Therapists and Their Craft

I have academic qualifications in psychotherapy. I have explored the theoretical basis of Freud’s, Jung’s, Fromm and Klein’s ideas amongst a host of others. I firmly believe as a consequence that their ideas have a genuine role in the ongoing debate on human nature and behaviour. I nevertheless question the methods employed by psychotherapists, therapists, psychoanalysists and also the inviolability of their judgment. Although I perceive Freud’s Superego, Ego and Id as resembling too closely Classical Age concepts of human nature and Jung’s excessive concern with symbolism as verging on mystical mumbo-jumbo, the Object Relation School suggestive of Mummy and Nanny oriented middle-class middle-aged British men, their views should be taken seriously. Practitioners though? Ah, that is another matter. Visit online for more details

I am aware that many people claim that seeing a therapist changed their lives but I will challenge how and why, leaving such matters to the end of this piece. Firstly, I will consider and evaluate my direct experiences and those of my own clients, varied in background and culture. Yes, briefly I was a therapist myself!

Common methodology and the reasons for it.

Here I will briefly consider therapist behaviour and draw conclusions.

I have had clients who when initially attending sessions with a psychotherapist have been greeted with:

‘There’s something wrong with you, you know there’s something wrong with you.’

This apparently occurs before the therapist has any genuine acquaintance with or knowledge of the client. It might occur as a result of a short acquaintance with the client’s files, putting perhaps too much adherence to the views of others. No matter, the therapist immediately displays a fixed view of the client.

My client’s understood this to have been part of the therapist’s methodology, but failed to elicit an explanation from the practitioner. Part of that methodology would be the withholding of explanation and professional/personal information from clients. This varies according to practitioner’s training. Without fail it caused the client immense confusion and anger.

As an ex-practitioner it is difficult for me to understand the therapeutic point of such an approach and what the practitioner hopes to achieve. Especially, when one clear possible result, is the client’s alienation from the entire process and subsequent unwillingness to fully participate. This certainly transgresses recent teaching on the problematic nature of stereotyping in mental health treatment. In addition such an approach reinforces guilt or negative feelings of the client and sets up a power relationship between practitioner and client, in the former’s favour. If intended to break down barriers, it does the reverse. Without further clarification, it seems a clear case of therapy abuse.

As an ex-practising therapist, I am both alarmed and horrified by such an approach. It can only achieve one object, control of client and situation by the therapist. I suggest most psychotherapeutic methodologies are designed to and for this end. It can be held that psychotherapists are intelligent people with complex strategies, but my additional evidence from direct experience of other practitioners will dispute this. I will instead present the case that psychotherapists are engaged in confirming stereotypes, asserting control and imposing their own dubious worldview on clients. If you accept all the above, treatment methods will always be claimed as successful. This was the ultimate technique of Freud, who, no matter the evidence before him, constantly boasted of miraculous cures, continued into the present day.

What is established, especially by the strategy above, is the difference and distance between therapist and client, that appears constructed on magical principles. The therapist functions here as guru or shaman, possessed of magical knowledge. Unfortunately, it is not genuine knowledge into human psyches but rather evidence of the therapist’s psyche, with all its ambitions and distortions. In the end, the therapist gains most, financially and emotionally.

Far worse, the above strategies are meant to keep the client where they are emotionally. The client will remain as someone who has ‘something wrong with them’, no more than a toy of the therapist’s rampant ego. The therapist perceives a clear division between the client and themselves, which is one of ‘ill’, ‘healthy’, ‘normal’, ‘abnormal’. They, in this way, establish that they are the insightful, intelligent, talented, cogent one. It is a game, with only one possible winner. Visit online for more details