• ‘My Therapist Won’t Let Me Break Up With Her!’ By Lori Gottlieb

‘My Therapist Won’t Let Me Break Up With Her!’ By Lori Gottlieb

Full codependency on display here (referencing a link, with excerpts from said link, much farther below).

A woman writes into an advice columnist asking if it would be acceptable to quit seeing her therapist, and, if so, how to go about it.

This woman, who is an adult (she says she’s in her late 20s), is too afraid, or feels too much guilt, to stop seeing her therapist.

She says her therapist won’t give her permission to stop going in for sessions.

The woman says her insurance no longer pays for therapy sessions, and the therapist refuses to reduce her prices.

The woman cannot financially afford to see this therapist, but the therapist keeps shaming, guilt tripping, and pressuring this woman to continue on, in spite of this.

So the woman writes into this advice columnist for input on what to do.

It’s clear to me that this woman patient suffers from a huge case of Codependency. She obviously does not understand she is in a voluntary relationship with this therapist, one she has been paying for, and that her doctor (the therapist) is taking advantage of her financially and emotionally.

This woman is being manipulated and is too naive or too afraid to see it or admit it to herself and stand up to the therapist.

It’s further obvious to me that the woman patient who wrote to this columnist has no concept of having boundaries, does not feel comfortable saying “no” and being assertive.

She should have simply stopped seeing this therapist back when she first wanted to stop seeing her – with no explanations to the therapist necessary!

You, as an adult, do NOT owe another adult a justification or explanation for your decisions, especially not in an area such as this where you are (or were) a paying customer.

This therapist reads to me as though she is a dishonest and incompetent one. She is exploiting her patient to keep the gravy train coming in – she wants the money and does not care about helping or healing her patient.

Not all mental health professionals are competent or on your side. I saw psychologists and psychiatrists for many years – the root of my problem was codependency, and that codependency manifested itself as social anxiety and depression.

The doctors I saw for these issues were happy to keep throwing pill prescriptions at me, but none of them wanted to examine my problems any deeper to get me off the pills and doctor visits permanently. Some of the doctors I saw were incompetent while I now suspect one or two were just plain greedy.

I tried mentioning this on a certain thread at TWW blog and was shouted down by a volatile participant over there who erroneously believes that all secular mental health professionals are competent or honest – they are not. This is another example.

This woman who wrote in to this advice column would be better served from reading the book The Disease to Please by Harriet Braiker than from seeing any more therapists.

While I do not out-right discourage anyone who has issues from seeing a mental health professional, I do encourage people to be aware of the fact that there are seedy, dishonest, or inept secular mental health professionals out there.

I have further observations below these snippets:

‘My Therapist Won’t Let Me Break Up With Her!’ By Lori Gottlieb

Snippets:

Dear Therapist,

I’m a woman in her late 20s who is struggling to “break up” with her therapist. I’ve been seeing my therapist for almost five years now, and she’s helped me through a divorce, career changes, health issues, depression, and deaths in the family.

But she is no longer on my insurance, and I can’t afford to pay her out of pocket — and she’s making it very difficult for me to end things.

Before we go any further, I should let you know that I’m generally a bit of a pushover, and I am hopelessly terrified of disappointing people.

…This problem now seems to be seeping into my relationship with my therapist.

I’ve told her numerous times that I cannot afford to see her (it’s been over a year of out-of-pocket sessions).

Each time, she tells me to ask family members to help pay for my sessions or says that I’m having an extreme reaction (“I’m very concerned,” she told me one time), and that I have to come in again next week to talk about my behavior. I feel so guilty and insane when she talks to me like that, like I’m hurting her

…I would like to continue therapy (as I clearly need it), but with a more affordable therapist who accepts my insurance (as I know those therapists are out there) and whom I don’t already distrust. So how do I break it off with my therapist?

You can run over to that page to see the response she got from the resident advice-giver, but, really, this is a no-brainer.

