My therapist abandoned me
How I Survived When My Therapist Abandoned Me | by T.C. Gunter | Invisible IllnessPhoto by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
My therapist abandoned me.
It was eight years before I decided to see a therapist for my depression. In 2008, I quit my job over it. I couldn’t stay focused. I saw my projects as endless suffering I would never escape. My productivity was terrible, and I didn’t treat clients as well as they deserved. I would play video games at my desk during work hours to distract myself from the hell I felt. I wasn’t a benefit to the company, and I quit when my employers called me out.
I spent the next eight years living with my Aunt. I stayed in my room except for going to the bathroom and sometimes the kitchen. Most of the time, my Aunt would bring me food. I made her worry. She did so much for me, and it took its toll on her. She passed out from exhaustion twice while taking care of me. Fortunately, I was near when both incidents occurred, so I kept her from falling. Please make no mistake; I was hurting her. Finally, I decided I couldn’t stand it anymore, so I made an appointment to see a behavioral health doctor.
I canceled my appointments three times before I dared to go. I let myself be vulnerable. I threw myself at their mercy because It seemed like my only choice. I was tired of feeling depressed. I was tired of hurting the people I loved. My depression made me feel like I didn’t want to live, yet I didn’t want to die. It trapped me.
The doctors did a swab of my mouth and a genetic test and discovered what medicines would work best for me. It took a few tries before finding the right medication combination, and I started feeling better in a few months. It was great. I didn’t realize I could care again, but I did. I cared about my Aunt, and I cared about me.
Once I had a strong foundation, I scheduled my first therapy appointment. I was scared. Talking was the part where I had to revisit my pain. Some days were hard, but others were liberating. Over time, the liberating days beat the hard ones. I felt better.
Then it happened. In one of my sessions, my therapist told me she had a new position at a different location, and it was happening in two weeks. It shook me, but I could adjust to seeing her somewhere new. I hoped the bus ran by the new location, but it didn’t matter. She couldn’t take her clients with her. I felt sick to my stomach. She told me it was going to be okay. She promised to leave me in good hands. A colleague of hers would continue my sessions.
I accepted the news and took the bus home. I sat in my room and cried, wallowing in betrayal. We built this relationship together, and she tossed it aside like it was nothing. Several days passed. I never heard about the colleague who was to take her place. There was no transition. I could have called, but she damaged me. Abandoned, and no one cared. I told myself I would never trust a therapist again. I was angry at myself for trusting her. It figured things would fall apart for me.
I fell into depression for a couple of months, but the medicine was enough to keep me from staying there. I got better. I’m still working on finding the right therapist for me, but I am surviving the process. I’ll share what I’ve learned.
It’s easy to forget therapists are people. They are trying to live their lives with all its complications. They can get a new job opportunity. Pregnancy or a death in the family can put a halt to anyone’s career for a time. Health issues can arise, and they have to deal with those just like us. These issues can take them away from more than their job. It can split them from their family or create hardships leaving them no emotional bandwidth for anyone else.
Another reason is Transference. A client can experience an unrealistic relationship with their therapist, and it can span from friendship to love. It’s unhealthy and can be dangerous. Clients spend a lot of time building a connection with their therapist, and sometimes the definition of that connection gets lost in the sauce. The relationship is no longer professional.
Countertransference is when a therapist projects onto their client. I can only imagine the complications of working through something like that, but I know it can end with the therapist deciding to terminate the sessions.
That’s a big no. It’s the truth of how I felt, and it’s okay that I was upset about it. There should be no guilt for feeling left behind. My moods were fragile, and it was magnified by a thousand with depression.
Showing emotion is frowned upon by society, and I didn’t want to lose my cool in front of others. What would they think? If I showed weakness, they would take advantage of me. That’s the damaging social stigma, and depression makes it worse. Yet, it’s not a weakness to show emotion. It’s not uncivil to feel. What’s uncivil is pinning up all those negative emotions over time, then releasing them in an unhealthy way. I’m glad that never happened.
Finally, processing my feelings helped me realize the progress I made with my therapist. I achieved breakthroughs and took strides to arrive at a better place in my life. That’s progress, and it’s part of me now. When I can process my emotions, they don’t linger. They pass by like clouds in the sky, and I have the space to heal.
