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Bad counselling expereince?

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    I've only seen one post on here that comes across a similar title, but as the thread went back to 2012, I decided to start a new thread and get some recent opinions.

    So anyway, I've recently started counselling for my anxiety. My first session was last week and as you've probably guessed from the title it didn't bode well. It was only supposed to be introductory to see what I would need, whether that be mentoring, focused counselling or therapy etc but it seemed to go completely off track. I didn't initially explain what the anxiety was doing to me, but I chose to start off by saying the reasons I believe are behind the anxiety as I like being chronological.

    The counsellor obviously didn't clock onto this, and she believed that the family related issues I mentioned are the main issues related to my anxiety, but as they all took place 6 years ago give or take, they're not important to me as much as what they used to be, but I did want to address them with a professional before I began talking about the problems my anxiety's causing me.

    She called the other family member I was with in, and the counsellor began to tell them that I was in 'imminent danger' and I needed to get out the house asap. She asked me too if I had ever called the police and filed charges, to which I said no. I was really confused at this point. She started to tell my family member that they needed to also go through help to prepare them to leave the house and start a new life. At this point, I tried to move the conversation on as it seemed that the counsellor was blowing things way out of proportion. But then she began asking me what I wanted, and I said I'm happy with how it is because my family life is as stable as what it can be, but she said no it's not, it's not stable.

    My family member also decided to protest against this, but the counsellor just told them that they were in denial, and that if my counselling is to be a success, she would have to be on support too. She then tried to get this family member into counselling too in this same centre, but was unable to. She told us both that she was going to put this down onto the system for the police to deal with because it is severely bad. She also told me to rate that particular day out of 10, I told her 7 and she basically said to me that number was too high, and so made me choose another number.

    I came away feeling really confused with what had happened. I had words getting put in my mouth, she had forced me to tears and then basically told me that it's because of the fear I'm living in. She told us again and again we were in denial about how bad a situation we're in. But we're not though? I live in a happy peaceful house which escalates about once a month. I am given fantastic things that many people are unable to afford.

    I don't even know what to think about this. I only mentioned the bad things about my family life as I wanted to get through it nice and quick. I wanted her to understand where it came from. I'm a natural sort of counsellor myself, and I understand why I feel certain things and I wanted to tell her what my understanding was too.

    Has anyone else recently been through any counselling that's not really worked well for them?
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I've only seen one post on here that comes across a similar title, but as the thread went back to 2012, I decided to start a new thread and get some recent opinions.

    So anyway, I've recently started counselling for my anxiety. My first session was last week and as you've probably guessed from the title it didn't bode well. It was only supposed to be introductory to see what I would need, whether that be mentoring, focused counselling or therapy etc but it seemed to go completely off track. I didn't initially explain what the anxiety was doing to me, but I chose to start off by saying the reasons I believe are behind the anxiety as I like being chronological.

    The counsellor obviously didn't clock onto this, and she believed that the family related issues I mentioned are the main issues related to my anxiety, but as they all took place 6 years ago give or take, they're not important to me as much as what they used to be, but I did want to address them with a professional before I began talking about the problems my anxiety's causing me.

    She called the other family member I was with in, and the counsellor began to tell them that I was in 'imminent danger' and I needed to get out the house asap. She asked me too if I had ever called the police and filed charges, to which I said no. I was really confused at this point. She started to tell my family member that they needed to also go through help to prepare them to leave the house and start a new life. At this point, I tried to move the conversation on as it seemed that the counsellor was blowing things way out of proportion. But then she began asking me what I wanted, and I said I'm happy with how it is because my family life is as stable as what it can be, but she said no it's not, it's not stable.

    My family member also decided to protest against this, but the counsellor just told them that they were in denial, and that if my counselling is to be a success, she would have to be on support too. She then tried to get this family member into counselling too in this same centre, but was unable to. She told us both that she was going to put this down onto the system for the police to deal with because it is severely bad. She also told me to rate that particular day out of 10, I told her 7 and she basically said to me that number was too high, and so made me choose another number.

