Six Signs of a Bad Therapist (Counselor / Mental Health Clinician)

Six Signs of a Bad Therapist (Counselor / Mental Health Clinician)

This video covers six signs of a bad therapist (or really six signs of a less-than-ideal counselor). I’m using the word counselor here not necessarily to refer to a particular professional identity, but to anybody who can deliver therapy. A professional counselor would be included in that, but also a social worker, psychologist, marriage and family therapist or some other similar profession.
It’s also worth mentioning here that most counselors are good. This video is focusing a lot of negative aspects that might be seen in the world counseling, but the vast majority of counselors do a good job under a lot of different circumstances. I tried to make this list fairly objective.
#1: Not being clear about licensure status.
#2. Falsely claiming doctoral-level competence.
#3 Suggesting or engaging in a friendship or a romantic/sexual relationship with a client.
#4 Incorrect diagnosing
#5 Dogmatic loyalty to one treatment modality.
#6 Confusing art and science.

50 Comments

  1. I spent most of my childhood getting fucked by my therapist twice a week. It’s made getting help for my severe mental health disorders problematic. It’s like I unconsciously shift into autopilot and tell the therapist what ever they want to hear just to gtfo.

    It kinda sucks.

  2. My mom became best friends with her counselor and their spouse and family during the whole course of therapy. I never saw her use any tools she was taught, she just really wanted someone who liked her. Boundaries are very very critical to being a good, human 🙂

  3. Number 7, for me, was when the counselor said, "Now, why are you here again?"…EVERY session. Like, dude! Maybe you could familiarize yourself with your client notes BEFORE our therapy session commences? I felt like just another random person, with no real therapeutic connection to that particular therapist. I don’t know…maybe she had too large of a caseload to manage and not enough time to connect with each client. I kept on with her for some time because I thought, "This HAS to get better, she’s a PROFFESSIONAL"! Eventually I quit seeing her and found myself someone else who at least knew why I was seeing him.

  4. Ideological blinders: when a therapist is committed in a non-scientifically-informed fashion to some explanatory model. e.g. the Christian counselor committed to the idea that submission to a Deity (or its lack) is fundamentally causal, or the fat-phobic therapist who finds it hard to see past a particular adipose embodiment to any other issues which brought the client to the door.

  5. I used to have a therapist that would fall asleep during our sessions 🤪I wasn’t brave enough to tell him it upset me at the time! Also I had a therapist that whenever I would start opening up and getting ready to say something important she would stand up and say hold on I have to let the cat out 🥹guess the cat was never going to get out of the bag lol

  6. My counselor was my neighbor my husband found at the time. Lines were definitely blurred. He invited us to trivia night while give us marriage counseling.

  7. While explaining your issues/symptoms to a therapist, they pull out their DSM in front of you to see which Diagnosis your symptoms most closely map to or fall under.

  8. Is a clinician bad when he/she introduces his/her political opinion regarding a current event then tells the client he/she is brainwashed by CNN, or FoxNews for his/her opposite political views?

    Or the clinician only gathers information from the client’s POV of his/her family life (that client has “faulty filters”; therefore, the clinician has incorrect information of said client’s family members’ behaviors). The clinician then gives the client advice and support that validates the client’s faulty POV and the client’s relationships with family becomes more strained, and tense. (?)

    Or the clinician trusts factually incorrect information from an underaged client (with comorbid personality disorders, and mental health conditions) and involves CPS in a “knee jerk” reaction. CPS then doesn’t want to contradict the clinician’s assessment (thinking there’s more to the situation than there is because of the referral); so they, in turn, become the minor’s “act of revenge” on his/her parent for enforcing reasonable standards on said child. (?)

  9. I had 7 bad therapists that could fall under these categories before I found one that could help. I actually thought the 7th was the one. I felt really comfortable and heard with her and she was really helping me. However I hit a low point, got hospitalized and she told me “I can’t handle you anymore.” She dropped me with no referral. It still stings but I’m glad she did because all these years later I’m still with the 8th one. That one is amazing

  10. My son wanted a therapist after some trauma we both had to endure together.
    This therapist came highly recommended for specializing in PTSD.
    But, with each session, my son came out saying they basically sat there staring at each other. Or her saying, "you’re well balanced and don’t really need therapy". After about 6 visits, my son declined to continue to go.
    I feel that nothing was really addressed. I’m sure he didn’t know how to open up and I feel maybe she was waiting for that instead of asking questions that could lead him to open up.
    I’m sad that he didn’t get the help he probably needs to deal with everything. And, now, he doesn’t want to try anyone new.