I didn’t feel like taking the chance on another therapist right away, and that was okay. I took some time to be with myself and thought about what I learned. I processed more emotions and spent time with myself. I needed it to think about who I was and why I felt the way I felt.
After three months, I decided it was time to find a new therapist. When I chose my first, I didn’t think about what type of therapy I needed. I knew I needed help, and that was it. After my first experience with treatment, I realized there are many types. Perhaps another kind of treatment would be better for me. It was empowering to realize those options.
I could also try different therapists. It’s like interviewing. I am paying for a service, and it should be the best. I don’t have to settle. I can try different combinations of therapists and therapies. Having my medicine in good order allowed me this wiggle room. Both pieces of my mental health needed equal attention, or the whole thing could crash. So, I’m taking care to give them that attention.
Taking care of my mental health means fighting every day. Sometimes I win, and sometimes I lose. The results aren’t permanent, and that’s good when it comes to losing. I know the depression won’t last when I get knocked down. I can try again tomorrow. That’s what I did with my feelings of abandonment. Losing my therapist knocked the hell out of me, but I got back up.
Now, I look at finding a therapist as a calculated measure. It can be trying and time-consuming, and there are days I don’t want to deal with it. That’s okay. I’m not on the clock, and I don’t have a deadline. I want to get well soon, but in my time.
So, now it’s on to finding the right combination of therapy and therapist. It’s my choice to be well. It’s my future to shape.
Why your therapist might have to dump you
When it comes to therapists, I’m something of a serial monogamist. Even though I’ve been in therapy since I was a pre-teen, I’ve only had four therapists, and one of those stints lasted for over a decade. I take my relationships with mental health professionals seriously, and for the most part, I’ve found therapists who do, too. But two years ago, after seeing a therapist for about five years, she just sort of stopped responding to my appointment requests. It felt wildly unprofessional and I felt abandoned. And even though I have a new therapist, I still wonder: Why did my therapist break up with me?
To set the record straight, ghosting is deeply unprofessional for a mental health specialist and generally doesn’t happen often. But breakups do happen. “There are three main reasons why a therapist might stop seeing a client,” explains Stefani Goerlich, a Detroit-based psychologist. The first is insurance, says Goerlich. Sometimes the policies of clients, insurers, or therapists change and therapists are no longer able to provide care. Sometimes a therapist may offer to let a client pay out of pocket for services, but depending on their policies, that may not be possible.
The second reason is about the professional’s capacity or breadth of experience. “A therapist will often realize that the challenges facing the client fall outside their scope of practice,” says Goerlich. “We have an ethical obligation to only treat clients who present with issues that we have the skill, knowledge, and training to treat.” Goerlich, for example, specializes in sex therapy, so when clients with, say, eating disorders, come to her, she refers them to a therapist better suited to meet their needs. We have a tendency to think that therapy is therapy, but many therapists have specialized fields of knowledge, just like doctors.
Unfortunately, sometimes the revelation that a therapist and client aren’t well matched happens after they’ve already started working together. “Sometimes something comes up after we’ve been working with someone for a while, and we realize that while we’ve been exactly what they’ve needed until then, they now require someone with a different set of skills or training,” says Goerlich. That can be harder to deal with because a relationship has already been established, but a therapist who’s been working with you also may be better able to refer you to the best possible therapist for your particular situation.Fiordaliso/Moment/Getty Images
Finally, at the personal level, therapists sometimes experience life transitions that impact their work, Goerlich explains. This is where we have to remember that mental health professionals are people, too, with their own complicated lives. Therapists move, they get married, they suffer losses, and sometimes they just have problems of their own that impact their work. “Therapists are human beings, and also suffer from mental health conditions and can go through stages of career exhaustion and burnout,” says Christina Miller-Martinez, a family therapist in California. But, Miller-Martinez adds that it is up to the therapist to take the appropriate next steps of ending a client relationship.
All that being said, you shouldn’t fear that your therapist will break up with you out of the blue. There is a standardized professional process to ending therapeutic relationships. “A proper therapist break-up includes a conversation, an explanation, and either an acknowledgement of your success, or a referral to another provider,” says Goerlich. Miller-Martinez agrees. “Ideally, a therapeutic relationship should end with a termination session,” she says.