I agree with Advice Giver Lady on that page that this woman’s real problem is not the joke of a therapist she is seeing but her real problem is HERSELF.

You are your problem, lady, not your therapist.

You are giving too much power to your idiot therapist.

If you want to break it off with Miss Therapist, just stop seeing her! Simple as that.

You do not owe Dr. Therapist a final visit, phone chat, or a final e-mail. You don’t owe Dr. Therapist an explanation as to why you find her services unsatisfactory.

Just stop going to see her, period, end of story.

(This approach also works on hair dressers who don’t cut or style your hair to your liking. Just go to a new stylist.)

If you absolutely want to have a final chat with your Dr. Therapist, be direct about it.

Tell her you don’t care for her service, you refuse to keep paying her expensive out- of- pocket costs, and you think she’s unprofessional with all her guilt tripping.

Then say “good-bye” to her and slam the door on your way out of her office – that is how you handle that.

But this woman is so deeply codependent, she’s not going to grasp that.

To be as direct as I am suggesting, she would have to know that she knows she has a RIGHT to be treated with dignity, respect, and that it’s acceptable for her to speak her mind and call this Dr. Therapist out (or whomever).

This woman would have to have the eye-opening realization that her feelings, needs, time, and money matter, and nobody has the right to push her around and take advantage of her.

If someone is treating you shoddy, you don’t have to be, nor should you be, so deeply concerned with hurting their feelings or offending them that you refuse to speak your mind to them, or you avoid the discussion altogether, or you suffer anxiety just thinking about confronting them.

If I were in this woman’s shoes, I’d likely either cut Dr. Therapist off with no further explanation (I would just stop scheduling appointments with her), or, if I did speak to her one last time, I’d give Dr. Therapist my un-varnished opinion on what a greedy, manipulative Quack she is, and I would not care how hurt or offended she felt about it.

Here are some of the portions from the advice giver’s response that I totally endorse:

  • We’ve all been in untenable situations … in which we convince ourselves that we “can’t leave,” only to look back years later and ask ourselves, “Who, exactly, was keeping me there?” The answer is usually “me.”
  •  Our goal from the beginning of therapy is to get our patients to leave us, much as parents hope that their children will be independent one day.
  • … patients are always free to go
  • You shouldn’t have to go to another therapist to work out your feelings about your previous therapist.

Lord love a duck. While a lot of Christian advice fails miserably in the realm of personality disorders or mental health problems, as you can see from this post of this woman being taken advantage of by a con artist of a secular therapist, secular mental health professionals are not always a prize, either.

I am simply amazed that anyone would continually put up with such lousy treatment, especially when they are paying for it from their bank account!

This woman was essentially paying to be abused every therapy session.

(I mean, she was figuratively AND literally paying for this abuse. She was taking out her Visa card or check book and paying this greedy, idiot therapist for the therapist’s pricey shaming and guilt tripping behavior. I get that mistreatment for free from certain family members of mine, no way I’m paying a therapist for it as well.)

I used to be exactly like her, but now that I’m not quite the same, I am horrified to think I was once that way, and it’s sad and frustrating to me to see others who live life like this.

This woman needs to mull over her family of origin and try to figure out how and why she feels too afraid or guilty to stand up for herself, to stand up to other people or to stand up for her beliefs.

I can guarantee you there is a reason why, at age 27 or 28, she is so very naive and passive, and I bet anything it has to do with the parenting or messages she got as she was growing up.

At some point in her up-bringing, she likely got messages (just like I did as I was growing up) that it’s wrong or selfish for anyone (especially for girls and women) to be assertive and to get their own needs met.

Those beliefs can play a part in what turns someone into a big, spineless, blubbering glob of Codependent Goo in adulthood.

Once you examine your childhood and figure out where you first started getting these ideas that you should live life as a doormat (and that you do not deserve to be treated kindly, and your needs or feelings don’t matter as much as other people’s), it will be a real “a-ha” moment.

