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).
I am truly sorry to know about your situation. It sounds very frustrating and concerning too, once you mentioned you feel taht you may have been obsessed and addicted to him after a long period in therapy.
Could you please tell me for how long have you been getting psychotherapeutic - counseling sessions with this therapist and about yoru fears adn feelings around thsi obsession-addiction?
Yes, this is true... but now I need to know how to detach!
close to 10 years
i almost feel ashamed that it's been this long
i've always said, I'm a slow learner.
As serious and frustrating as it may sound, reality is that there are many bad professionals in the mental health filed who would promote and reinforce codependent relationships, dependency and distorted attachment instead of really supporting clients to become more empowered, freer and assertive, and one core reason for this to happen is the financial advantage these bad professionals could take from people who are very vulnerable because of their personal life issues.
I am sorry but this is very serious. in the past, decades ago, when psychology had not evolved enough, traditional psychoanalisis and other approaches were common, and could take those many years, but nowadays it is unacceptable for a professional to keep a client that long, specially when the benefits and the tenor of therapy have not been worthy and consistently beneficial to the client, even worse if dependency has been used as a way to keep the client for that long, which is everything but therapeutic.
The way to rehabilitate from such a serious issue caused and reinforced by a bad professional for that long, would be to find a really ethical, competent and experienced psychotherapist to help you through this process. obviously, trying to work on it while perpetuating this addictive dependency would not allow you to start your rehabilitation process from it.
Oh yes, I've even talked that over with him. However, I guess it's not changing either one of us from taking action to separate. I feel overall he's a very good therapist, but I've told him I need more... i.e., like suggestions and encouragement to help me leave therapy more easily. I've asked for him to help me in stimulating my own ideas in order to reach my goal of leaving. But I guess I don't reinforce how serious I am about it and we just fall back into the same old pattern of "let's talk more about it next time".
I am sorry but the scenario you describe clearly shows this person has been manipulating you for this long totally disregarding the very core basic goals -tenants of psychotherapy and counseling, which are about empowering you as the client, to become more yourself, independent, proactive, assertive ad able to be and feel like yourself, setting healthy boundaries and limits, without allowing nor enabling anybody under any circumstance, to use, abuse, control or manipulate you, and those seems to be the very things he has been doing all this long.
It seems obvious to me that he would not acknowledge, even less take any responsibility for this abusive pattern at all, and it is you the one who has to choose if you want to perpetuate this exposure to this abuse or not. That's why a real good professional is necessary plus all the support you ay get from healthy and caring people from your social network and support system.
Sorry, I just had to take a moment to ready that 1st paragraph over 2 or 3 times. Now I'll read the rest of your response.
You have been literally telling and asking this person to help you heal and grow instead of getting worse into this addiction and passivity where you cannot do any real progress because of his approach and actions, and he has systematically disregarded them and promoted further dependency-abuse, which is psycho-emotional and financial for sure.
Forgive me, but I'm a little in shock right now. I'm not sure what to type next.
I'm just going to sit here and breath for a few moments.
This is a tough and painful situation, could be overwhelming for most people in your shoes, and that's why you need to get all the support you can from caring people from your support system and from really good professionals, since now you do not only have to cope with the initial issues that brought you to look for therapy, but need to rehabilitate from the addiction-codependency issue created and promoted by this bad professional.
That's totally fine.
Your health and real well-being should be your number one priorities, and only those capable and willing to respect you and your healthy path should be allowed to play a role in your life.
I probably should have told you more about the good parts of our therapy. Right now I have us focusing on how it's been difficult and that's it been practically 10 years of therapy. I tend NOT to think I've been manipulated, because I've invested so much in him (financially and emotionally), and I've grown so much during this time. I'm so much stronger that I was before. If I believe everything that you say and start to think of him as a "bad professional", then where does that leave me? As someone that fell for being mis-treated? I hope not.
I appreciate you being frank with me though, and I'm sure that I will see him with different eyes now.
