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counsellors who are no good at their jobs

(102 Posts)
Kim666 Sat 30-Sep-17 16:04:59

Over the years I have had a few counsellors. My experience is that it's a bit of a myth that there are these wonderful nonjudgmental people out there who just want to help.

I had one who when I mentioned that I'm unemployed she said "As far as I'm concerned, anyone who really wants a job can get one". First of all that's not true, secondly why would she say that?

I know some people will say that all counsellors will be good at their jobs, but they might just not suit you. Some will say that the problem must be with you.

I've heard things about people's experiences of counsellors that make me think there are people doing that job who shouldn't be doing it. A woman who was grieving the loss of a pet was told that she's just being stupid because it's just an animal. The boy who'd been abused who was told several times that when he grew up he would be an abuser too.

I'd like to know other people's experiences. I suspect that articulate middle-class people are less likely to have a problem.

ilovesooty Sat 30-Sep-17 16:07:15

I'm a counsellor and fully accept that there are people practising who shouldn't be.

There are excellent practitioners too.

Bombardier25966 Sat 30-Sep-17 16:14:41

I don't think every counsellor is good at their job, but I do hear many stories where people have focused in on certain words the counsellor has said, lost the context, and the recounted conversation become something very different to what it actually was.

I don't believe a counsellor told a victim of abuse that they would be an abuser too. What may (or may not) have happened was a conversation about how some abuse victims do go on to abuse (in the context of their abuser), and he has taken that to heart and made it personal to him.

It's easy for things to become twisted when we are emotional. I remember seeing a psychiatrist and being very upset that he'd told me to get a job (I had one), whereas in hindsight he'd talked about how work can help people with depression.

I wouldn't judge any of the given scenarios without being a party to the original conversation.

missarcher Sat 30-Sep-17 16:27:07

I've seen 7 and out of those 7 there's only 3 I actually got on with and would see more twice (I have a 2 session rule, if at the end of 2 sessions things still don't feel right with that person then I walk away)

DJBaggySmalls Sat 30-Sep-17 16:32:59

YANBU. I know several people who were told they must confront their abuser, & that the death of a pet is nothing to get upset about.

On a less serious note I once saw a psychiatrist who freaked out when I told him we had pet rats as he had a terrible phobia about them, and I ended up having to reassure him that I hadnt touched them before our session grin

CatsOclock Sat 30-Sep-17 16:34:36

I've got a family member who's a raving narc (diagnosed). Guest what her job is?

BoomBoomsCousin Sat 30-Sep-17 16:36:46

I had a mediocre counsellor for couples counselling. She just seemed to draw a picture of me in her head as the sort of little woman who sat at home and did nothing all day without really speaking to me at all (shed been concentrating on my DH), gave me advice (to go out with friends more) and was very taken aback when I said that I already went out quite a bit. Then she tried to get into an argument with me about the ethics of employing cleaners through a large firm and heavily implied that I should do the emotional labour in our relationship.

She gave us some good communication tools though and since I'm no pushover the rest of it didn't matter too much. But we only went to 3 or 4 sessions and we could really have used more time with someone.

shouldnthavesaid Sat 30-Sep-17 16:37:12

I've had a bit of counselling - seen two 'practice counsellors' at GP surgery, a nurse therapist, a clinical psychologist, private person centred therapist and a private CBT therapist.

Both the psychologist and CBT therapist were absolutely fantastic, worked on similar principle of guided exposure and cognitive behavioural therapy. We didn't discuss the past but the here and now, the reasoning being sitting ruminating about past upset won't change it, but discussing what's happening here and now can.

I trusted both fully and felt they wanted me to get better and I felt they did make a difference. Both runs of therapy were also quite long whereas everything else was comparatively short.

I did have a horrible experience with the nurse therapist, he made me lie completely flat on a reclining chair whilst we talked. Lying flat is a huge trigger for me in any scenario except in my own bed - I was assaulted in a similar position by a person who I should have been able to trust. The therapist having me do that again - he said it would make me better - was in the wrong I think. It made that therapy very difficult. I stopped going after a few weeks as it was making me feel worse, not better.

I agree that when you're feeling low, anxious etc you can perceive things very, very differently to how it might be intended, and more so with someone you don't really know. My old GP was very blunt and would tell me exactly what she thought - in a manner always designed to help. On a good day I didn't take offence .. on a bad day I saw it very differently!

DJBaggySmalls Sat 30-Sep-17 16:37:16

CatsOclock How did she pass her training or get accredited? Does she tell her clients up front?

FittonTower Sat 30-Sep-17 16:53:44

I think there are bad counsellors (there's got to be right? There's bad everything else) but there are also counsellors that are bad for you. Like driving instructors you need to find the one that fits.

CoughLaughFart Sat 30-Sep-17 17:03:05

A friend of mine wants to train as a counsellor. After how she spoke to a mutual friend recently about the issues she was having with her mother, I'm not sure she should even be giving free advice, never mind training to charge for it.

