Bad Therapist

bad therapist

Once upon a time, Max went to a residential rehab where we hoped he would finally be saved from his addiction. There, he was assigned a therapist who was working toward his MFT license.

Lawrence was a nice guy who genuinely liked Max very much. Who wouldn’t? Max liked Lawrence too, especially because he didn’t preach about god. In rehab, Max relapsed several times. It wasn’t going to be the magic ticket, I came to realize.

I visited often and soon became friends with R, a ‘spiritual adviser’ there. She was single and wondering if she’d ever meet someone nice. I suggested Lawrence, who she barely knew. R and Lawrence went out and fell in love, bam. They were soul-mates.

Lawrence left the rehab after falling out with the administration. He offered to see Max on the sly, a breach of the rules.

Max left rehab and got a job. But he was pretty shaky. Lawrence was seeing Max alone, and with us, his parents, for family therapy. We wanted to support Max any way we could, but I had my doubts about Lawrence. He didn’t seem to know what he was doing.

Max started using dope again and Lawrence kept his secret. One night a friend called to say that Max was in her living room, fucked up. We raced over to get him, our darling baby, and got him admitted to a rehab where he could detox.

That rehab was a bad mistake. They discharged him early, suffering from insomnia and withdrawal. Max called Lawrence that night but Lawrence didn’t call him back. In the early morning, Max jumped onto a busy highway.

Here’s the thing. For the next nine months that Max was alive, Lawrence offered to resume counseling him but didn’t try to direct him to a real doctor who knew how to treat depression. Lawrence was still trying to get his MFT.

At Max’s burial,  I hugged Lawrence and said, ‘I’m not mad at you.’ He replied, ‘I’m not mad at you either.’ He offered his business card to someone.

Time passed and R was one of my dearest friends. I could talk to her about anything, but not about Lawrence, who was now her husband.  I accepted this as the price of our friendship.

One night at my computer, I read something scary about the drug Neurontin. I knew that Lawrence took Neurontin and that he had suggested Max try it, too.

So I emailed Lawrence for the first time. I sent him a link to the study and wrote these words.

I came across an article about Neurontin in my email tonight. You should probably not be taking this drug, nor should you have urged Max to take it.

In the morning, I received an email from R:

you just sent an email that crushed Lawrence to the core. it was cruel. it was also betrayed my trust.

i dont understand. You crossed the line with me. i ca’t trust you. what was the point of that? He does not deserve this.
Weve had this conversation before. what you set out to do you accomplished. You really hurt him and me by proxy.
 What ever he did he was only trying to help Max.
 Lawrence can never see or look at you again. That was just so cruel. I really wish you had not done that because it means we can not be friends. You are too dangerous.
 My husband is lying here tortutred. Good job.

R never spoke to me again, and blocked me from contacting her again. But before blocking me, she wrote this:

Max walked in the [rehab] broken very very broken, already.

Last week on the TV series Web Therapy, the worthless therapist character told someone defensively that her patients were ‘already damaged when they come to me.’ It was a funny line because no one would ever say such an awful stupid thing.

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29 Responses to Bad Therapist

  1. Andrea says:

    Sounds like he (& his “spiritual adviser” wife were all along not qualified and probably poorly trained as therapists. It’s unfortunate that they crossed paths with Max. I’m so sorry for your loss. I suppose what we can all do is learn from your experience. xo

  2. Harmreduction says:

    I am

    It was a fight with a pain management doc to get off that medication. She insisted I was misusing opiates. The next pain doc ordered mri’s that showed I had fractures in my spine and shoulder.

    I needed to use a walker until I got off that shit. It made me much more depressed, as well.

    Fuck- why can’t we hurt people they way they hurt us?

  3. annemarie says:

    “My husband is lying here tortutred”

    I’m sorry– I don’t know the ins and outs of this story, only what you’ve stated above, and I agree that the final statement you quoted is incredibly callous, but FOR ME PERSONALLY, it is the above statement that is shocking. Poor fucking Lawrence having to nurse his tortured conscience and how dare you, YOU, sister wolf, for inflicting this pain upon him. I find it hard to believe that a person could write this to a woman who lost her son. Fuck them both.

  4. Alix says:

    I take neurontin/gabapentin… what is this study? I really would like to read it.

