Five Bad Personality Traits In A Therapist


Most parents want their kids to know that they want the best for them. Because of my Asperger’s Syndrome, social skills and making friends are very difficult for me, The bad therapists that I’ve had in the past have made my problems even worse. The fact is that counselors and teachers want their kids to work very hard on “social skills”, but some of them demonstrate behaviors that show a lack of “social skills”. After my past experiences in the Wesley Wonder Kids “social skills” group, and my former therapist, Mike, I know that for a fact. Mike and the staff members at Wesley are not the only bad therapists that I have experienced, I have dealt with many of them over the years. There are people like this everywhere, but if you are considering being a therapist and demonstrate these kind of characteristics, this is not a career choice for you. I am not doing this to offend anybody, but I am stating the truth. I Google searched “bad therapist” and “bad counselor”, and the only things that came up were complaints about bad marriage counselors. I found nothing regarding complaints about bad counselors who work with kids who have Autistic Spectrum disorders. I wanted to talk about this so parents can be aware of who not to hire when looking for someone to counsel their kids.

1.) Incompetence:

A Webster online dictionary definition of the word incompetent is inadequate to or unsuitable for a certain purpose. Simply put, it means the person or thing can’t do the job right. My former therapist, was named Mike would always try to push me to the limit and make me do things that I really was not comfortable doing. “pushiness” is one of the other qualities I will talk about later on this list. Back to incompetence, Mike’s personality was “in your face”, he seemed to enjoy shoving “social skills” down peoples throat. Because of my Asperger’s I had a difficulty making friends and socializing in school, I didn’t seem to understand why people didn’t want to be friends with me. One of the things Mike always did with me that I absolutely dreaded doing was role-playing. Role playing is when you act out a situation to understand another person’s behavior. The only things Mike would do in social role plays was have me ask questions like “what is your favorite sport?” How is answering questions like that going to give me advice and help me make good friendships with people I can relate to in school? We always did role-playing in my house, and sometimes he would have me do it with my parents and my sister, which made socializing in general even more awkward and more dreadful. I have never felt so awkward around a therapist in my life, and the personality clash between him and I contributed to it mostly.

2.) Sarcasm

In my opinion, sarcastic therapists are the ones that are the most difficult to deal with. Some sarcastic people are just angry, and some of them do it to be funny. A sarcastic joke is okay every once and a while, but if it keeps up it can get on people’s nerves really quick. I have been around sarcastic people who make jokes about peoples religion, race, sexual orientation, size, and so on. If a counselor ever makes those jokes, you should not take it lightly at all. To see a counselor demonstrate a characteristic like this is unacceptable, they are supposed to be a person you can trust and seek for advice, not hurt you and make your problems worse. In kindergarten, I had a counselor who worked with me during school, and he would ridicule me with the most sarcastic jokes that were about very sensitive topics. When I informed my parents about his actions, they finally decided to end services with him. Shortly after we discharged with him, I heard a rumor that he got fired. I don’t know if that was true, and if he did I don’t know if it was because of the way he treated me in front of everybody in school, but I was glad that he was finally out of my hair. Not only was that unacceptable for a counselor to do, but it is beyond unacceptable to do it to a kindergartener of all people! It is sad that these rude, sarcastic people who consider themselves “therapists”.

3.) Forgetfulness:

Have you dealt with that incredibly forgetful person? Can you not stand that employee who constantly arrives to work late? What about that person who constantly forgets deadlines? I have dealt with therapists who are like that, and I absolutely can’t stand them! I realize that you should not judge other people, but forgetfulness is bad when you are trying to find any job. Counselors are supposed to be people who help you with your problems, and it is very frustrating when they can’t remember anything. I had one particular therapist who would constantly ask the question “Do you remember what we did during our last session?” I’ve had to spend most of the time reminding her what we did during our last session, which was very frustrating. It was a major waste of time, because it seemed like I was counseling her. She met with me at my house, and she would constantly arrive late. Because of that, we never had time to get anything accomplished. Another thing she did was make excuses about why she arrived late, her excuses were something like “there was traffic on the Route 28 expressway”. I noticed that she came up with that excuse every time she was late, I met with her three times during the week, and she would arrive late at least two days during the three sessions. I am amazed that there are people who push their clients to work really hard on social skills, and they demonstrate behaviors that show a lack of social skills. That is the sad truth.

