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What to Remember If a Therapist Breaks Your Trust

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My previous therapist had really invalidated a struggle I was going through. It took me a good few months before I felt ready to go back to therapy. I was/am in a very bad relapse with my eating disorder. I finally felt like I had someone to really vent to, maybe a lot of progress wasn’t made with her, I just felt like I had someone to openly talk to even if it wasn’t changing much else. She worked in the same office as my psychiatrist, and my husband and I were frantically trying to get me a refill on medication because we couldn’t reach anybody in the office at all. He ended up leaving a review on their Google page saying we couldn’t get ahold of them and we really needed to.

That’s when things changed.

My next session seemed to be going as usual, then my last 10 minutes (which she should have not used my paid therapy time for) she said she wanted to talk to me about something. She ended up going on a speech about how a bad review makes her look bad, as well as the whole office. Keep in mind this was not an offensive review, just a cry for help. She asked me if we would “consider” taking it down. My world kind of stopped turning right then and there. I had trusted her so much. It took me so long to trust her, and that was now all gone. This review was not offensive, and even if it was a negative one about my psychiatrist, it is so ethically wrong and almost illegal to ask this of us.

Now, I don’t say this to detour anyone from therapy. I have seen some truly wonderful therapist over the years in treatment centers and other places, but I do feel like there’s an awareness that needs to be brought to this. I want people to know they aren’t alone in this, because for some odd reason, I felt shamed by her, and I’m sure I’m not the only to have felt that, or at least felt their trust was broken.

Truthfully, it’s going to take me awhile to go back to therapy again. There’s a grieving process when it comes to a sudden end of a relationship, even if it is just client and therapist. So, I wanted to share a few things for those who may have gone through this, too:

1. It’s so important to remind yourself you can set boundaries, even with your therapist. You are allowed to say no, you are allowed to walk away, you are allowed to be upset with them.

2. It’s OK to take a break from therapy (as long as doing so won’t be a risk to your safety).

3. It’s OK to feel sad. It might feel kind of silly at first to be sad over a therapist breaking your trust, but this is pretty similar to losing a friend, and it’s completely valid.

4. Consider what you will look for in your next therapist. Part of seeing a new therapist is taking what you learned from the last one and knowing what didn’t work for you.

5. Remind yourself every experience won’t be like this. There are some truly wonderful, kindhearted therapists out there, and you will find them as long as you keep trying.

If anyone relates to this experience, I want to validate whatever you’re feeling, and however you chose to handle it. To therapists out there, please remember we are human, too, and all we want is to be able to trust you.

Original photo by author

Originally published: May 28, 2021
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