  5. Sister Wolf says:

    Alix –

    Andrea – Credentials are really, really important. So is character, but that one is tricky. xo

    Harmreduction – god, the pain management doctors! Fuckers!

    annemarie – Right??? No one gets this part like you do.

  6. Winter Bird says:

    Let’s back up to “I’m not mad at you either.” Sounds like he was rationalizing his decision not to return Max’s phone call by projecting some non existant fault onto you. That mother fucker derseves to be in a tortured heap. The bottom line is, he dropped the ball. He failed his profession, he failed you and he failed Max. His job description is to take damaged people and heal them. Then to add insult to injury, he used Max’s funeral as an oppertunity to do some networking. Tell L & R to go fuck themselves. As if you haven’t suffered enough.

  7. Lynn says:

    My husband’s younger brother killed himself last month. His brother was a very private person, and few of us knew he was so sad, alone, and desperate. We are learning now that he was a heavy secret drinker. His suicide was immediately preceded by a catastrophic fall down a set of stairs, so forceful that he broke his jaw and lost a tooth. Horrible and an additional set of traumatizing facts for those who loved him to assimilate.

    I’m writing for two reasons: Over the years I have learned so much about the misery and complexity of surviving a loss from suicide. Sister Wolf, your words and honesty helped me in the past and are helping now. Thank you.

    Second, another story about the horrible stupid self-absorbed idiocy of humans: a few days after his suicide, a friend of the family called the 84-year old mother (my MIL) of the man who killed himself. She told the surviving mother how hard this was for her son. Her son was struggling, He had gone through rehab, and this loss was so hard for him. The deceased was his closest friend. etc etc.

    This self-absorbed arrogant solipsism made me think of Lawrence, who is so tortutred (sic), and his shit-for-brains therapist wife.


  8. Lynn says:

    My mistake. I see now that shit-for-brains is a “spiritual adviser,” not a therapist.

    Such an evolved spirit. I’m sorry.

  9. ali says:

    These people sound like abusive/manipulative personalities coddling each other. “Only trying to help” is not a redeemable justification for gross incompetence.

    I am so sorry that your family became entangled with these two. The language of her email is VIOLENT AS HELL!

    Sending you love from Seattle. I had a purple dinner party (inspired by Elizabeth Taylor) on Saturday (all naturally purple foods served + flowers + purple cocktails + purple clothing only). I thought of you throughout. I think you would’ve liked it.


  10. Sister Wolf says:

    Winter Bird – Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

    Lynn – I’m so sorry for your loss, and I hope your husband is managing to cope. The phonecall and things like it are called secondary traumas in the lingo of survivors of loss by suicide.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with people! But I cling to all expressions of humanity and compassion to remember that people are good…some of them.

    all blessings to you and your family, xoxo

  11. Sister Wolf says:

    ali – and yet I know they feel terribly wronged by me. It fucked me up so badly, I could barely leave my house for months.

    I need pix of the purple dinner party! xoxo

  12. Sally says:

    I don’t think they feel wronged by you, just guilty and in denial about their part. Making excuses for themselves.

  13. Andra says:

    Get the voodoo doll out and put a hex on the bitch.
    I’ll do the Aussie bone pointing thing and that should take care of her.

  14. ali says:

    I wore your blazer actually! I’ll send you pics

  15. Sister Wolf says:

    Sally – Maybe that’s it. I don’t know.

    Andra – No no, no hex necessary. But thank you for your solid friendship.

    ali – Oooh, can’t wait.

  16. Bevitron says:

    Reading this, I found so much dismaying and upsetting, but one sentence in particular, sent from R in an email to you – “You are too dangerous” – sounds to me completely barking crazy. And the husband destroyed, wracked, prostrate with the cruel cruel torture.

    Let’s all hand our shit off to someone else.

    Leaving out terrorists, insane mad killers, fuckers, bombers, & whatnot, there probably aren’t a lot more types of people at large who are as potentially dangerous as incompetent psychotherapists.

