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  1. #1
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    Authoritarian therapy?

    I am very curious about what kind of therapy I've experienced. I have not seen this type of treatment listed as a therapy type. I have had two experiences. The first occurred during college when I went to the student health center because I was having a bit of trouble concentrating on homework. They had me make an appointment with a psychology intern to interview me in order to determine who to refer me to. After waiting 2 1/2 weeks for my appointment, he interviewed me intensely during the hour and mentioned that he could be my therapist. I was rather shocked, since I did not want a trainee and I didn't really like him. At the end of the interview he said he needed more information and that I should make another appointment, and he had me sign a waiver so they could use my information.

    The second interview 1 1/2 weeks later was the disturbing part. He would ask a question, and as I was answering it he would interrupt to change what he meant or redefine the question. He repeated this over and over. I asked him if he had the referral, he said yes, but just a few more questions. He kept it up and I got more frustrated and he suggested that he could be my therapist. Again, I did not answer because my answer would have been an overwhelming "What, with you are you nuts?" but I didn't say anything.

    I was already stressed out about my school issues, I had cooperated with 20 minutes of his disrespectful questioning style and I decided to walk out the door at in five minutes whether or not I had the referral in hand. The question/change question interrogation continued, which I now recognize as authoritarian/submission play to make me submit based on my confusion and exhaustion.

    At the time I was just going to leave because this "wasn't what I needed" and I was feeling threatened. As I made firm eye contact with the door and began to rise he gave me the referral. Again he suggested that he be my therapist. I asked him why he didn't give the release to me at the beginning of the hour and he said "Because you didn't sign the release." That was confusing but I headed for the door. When I got there he opened it but stood in it so I had to squeeze by him and by his outstretched arm, which I felt violated my personal space. After leaving I recalled that I did sign the release. I was so irritated by his manipulation tactics that I didn't consider using the referral because I was now paranoid about therapists for three months.

    Forward about 2 years and I went back for another referral. This time a different psychology person gave me a list of about eight therapists in the community. I made an appointment with one. I typed up a page listing my brief history because I thought it might save a little time. I went and soon discovered that it was a two hour appointment. He did not read the page, but criticized me for making it, dropped it on the floor in front of himself said it was worthless, and went on a tirade about privacy issues and state law about what he can not tell other people about me, etc.

    He would not let me speak until after he was through with endless minutia delivered in an authoritative voice (lecturing). He made it clear that he was in charge by saying so. He continued to talk at me rarely letting me speak. At one point he said that we all do what we have to in our culture so we can fit in. He tried to get me to agree that I wear the clothes I do because of my gender, and if I were the opposite gender I would have to wear other clothes. I immediately recognized this as a tactic to get me into an agreement mode, which he would use and expand until I was agreeing with just about anything without my own executive oversight. I would not agree, because this is America and if I were the opposite gender I would still be wearing jeans and a T-shirt.

    I left after it ended, but went back a minute later to retrieve my paper because I decided I definitely wasn't returning.

    Both of these "therapists" made me feel like I was going crazy. If I was not as knowledgeable, I might have been sucked in by the feeling they manufactured in me, which said maybe there was something wrong with me and I should continue to see them. But that feeling I recognized as manipulation in the present, not my real issues. They didn't fit my model of therapy, rather they seemed to operate using indoctrination. Many other people would not be as wise.

    What kind of treatment was this? Does this style fit a recognised treatment method?

  2. #2
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    this is not therapy, this is abuse in my mind. in therapy the client is treated with compassion and respect. you are not supposed to be made felt badly, defensive, threatened, or any of that. therapy is meant to be a safe place where you can constructively work at your issues, and trust in the client-therapist relationship is crucial for therapy to be successful.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

  3. #3
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    Sounds like you may have stumbled on a couple of bad apples. When looking for a therapist, it's always a good idea to talk to your family doctor, or get a recommendation from a good friend or collegue. That way, you have someone's word that this person you're going to see is a professional who's competent to do his/her job. I also think it's important that the therapist be a member in good standing of the controlling organization for their field (ie American Psychiatric Association).