    I came away feeling really confused with what had happened. I had words getting put in my mouth, she had forced me to tears and then basically told me that it's because of the fear I'm living in. She told us again and again we were in denial about how bad a situation we're in. But we're not though? I live in a happy peaceful house which escalates about once a month. I am given fantastic things that many people are unable to afford.

    I don't even know what to think about this. I only mentioned the bad things about my family life as I wanted to get through it nice and quick. I wanted her to understand where it came from. I'm a natural sort of counsellor myself, and I understand why I feel certain things and I wanted to tell her what my understanding was too.

    Has anyone else recently been through any counselling that's not really worked well for them?
    That sounds like it shouldn't have happened frankly and I might even suggest you report the experience. As far as I am aware counselors are not actually allowed to tell you what to do and they also shouldn't have asked somebody in without your permission. Since I don't know the situation you are in I can't tell you if their advice was wrong and I totally respect if you don't want to go into details about that.
    *I'll just give a general note since police report was mentioned that if anybody is physically or emotionally harming you or doing anything else illegal that you shouldn't stand for it even if there are good times too. It may be that said person gets help to not do those things again or you could leave or even report them to the police. There is more than one option and you should be aware of them so you can choose which you want and which is best for you. (sorry for any assumptions made there and they may be way off base, but in a lot of abusive situations theres very few oppertunities to reach people so I tend to be extra cautious with it. just ignoe it if it doesn't apply).

    I had a pretty naff experience with counselling myself. Since counsellig is mostly just talking through things and they don't necessarlily have any medical experience I find it's not very good for actual mental health issues. I had about a month of counseling and eventually opened up that I thought I had OCD. She immediately shut me down without even asking why I thought it. I have since been diagnosed with OCD and really wish I reported her for misconduct because she should not hve given medical advice like that. Since my problems (I also had depression) stemed from a medical cause the talking didn't really achieve anything either. I usually found that I left feeling worse than I did when I came in because she just dragged up things from years ago that I had moved past instead of helping me through the actual issues I was having then.

    I later had group therapy and it helped me imensly. If counseling isn't working for you I strogly suggest therapy as therapists have more training and knowledge of specific conditions like anxiety, depression, ocd etc.

    I think counseling has it's place and that it can help a lot for people who are a bit overwhealmed or are going through a complicated situation, but if given a choice I would always suggest therapy. Bare in mind there is a bit o a wall to overcome for both and you need to be comfortable opening up for it to truely work so you may find that if you aren't finding it helpful you just need to slow it down a bit and gain that repor with them before you can make real progress.

    I would suggest you visit your doctor and ask them if you can get a referal to a therapist or what counselor they suggest. Some can be better than others and if a doctor suggests them they will hopefully not be one of the bad ones. For anxiety I would suggest you look into a therapy called CBT or "cognative behavioral therapy". It focuses on thinking patterns and using them to get down to the route cause of your anxiety. It can be rather annoying to start but it helped me and others I know. I did it in a group setting which I actually found helpful as it encouraged me to trust people in a safe setting and took some of the focus off me (I find one-to one can get rather heavy).

    Bare in mind that if you are under 18 you fall under CAMHS which is kinda like an all inclusive place with multipe therapies (part of the NHS). Although it is a "childrens" service it deals with a lot of teenagers so you won't be treated like a child.
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by Kindred)
    That sounds like it shouldn't have happened frankly and I might even suggest you report the experience. As far as I am aware counselors are not actually allowed to tell you what to do and they also shouldn't have asked somebody in without your permission. Since I don't know the situation you are in I can't tell you if their advice was wrong and I totally respect if you don't want to go into details about that.
    *I'll just give a general note since police report was mentioned that if anybody is physically or emotionally harming you or doing anything else illegal that you shouldn't stand for it even if there are good times too. It may be that said person gets help to not do those things again or you could leave or even report them to the police. There is more than one option and you should be aware of them so you can choose which you want and which is best for you. (sorry for any assumptions made there and they may be way off base, but in a lot of abusive situations theres very few oppertunities to reach people so I tend to be extra cautious with it. just ignoe it if it doesn't apply).