That end-of-relationship conversation can be crucial for clients. “We don't often have good experiences with closure in relationships, and having a termination session with a therapist is an opportunity to have a chance to reflect on what was learned about oneself, what worked well, and what could have been done differently,” says Miller-Martinez.
But no matter how professionally and carefully it happens, it is totally normal to have complicated feelings about a relationship with a therapist ending. “It’s okay to be hurt when a therapist ends the therapy relationship,” says Goerlich. “A huge part of our work happens because we build relationships with our clients, and any relationship ending is hard.”
Okay, so what about what happened to me? Well, it turns out that it’s not actually okay — professionally speaking — for a therapist to mysteriously cut off communication with a client. “What your therapist did to you was unethical,” says Goerlich. “ I would argue that your therapist didn’t break up with you — you were abandoned.” Ugh. Abandonment — which is the professional term for ending care without due process — is exactly what it feels like. Even years later, it still hurts at least as much — if not more — than some of my failed romances.
I’ll never know what happened between us, but the experts I spoke with agree that it’s not about me, actually. “It is up to the therapist to recognize that they are starting to feel burnt out and to take appropriate steps to take care of themselves before it starts to impact professional relationships,” says Miller-Martinez. So I mentioned before, therapists can’t just ghost you. It happens, but it’s not considered ethical professional behavior.
“No matter what the reason for the ‘breakup’ the therapist is still responsible for seeing that the client has access to care,” says Aimee Daramus, a Chicago-based clinical psychologist. That’s still true even if things with a client get messy. “Although it’s uncommon, a client might have become threatening or manipulative,” Daramus explains. And sometimes, as you might have heard, there is client-therapist sexual chemistry. “The client might have become sexually attracted to the client, or even the other way around, in which case it’s important for the therapy relationship to end,” she says.
No matter how uncomfortable it is, a therapist is responsible for terminating the relationship ethically. That doesn’t mean, though, that a therapist owes you a lengthy explanation when they end the relationship. As Goerlich points out, you might not want or need to hear one anyway. “It is sufficient — and sometimes the best therapeutic option — to simply say that they’ve realized they’re no longer the best person to help and they want to make sure the client is getting the best possible care,” says Goerlich.
What to do if you are abandoned
The experience of abandonment is hard: shock, resentment. A painful and swing-like state: from the desire to devalue everything to a violently flashing attachment and readiness to return everything and change yourself. I want to run back into a relationship. But they are not. And so in a circle.
Still being abandoned hurts self-esteem. After all, the good ones are not abandoned. But is it?
Is it possible to leave a person at all? After all, in order to be "thrown", he had to belong to someone. Like an animal that was brought in and then thrown away. But are we responsible for other people's attachment to us? Are they for us?
The relationship of two people is a partnership of equals, if we are not talking about the connections of the sick and the healthy, children and parents, husbands and pregnant wives. And if we look for the exact words to define the separation of adult autonomous people, then it will most likely not be “he left me”, but “he left our relationship.”
Such a view is more careful in relation to self-esteem, which objectively becomes fragile when experiencing a break with significant people. The vulnerability of self-esteem is that when parting, many images of oneself, social roles, joint plans and habitual rituals suddenly become irrelevant.
A review of everything begins: if these relationships do not exist, then who am I - and what kind? What can I do with my free time? Am I free or still abandoned? What about shared vacations? And what about our common children, plans, hopes, mortgages? And so I want to catch up and return everything, or at least explain what the other is wrong about and how good I really am ...
1. Do not call, even if you really want to and even if you have drunk. Although the question "why?" you are very tormented, despite the desire to win back or simply unbearable longing, despite the fact that you are right, but he is wrong, and you want to urgently tell him this - everything is useless, just say nasty things to each other.
2. Do not monitor social networks . Although this is obvious, for some reason it is extremely difficult to resist. After all, the mind wanders where you are together, and it needs new food for fantasies.
And the second reason is the growing anxiety: where is he, with whom. I just want to know and calm down. But it harms you, because it binds attention even more tightly to the one who quit.
3. Accept that the world is not like a movie about love , where everything ends with a kiss against the sunset.
Perhaps this is the end of the relationship. This is quite difficult to accept, especially when it seems to you that the breakup happened suddenly. Hint: “suddenly” is extremely rare, most often there were processes that went unnoticed. From quiet discontent to change.
