty much what we have.
I think both comments are right. Our society does a rotten job of creating and maintaining emotional and psychological health, in fact it actually damaging to health. Why else would women cut open their perfectly healthy breasts and put plastic sacs in them, to “feel better about themselves”? And that’s just one example.
Therapy is, in my view, a symptom of this sick society. It’s no coincidence that really took off just as our individualistic, consumption-oriented, media-saturated, community-destroying, indoor and sedentary lifestyles really set in. We used to work outside, in nature, alongside our relatives and neighbours, we now transfer from box to box, from screen to screen, and we often do so alone. It’s not healthy, we know something is wrong, so we pay strangers to listen to us talk about our troubles.
We wouldn’t need therapy if we took better care of each other.
I’ve now said my piece about therapy, and do not plan to post much in the future – just whenever an idea strikes. I’ll still check on the blog and respond to comments though. And I’ll definitely link to other personal blogs about therapy, so if you’re out there, let me know. I hope others have found the blog useful, validating, interesting, etc.
Thanks for reading & take care 🙂