    I had a pretty naff experience with counselling myself. Since counsellig is mostly just talking through things and they don't necessarlily have any medical experience I find it's not very good for actual mental health issues. I had about a month of counseling and eventually opened up that I thought I had OCD. She immediately shut me down without even asking why I thought it. I have since been diagnosed with OCD and really wish I reported her for misconduct because she should not hve given medical advice like that. Since my problems (I also had depression) stemed from a medical cause the talking didn't really achieve anything either. I usually found that I left feeling worse than I did when I came in because she just dragged up things from years ago that I had moved past instead of helping me through the actual issues I was having then.

    I later had group therapy and it helped me imensly. If counseling isn't working for you I strogly suggest therapy as therapists have more training and knowledge of specific conditions like anxiety, depression, ocd etc.

    I think counseling has it's place and that it can help a lot for people who are a bit overwhealmed or are going through a complicated situation, but if given a choice I would always suggest therapy. Bare in mind there is a bit o a wall to overcome for both and you need to be comfortable opening up for it to truely work so you may find that if you aren't finding it helpful you just need to slow it down a bit and gain that repor with them before you can make real progress.

    I would suggest you visit your doctor and ask them if you can get a referal to a therapist or what counselor they suggest. Some can be better than others and if a doctor suggests them they will hopefully not be one of the bad ones. For anxiety I would suggest you look into a therapy called CBT or "cognative behavioral therapy". It focuses on thinking patterns and using them to get down to the route cause of your anxiety. It can be rather annoying to start but it helped me and others I know. I did it in a group setting which I actually found helpful as it encouraged me to trust people in a safe setting and took some of the focus off me (I find one-to one can get rather heavy).

    Bare in mind that if you are under 18 you fall under CAMHS which is kinda like an all inclusive place with multipe therapies (part of the NHS). Although it is a "childrens" service it deals with a lot of teenagers so you won't be treated like a child.
    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I've thought through my solutions a lot in terms of it. I wouldn't exactly describe my problems as abuse, and although it is somewhat emotional, many of the issues related to it came from early childhood and so aren't exactly bothering me. And just like how you mentioned yours brought kept bringing up old issues, this is just what happened at this session. But for some reason, she thought that I was still going through this and so mentioned the police. But it's all in the past now and it's all settled, and therefore I don't want to bring in police into something where I'm not in danger of physical or emotional abuse. Thanks though for not assuming, but I just needed to clarify that.

    I was initially referred to this centre for CBT, and when I was on the phone this option didn't come up. It was a choice of mentoring, counselling and group work. I chose counselling because I assumed I might be offered CBT through it.

    This centre is what my GP referred me to. I could ring up and ask for another I suppose, but I'm going to talk to the centre and see if I could swap to CBT. If not, then I'll look for CAMHS. I thought it was a school only thing though and it didn't apply to college age students.
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    I had a similar experience. I attended Hypnotherapy with a fully qualified Hypnotherapist as I thought it might help. I had been trying to lose weight and for some reason there was a kind of mental block that was stopping me from being in the right frame of mind. I read about this man and that he could help with weight loss. An initial bit of talking in the first session for about ten minutes then I had to put head phones on and relax and listen to his voice. It was all very nice and relaxing then he started to say and tell me all about all the painful memories in your life you have been supressing. All those painful,hurtful experiences that have prevented you from living the life the way you want to ,etc. Well within five minutes I was having horrendous "flashbacks" to my dad abusing me from the age of six. Each session I attended with him it was more of the same . I would cry and e extremely upset and would come out of each hour long session physically and emotionally drained. To make matters worse I started developing feelings for the Hypnotherapist. He looked like the only man I have ever in my life loved. He thought I was in a relationship with my son's father still. When I told him I wasn't, he leapt off his seat, crouched down next to me and started stroking my hair. He knew I liked him. He told me I would lose a stone a month every month until I reached my ideal weight. At first nothing happened. Then one day he asked me if I had started on my diet yet. I said I hadn't. He became really angry with me and said if I wasn't going to put the effort in to losing weight then he didn't want to see me anymore as I was wasting his time. I started on a diet that day. When the sessions ended he said his door would always be open to me and it had been an honour to work with me and that he had never met a dancer before. But I was always too shy to call in and visit him because I have Social Phobia. It took me about two years to get this man out of my mind. I was completely miserable thinking about my feelings for him. Oh and get this. I have had many long conversations with my older sister, who used to babysit me most of the time. She has said that there is no way my dad [her stepdad] could have abused me as I was never left alone with him and she was always with me. I believe her. When I try and think hard about things I really have absolutely no recollection of being abused even "mildly" by anyone as a child. It just didn't happen. £50 a session every week for 10 weeks to be made to believe something that never happened, and to develop strong feelings for someone that was heartbreaking. Oh I lost 6 stones; a stone a month. But when I realised it was impossible for me to become too close to the Hypnotherapist because of my social phobia I just put all thew weight back on again. And then some. It was the worst thing I have ever done. There is one and only one thing about it that was positive. I stopped smoking,and 12 years on I never went back on them again.
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    OP, i would consider making a complaint about that therapist. If you dont want to complain to the centre you can file a complaint to their professional body. They behaved really unethically.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thank you so much for your reply.