This letter also demonstrates that you have to be on your toes. You have to think for yourself. This woman is actually having to ask another adult if it’s “okay” for her to drop her ratty, awful therapist. She should not have to confer with another adult or get another adult’s permission!

Lady, it’s your own life – if you don’t want to do X, then do not do X. You don’t need an advice columnist’s input or permission, nor do you need mine or your family’s, your therapist’s or whomever else’s. Live life on your own terms.

Make decisions for yourself, even if or when those decisions tick off other people or make them sad.

Another lesson I’ve learned along the way that is applicable to this woman’s letter:

If one approach or doctor is not working for you, don’t hesitate to throw it away and move along and keep investigating other avenues.


More on this blog:

Discerning Incompetent or Greedy Mental Health Professionals

Non-Church, Non-Spiritual, or Secular Remedies and Treatments Don’t Always Work

Letter Writer Tells Dear Abby that Years of Therapy Have Not Helped Him

For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 2)

Christian Gender Complementarianism is Christian-Endorsed Codependency for Women (And That’s Not A Good Thing)

Dear Ray Comfort and David Barton: Depression is Not a Culture War Battle by Warren Throckmorton

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming by K. Roberts

Victimhood, Compassion, and Time Limits

Victimhood, Victim Blaming, and Moving On

Topics and Concerns Under-Reported by Christians or Abuse and Survivor Sites

15 thoughts on “• ‘My Therapist Won’t Let Me Break Up With Her!’ By Lori Gottlieb

  1. A lot of people are ignorant that therapy abuse exists. I fired my last therapist. She insisted I go out and fornicate–that it would cure all my pain. She gave another friend similar advice.

    I told her three times (at different sessions) this was not acceptable to me.She continued to advise me this way. The third time I walked out and fired her. The agency set up a fuss–“you must not have understood her.” I made sure I understood her before I fired her.

    Been without a therapist for over a year. When I need advice or moral support I phone a friend.

    • Good on you for making up your own mind and walking out.

      I just knew by the headline alone before I clicked on the link what this woman’s problem was – look at it, she says her therapist won’t “let her.”

      Her therapist won’t “let her”?

      I’m like lady, your therapist cannot make you do a damn thing.

      You are permitting your therapist to yank you around. It’s in your power to kick the therapist to the curb. You’re under no obligation to keep seeing Dr. Therapist, nor do you have to take her advice.

      Re: your therapist telling you to have sex.

      Having sex isn’t going to solve anything.

      There are any number of problems having sex creates.

      If I had a nickel for every column or article I’ve ever seen from or by women (and sometimes men) who express regret over having slept around, I’d have more money than Bill Gates.

      And some people are having lousy sex. Having sex in and of itself is not a guarantee it’s going to be satisfying.

      • That’s for sure!

        When I recount this, I have to explain carefully. This woman was not trying to get me to have sex WITH HER. Stuff like that happens more often than many realize though.

        That’s called therapist incest. It seems similar rules should apply for clergy who give counseling. (Tully who?)

        • @ Rachel N.

          Oh yeah,no worries, I knew you meant she was saying you should have sex with other people.

          She’s probably one of those types who thinks if you’re not having sex you’re repressed, and if you’d just fool around, it would “fix” you. *Eye Roll*

  2. Just because one or even numerous people have bad experiences with therapists doesn’t mean all are bad or incompetent. The problem with some of these kind of issues is journalistic writing invariably singles out one or a few cases and demonises the whole industry. Of course there are therapist’s out there that are as useless as a one legged sheep dog. We all know this.

    your blogs come across as very anti everything you’ve had a bad experience with and you’appear to do the very same thing a lot of bad journalist’s do. You sure your own bias and you are unfair to those who are doing a great job and are very good at what they do.