  17. Kellie says:

    If by saying “you are too dangerous” they really mean “you are too close to hitting the nail on our incompetent heads”, then maybe.
    Because you calling them out on their failings is too painful for them to face.
    Poor fucking bastards. Pretending to be experts, and then taking no responsibility. They are probably afraid they can be sued for their idiocy.
    I am so sorry. xxx

  18. Aly says:

    God, as a mother I would be abso fucking lutely FURIOUS at the level of treatment that this NOT MFT was giving my kid. I would probably blame them. It seems like if Max had gotten some real therapy with a real professional he would have had a better shot. I am SO very sorry. I don’t know if this is helpful to hear at all but I just wanted to say that if I were you I would be pissed. I can’t believe R and Lawrence cannot see where you are coming from. They must not have kids yet is all I can think. I worry about things like this a lot as a mom. That other people’s mistakes (doctor’s, esp.) might compromise or injure my children.

  19. Aly says:

    Another thought I had after reading the Neurontin study is maybe L is over-reacting because he’s taking fucking Neurontin and has an increased risk of suicide!!! Yikes.

  20. Richard says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know what else to say.

  21. Andra says:

    Richard, I think that’s all there is to say.
    And I, for one, thank you for it.

  22. Danielle says:

    They should be outed for their DANGEROUS incompetence.

  23. Sister Wolf says:

    Bevitron – YES, I thought that was crazy too. Thank god I have you for a reality check!!!

    Kellie – Thank you, yep.

    Aly – I said the same thing to myself…they aren’t parents, they don’t seem to get it. As for the Neurontin, maybe whoever is prescribing them for Lawrence is a hack as well.

    Richard – That is plenty. Thank you, xo

    Andra – xo

    Danielle – I don’t think he should be allowed to see people with serious problems. Or maybe any problems. This level of incompetence in a therapist is distressing. And the behavior…I don’t know, shameful, I guess.

  24. Suspended says:

    God, handing out business cards at a funeral?? Was that a top tip he found in his guide to inappropriate funeral etiquette? It reads like a fucking episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm; Funny, when it’s pretend, but exasperating to think people actually behave this way in real life.

    And the idiocy goes on…

    Isn’t it so typical of the universe to think “Ok, she’s lost her son, what other shit can we throw her way to make it even worse?”


  25. Sister Wolf says:

    Suspended – the universe has over-estimated how much I can take.

  26. drollgirl says:

    humans. omfg i hate the majority of them.

  27. Skye says:

    There are for sure some balanced and functional therapists out there, no doubt. And some who are as dysfunctional as hell but that doesn’t stop them being effective for their clients/patients (hi mom!) and there are many, many who have something to fix in themselves which they try to manage through messing with others. Lawrence sounds like someone in that latter category and I am so desperately sorry that Max ever got tangled up with that. Plus that lady sounds like a psycho, so I guess that’s his karmic reward right there.

  28. Phoenix says:

    I recently quit therapy after seeing a therapist for quite a few years. In many ways she helped me work through many issues, however recently I noticed our relationship was not exactly healthy. As a matter of fact the relationship was a repeat of a significant harmful childhood relationship. Over the years I have actually been to my therapist house on numerous occasions from just riding a long in her van to drop her daughter off after picking her up from school, to bringing her computer back online, to attending her divorce care party with others from her group she created at the church we both attended. I stopped going after I realized what was going on. I’ve met her sister, daughter, what used to be her boyfriend, along with other important people in her life. We have on one occasion gone out to eat after having a session of therapy. I grew to really care for this woman. In a conflict of interest she was seeing who used to be a friend of mine until that person tried to control me and use me. When she couldn’t she dumped the friendship. My therapist at the time still sees that person and since she is in her fifties and has no one else to take care of her after death responsiblities, the therapist agreed to help her. She has also been to my ex friends home to help her clean it up as she is a hoarder. I question my therapist when I stopped and wonder is this healthy? I mean what other therapist does these things? Where are the boundaries? Now im hurt and frustrated due to the conflict of her seeing ans being friendly with my old friend plus her lack of clear boundaries with me which is a repeat of older relationships. Im so hurt and im never going to another therapist again. By the way, my therapist ate in her session and was late frequently, took others phone calls and texts during my sessions especially if it was her daughter. Even one session she didn’t write her appointment down with me, I show up then she tells me her new appointment wouldn’t understand if she saw me but in other words Id have to deal with it going home and not seeing her because this was a new person.

  29. Sister Wolf says:

    Phoenix – That is a very bad therapist. I would report her to whatever agency licensed her. And I’m sorry to hear what you’ve been through with her.

    drollgirl – Me too, yep.

    Skye – So true, and so not good.

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