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Psychological Treatments That Cause Harm

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Esther12, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I have no diagnosis, disequilibrium, but I do have ME.
    I fit the CCC. My gp hasn't heard of them.

    I personally believe it is a mitochondrial dysfunction, possibly a retrovirus in the mitochondria. It's the only thing (using Occam's razor) that would give rise to all the symptoms that appear. It certainly explains every single symptom I get.
    I do not think I have "CFS". CFS is just a wastebucket label.
     
  2. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Esther, exactly. If a consumer knowingly chooses paternalistic treatment, fine. The problems starts when one blindly is manipulated into a relationship she wouldn't have wanted. And likewise, people who are severely disabled may need decisions taken out of their hands.

    I'm at a not-optimal-but-OK place. I certainly understand the modality merry-go-round and promises from "healers."
     
    Valentijn likes this.
  3. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    disequilibrium1
    Thanks for posting here. How did you find us? I've never seen a blog that is still getting responses after three years. 847 responses so far. I haven't gotten through them all but there is a wealth of information and links to other sources of information.

    What does the "Heart and Soul of Change Project" to refer to? I have a book published by the American Psychological Association in 1999 titled "The Heart and Soul of Change -- What Works in Therapy".
    I read it then and still don't know.

    I've had ME for 43 years. I've also had harmful therapy and believe that many with this disease have also experienced it.
     
  4. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    oh that is shocking abuse. Makes one wonder how many ME/CFS commit suicide due to pyschotherapy. Of cause then I bet something like preexisting depression would be blamed and not the therapist.

    Peggy-Sue . Im shocked at your experience too. I hope you reported this. I truely cant see how it would be seen as right to encourage someone to be drinking alcohol and cant see how the medical profession if someone put in a complaint would support her doing that to you.
     
  5. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    I wish they'd do case studies on just how screwed up psychology "can" be.
     
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  6. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Roy S
    Roy, I'm sorry you had those experiences, compounding and complicating health challenges.

    I found this blog in a search for harm in therapy. The Heart and Soul of Change post was made by author Dr. Barry Duncan, who advocates for using a system of ongoing client feedback to tailor treatment. This is his website aimed for the profession, and he written several books. https://heartandsoulofchange.com/

    From my own experience and reading, it seems easy for therapists to have agendas , rescue complexes or destructive insecurity around their powers as healers. I probably wasn't a very gratifying client. It takes exertion for me to push past my physical disorder to be lively, social or productive. It's also impossible to draw a hard line between physical and emotional challenges, so how can those be "treated"?

    If I ever get to the housekeeping, I ought gather all those links from contributors on a separate page. My home page has yet more links on the right side. There are other psychs blogs, some afield from the topic here, but their resource pages might be useful.

    http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/links/
    http://www.therapyabuse.org/RS_sugreadings.htm
    (TELL has offered resources and correspondence to many who've gone through therapy abuse.)
    http://www.survivingtherapistabuse.com/resources/
    http://therapyisacon.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/a-reading-list/
     
  7. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    I'm sorry anyone has to go through this. This notion that the mind has the certain power to heal the body doesn't have foundation in real science, otherwise everyone would be doing it. Psychologists represent themselves as rigorously educated and based on science. That they practice these fanciful tangents, representing them as proven modalities, is unconscionable.

    A couple of the correspondents on my blog, Anon (links on trytherapyfree I refer to above) and Mary have explored the topic of science vs. speculation. When claims are "proven" through testimonials rather than data, when research falls short of good science, when researchers reject negative outcome, these are flags to be dubious.
     
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  8. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    @disequilibrium1
    40 minutes to confirm my guess that you found us with a web search. And I was going to suggest that you gather all the good links for another blog and you've been considering it. Cool. :)
    The thing that gets to me is that I still think therapy can help many people if it is done well, but finding a competent counselor is between difficult and impossible. Overconfidence abounds.
     
    peggy-sue likes this.
  9. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Roy S, I'll put that links page on my to-do list, also known as the canyon of good intentions. o_O *
    I'm certain that therapy temporarily can sooth, or hype with hope, I'm more agnostic how often therapy directly creates permanent, positive life changes. I suspect there's much suggestibility, delusion and wishful thinking by both therapists and clients.
    *the emoticon choices on the forum truly understand me.
     