    The whole point of counselling and therapy is to get a person to a point where they no longer need you. That doesn’t account for the complexity of the issues that people have and your apparent objections don’t account for a therapists duty of care when a person presents with a problem. Some clients don’t have a choice because they may be under a guardianship order that is court appointed for what ever reason.

    Others may have such complex issues that it would be a failure of their duty of care to end the therapeutic relationship.

    Yes there is the issue of codependency it is discussed in every college level course that is recognised by Government accrediting bodies. It is part of the whole ethical structure of counselling and therapy to include this issue and how to avoid it. It is why in many countries even psychologists with PhD’s require supervisors that they have to debrief with for legal accountability purposes. Those sessions are not the same as when you and I might seek counselling they are much more confronting and intensive. If a supervisor suspects their is an unhealthy relationship emerging between a counsellor/ therapist and a client they can be suspended if they refuse to acknowledge it, dismissed or even have the license to practice revoked. In other words in many countries practitioners are peer reviewed. In my case In Australia Counsellors are meant to be registered with a governing body and are legally not meant to work without a supervisor.

    Maverick’s occur in this industry and many others do exist, however it is a far less common occurrence that both the media and you promote.

    So back to you…. What are you doing and how do you manage your own issues? Be as specific and long winded as you like I want to understand where you’re coming from

    • @ chrissymonds65.

      I don’t follow your post or attitude at all.

      If you feel my blog is “anti everything,” you’re more than welcome to stay away and not read the blog posts I make.

      Secondly, I have added a qualifier to every post I’ve made on this blog under this topic, and as I included in this one, which states:

      While I do not out-right discourage anyone who has issues from seeing a mental health professional, I do encourage people to be aware of the fact that there are seedy, dishonest, or inept secular mental health professionals out there.

      You said,

      “So back to you…. What are you doing and how do you manage your own issues? Be as specific and long winded as you like I want to understand where you’re coming from

      How about no. I don’t owe you any explanations. Besides that, I have already explained how I handle my own issues in earlier posts on this blog. I’m not repeating my responses here.

      You said,

      Yes there is the issue of codependency it is discussed in every college level course that is recognised by Government accrediting bodies. It is part of the whole ethical structure of counselling and therapy to include this issue and how to avoid it.

      I’m calling bullshit on that one.
      I took psychology courses back in college (in the United States of America), and I don’t recall them discussing or covering codependency.

      Furthermore, none of the several psychiatrists and psychologists I saw over a twenty year period ever diagnosed me with codependency, nor did they even raise the topic.

      I went to these different mental health professionals saying I was depressed, two of the early ones tested me for depression, and agreed I was depressed, and they diagnosed me with depression.

      But depression was not my real problem, the depression was a symptom of my true issue, which was codependency.

      And none of the doctors I ever visited diagnosed me properly. Many years later, I had to do my own detective work to figure it out.

      You said,

      “Maverick’s occur in this industry and many others do exist, however it is a far less common occurrence that both the media and you promote.”

      I’m not promoting a damn thing. I am speaking from my own personal experience, and occasionally, other writers agree with me on some of these subjects, as Lori Gottlieb does, who I quoted above from her article.

      Are you sure you’re not Velour or Seneca Griggs posting to this blog under this “chrissy” screen name? They both hold similar attitudes as yours.

      You said,

      “Just because one or even numerous people have bad experiences with therapists doesn’t mean all are bad or incompetent.”

      No kidding. I never suggested that ALL therapists are bad.
      But some sure as hell are.

      You too are speaking from your own bias.

      • Okay thanks. I have also had many misdiagnosis including bipolar that I was successfully able to challenge and have dismissed because there was no evidence.

        Your own experience even your testimony that you didn’t hear about codependency on your courses in psychology is not evidence that they don’t teach it. At what level did you reach and what subjects did you cover? Undergraduate level courses in some colleges may not discuss at at an introductory level because they don’t expect you are practising and you shouldn’t be.