  11. My first experience with a therapist was when I was 16 and she would constantly loudly yawn while I was talking. I was seeing her for my social anxiety. I didn’t get back into therapy again until I was 22.

  12. Bad therapists:
    1. Needing time integrity from a patient but not practicing it themselves
    2. Laughing at a patient’s past possibly traumatic event when they are not laughing
    3. Talking more than your patient
    4. Not talking to your patient or offering any guidance at all
    5. Telling a patient that their symptoms aren’t severe enough for their time

  13. Had a therapist diagnose me with pottymouth disorder. My swearing about my abusive father was taking him "out of his therapeutic mindset".

    I’d had no idea he was in reality, an eight-year-old girl.

    He later told me I should be ashamed of myself for telling friends I’d been abused by a government agency. Only then did I fire him, for gaslighting me. He then sent me an ominous letter, implying that I’d be lost without his therapeutic brilliance. Not that he was an abusive creep, or anything. He just played one, with me.

  14. I had a therapist tell me some pretty explicit stuff about what he missed about his ex. I did tell him a few things I probably shouldn’t have about what I missed about my ex husband. I still think he should have been the one to go a step above me and not share sexual stuff about himself . It really shocksd me when he said it. It was detailed and xrated !

  15. I hear the word "addictive personality" thrown around a lot, and I really hate it. Your trauma, experiences, and situation predispose you to using substances, not your personality. The phrase is stigmatizing and views substance use as something "innate" within the person. Sure, there is a strong correlation between personality disorders and substance use, but it is not the maladaptive personality traits, it is their trauma.

  16. What is your assessment if a co parenting counselor accuses a parent of alienation within 5 minutes of the first session based on the only on filing for change in custody without even knowing the situation.

  17. I would have liked to have known this before all my therapist trials! It’s absolutely worth it to keep going until you find the best fit for yourself. My life is 1000% better as a result

  18. I went to 6 therapists before i found a perfect match. One who as long as they are around/ available will be there for me I was able to finish CPT with her and it changed my life. Now i am doing EMDR when i get there . I go less and less these days

  19. What you said about weaponizing diagnoses really struck home. I was diagnosed with manic depression as a teenager, so I’ve been dealing with this hell for a long time. One time, when I was about 19 or 20, I was having a really hard time, and this one therapist told me I was a narcissist. He told me I was refusing to eat because I felt superior to the people making my food. That killed me inside. I stopped going to therapy after that and suffered alone for years. The look on his face while I cried still makes me nauseated when I think about it. Thank you for making me feel that I’m not alone. I’m 50 years old and that memory still creeps up on me occasionally. That’s how powerful "less than ideal" therapists are.

  20. “Super sad disorder.” I absolutely LOST it.
    laughed so loud I woke my wife up in the other room. 🤣🤣🤣🤣😆

  21. My ex had a terrible ex counsellor. They broke up because of romantic feelings for each other. But about 2 years later, one new years eve, she turned up totally drunk, & flirting like a well-oiled histrionic, and proceeded to say " you can tell me to f*ck off !!!" Omg , wtf ???!!! He remembers going out for just a cpl of drinks, but next thing he remembers, is waking up in a hotel, roughly 10 hours later, in a double bed, in a total mess, alone !! Later that day, he’s having flashbacks, one of watching her call her 16 year old daughter to come pick her up that morning ! And, the absolute WORST THING IS, SHE’S STILL WORKING!!!!! Putting Australia on the map, the WORST counsellor EVER !!!!!!!!

  22. Lack of certification, Professional wants to be friends with patient, missing the diagnosis, weaponizing a diagnosis trough stereotyping the disorder trying to punish the patient, adding more disorder on the patient, failing to use the criteria of the disorder from the DSM, trying to diminising aspects of the disorder, Professional obsessed with only one method in the therapy dismissing others types of therapy Being loyal with one type of therapy , not understanding the SCIENCE in cousenling and its final goal.

  23. #7: Counselor uses religious belief for diagnosis and/or uses pseudoscientific/metaphysical therapies (crystal healing, thought field therapy, homeopathy, prayer, repressed memories, hypnotic age regression, etc).

