Why Are There So Few Decent Therapists Out There? A question asked by a Quoran
One of the questions that I receive a lot from those on Quora is how to find a decent therapist because it is so hard to find one. In fact, this is a question that I received just today and answered yet again.
So, here is what I wrote coming from the perspective of the inquirer (a patient), instead of that of the all too often defensive point of view of the therapist — because the realities need to be stated for what they are, at least so far as I am concerned.
Thank you for this question because it is a very important one and one that few people will actually answer honestly, blaming the patient instead of looking objectively at the folks who enter the field.
The first thing that you need to know is that most of the people including myself who enter the field of mental health providing do so because of their own mental health issues. I would say that the worst providers have never fully dealt with their own issues so they have no idea that they are projecting their own problems in life onto those patients that have similar issues such as the still angry divorced therapist who still is blaming her ex for all the challenges that she has had to cope with since the divorce especially if it was a nasty situation.
There are many boundary issues that arise, many of my clients who have worked with conventionally trained therapists, sometimes for decades, feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed, or just upset for being told that they had to do as they were being told or they were ‘wrong.’
The best mental health providers are those that are truly realistic about dealing with their own issues and are constantly upgrading themselves as life doles out the challenges we humans need to deal with. It is the ‘healed’ healers that will give one the best services because they have learned much from having overcome their own issues. The feelings of the stigma that were once attached to them and knowing the difference between the client and the clients’ problem and themselves never taking on the clients’ issues EVER!
Because, this is the real problem — those therapists who never truly cleared their own issues are triggered by their patients and therefore are incapable of helping them in any way — more likely to do harm — not intentional, however, intentions are not what matters here — what matters here is that the therapist recognizes the role model that is inherent when one is helping others overcome their challenge — meaning that one is never upset with a client who is doing what would be normal for a person with the problems they are dealing with, separating the person from their behavior and working on shifting the behavior to that which is helpful to the client — the purpose of the therapy right — so people can function much better as they live their lives in their interactions with themselves first (thoughts and behaviors) and then applying what they have learned to those with whom they need to interact.
The other issue is whether or not the therapist has the ability to help or wants to help a person with certain problems. Because, I can tell you upfront that those with a diagnosis of Border Line Personality Disorder are patients that many therapists would rather not have in their practices — others love working with them, but they are few in number in reality. Some love working with those on the autistic spectrum, others have no clue how to work with the rigid thinking that these folks have. So, the underlying issues involved do indeed play a huge part in whether a therapist is a good match for a given patient.
Lastly, if the therapist has the experience to help a person with the sorts of problems that you are desiring to clear up — because again, there are some things that are much easier to help with, others that are much more complex such as those with anorexia and bulimia that are dealing with physiological harm as well as the mental health component. Those with depression of any type may cycle down to suicide if the practitioner and in this case it is the realm of hypnotists/NLP practitioners, health coaches, etc that need to stay within their ‘scope of care’ instead of falsely believing they have any ability to truly help these folks and instead refer them out to a colleague or other professional who actually understands what needs to be done to safely treat these more challenging patients/clients.
Again, many thanks for this question which I firmly believe deserves to be answered from the perspective of what helps to make a competent therapist instead of constantly blaming the patient for their inability to heal working with people that perhaps needed to clear up their own lives before believing they had the ability to help anyone else.