        My observation not matter how much you want to swing it is that you are cherry picking stuff that agrees with your own experience. You are biased angry and maybe even bitter. I am sorry that you’ve had such a hard time of it and I am grateful that you have found your own way through it but you’re jsut one person and there are many out there who would disagree with your conclusions and assertions… obviously I’m one of them. Why? because even though you add a disclaimer that you don’t discourage people froom seeking therapy you whole blog is negative about professionals based on your own experiences.

        If you put up an opinion ona blog is it your opinion. If you are so fragile and reactive to anyone who critiques you and disagree’s then maybe you shouldn’t write one.

        I wrote my blog not to be agree’s with I don’t care if anyone reads it. however the fact that you haven’t, shows you don’t know me or anything about me. Or where I come from. You’re welcome to dismiss me out of hand if you wish At least I have read yours and tried to show some understanding.

        Show some courtesy and get off your high horse

        • @ chrissymonds65

          You are condescending and judgmental.

          Get off YOUR high horse, and stop lecturing me.

          No, you have not tried to show any understanding.

          Sweet pea, I am not bitter or negative. If you see any hostility from me, it’s because of your lousy attitude.
          I come from an emotionally and verbally abusive family (sister and dad in particular) who are in fact highly negative and critical. I’m nothing compared to them. I am sun-shiney and gum drops compared to them.

          On my blog, I choose to discuss and critique complementarianism (Christian sexism), how psychology fails people, and against how Christians and churches wound other people.

          This blog is not a “Lollipops and Sunshine” blog all the time.

          If you don’t like it, don’t read it, and for the love of all that is holy, don’t bother commenting further.

          I am not cherry picking anything – I am simply writing from my personal experiences, and what I went through.

          And no, the psych courses I took at undergrad level did not mention codependency – but neither did the 6 to 7 psychiatrists and psychologists I saw over a twenty year period.

          That was either incompetency on the part of the doctors I saw, or they were greedy – they wanted me to keep coming in so I would keep paying their fees.

          You said,

          jsut one person and there are many out there who would disagree with your conclusions and assertions… obviously I’m one of them. Why? because even though you add a disclaimer that you don’t discourage people froom seeking therapy you whole blog is negative about professionals based on your own experiences.

          No kidding! It’s my blog and I can write about whatever I want from whatever vantage point I wish.

          I am guessing you or someone you know works in the mental health field in some capacity and anyone who writes anything the least bit negative about it bothers you.

          The fact is the several different professionals I saw for over twenty years did not diagnose me properly, and that can happen to other people, too, and I want them armed with that knowledge.

          You said,

          If you put up an opinion ona blog is it your opinion. If you are so fragile and reactive to anyone who critiques you and disagree’s then maybe you shouldn’t write one.

          You can get bent, you sanctimonious jerk.

          You’re not welcome on my blog any further.

          You are divisive and have some kind of weird agenda.

          Edit. I am putting you in the Ban filter, so you cannot post to this blog further.

          To a large extent, I don’t mind a disagreement with my views, but you went about it in a very wrong way. You’re very obnoxious.

    • Chrissy, I myself don’t like all of Daisy’s articles. Guess what? I skip those posts. It’s not like Daisy is holding a gun to your head and saying, “Read this blog post, or else!” 😀

      As an aside my favorite counselor was an unlicensed maverick. He advertised himself that way and his official title was coach rather than psycho therapist. I gave him up because my insurance doesn’t cover that. A lot of people wouldn’t like him and should see someone else.

      Mavericks aren’t so much the problem as corrupt phonies. And abusers.

      • @ Rachel N you said,

        Chrissy, I myself don’t like all of Daisy’s articles. Guess what? I skip those posts. It’s not like Daisy is holding a gun to your head and saying, “Read this blog post, or else!”

        Yes, thank you.

        It’s as though Chrissy M. was lecturing me on how she thinks I should comport myself on my own blog, and I should only write flattering things about secular therapy-

        Which I cannot do, because I have in fact have had negative experiences with it!

