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the 12 most annoying habits of therapists March 15, 2009

Filed under: health care,therapy — clementine @ 11:59 am
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from the NY Times Well Blog:

The 12 Most Annoying Habits of Therapists

The mental health Web site PsychCentral notes that we all have bad habits. But when the person with the bad habit is your therapist, it has “the very real potential of interfering with the psychotherapy process.”

Here, according to PsychCentral founder John M. Grohol, are the 12 most annoying habits patients complain about:

1. Showing up late for the appointment: Some therapists consistently show up late for their appointments with their clients — anywhere from five minutes to even two hours.

I’ve had this happen on numerous occasions.

2. Eating in front of the client: Asking, “Do you mind if I finish my lunch while we get started?” is inappropriate.

One therapist I had ALWAYS ate during our sessions.

3. Yawning during a session: Believe it or not, there are therapists who fall asleep during session.

Oh yes, I had one fall asleep on me. Supposedly one of the best in town-never went to see her again.

4. Too Much Information: It’s the client’s therapy, not the therapist’s.

5. Being impossible to reach by phone or e-mail. Waiting a week for a return phone call is unacceptable in virtually any profession, including psychotherapy.

yep, true

6. Becoming distracted by a phone, cellphone or computer. Therapists should never accept any phone calls while in session (except for true emergencies), and they should turn away from any other distractions, such as a computer screen.

Several therapists I have seen take calls or glance at their computer screen.

7. Expressing racial, sexual, musical, lifestyle and religious preferences. A therapist who spends time discussing favorite musicians is not likely helping the client.

8. Pets: Pets are generally not an appropriate part of psychotherapy.

This one I wouldn’t actually mind. I consider pets to be a form of therapy, so, if a therapist had her/his dog in our session, it wouldn’t really bother me. Maybe I’m in the minority here, I don’t know.

9. Hugging and physical contact. Some clients are disturbed by touching or hugging, and want no part of it.

10. Inappropriate displays of wealth or dress. Too much jewelry or skin can be off-putting.

11. Clock watching. The therapist who hasn’t learned how to tell the time without checking the clock every five minutes is going to be noticed by the client.

Outside of falling asleep, this is my least favorite. I can’t count how many therapists have “checked the clock” every five or ten minutes. Just plain rude.

12. Excessive note-taking. Taking notes, if necessary, should be discreet. Constant note-taking is a distraction for most clients.

Anyone else experienced any of the above or other annoying habits?

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3 Responses to “the 12 most annoying habits of therapists”

  1. giannakali Says:

    I have to say as someone who suffers from hypoglycemia…I would NEVER hold it against a therapist if they needed to eat in front of me.

    some of us need to eat frequently and this society is not set up for it…and that is a bad thing because it’s called taking care of yourself.

    I had a therapist who did embroidery while I sat with her!! every single time…for the whole hour!!!

    that was the least of her problems.

  2. Blogreader Says:

    I am not surprised PsychCentral is critical of psychotherapy. Have you seen their site lately? It’s like the Times Square of drug company advertisements; flashing pharma ads on every page. From what I’ve heard, it’s catching up with them. And besides, I don’t think most therapists bring their dogs to the therapy session, or make off-color racial jokes.

  3. clementine Says:

    Gianna,
    you are correct and I don’t agree with all of these. Regarding the embroidery-that is hilarious and sad, that is if you were paying for the session and her hobby was more important than your well-being and attention! :

    Blogreader,
    I don’t visit that website although it wouldn’t surprise me if it was full of big pharma ads. I found this piece interesting simply because I quit therapy after 15 years of it when my therapist dozed off on me.

    Some of my past therapist’s habits not only interfered but eventually drove me away. Looking back, I spent tens of thousands of dollars on therapy and didn’t get much from it. I get more support online, via books I read and eastern medicine, etc. It is just unfortunate.


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