If you’re wanting or already beginning a career in counseling (as in therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc) please examine yourself first as well as your motivations. If you can’t find even basic compassion within yourself for individuals who do not fit into your personal idea of what a “good” person should be, such as sharing your personal religious views, political views, views regarding social norms,… basically your own personal worldview then please choose another career. Seriously. For the best interest of everyone involved, if you can’t find compassion within yourself for those who hold vastly different views than yourself, you have no business in the mental health field.
A Very Bad Experience
I say this because of a recent experience with a “counselor”. When you feel worse about things after the session than you did before it and that bad feeling and low mood persists for days because of the session then something is terribly wrong. You can be sure you have just experienced an encounter with someone who should not be in the mental health field in any form or fashion. I recently went to see a “counselor” for some advice on an issue that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Instead of getting advice I was asked about events, including one extremely traumatizing “event” that happened to me as a young child, and then asked if I had ever considered the possibility that these things could have all been my fault. I was flabbergasted, I mean who asks a person who has been assaulted if they ever considered they were at fault? Who asks someone who was robbed at gunpoint, or raped, or beaten unconscious for a pair of shoes if perhaps it was their own fault it happened to them? I’m not going to divulge which of these happened to me, but you get my point.
What sort of “counselor” looks down her nose at you and looks utterly and completely disgusted as if she’d rather be anywhere in the world rather in that office with you because you do not follow her religion, share her views on how society should be overseen and policed, or how one should live their life or choose their mode of transportation? One that, for the benefit of all, should find a different line of work. That much is clear.
I Should Have Known
There is no way I could have known just how bad the experience was going to be, but I should have paid more attention to the very tense, very uptight atmosphere of the place while I was filling out the paperwork just prior to being called into her office. I should have known by the music that was playing from a portable CD player on the ground to the left of me as I filled out paperwork… music that I had to try to block out so I could focus on the questions I had to answer. I should have known by the location… that you had to walk through the entry area of another business’s to access their office. I should have done some research on them because I would have known that none of the board members listed are, to my knowledge, licensed therapists. In fact the very first board member listed is not a therapist at all but rather a millionaire attorney who lives in a mansion. He sues people for a living. Not exactly the type that brings peace to people’s lives.
Oh well, lesson learned I suppose. First, if it feels wrong from the moment you walk in then walk away. Second, if you are being insulted at any point during the session, walk away. If the counselor is snobby and obviously not the least bit interested in helping you then get up and walk out. Do research on the place and its counselors, also find out who makes up their board (if there is one) and whether the board members actually know the first thing about the field of mental/emotional health. In short, find out all you can about who you are going to be entrusting some very sensitive issues with and who funds them. Also, don’t hesitate even for a moment to get up and walk out if you are being insulted and accused instead of helped. This was a tough lesson to learn for me. It will take me some time, quite a while I’m guessing, before I’ll even consider trying again with another counselor… if ever.
Everyone, no matter how together they may seem to have it, has something going on in their life. Sometimes they just want a professional opinion/help regarding it depending on how bad it is bothering them. Some will not hesitate to seek help while others will never seek help because even to this day there is still a stigma surrounding any sort of mental/emotional distress. The best way I can describe this experience is that it left me feeling… “less”. Not less as in I feel less emotion, but less as in something has been taken from me. Ripped or torn from me and then spit on afterward. That’s how I feel after this experience. I sincerely hope this post helps someone somewhere, it’s been a very difficult one to write, to expose this degree of vulnerability.