    Roy S likes this.
  10. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    I'm bumping this thread up after finishing reading disequilibrium1's blog and the now approaching 1000 comments and many of the embedded links. Also after the US government in its infinite wisdom has taken its machinations on our disease largely behind closed doors for now.

    @disequilibrium1 , might I suggest you ask on your blog for your helpful participants to assist you in selecting the best links and then you can post them in another blog post that is easier to access? I think I bookmarked well over 100. A hyperlink with a concise description would be great. There are a lot of similar links that are scattered throughout this forum as well.

    I will post some in this thread and probably more later in a thread that is more specific to patients here.

    And by the way, I reread your original blog after all the comments. Good job. You covered things pretty well right off the bat. :)
     
  11. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    Thanks so much for reading those posts and bumping this thread. I'm struggling with the obstacles of other projects--but yes, I should get started with a page devoted just to hyperlinks. I'll touch base with you to get the ones you selected.

    Another blogger, trytherapyfree, did compile links, which I'll provide here.
    http://trytherapyfree.wordpress.com/links/

    There is a resource for those who found psychotherapy outright harmful is
    http://www.therapyabuse.org/index.htm
    They put me in touch with others who had similar experiences.
     
  12. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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  13. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    Thanks, disequilibrium1
    This is one of the best in my opinion because it's hard to find a list like this. Unfortunately, it's not hard to find therapists who do things like this -- and it's not just therapists.
    I've numbered these if anyone wants to reference them.
    http://website.lineone.net/~vex/How Therapists Abuse.htm
     

    HOW THERAPISTS ABUSE THEIR CLIENTS

    There are many ways in which therapists and counsellors can abuse their clients. The list below, which does not claim to be exhaustive, is based on the experiences of some of those who have been abused in therapy. Categorising the suggestions has not always been easy: some behaviours fit into more than one category, and there is some overlap between the categories themselves. NB. The words "therapy" and "therapists" here should be taken to refer also to "counselling" and "counsellors" - or indeed to any kind of talking treatment and those who practise it.

    "You Don't Matter" - Lack of respect, shaming & not listening

     
    1. Treating the client as a "diagnosis" rather than as a person
     
    2. Undermining the client's self-confidence and self-esteem and making them feel humiliated; emphasising their "deficiency" and never acknowledging their good qualities
     
    3. Not listening properly to clients - and only "hearing" what fits in with the therapist's own preconceived ideas
     
    4. Rubbishing the client's own insight, understanding, ideals, goals etc. and making them doubt their own reality (gaslighting)
     
    5. Not allowing client to critically question the therapy they are being subjected to, demanding unlimited compliance and agreement and "faith" in the therapeutic process.
     
    6. Failing to act on/disbelieving/dismissing/writing off client's complaints or distress re their emotional or psychological problems, engaging in the old "same time next week" attitude
     
    7. Treating the client as though he/she is malingering/feigning symptoms so as to get sympathy, time off work etc, and thereby discounting client's complaints about symptoms
     
    8. Dismissing a client's problem (for which they are seeking help) with "you just need to deal with it/exercise/pray/do volunteer work/be more grateful" etc.
     
    9. Refusal/inability to acknowledge the realities of the client's circumstances (e.g. insisting a client of workplace bullying return to work without proper support or changes to the situation)
     
    10. Construing client's belief system as deviant/bad for their mental health/downright delusional simply because it differs from what the therapist considers "normal" (This can also occur when e.g. male therapists encounter feminists or their supporters.)
     
    11. Asking the client to pursue "homework" that is never used in the process of the therapy (e.g. telling client to "think about it!" then forgetting all about it, dismissing it as unimportant or accusing client of "wanting to stay stuck on an issue")
     
    12. Breaking promises made to a client

     
    "You Don't Need To Know" - Withholding information

     
    13. Lying, withholding or distorting information
     
    14. Inflicting any kind of treatment modality on the client without discussing the treatment and particulars with client first and gaining their consent
     
    15. Not telling the client that the therapist is making some kind of assessment or diagnosis of them, and/or not informing the client of any diagnosis which has been made
     
    16. Not allowing client to critically question the therapy they are being subjected to, demanding unlimited compliance and agreement and "faith" in the therapeutic process
     