        On the other hand, as I’ve said a million times, I am sure that other people have had great experiences with secular therapy, so I am not saying everyone should avoid it.

        (I am not an anti-psychology or an anti-psychiatry lunatic.)

        I ended up banning Chrissy M.

        I don’t have the patience or personality type to put up with something like that. I blog to get my thoughts out there and such, not to debate people, not here.

        I generally do that (debating others) at TWW blog or at Julie Anne’s blog, and at other sites I post to.

        Chapman Ed, another poster here (who used to post to SSB) got on my last nerve here, so I banned him here a couple months back.

        (He keeps wanting to conflate all clergy sexual abuse victims to consensual, willing harlots, though I asked him several times to please cease and desist with that.)

  3. I haven’t struggled with serious mental health issues, but I’ve had an autoimmune disease since I was a child. I also had childhood cancer. I’ve seen more doctors that I can recall or count. Very few were really interested in helping me.

    A few have. Only a few.

    Most sent me out the door after barely an examination with a prescription or vague advice. I can recall at least two, both male, who told me it was all in my head. I remember the embarrassment of one of those, an ER doctor, who had to treat my side effects after the surgery he previously refused to even recommend tests for because “you’re just having a panic attack and aren’t really ill”.

    Oh, and that surgery? The surgeon smuggled in another surgeon after I was unconscious who charged me the full price of having a second surgeon, not covered under healthcare because it wasn’t “pre-approved”. The same surgeon did the same thing to my sister-in-law, even after we warned her. Both of us asked for family to be made aware during the surgery if anything additional was recommended. Nada.

    So I have no reason to believe mental health professionals would be any better. And I have very good reason to believe my own experience with doctors. I’ve certainly plenty of experiences with them.

    • I’m sorry, ishy.

      My mother (in addition to having depression and anxiety) also had a lot of physical health problems, including one sickness that was not widely recognized until some point in the 2000s.

      She began telling doctors about her physical symptoms around the late 1970s and in the ’80s, ’90s, and beyond, and most of them would tell her she was imagining things…

      Until she went in for a series of tests around, I don’t know, 2002 or 2003, and one doctor who was familiar with this one type of disease suspected my mother had it (which she did).

      But prior to that, any time my mother went to doctors describing any aches, pains, etc she was having, they would dismiss her as being a hypochondriac.

      Mental Health professionals (and doctors who deal with physical ailments) are not perfect, they are not gods, and some of them are inept, greedy, or arrogant. That is just a fact of life.

      That is not just “my opinion.”

      I’ve seen too much of that to put unwarranted or blind faith in any and all physicians.

      The doctors I saw for over 20+ years kept wanting to throw pill prescriptions at me.

      None of them seemed to understand what was really driving my depression, nor did any of them bother digging deeper, none of them showed any signs of wanting to help me really figure out what was wrong and get over it.

      The fact that there is a AMA Code of Medical Ethics (as well as APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct) and that some doctors violate these sets of ethics tells you that you need not give blind allegiance to the entire medical community.

      There are also some psychologists and psychiatrists who violate norms and ethics and take sexual advantage of their vulnerable female clients (just as some clergy do).

      • The autoimmune disease preceded everything else. It is closely tied to the cancer, but usually precedes it. I’ve had a host of other issues from the cancer treatments, though. A few weeks ago, 25 years later, I just found a new one.

        The best doctor for me has always been me. I imagine that’d be hard with someone struggling with a mental illness. I wish I had better answers, but I don’t.

        • I get sad/discouraged but no longer depressed. Eventually I believe my physical system will heal itself.

          I help neighbors worse off than me and talk to friends who love me unconditionally. I also try to pray 2 or 3 hours a day. Lots of pure water, wholesome food, vitamins and reasonable exercise.

          Someday I want to encourage those who feel unloved and unwanted. Let society’s “discards” know how much Jesus loves them.

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