  4. #4
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    No, it is not like any therapy I've ever heard of. It sounds more like a combination of inexperience and narcissism to me.

    Please be assured that not all therapists are like those two. Indeed, no competent therapist would behave that way.

  5. #5
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    Well, there is more. A long time before these events my dysfunctional parents took me to a hypno-therapist because they wanted me to be a completely compliant, non complaining work slave on their newly purchased farm. By work, I mean all of my time that I wasn't in school, on the school bus, or the 7 hours sleep I got each night, was forced, often supervised labor. The hypno-therapist was a behavioralist type, his only concern was my outward behavior. He did not believe in internal conflicts, but apparently "new rules replace old rules", as if by brute force. I only remembered what happened in these earlier sessions recently, about the covert hypnosis taking place.

    As a result of his manipulation of my subconscious processes during my vulnerable early teen years, I did become the complaint work slave, and my parents got so much more freedom to abuse, intimidate and humiliate me while I was that slave. Also as a effect, I was effectively cut of from forming any other relationships with normal people such as school mates.

    One of the memories I have of hypnosis is, when coming out of it, him asking me if I can keep a secret from myself. I remember I simply did not comprehend, because I was still in a trance. Also, during these sessions I was gripping the chair arm so tightly during hypnosis that my arm became sore and exhausted. I now consciously remember the feeling during that was like watching myself be morbidly dissected and altered and being powerless to intervene. Because I did not have conscious memory of the hypnosis, I continued to go back to that therapist even after I left the parents because I thought my difficulties were due to the parents. This therapist then held his grip on me for 14 more years.

    During the later periods his treatment often consisted of rapid, twisted questioning and trying to connect my hurried answers to what I had said, for example 20 minutes ago and trying to get me to iron out the inconsistencies. The point of this was to put me in a double bind. If I decided to change what I meant to make it consistent with what I just said, he would disagree and accuse me of denial. If I tried to think about it and explain why my answer was different in this situation, I would have to remember what he originally said which was his opportunity to confuse me and try to make me doubt my memory. His goal was to wear me down so I couldn't explain to make me doubt my own thinking, to put me in a state of shock so I would logically have to accept his answers. He was always confusing me, debating my "logic" with me and then "suggesting an alternative". He told me my problem was "you aren't having your feelings", then try to get me to give him a clue, where upon he would give a quick intellectual analysis of my perception as if it where a pathological problem and say, "may I suggest an alternative way of thinking?" Despite the fact that this was several years since the first hypnosis sessions and I was very defensive against trance, I would leave each session in a dissociated state. As I said, I had not yet recalled the hypnosis. When I finally broke away, one of his last comments was "You don't have any personality. Try to be someone."

    My life path has certainly been difficult since then, and I've discovered that therapists are not trained to deal with cases who have been indoctrinated by therapists.

    Now, regarding my recent experiences, the first therapist was an intern, and he was very determined and aggressive in his treatment behavior from the start. He was an INTERN, but he seem to really know what he was doing.

    The second therapist was nearing retirement. Both of these were involved through the university student health center

    Given the background, it seems rather unlikely that I "stumbled on a couple of bad apples". Either there are a lot of bad apples, or there is a pattern regarding what happened to me. If in the latter case, if you are not "in the loop" so to speak, you may honestly not have an answer. However, I am past the point of accepting sympathy as an answer.

  6. #6
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    oversight, i think you need to find a competent therapist. are you located in the US or canada? if in canada, you can take a look at these following links to see if an individual is a certified licensed therapist:

    Deciding to See a Psychologist

    How Can I Tell if Someone is Regulated?

    if you are located in the US, or any other country for that matter, i am sure you must be able to find a similar listing.

    best of luck.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

  7. #7
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    Oversight,

    I just wanted to let you know that I have had my own share of bad, incompetent therapists in the recent past and my only suggestion to you would be to continue on your search until you find a match that works for you. I did and finally found a good match. It takes time and patience but being persistent is the key. Don't give up getting the help that you want based on a couple of bad experiences with people that shouldn't be calling themselves professionals.