    I've thought through my solutions a lot in terms of it. I wouldn't exactly describe my problems as abuse, and although it is somewhat emotional, many of the issues related to it came from early childhood and so aren't exactly bothering me. And just like how you mentioned yours brought kept bringing up old issues, this is just what happened at this session. But for some reason, she thought that I was still going through this and so mentioned the police. But it's all in the past now and it's all settled, and therefore I don't want to bring in police into something where I'm not in danger of physical or emotional abuse. Thanks though for not assuming, but I just needed to clarify that.

    I was initially referred to this centre for CBT, and when I was on the phone this option didn't come up. It was a choice of mentoring, counselling and group work. I chose counselling because I assumed I might be offered CBT through it.

    This centre is what my GP referred me to. I could ring up and ask for another I suppose, but I'm going to talk to the centre and see if I could swap to CBT. If not, then I'll look for CAMHS. I thought it was a school only thing though and it didn't apply to college age students.
    I'm glad you're not facing any issues like that and that whatever issues you had are mostly behind you now. I think counselors work on a talking through issues thing so they'll just keep digging until they find an issue. I'm not sure they can necessarily get their heads around there not being an issue to work through like that and it being a case of actual cronic problems. A lot of the time mh problems stem from an initial trigger i guess, but they tend to keep going once that initial trigger has been dealt with so even if that were the root, it's moved on now.

    I was refered to CAMHS for a few months before my 18th birthday. They wouldn't give me "adult care" and it took a while for them to work out where to send me. College age is difficult. I basically had talking therapy in that time (not sure if it was technically something with a name, but we talked and that was mostly that). You can also do things like art therapy through it. You do all the paperwork and everything if you're over 16 so although it's technically a kids service, as far as you're concerned it will be just like any other treatment.

    Worth talking to the place you're at now and explaining everything to see what they can do, but going back to the doc is always an option too. At the end of the day mh issues are a very personal and unique thing so what works for one person may not be the right fit for you. It's always worth trying a few options. I was supprised that group therapy helped me more than one-to-one. I would have never tried it if it werent suggested by my psych.

    Oh and as general advice, I know that anxiety and other mh issues can make you pretty timid or mean you don't want to make yourself a bother to people, but try to make this the one thing you are assertive about. Don't be afraid to ask for options not listed or tell people something isn't working for you.
    I found I needed to put my foot down to get the right treatment (well any actually) and I hate to think about others missing out like I did for a while.

    Anyway I hope you find the right fit for you and can start making some more progress and feeling better.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
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    Honestly some mental health professionals are amazing and some are shockingly bad... unfortunately it sounds like you got a bad one, it would be worth requesting a different counsellor and trying again because there honestly are some amazing people out there - but they should always be listening to you and responding to how you see things rather than taking such a lead and insisting their interpretation is correct

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