I support you and understand your point. It is scary to even behold the idea about the manipulation and abuse for this long, and that's why you need to get objective feedback and support , and a core question you need to make yourself is how much and how effectively this professional has helped you to truly become more self-confident, independent, proactive, to enrich your personal and social life and making improvements in your other life areas, in your real life. Therapy is a place where to learn hot to heal and better cope and build your real life, your reality. therapy cannot and should not try to replace real life experiences-relationships at all, and be sure that any form of excessive attachment, dependency or addiction-obsession to it would be the exact opposite of what therapy is supposed to be.
Just be totally honest and truthful with yourself, open to hear from people who care about you and who would not get something from you, their feedback could be essential and precious, allow yourself to consult with a reputable professional int he filed or just to contact a local state-county behavioral board to request information on ethical practice standards, for you to better understand what is acceptable and what goes beyond boundaries and a good therapeutic practice.
You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust and for being this courageous to explore and share these challenging and painful concerns here.
I'm taking this all in. Believe me it's not easy to read. I'm trying to keep an open mind about everything you have to say, but I feel I'm portraying my therapist in such a bad light. Is it unheard of these days to be in therapy for 10 years?
Yes, it is not common for a person to spend several years in therapy nowadays, specially when the person is aware of the addictive-obsessive nature of it, and has challenged or confronted therapist abut it and got justifications to keep it that way, without acknowledging the serious obvious issues and taking consistent actions to make necessary changes. Sound ethical, clinical and therapeutic practice-standards do discuss about it and that's why it is necessary for people to become aware of them in order to take good care of themselves, prevent these scenarios and effectively cope if already undergoing any issue related to them.
I know it (10 years) sounds outrageous from the outside, but it's also been a huge commitment on my part to hang in there and learn through the pain and frustration of it all. It hasn't been all bad, it's just the wrapping things up that seems out of his ball-park. Maybe therapist need to be trained better in "detaching". They seem to be experts in "attaching".
Unethical, unprofessional, non-therapeutic therapist would promote dependency and excessive attachment, it happens a lot, but it does not mean it is acceptable. Unhappily being a mental health professional does not mean the person is mentally and emotionally healthier than anybody else or than other professionals, many needy people and with huge egos get into this field as a way to empower their own egos and personality distortions, and that's why we find so many horrible therapies, some very, very charming and with powerful social skills, but far away from being truly good, ethical therapists.
I want to let you know that he has been taping our therapy sessions for the past few months so that he can share them with a supervisor/psychologist/consultant. Since this was something new that he started, I thought this "Is It"... FINALLY, we are going to make progress because now he's willing to ask for help from an outside source. So I got my hopes up for "change", but nothing has really become of it. He's a great listener and supportive of anything I want, including "leaving therapy". It's just that ending NOW, doesn't seem right to him.
Then i truly suggest you to seriously consider previous recommendations in order to reassess how really beneficial it is for you to continue the same way, and how much more you are willing to afford from it. This is something serious that requires careful evaluation and that's why I suggested previous options for you to work on it.
Will do. I'm going to call him right now and leave a serious message that I need to MOVE ON. I'll give him one more session and we'll say our good-byes.
I think you are so right about "huge egos get into this field".
I support you and truly hope you could continue your rehabilitation process with the right support you need and deserve.
This has truly been an eye opening chat. I seriously didn't expect this kind of a response from another therapist.
I am glad to know it has been this helpful. Please carefully reflect on it, share about it with mature, assertive and caring people present in your life, ideally discuss it with another professional and with a behavioral sciences professional board staff, for you to become more aware and clear about ethical and unethical practices. For sure dependency, codependency, obsessions and addictions are never part of real therapy but against it.
Thank you again for your trust. Please take gentle care and feel free to contact me back for any further support.
Thank you for your objective feedback and support. And I love that you said "take gentle care"... My habit was to do just the opposite and be too hard on myself. Have care and compassion for myself is my new journey. Thanks again!
You bet it is. You're very welcome. Thanks and bye for now.
Okay, good bye for now.
I wish you great success and God's blessings.
Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC