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Therapy Unveiled: 17 Personal Stories of Breaking Points and Unexpected Endings in Therapeutic Relationships


Therapy Turmoil: 7 Shocking Experiences That Prompted an Immediate End to Therapeutic Relationships

Embarking on a journey of therapy demands a safe and supportive space, yet some individuals have encountered unsettling moments with therapists that led them to abruptly terminate their sessions. When Reddit user u/straw_hat95 posed the question, "What's something a therapist said or did that made you stop seeing them immediately?" a wave of troubling stories emerged, shedding light on unprofessional behavior. Here are some of the jaw-dropping experiences shared by those who felt compelled to end their therapeutic relationships:

Texting Indifference: "He answered a text while I was talking. Ironically, something I struggled with at the time was not feeling heard."

Misdiagnosis Misstep: "They told me I had dissociative identity disorder because I said I felt like I became different people around different people. Looking back, I was talking about masking, but she jumped to multiple personalities."

Snooze Session: "He kept falling asleep during my session. At one point, he dropped his pen. LOL."

Baseless Accusations: "She said I threw myself at men. I had been single for seven years, not even any dates, by choice. Instead of acknowledging the end of therapy, she repeatedly called my place of work. I found her calling weird and inappropriate on top of what she said about me."

Unethical Gossip: "He was extremely unprofessional, gossiped about a local patient of his without saying their name, but said their profession and their psychological issue. I never went back to him and reported him to the licensing board."

Childhood Disregard: "When I was a kid, I had a therapist who told my parents that everything I had been saying about my severe mental health problems was a lie. He also fell asleep during a session — also in front of my parents."

Blame Game: "First visit: 'What are your problems?' I proceeded to talk about my problems. 'I don't hear you talking about solutions, only problems.' I noped right out of there."

These accounts illuminate the imperative need for professionalism, empathy, and ethical conduct in therapeutic relationships. The vulnerability inherent in seeking help deserves to be met with a standard of care that fosters trust and healing rather than causing further distress.

Refusal to Believe: "She just straight up wouldn't believe me. I've been through some weird stuff, and I understand that's not something one hears every day — but why would I go to therapy just to lie?"

Overused Affirmations: "Every session: You're valid! You're valid! You're valid!!"

Invasive Inquiry: "I saw a therapist when I was 21 who was probably in his 50s. In what ended up being our last session, he asked me, out of nowhere, to tell him what my first sexual experience was like, and when I tried to brush it off, he said he couldn’t help me unless he had more details. He was a psychoanalyst, and the only one I’ve ever seen — and if he was really Freudian, then maybe he would've put a lot of emphasis on the sexual, but it was not for me as a fairly sheltered at the time 21-year-old woman."

Strange Reaction to Nose Rubbing: "I was at marriage counseling and rubbed my nose from the outside as it was itching. The therapist stopped talking and quickly said, 'What? What was that? What’s going on?' After the nose thing, we agreed not to go back to her."

Inappropriate Advice: "He told me to have kids right after I told him I wasn’t ready and didn’t want to bring a kid into this world while my relationship with my husband was going through a rough path. But to him (the therapist), kids would solve every marriage’s problems, and I just didn’t know until I had one. So nope. See you never!"

Insensitive Interruption: "I was attempting to process the flashbacks that I was having, and she interrupted me to say: 'Why are you telling me this? What is the purpose of you speaking about this?' In the coldest, most condescending tone."

Dismissive Response to Grief: "This might sound dumb, but I was seeing a therapist after my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I was having a hard time grasping her death and the limited time I not only had with her but also the limited time I personally had on earth. The first guy I saw literally said, 'You just have to accept it.' And then was like, 'I don’t understand why you’re crying. It happens to everyone.' I never went to another meeting."

These experiences further underscore the critical need for therapists to exhibit empathy, professionalism, and a genuine commitment to understanding their clients, creating a safe space for healing rather than causing additional distress.

Minimization of Control Issues: "I went to therapy with my husband for his controlling behaviors, and she told me they weren’t a big deal. My husband, of course, agreed with her and tried to use it as justification, so I packed my bags. He backtracked and found a new therapist. The therapist held him accountable but was fair to both of us. And now my husband doesn’t do that shit anymore."

Invalidating Coping Strategy: "'Whenever you feel angry or hurt, you can just put that feeling away in a box, and you don't open it again.' Well, fuck me — that's what I was already doing!"

Unprofessional Flirting: "I saw her several times, and we decided it was time to bring my husband to the next session. Her eyes widened on seeing him, and [she] started flirting. I got up, and we left after I told her we wouldn't be back."

These stories highlight the profound impact therapists can have on individuals and relationships. The importance of therapists taking concerns seriously, providing effective guidance, and maintaining professionalism is evident in these experiences. Seeking therapy is a vulnerable endeavor, and these anecdotes emphasize the need for therapists to prioritize their clients' well-being and create an environment conducive to healing and growth.

In conclusion, these firsthand accounts shed light on the critical role therapists play in individuals' lives and the profound impact their words and actions can have. The vulnerability inherent in seeking therapy demands a level of professionalism, empathy, and accountability that, unfortunately, some therapists fail to uphold.

The experiences shared by these individuals underscore the importance of therapists acknowledging and addressing their clients' concerns, avoiding dismissive or unprofessional behavior. Whether it's minimizing serious issues, offering impractical advice, or engaging in inappropriate conduct, such actions can have lasting consequences on the therapeutic relationship.

Therapy is a space for healing, growth, and understanding, and these stories serve as a reminder of the responsibility therapists bear in fostering a safe and supportive environment. As individuals navigate their mental health journeys, it is crucial that therapists prioritize their clients' well-being, treating them with the respect, validation, and professionalism they deserve. These accounts also emphasize the resilience of those who, despite encountering setbacks, took the proactive step to find more suitable and supportive therapeutic relationships.