  24. I had one therapist who made extremely prejudice remarks about my late guinea pig that was put to sleep 12 years ago on May 20th. I thought they’d try to comfort me and say something kind like "I’m very sorry for your loss," but instead they just smiled and said "Oh, I’ve heard of guinea pigs. They’re very stinky animals. Did you know that they eat them in Peru? People really enjoy them!" Now normally I just ignore rude comments like that and change the subject, and it always works. But this therapist just kept going on and on about it. They were clearly enjoying themselves! And I was really grieving that day! Finally, I looked them right in the eye and very quietly but firmly said, "Yes, I am perfectly aware of that fact. Please don’t ever say that to me again, okay? Because I am a huge animal lover. Please change the subject right now." They looked away and got very quiet for a second and then changed the subject. I felt so good about myself! I’ve reported them and have requested to see another therapist, but I haven’t gotten a single phone call back from the doctor’s office ever since. I haven’t slept well for days, I just can’t seem to cancel my next appointment with them, and now I just don’t know what else to do!

  25. I saw a counselor when I was 17 for anxiety (I had some childhood trauma that i never coped with well) the whole time he assumed I was gay and told me to just hang out in the city at night with condoms to "Pull some slags". Needless to say i called him the following day and pretended I was better

    I’m now 31 and have just contacted a therapist, the first one after seeing the other idiot, Hopefully he understands where i’m coming from and give me some kind of closure.

  26. i had a therapist who told me of several other kids at my school who saw her, some of whom i was friends with, and personal details of these kids lives. she also told me to be friends with my bullies who would threaten, hurt, and insult me and asked about them frequently. and not in the “how’s your friendship with them” kind of way, but in the “interrogate me on their personal lives” way. I havent seen a therapist since. I listened and respected her for some fucking reason.

  27. NO THERE IS NO SUCH THING. As soon as you receive a PsyD, you are a god or goddess and are flawless.

  28. First sign: they are politically correct?
    Second sign: they have a poor vocabulary, don’t distinguish between narcissism and conceit or vanity.

  29. Why would they randomly make up disorders for patients? That’s insaaaane. Do medical doctors do this as well?? If it’s just a psych. therapist thing, I’m guessing the therapists are like, “Hm well this isn’t a hard science anyway, so who cares?” Or “No one will really check my notes, so who cares?”

  30. Criteria of apd is very different than that of a sud in the dsm, but anyone who has been or who has known an addict knows a person in severe active addiction nd is honest enuff to admit it, meets much of the apd criteria but this dissipates with recovery. Apd is one diagnosis i will never give as a severe sud comrorbid diagnosis without the individual being in early remission at minimum.

  31. The sign of a bad counselor that I had was that they themselves suffered from Major Not Responding to Emails Disorder (Severe) and they also had Unavailability to Schedule Another Appointment Disorder which seemed to get worse and worse every week, otherwise they seemed great and it’s a shame I was unable to keep meeting with them.

  32. Why do therapists/counselors act this way? The therapist has to have a disorder him/herself. I know that my mother as an MD psychiatrist made fun of her clients to me when I was young and as a teen. But I’ve heard this from residents who find themselves at a cocktail party and hear supervising psychiatrists joking about patients.
    I’ve also found some psychiatrists don’t see any value in peer support groups, even a depression support group.

  33. Lithium was my med of choice n worked great for me. Got a new Doc n she said I’m not giving that because you can easily od n began details of exactly how. Not cool. Telling suicidal patients how to pull it off fastest n guarantee no mistakes using meds.

  34. My 8th grade counselor was so attractive, he was a model on the side. 10 years later I looked him up and saw we were both located in the Los Angeles area, so I called him and we met up with the assumption it would be an affair. We were both married. I met him and he still looked great, but I felt so creepy sitting in his “family” counselor room. I imagined all of the destructive behavior he had seen in that room, and looking at him disgusted me. As if he was studying me all through lunch, he told me my body language was telling him “we weren’t going to happen.” He was right, and I never spoke to him again. He did reach out, but I never replied. He now has a book 🤮, and a family, and all I see is a creepy predator. I hope he changed. I divorced my husband, and I hope this new woman on his cover is a new wife for him. KK of California.

  35. Also. A Therapist will NEVER tell you that you’re getting better. It’s a HUSTLE. Once you see them fall asleep RUN.

  36. I’ve dealt with a lot of different counselors in my life. Probably 20+ for depression and addiction. After you get a really bad one a few times you really get to pick up on who are the good ones and who are the bad ones pretty quickly. One thing I noticed about the bad ones is that they don’t let you talk. They just lecture you. Plus they don’t take notes and can’t remember what you said last week. Then they’re are the ones that just say "Get over your problem already". They just tell you to stop feeling depressed without offering any real follow up advice that you can use. They might even tell you to get lost after you opened up to them about your problem. I’ve seen it all.

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