I was seeing a counselor (EDD) beginning about a month ago for dual diagnosis. She was very understanding and I liked her. We agreed that I should come for 2 sessions a week because I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and needed intensive therapy to prepare myself to either get a job or go to school. At first she would text me that she was going to br late, then she would have to reschedule many appointments, and once I went to a scheduled appointment and her office was closed with no explanation. I told her I really wanted to work on myself and was there anyone she could recommend. She begged me to give her another chance so I did but the same thing has happened again. I am so frustrated because I would think she would be more sensitive to my feelings. Would this be considered as abandonment? I plan to try to find another counselor, but want to know if she was unethical to do this.
Person's Gender: Female
Person's Age: 28
I tried to talk to the receptionist, but she just said if we can help, just call.
Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
What this counselor did was real and serious neglect. It was totally unethical, unprofessional and I would say abusive too considering how vulnerable you were and how much you trusted her. Counseling and psychotherapy are perhaps among the most challenging and serious professional areas, because people do open, trust, reveal their hearts, intimacy, fears and weaknesses, their private lives, their souls. So to get a bad professional is just traumatic most of the time if we are truly having a hard time with life issues. Adding a new one created by the very actions or passivity of a bad professional, is just overwhelming, it should never happen. Sadly, it happens a lot!
I do totally support you looking for another counselor or psychotherapist. Please do not waste your time nor expose to such type of people. They should never work on this field. here he are not even talking abut clinical-therapeutic skills but about basic respect and integrity, People without basic core human values and adult approach to life, should never work in this filed.
You did the right thing, you talked about your needs and expectations, you agreed a specific treatment plan, then you confronted her when she did not comply. I suggest you not to give too many chances to any person who fails that way. Many people could be nice, but being nice in this profession is not enough, many people could have social skills, and be very persuasive, but that is not what makes of counseling and psychotherapy truly healing. take your time and be cautious with professionals. Assess their integrity, honesty, respect, consistency for you to now if you are receiving the support you need and deserve or if you are wasting your time, energy, money and well-being with bad professionals.
Finally what i always recommend is to file a complaint at the local clinic, ideally written complaint for supervisors and management to become more aware of what is going on. When it is about private practices, there is not much you could do, unless the neglect or abuse happens to be considered by law and professional ethics as more serious, there is no much to do about it.
I hope you could find a good therapist with the expertise , integrity, ethics, experience and empathy to support you as much as you need and deserve.
Does it make sense? I am here to support you.
MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
I agree with much of what Rafael says except when he says, "When it is about private practices, there is not much you could do, unless the neglect or abuse happens to be considered by law and professional ethics as more serious, there is no much to do about it." At this point I disagree completely. A doctorate in educational psychology or Ed.D. is governed by the psychology licensing board. It is very important for you to make a complaint to the board of your state. Be extremely clear about times and dates so that they begin an investigation as to the drastic ethical violations this therapist has conducted. You must think yourself that you're not suicidal since this type of behavior therapist part could easily send someone off the edge into suicide. This is neglect and professional abandonment at its worst. Consider the fact that you're not doing it for yourself since you need to find better therapist but for all the other people this damaged therapist will be in contact with if you don't complain appropriately. I would be glad to discuss this further with you. When someone asked Sigmund Freud why he didn't treat schizophrenics his reply was simple . "They never keep their appointments."
HelloI wanted to engage into an online dialogue with you using the chat interface at Just Answer, but unhappily Dr. Kappelr changed closed the chat session I opened and locked to support you as planned, making it now impossible for us to have this dialogue.Please feel free to communicate with me via message posting in order to clarify any further questions you may have.Thank you for your trust
I am sorry to have to admit that Dr. Kappler statements are one concrete example of how unethical and unacceptable statements-behaviors could happen this easily. The statements he made around your potential risk of suicide because of your counselor behaviors are very unprofessional and unethical. It is clear from your message you are not under risk of suicide, so please do not get alarmed with such statements.
Please, do not feel pushed to file a formal complaint to the counselor's psychology licensing board, since as previously stated, this lack of compliance with appointments and not being on time, are for sure unacceptable and neglectful, but do not deserve the time, energy and peace you would have to invest to make such a complaint since it would not lead to any significant action from any licensing board, because of the tenor of her faults.
On the other hand, if she works under supervision or depending on other health professionals at her work place, then, as previously recommended, it would be wise to file a complaint on these issues, since that would be heard and promote a change at such practice, since they do know their duties, responsibilities, ethics and expectations as health professionals providing services at a clinical setting.
Finally, I want to confirm my recommendations on focusing on getting a good professional for you to get necessary support ASAP. Please take good care and feel free to contact me for any further support.
I must clarify a few things that Rafael has brought up. First I never meant to imply that you are suicidal or will ever be suicidal. What I meant to say is that I had a colleague who did just what your therapist did and she did make a patient feel suicidal when the doctor was not at the appointment and there was no communication about rescheduling. There was a complaint to the psychology board and this therapist was made aware of how unethical her behavior was. Supervision was set up to ensure that never happened again with this therapist since what she did was highly unethical.Secondly I did not want you to feel that Rafael has given you bad advice in any way. I think his intentions were good and in your best interest.Thirdly I did not want to push you into filing a complaint but wanted you to realize that your complaint would be easy to file and the psychology board will take it from there. I wanted you to know that your complaint would not just help you deal with your anger and depression but help many of this therapist's future clients from going through what you went through. If you have any questions I will gladly answer them.