The Signs of A Bad Therapist

By Marie Miguel posted 06-04-2019 11:44

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Photo by Parker Whitson on Unsplash

Do you see the signs that you're a bad therapist? Everybody that goes into the mental health field wants to help people, but sometimes, not everyone is a skilled therapist. So, are you what's considered a bad therapist, and how do you know?

What's a bad therapist?

A lousy therapist is somebody who doesn't genuinely care about their clients. One would think that anyone entering the mental health field must care about their clients, but that's not always the case.

Do you care?

Do you care about your clients? Do you care about helping them genuinely? If you do, then that's a sign that you're in this field for the right reasons. It's essential to listen to what your client has to say and to give them honest - but not too accurate - feedback. Give them the reliable information that'll help them, but make sure that it's considerate and well thought out. Take into consideration your client's unique worldview and circumstances before providing feedback.

Good advice vs. bad advice

Some people believe that therapists shouldn't give advice at all, and then, there are those that believe that therapists should give conservative information. The most important thing to remember is to provide good advice - not bad advice. Bad advice includes anything which implies to your client that they're not a good person for their actions. Actions can be harmful or good or dangerous or helpful. However, the person in themselves isn't bad or good inherently. For the most part, we're all doing the best that we can at this moment. It's important to remember that judging your client isn't helpful, and in humanistic or Rogerian therapy, it's important to be nonjudgmental. You're going to help a client best if you listen and upon listening, advise as to not how to solve the problem, but how they can brainstorm situations themselves. If you tell them what to do, you're not helping them, and that's a sign of a bad therapist.

Unethical practices

A bad therapist is also someone who engages in unethical actions, such as having a relationship with a client. Therapy is not a place to "pick up" people. Counseling is a place to help others with their problems, and you're there as a therapist - it's not a dating experience. If you find yourself having transference or countertransference with a client, that is natural. A bad therapist takes it to the next level and hits on their clients, and that's more than just “not okay” - it's unethical. Alternatively, if your client tries to get a little bit too close to you, notice and halt it. Allowing it to turn into more is not only makes you a lousy therapist but an unethical one. Set boundaries and keep to them.

Boundaries are crucial  

Boundaries are crucial as a therapist. It's essential to keep your boundaries and understand that you're there to help your client. You're not there to form interpersonal relationships with them or to be their friend. That's a damaging practice, and you're not there to harm them, you're there to help them. If you keep the relationship professional, you're not in danger of being a bad clinician.

Be a great therapist

Whether you're working with clients online or in your local area in private practice, the signs of a bad therapist are the same. Strive to be a great therapist, and help your clients the best that you can with the tools and skills that you have. If you're struggling to assist a client with a particular issue, it's okay to reach out for help from different clinicians and to refer your clients to them.

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