    17. Refusing to allow a client access to their client record
     
    18. Deliberately confusing a client in order to keep the client off-balance
     
    19. Refusal to explain terminology the therapist is using, such as any psychology or DSM terms
     
    20. Refusal to answer direct requests for clarification of the therapist's words or non-verbal communications

     
    "I'm in Charge" - Controlling, threatening and manipulative behaviour

     
    21. Shifting the balance of power further in favour of the therapist
     
    22. Refusal to address the issues which the client wishes to address in therapy
     
    23. Setting the client's goals for them without reference to what the client sees as important, in relation to either therapy or life in general
     
    24. Making a client work on an issue on the therapist's agenda or to his timing
     
    25. Threatening to have the client forcibly admitted to a mental hospital
     
    26. Guilt-tripping the client with phrases such as "You don't want to get better", "You have a problem with trust" etc.
     
    27. Using threats of termination to control a client's actions, reactions, or behaviour
     
    28. Deliberately confusing a client so as to throw them off-balance
     
    29. Emotional blackmail and verbal assault
     
    30. Manipulation through the use of withdrawal and silence (e.g. encouraging client to overstate their distress so as to get a reaction)
     
    31. Unconditional positive regard (conveying the impression that the therapist cares and understands)
     
    32. Arbitrary, capricious or variable attitude to client (cf. "Good Cop, Bad Cop" routine)
     
    33. Making the client make "contracts" as a method of control (e.g. making a client be a "Pollyanna" by having a contract where the client must report "good things that have happened" regardless of the reality of the client's life and recent happenings)
     
    34. Therapist passive-aggressively re-enacts a traumatic or abusive incident that client experienced, without client's consent or knowledge of this "therapeutic technique", just to see how client will respond

     
    "I Know Best" - Misinterpretation of client's symptoms/situation & imposing own beliefs/ preconceptions

     
    35. Not listening properly to clients - and only "hearing" what fits in with the therapist's own preconceived ideas
     
    36. Defining clients in terms of the therapist's own outlook, beliefs, ideals etc
     
    37. Using circular self-confirming hypotheses, i.e. basing assessments on the therapists's conjecture rather than actual evidence, and then making further assumptions about the client based on those assessments
     
    38. Labelling understandable distress/anger etc at external events in terms of mental illness
     
    39. Insisting the client accepts the therapist's interpretation of their distress and submits to a therapy protocol which is not designed for nor is effective for client's specific problem (e.g. treating a depressed person for narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder)
     
    40. Developing endless attributions for client's behaviour (e.g. depression/anxiety/OCD etc.) to justify solving it for a long time, and when behaviour is still present after therapy, develop a new attribution for the behaviour
     
    41. Making the client make "contracts" as a way to control the client or to minimise the client's emotional situation, not as a useful therapy tool (e.g. where the client must report only "good things that have happened" regardless of the reality of the client's life and recent happening)
     
    42. Using ANY type of spiritual/religious or otherwise-not-mainstream "therapy" without first explaining such and getting consent
     
    43. Insisting client adopt therapist's belief system

     
    "You Need Me" - Encouraging dependence & setting self up as only hope

     
    44. Persuading the client that the therapist is their only hope of happiness, and that they should accept and do everything the therapist says
     
    45. Encouraging an unhealthy dependence on therapy and/or the therapist
     
    46. Making extreme and seeming serious suggestions like cutting off contact with family members or verbally abusing family members, and justifying this behaviour by claiming it will "facilitate the therapeutic process"

     
    Use of jargon, clichés, pretence and other inappropriate modes of address

     
    47. Using complex jargon to confuse and disadvantage the client
     
    48. Making jokes at the client's expense
     
    49. Passing off abusive comments as "just a joke"
     
    50. Passing off superficial clichés as "insight" and "wisdom"
     
    51. Using manipulative phrases which contain a critical subtext, e.g.:
     
    51 a. "This is life, you must learn to deal with it" (subtext: "You are deficient")
     
    51 b. "Choose to like where you are at, what you've got and to be with whoever you are with" (subtext: "Stop complaining")
     
    51 c."I never promised you a rose garden" (subtext: "You are unreasonable" - when the only expectation may have been for decent and respectful behaviour!)
     