4.) Pushiness

I don’t like people who stand there and constantly try to shove things down my throat. Like my friend Aaron, I am a pretty calm and laid back most of the time. You can’t shove social skills down an Autistic person’s throat, it will overwhelm them and they won’t want to learn social skills anymore. The thing about my old therapist, Mike was that he would constantly overwhelm me and put me in social situations where I felt really uncomfortable. From my perspective, his style of therapy was pushing the client to the limit until they think like he does. One particular situation was when he was observing me at the Computing Workshop summer program when we were at LaRoche college. Mike wanted me to introduce him to four people who don’t know him, and I was overwhelmed even thinking about that. I was afraid of the students knowing that he was my therapist, so he told me to tell him that he was my “friend”. First off, a therapist is not supposed to be your friend, they are supposed to be your helper. You need to have a professional relationship with a client, not a personal one. I did not want to introduce him as a “friend” because I simply don’t consider a therapist a friend. I did not want to introduce him to these people because I was to overwhelmed by what he wanted me to do, and that I don’t connect with him well in the first place. He asked me if I was going to do it and I refused to do it. I am not going to let somebody force “social skills” down my throat, being pushed to the limit and overwhelmed makes my social anxiety and depression even worse. Nobody can change anything about me, it is who I am!

5.) Intolerance:

A therapist should not have the right to push religion or spirituality on their client. Because everybody has different religious beliefs. If you have a therapist who tries to do this, you should definitely find somebody else to work with. The type of people I can’t stand the most are people who take everything from the bible literally, and who try to rub their beliefs into your face. When I worked with Mike, he would try to ask me questions regarding my religious beliefs. I find that very offensive, and I will get very angry if somebody does try to do that. In America, we have the right to believe what we want to, however, it does not give you the right to harass people who don’t believe the same things you do.

To wrap up, I wrote this blog just to remind parents to be aware of who they are hiring to work with their Autistic children. I am not using this to offend anybody, I am just doing this to inform you that there are bad therapists out there, just as there are bad teachers and lawyers. Hopefully you will take this information into consideration when finding a therapist for your child.

Here are some other blogs about similar topics:

Do social skills groups help all students on the spectrum?

https://dwarren57.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/can-social-skills-groups-really-help-all-students-on-the-spectrum/

Do social skills groups help all students on the spectrum? (part 2)

https://dwarren57.wordpress.com/2009/08/02/can-social-skills-groups-really-help-all-students-on-the-spectrum/

Should an Asperger’s teen try to be “normal”?

https://dwarren57.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/should-an-aspergers-teen-try-to-be-normal/

My experiences with mobile therapy

https://dwarren57.wordpress.com/2009/08/18/my-experiences-with-mobile-therapy/

What turns me off?

https://dwarren57.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/what-turns-me-off/

What turns me off?

https://dwarren57.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/what-turns-me-off-part-2/



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6 thoughts on “Five Bad Personality Traits In A Therapist

  1. Counsellors who are suffering from forgetfullnes are unskilled and don’t know how to deal with the situation. She should have told you that she was not able to handle your case and revered you to a more experienced counsellor. A person can only achieve something when he or she is ready. So pushiness is extremely bad.

    Good luck with writing your memoir.

  2. I have to teach every therapist I meet about Aspergers because they treat it as a psychology thing when it’s neurology.
    I haven’t actually met anyone in my whole life throughout the years since 8 years old, that has any experince with Aspergers or PDD which I was called before.
    Socialization in school the speech teacher, treated me like I wasn’t exposed to it enough or just try harder until you get it.
    They put what I was to do on notecards like smileing and saying hello but the thing is with these social groups.
    Even if you know a social rule when,where do you use it?
    At least that’s what I found in the end.
    There’s nothing consistant from moment to moment about social things.
    Because the social changes going on go at warp speed.
    Too fast for my brain to follow.

  3. Right, you can’t shove social skills down an Aspergers persons throat.I’ve been thru what you have which is overstmulation right there.
    That’s why social skills groups never worked for me.

  4. I have AS as well and I saw a counsellor last week. One thing I suffer from is a high level of anxiety because of my AS-my mind will focus on an issue which non AS people may not worry about and I will be wound up and stressed out about this issue and I simply can’t control it. I told the counsellor about an issue I was worried about and he said that for an intelligent person I was being stupid. He knew I had AS and, even if he hadn’t, he should not have said I am stupid. I have written a letter of complaint to his manager.

  5. This is such a great post! You should know that it’s not only those with AS that have to deal with these issues. This can apply to anyone who is looking for a counselor. I actually felt like I could have written most of your post as I have had the same issues with previous counselors. The thing is that there is a power imbalance between the therapist and client. There really shouldn’t be but that is the case most of the time. It’s a pseudo relationship where the client has to be the one to be emotionally naked and the therapist is the observer. Anyone can be hurt in this position if the therapist is not careful. I think this isn’t stressed enough during the certification process because there are so many incompetent people who go into counseling because they think talking to people and giving advice is all there is to it. A counselor should act as a guide rather than a boss or a parent. I really wish there was a system of weeding out these types of people so they wouldn’t be able to cause psychological harm to those that already have issues they are trying to work past. Anyhow, I think it’s great that you are trying to bring light to this situation.

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