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Carrie and Ben are joined by Dr. Will Dobud to discuss two burning questions: is good therapy just the absence of bad therapy, and should we ban the use of cognitive behavioral therapy? We explore the importance of teaching people to think about psychotherapy models differently, the appeal of bringing therapy back to its pragmatist roots, and what …
 
Beth is a self-described therapy failure expert. She joins us for the whole episode (and more!) as we discuss her personal bad therapy experiences, what therapists think of clients who disclose their stories of bad therapy, why therapists often struggle to provide specialized services, and the fact that some therapists simply aren’t good at making …
 
A therapist’s job is to help their clients. But what does “help” mean when a client has been diagnosed with an incurable disease? In this episode, Cassie shares her story of seeking emotional support for her diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer only to receive unhelpful fixes instead. Plus, Jill Johnson-Young returns to talk about supporting clien…
 
Dual relationships can be perfectly fine in therapy. But imagine if your therapist was also working with your good friend… and that friend’s girlfriend… and the therapist hired your friend to be her dog walker… and everyone’s private information was shared in session with no concern for confidentiality. That’s the first ten minutes of Anna’s story,…
 
What does it mean if a therapist suddenly changes their behavior? In this episode, Katie shares her experiences with two therapists who made significant adjustments and left her (and Ben and Carrie) confused about what happened. Plus, Dr. Ben Caldwell returns with fantastic metaphors about ethical gray areas and how therapists can adjust their boun…
 
Post-Traumatic Stress Demonology The cause of psychological distress is often complex and unknowable. There are many helpful theories to explain depression, anxiety, and trauma, but in this episode, Maria shares her bewildering experience with a therapist who had some less conventional ideas. This story features many different examples of bad thera…
 
Lots of therapists describe themselves as “trauma-informed.” Very few fail to live up to that title as inexplicably as what we hear in this episode, as Sarah shares her unfortunate therapy experience following a sexual assault. We also talk with Dr. Chelsea Kilimnik to learn more about how therapists can actually be trauma-informed when supporting …
 
Therapists have a lot of power. This episode is about a therapist who leveraged that power to abuse his clients. Thank you for listening. To support the show and receive access to regular bonus episodes, check out the Very Bad Therapy Patreon community. Introduction: 0:00 – 3:40 Part One: 3:40 – 1:03:16 Part Two: 1:03:16 – 1:18:18 Very Bad Therapy:…
 
Can wearing a cross be considered a type of bad therapy? This episode features a conversation with Johannah Song, LPC about the positive and negative ways therapists of faith can impact treatment by disclosing their religion. Plus, we talk about the right balance between expertise and curiosity, and why seeking consultation from a specialist is lik…
 
This episode’s interview with Sara is about two therapists – one who was too friendly, and another who wasn’t friendly enough. What should therapists consider before using risky interventions such as guilt, self-disclosure, or icy behavior? We try to answer these questions and more as we go back down the rabbit hole of using service-dominant logic …
 
Who should we talk to next about how to break the decades-long plateau of client outcomes in psychotherapy? Short on ideas, we take it upon ourselves to try and crack the 45-year-old riddle about how to make therapy more effective. Ben has another existential crisis, Carrie converts to the religion of customer service, and we (eventually!) explore …
 
Jill Johnson-Young is an expert in the areas of dying, death, and grief. She also has the personal experiences that come with having been widowed twice, including stories of the bad grief therapy that followed. In this episode, Jill shares what therapists and clients should know about working with grief and all the reasons why the conventional wisd…
 
What is the role of a couples therapist in deciding whether a couple stays together or separates? In this episode, Sade Kammen shares their experience trying to navigate the impact of racism in their relationship, only to be met with unusual and unhelpful therapeutic interventions. Plus, we familiarize ourselves with the wonderfully curious idea of…
 
Halina Brooke rejoins us to share her story of bad therapy and resulting experience with the board complaint process. This episode is a bingo card of what not to do as a therapist: drink alcohol in session, send barrages of shaming texts to a client, weaponize client disclosures against them, cyberstalking, and more. When an interview begins with a…
 
When things go very wrong in therapy, clients often have the option of filing a complaint with the therapist’s licensing board. In this episode, Rebecca shares her experience of bad therapy and subsequent frustrations with the board hearings, and Halina Brooke joins us to talk about what clients and therapists need to know about the complaint proce…
 
What can therapists do to provide culturally humble services to clients? Being curious is a good start, and not asking for evidence of racial bias should be an easy next step. In this episode, Grace shares her experience as a woman of color having to justify the impact of racism to her white therapist, and Farah Zerehi joins us to discuss the socia…
 
Attachment theory is one of the most credible areas in the field of psychotherapy. It is not, however, an excuse for a therapist to presume to be a substitute parental figure for a client. In this episode, Monika describes working with a therapist who talked about reparenting but undermined therapeutic progress with inconsistent boundaries and unet…
 
In this episode, our guest Maryellen shares her bad experience with a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) specialist. But was it bad therapy? Was it therapy at all? Dr. Ben Caldwell joins us to share his thoughts on loosely regulated mental health services, and we explore the unfortunately relevant ethics of having sessions with clients while visiti…
 
A small percentage of therapists do bad things – not tiny ruptures in the therapeutic alliance or scheduling errors, but truly exploitative practices. This is a story about the latter. Courtney describes her experience with a therapist who groomed her for inappropriate sexual contact, and we speak with Dr. Diane Gehart about the prevalence and tend…
 
Marissa Esquibel, LMFT joins us to talk about codependency – the tendency to let another person’s behavior affect your own while obsessing over trying to control that person’s behavior. What happens when this dynamic shows up in the therapeutic relationship and gets reinforced by well-intentioned caretaking? How can offering a reduced fee undermine…
 
Kenneth R. Rosen is an author and journalist with firsthand experience in what is colloquially called the Troubled Teen Industry. This industry – a dubious version of wilderness therapy – often includes coercion, legal kidnapping, and manipulation. Kenneth joins us to talk about these harmful practices and his new book, Troubled: The Failed Promise…
 
Having a severe and persistent mental illness is difficult – especially when the stigma of certain diagnoses negatively influences treatment. On today’s episode, Ann discusses her up and down experiences in the mental health system and her important perspectives on how therapists talk about their clients. Plus, we explore the landmark research on f…
 
Building a good therapeutic alliance in couples therapy can be tricky with multiple people in the counseling room. This is especially challenging when the therapist is consistently late or not present at all. Today’s guest Maria shares her frustrating experience with an absentee therapist, and Dr. Bonnie Kennan joins us to talk about using feedback…
 
Rehab facilities can be life saving for many people. This is a different kind of story. Jen shares her experience of 2.5 years in inpatient and outpatient treatment centers trying to overcome unhelpful therapy and victim blaming before leaving against medical advice and reclaiming her life. Plus, Carrie and Ben take some time to discuss the philoso…
 
The more you learn about psychotherapy research, the less it all seems to make sense. Dr. Alex Williams and Dr. John Sakaluk are working to change that by researching the research itself. We discuss two of their latest papers on empirically supported treatments and potentially harmful therapies. Which modalities can we be confident about? Which psy…
 
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