    Wishing you luck

  8. #8
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    Perhaps someone else here may be able to answer my original question, perhaps this is the wrong place to look for an answer. However, I am really shocked to receive advice that I should seek therapy as a result of asking my question and describing more background. Did I say a BAD thing?

    In my previous I replied to David to add information regarding my original question. I did not expect a different person to tell me to seek therapy. Will a therapist answer my question? One inner message I receive from this advice is that I had better keep this information low profile if I want to avoid receiving more stigmatizing advice suggesting that I need mental help. The other message I receive from your advice is that I have made myself unwelcome at this forum and I should take the hint and leave. Unless you actually have a diagnosis.

    If I went to a therapist, I would be asked why I was seeking therapy. At that point my only answer would be to say that someone who I don't know on the Internet told me to. Have you diagnosed me? Would you mind telling me what I should tell the therapist?

    Otherwise looks like if you can't answer the question, have the person with the question get therapy!

  9. #9
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    Hi Oversight,,

    Did I say a BAD thing?
    quick anwer. No.

    The other message I receive from your advice is that I have made myself unwelcome at this forum and I should take the hint and leave. Unless you actually have a diagnosis
    I can't see where in any of the post's where you have gotten this message.

    There are many members here who do not have or need a diagnosis.. that doesn't mean that they cannot post a question here and or offer suggestions\advice to anyone else. We are all here to get and or offer support to each other. All advice or sugestions are posted with the best of well intentions and to be taken as such and as is said here on other threads.. to be taken "under advisement". Only you can decide if you NEED therapy.

    your Original Question
    What kind of treatment was this? Does this style fit a recognised treatment method?
    I believe was answered by the posts #'s 2, 3, and 4. In so far as ppl here, both professional and regular members have been able to ans, based on their experiences.

    You certainly have had a cpl of bad experiences... which appear to have left you with some questions. I'm glad you posted your questions here as your post may help you find your answers and also help others who maybe has had similar experiences.

    good luck in your search

  10. #10
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    Re: Authoritarian therapy?

    oversight, i am sorry if our replies made you feel unwelcome or that you said a bad thing. that was not our intent at all, this forum is about providing support to one another, and advice based on our own experiences.

    the reason i suggested you find a therapist is because you said the following:

    However, I am past the point of accepting sympathy as an answer.
    i took that to be that you didnt want the answer to be, "we're sorry you've gone through this, and you've just run into a couple of bad apples". i took that to be: "i want a solution." to that effect i tried to give you the best advice i could come up with.

    the original question has been answered, this was not proper therapy in any way, shape or form.

    as to why i advised you to seek help, you've basically described your parents abusing you, and having forced you to go to a hypno therapist who said things to you like "can you keep a secret from yourself". i almost get the feeling you have been manipulated, maybe brainwashed, in some way or form. whatever has happened to you, i think it was abuse. and in that light, i thought it would be helpful to you to seek help to undo the damage of your past.

    i apologize if i have offended you or made you feel like you're mentally incompetent. that was not the implication at all. we all here have had our share of problems that couldn't be sorted out on our own. in my case i became depressed, and it spun out of control and i became suicidal. i could have died. without therapy and anti-depressants i am not so sure i'd be here today. i am very thankful the profession of psychology exists, as sometimes problems we face in life are too overhwhelming or difficult to solve on our own. getting help with, in my case, depression, does not at all mean i was mentally incompetent.
    ~ our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time we fall - confucius
    ~ it is the journey, not the destination, that matters
    ~ keep hanging on, the sun will come shining through for you again

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