ScissorBow Sat 30-Sep-17 17:03:34

I saw a counsellor. Just the once. She was awful. I have no idea how she is still in an NHS job.

I don't think all counsellors are awful but I will be more challenging next time if the person is as awful.

mayhew Sat 30-Sep-17 17:07:47

In all jobs there are people who you think, "just no!"
I do know someone, with children,with the most peculiar, unstable and rather exploitative personal relationships. I steer clear.
She's a qualified family therapist.

opheliacat Sat 30-Sep-17 17:08:37

I think there is far too much emphasis on counselling being this wonderful all-healing process. I just don't think it is. I also hate the way the recipients are held responsible if it does not work.

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Sat 30-Sep-17 17:11:20

I had a wonderful therapist who I had CBT with. He was amazing and turned my life around; before him, I'd been pretty much housebound and unable to work for years.

After his amazing work with me, I was able to start work and fully function as a human being again.

I owe everything to him; he turned my life around. Without him, I'd still be very ill.

Bluebell1981 Sat 30-Sep-17 17:13:08

I did a counselling course several years ago. Didn't pursue it long enough to become fully qualified...partly due to the others studying it with me at the time. It was horrendous - most had obvious issues themselves that they needed help with, or were very narcissistic,!and that must have attracted them to the profession. It was constantly uncomfortable in class. Having said that, I've had counselling myself since and she was excellent so there are obviously great practitioners too. My experience just made me wonder about the people attracted to it as a profession and if they are in it for the right reasons....

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Sat 30-Sep-17 17:14:02

I think there is far too much emphasis on counselling being this wonderful all-healing process. I just don't think it is. I also hate the way the recipients are held responsible if it does not work.

It is for some people; it certainly was for me. It turned me from pretty much housebound to functioning member of society in a matter of months.

And yes, I do believe you won't get that far if you don't put the effort in. I know for certain had I not done so much work, forced myself out of my comfort zone and into anxiety inducing situations, that I would not be well today.

He gave me the tools to get better, but it was me putting them into practice that actually got me better.

megletthesecond Sat 30-Sep-17 17:19:38

Yanbu. The last (and final) time I tried an NHS counsellor she suggested I had a nice relaxing bath with candles and do some relaxation techniques hmm. I'm a totally lone working parent with kids who run riot. I can barely shower let along bath.

But I do know a wonderful private counsellor who I splurged some savings on after that. I didn't have to do anything at home and she never once suggested I have a nice bath.

I do know someone who has been a counsellor and tbh she shouldn't be allowed anywhere near vulnerable people. Way too judgemental.

sourpatchkid Sat 30-Sep-17 17:20:55

Yep. I'm a therapist. Some are amazing, some are shit. The shit ones always blame their patients when things don't work out hmm

CatsOclock Sat 30-Sep-17 17:21:06

CatsOclock How did she pass her training or get accredited? Does she tell her clients up front?

I doubt it. As far as I know, there's no requirements re this. Ime, she's skilled at acting 'the part', whatever that is.

HanarCantWearSweaters Sat 30-Sep-17 17:35:39

The first time I ever spoke out loud about the things that happened in my childhood was to a counsellor at my university's student health centre. She asked me when I was going to stop wallowing.
It took 6 years and getting into a very bleak place before I tried again.

Glumglowworm Sat 30-Sep-17 17:38:56

My worst counselling experience was a woman who in my first session made me feel like a horrible person for feeling the way I did about a difficult situation.

I never went back for a second session!

I have found that at the very lowest points (lifelong depression sufferer), I can't engage in counselling at all. The most helpful therapy I've had was CBT that started just as my new meds were kicking in.

CigarsofthePharoahs Sat 30-Sep-17 17:42:18

I know someone about to start training to be a counselor.
She's a nice person, but in various discussions we've had, I've often been left wondering how it is she can never see things from someone else's pov. She was quite rude to a mutual friend due to this.
I can't help but thinking that being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes is rather important for the job.

yorkshapudding Sat 30-Sep-17 17:42:22

There are individuals in every profession who are not particularly good at their jobs. Counselling is no different.

Having said that, most people who seek psychological therapy are experiencing some form of emotional distress. When we're distressed it can distort our perception of events and conversations. As a pp said, I find it very hard to believe that a counsellor actually said the exact words "you will become an abuser" or "you're stupid to be upset about the death of your pet". It may be that this is what the client heard, either because they misinterpreted something that was said, because they believed this is what the counselor was really thinking, or because this a thought they've had themselves.

Straycatblue Sat 30-Sep-17 17:44:06

Like any profession there will be people who are good at their jobs and there will be people who are not.
Counsellors are no different .
Anyone who thinks they are all nice people waiting to help with pure intentions is incredibly naive and ignorant of human nature.

Some counsellors are nice, some counsellors are not, some might just be having a bad day. Such is the nature of people.

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