    51 d."Be grateful for what you have" (subtext: "You are ungrateful" )
     
    51 e."Do volunteer work" (subtext: "You are ungiving")
     
    51 f."Now you're sadder but wiser" (subtext: "Don't be ungrateful - I've done something for you" - even though you sought help in dealing with the sadness)
     
    51 g."To have a friend you must be a friend" (subtext: "You are the problem - and if you say anything against other people, you're paranoid")
     
    51 h."There's no such word as 'can't'" (subtext: "You are pathetic", or "I don't believe you")
     
    51 i."Don't you know that?" (subtext: "You ought to know that")
     
    51 j."Don't you want to get better?" (subtext: "You don't want to get better", or " You will only get better if you do what I say")
     
    52. Attempting to lead client to therapist's predetermined conclusions by any of the following:
     
    52 a. Lying, omitting or distorting information
     
    52 b. Loaded questions
     
    52 c. Feigning ignorance about a topic
     
    52 d. Passing attributional suggestions off as compliments (e.g. "you are a tidy person")
     
    52 e. Making coercive/fear inducing statements (e.g. "that sounds pretty paranoid to me...")
     
    52 f. Feigning an anger response to client to regain control or compliance
     
    52 g. Feigning identification with client's feelings
     
    52 h. Playing on client's weaknesses/fears/needs/vulnerabilities
     
    52 i. Setting client up by encouraging him/her to do something that will fail or appear silly
     
    52 j. Playing games with client (e.g. therapist brings own problems into sessions and has an "iddn't it terrible" competition - "you think you got problems, well, I'll give you a reason to be depressed....")

     
    Causing disruption to client's life, including breach of confidentiality

     
    53. Encouraging or causing disruption to client's long term friendships and marital relationships
     
    54. Failing to respect client's lifestyle choices as a "given"
     
    55. Discussing the client with others outside the therapy setting, unless the client has given explicit and informed consent to such discussions (which may include both giving and receiving information)
     
    56. Character assassination

     
    Financial/material exploitation

     
    57. Using ANYTHING from a client for the therapist's personal gain, without their knowledge (including the client's story as an anecdotal case study for publication in a book)
     
    58. Keeping any item belonging to the client, even if the item was "created" during therapy or a session of therapy (poetry, artwork, journals etc), and refusing to return these items when asked to do so
     
    59. Using billing or financial arrangements to control or manipulate the client (e.g. requiring them to pay for a fixed number of sessions when client has decided to terminate early, or threatening to withdraw counselling which is being provided free or at reduced cost)

     
    "It's Your Fault" - Blaming the client & denial of any responsibility for distress in therapy

     
    60. "Pollyannaism" - emphasizing only good qualities, people are all nice, well-adjusted, polite, and kind, so if a problem occurs it's the client's fault, while ignoring/overlooking/minimizing bad things people do, or the possibility that people can deliberately do bad things to others; if client questions trustworthiness of others, he/she is labelled "paranoid"
     
    61. Demanding client "confess" to doing bad things as part of the therapeutic process and refusing to believe denials (e.g. using illegal narcotics, hurting other people, "being an asshole", theft, lying)
     
    62. "Cure must fit the symptom" (i.e. if client has excessive guilt feelings, therapist insists client must have done something bad to make client feel guilty and must "come clean about what you did")
     
    63. Treating the client as though he/she is malingering/feigning symptoms
     
    64. Saying a client is deliberately "dragging their feet" in getting well when the client is confused or does not understand what is going on in the therapy
     
     
    65. Labelling the client as manipulative or disturbed for questioning the therapist's approach (e.g. diagnosing a personality disorder in order to discredit a client who makes a legitimate complaint)
     
    66. Labelling the client as resistant or in denial if they don't accept the therapist's understanding
     
    67. Refusing to accept that therapists ever make mistakes and blaming the client for any distress the therapist has caused them
     
    68. Character assassination
     
    69. Assuming all therapy "works", even the latest fad, and if client doesn't improve then they are "doing something wrong" (which entails many more hours of therapy) because the "theory" certainly cannot be at fault
     
    70. Playing the victim when the client makes a complaint

     
    THE EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE FROM THERAPEUTIC SETTINGS

     
    71. Complete devastation and despair
     
    72. Self blame and feelings of failure, guilt and confusion
     
    73. Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem, with excessive over-compensatory behaviour for new insecurities and fear about how others will respond to you
     
