I have been in and out of the mental health system for the last 15 years.
Let me be totally honest; the system sucks. I could go on and on about just how badly it sucks, but I just don’t have the energy for that right now.
I’ve had quite a number of therapists. Most of them have been horrible. Some of them, I seriously question how they were (and likely still are) allowed to practice counseling.
My first therapist enjoyed talking about herself more than about me.
My second therapist avoided any topic that was mildly serious. You self-injured? Oh. How is school going?
My fourth or so therapist: Your mother loves you. You’re just overreacting.
The social worker assigned to me after my first hospitalization: I think you have an attachment disorder. You can never leave your family. You should try drinking wine (knowing I had a history of alcohol abuse). Your mother loves you. She’s just overprotective because she cares. I get it, I have problems with my mom, too. All children have problems with their parents. It’s okay to be suicidal.
I could go on about this woman. I had been telling her for weeks that I felt something wasn’t right, maybe it was my medication or what, I don’t know. But I told her that I was suicidal and concerned about ending up in the hospital again (or worse). That’s when she told me it was okay to be suicidal, and basically ignored my concerns. For the record, I ended up hospitalizing myself shortly after that, and my medications were changed.
Unfortunately, they sent me right back to this woman. I used to refer to her as SSW (shitty social worker). It had gotten so bad by that point, that I sought out a therapist just to help me cope with SSW (I didn’t want to risk missing my appointments with SSW and being re-hospitalized). I dealt with her for a few more months.
During what would turn out to be our last session, I told SSW of my plans to run away and leave my family behind. She immediately shot me down, telling me I could never leave my family. You can’t abandon your family. They are your family. What? How could you tell me this, knowing my history? I was so angry, so filled with rage. I knew I couldn’t go back to her. It was not healthy. She should not be a counselor in any capacity. She is dangerous.
That was my final push. I told myself I needed to become a counselor because people in need should not be subjected to people like her. Victims should not be invalidated by therapists. Clients should not be put in danger. Clients should not be ignored. I wanted to be everything my previous counselors were not. I wanted to change the profession. I wanted counselors to know that mothers abuse their children, and that they need to acknowledge that it happens instead of telling the person they are just misunderstanding their reality.
I wanted to be a counselor to make a difference in others’ lives. I wanted to go on that journey with them. I wanted to witness their growth and transformation. But I also wanted to initiate change and make a difference with a larger impact. I wanted to change the way counselors were being educated. Why aren’t they being educated about female-perpetrated abuse? Why are they not being educated or trained in dissociative disorders? Why is the system continually dropping the ball when we are perfectly capable of being better?
That is why I wanted to be a counselor.
But things change.
5 thoughts on “Why I Want(ed) to be a Counselor”
Things change….but the need grows.
I’m really sorry to know that you had all of those terrible experiences with counselors! The training for social workers and clinical psychologists is very different…I’m hoping that none of your experiences were with psychologists. I’m sorry that you didn’t feel supported and that your concerns were dismissed. I hope you’re in a better place now. *virtual hug*
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Not psychologists, but there were a few that were clinical mental health counsellors.
Thank you for responding. I have a really good clinical psychologist now. No more horrible counsellors.
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The stystem has also failed me so far!
Wow yes I have experienced this. I had a so called therapist for three years that was a total mess. Loved to talk about herself and then pretended she was only using these examples as appropriate self-disclossure which they weren’t. Had her 12 year old son (at the time I’m sure this happened all his life!) in like everything, group therapy that she ran, training in her “method of psychotherapy.” ETC. Just was totally manipulative. Would say she really knew how to work out relationships yet got extremely deffensive when anyone brought this to her attention. I thought of her as a mother figure and yet she had all these issues she wouldn’t acknowledge. The SSW sounds just terrible! Who would tell someone it’s ok to be suicidal and to ignore it. And the one about wine? OMG I too have a degree in counseling. However geting a job is incredibly hard as I’m also blind. Just so much discrmination and I don’t think I could handle the rejection. But for now I volunteer and try to connect with as many people as possible through my blog.