    74. Withdrawal and inability to talk about the abuse; and feeling also that no one understands
     
    75. Doubting your own perceptions and reality
     
    76. Post-traumatic stress, and ongoing high levels of stress
     
    77. Emotional detachment or "shutting down" (leading among other things to loss of empathy and lack of emotional response within oneself)
     
    78. Intrusive negative rumination/intrusive negative thoughts/flashbacks
     
    79. Extreme (but completely rational) fear of therapists and therapy
     
    80. Retraumatization in circumstances reminiscent of the abusive behaviour (this may lead to becoming unexpectedly or unduly upset with others, and even to adopting therapist's abusive style in dealing with them)
     
    81. Breakdown of or disruption to client's long-term friendships and marital relationships
     
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  14. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    I think that's a very important list, and one I see no practitioners discussing. I found the mere social hierarchy creation --the therapist the cool, able one; me the beseeching child--harmful. Therapists could purport to "boost my self esteem" until the cows come home, but the underlying message perpetually was they controlled the game. (If since concluded that my sense of competence came from what I accomplished in life, not pep talks from a hired gun.)

    I wrote another piece here about how therapy can go off rails.
    http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_index.php?idx=119&d=1&w=482&e=43065
     
    Roy S likes this.
  15. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    I am very interested in articles and books critical of psychogenic psychiatry in particular, but also articles and books defending it from such criticism. So far the defense I have read has been irrational rhetoric, but I cannot discount some real arguments are out there until I look.

    There are so many books on how bad psychiatry can be. My particular interest is on how bad their reason is. Fallacies, unsupported arguments, speculation hyped as truth, these are what I commonly see.

    There are at least three good books on how bad DSM is too. I have only read one of these, don't own the other two yet.
     
  16. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    @RoyS

    35-43 (I know best). Some of this is known in the literature as the psychologists fallacy. They reason as if they were the ones in the situation, without any consideration of the full range of factors that the patient might take into account.

    I have seen people do this in real life, and non-psychs too. We relate based on our experience, but what we need to do is relate based upon other's experience.

    Our posts crossed, I had not updated this page, so didn't see the many point list until just now.
     
    Roy S likes this.
  17. disequilibrium1

    disequilibrium1

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    @Alex-- Clinicians numerous efficacy studies to defend their modality or psychotherapy in general. Some participants on my blog--with much better science/academic backgrounds than me--have cited other studies and analysis poking holes in that research. It seems self-critique seems thin in the psych world. Professional reactions to my personal posts are most often logical fallacy as in this skirmish with Don S over my book review:
    http://www.amazon.com/review/R21EO2WEQ56PJX/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R21EO2WEQ56PJX

    Re points 35-43. The therapy process is so disembodied from the client's real life, it seems its distortion is almost inevitable within the vacuum chamber of the therapy room. The therapist's "data" is from observation in a specific artificial situation and from the client's narrative. For instance, the therapist might coach the client to, say, be more assertive, stand up to a boss or co-worker. But often neither party, and certainly not the therapist, understands the interpersonal and career risks of a client following textbook advice.
     
    Roy S and Esther12 like this.
  18. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    This is an article from The Sunday Times -- UK

    On Your Head: Does therapy really work? Let’s not talk about it
     
    "There is the paradox that clinicians talk about client "resistance", yet are themselves resistant to having their practices examined."

    "Practitioners believe they can rely on their own intuitions."
     
     
    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/Appointments/article1273813.ece
     
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  19. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  20. Roy S

    Roy S former DC ME/CFS lobbyist

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    "60–90% of psychology studies are performed on WEIRD subjects"
     
    Yes, that is a blatantly out of context quote for a feeble attempt at humor. However, there do seem to be some weird things in the psychology professions. The full quotation from the Systemic Bias section of the Wikipedia psychology page is:
     
    "In 2010, a group of researchers reported a systemic bias in psychology studies towards WEIRD ("western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic") subjects.[89] Although only 1/8 people worldwide fall into the WEIRD classification, the researchers claimed that 60–90% of psychology studies are performed on WEIRD subjects. The article gave examples of results that differ significantly between WEIRD subjects and tribal cultures, including the Müller-Lyer illusion ."

     
     
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology
     

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