4. Recognize that you have no control over the will of another person. It allows you to stop feeling guilty about everything that happened.
And then you can, without losing self-respect, see the attitude towards you and accept this choice without trying to change it. See how much of your inner life is devoted to this person. How much time do you mentally talk with him, how much you argue or share the plots of your life. To think and make it a rule for yourself in any situation, when you find yourself in a dream world, to return to the here-and-now.
Mindfulness techniques work very well for this, such as focusing on what you are doing in the moment or focusing on your breath.
How to Recognize a Bad Therapist - Blog - Yasno
The choice of a psychotherapist is an important topic, and therefore we could not ignore this material, which was published on Psychology Today and then translated by our good friend and colleague Andrei Yudin. The author is the famous American psychotherapist Elinor Greenberg.
Many people have bad experience in psychotherapy. There are therapy going nowhere, therapists without adequate skills to do their job, and a myriad of other problems. When psychotherapy doesn't work, it can be hard for us to know if it's our fault or our therapist's fault.
Now, when I think of the bad therapists I have encountered, I come to the conclusion that they can roughly be divided into five overlapping categories:
Therapists in this category claim to have more qualifications and education than they actually do and inflate their experience. Sometimes the scale of their lies is simply amazing.
Here's a real-life example of a completely unethical therapist who had a devastating effect on my life. I'm giving her real name because she was publicly exposed as a fraud.
Mildred Smith and her training institute GROW
I was in college looking for a therapist and a friend recommended Mildred Smith. Mildred and her husband started a training institute called GROW in their Manhattan home. The abbreviation GROW stands for
Regular Group Relations Workshops (eng.
Group Relations Ongoing Workshops ). I was told that Mildred and her husband had a large number of celebrity clients in the entertainment industry.
I have attended both individual and group therapy with Mildred. Her husband, whom she introduced as
Dr. Smith , implying he was a psychologist, routinely walked in and out during my sessions.
As far as I remember those sessions, Mildred just chatted with me. Almost nothing happened. I didn't have any insights and the whole process felt lifeless and boring. Her group therapy methods were even worse. She led an open group in which up to 30 people participated at the same time. There was no security in the group and the level of coordination was minimal.
Obviously this was all a waste of my time and money. Worse, some therapeutic interventions have been destructive. For example, she stated that because I was not progressing enough in therapy, I should have married another member of the group who was also not progressing. It seemed strange to me, but in fact I didn’t even realize how strange it really was, because then I was only a student in college.
A long time after my therapy with the Smiths ended, there was a big investigation about them and GROW, and how she and other employees of the institute were inflating their qualifications and doing other illegal things. I found out my ex-therapist was a liar because there was an entire editorial dedicated to it.0073 New York Post . Oh, and it also turned out that her husband had a PhD in herpetology, not psychology. He turned out to be an expert on snakes and amphibians, not people.
How to avoid scams:
Learn the difference between different mental health degrees. At a minimum, you should understand the difference between a master's degree in psychology or counseling, an LCSW degree in social work, a PhD and PsyD degree in psychology, and an MD degree in psychiatry. (Translator's note: Items 1 and 2 in this list reflect the educational and legislative traditions and terminology adopted in the United States, and in the case of the countries of the former USSR, they require adjustment)
Check your psychotherapist's diplomas on the wall in his office. If there are no degrees, ask the therapist about his degrees or check the experience on the Internet.
Check the therapist's training in psychotherapy. Ideally, you should see at least one postgraduate certificate awarded upon successful completion of a three-year program of study or equivalent.
Ask what type of psychotherapy the therapist does and gather information about what that means. Some types of psychotherapy may be better suited to your problems or personality than others. Today, all this information is easily found on the Internet.
If you get a vague answer, like
psychodynamic therapy(covering a huge number of approaches), you should ask for more details.
Usually male therapists, but not always. This risk becomes more serious if you are doing relatively intimate forms of bodywork in which therapists touch their clients. Not all sexual predators plan ahead to take advantage of their clients. Some of them are simply weak-willed or have their own psychological difficulties. Here is a typical example, compiled from various stories that I have heard.
Lisa and Dr. Cole
Lisa is a very attractive woman with borderline personality disorder. Her new therapist, Dr. Cole, is well known and has published extensively. He has a brilliant resume. Therefore, when Lisa began to think that he was starting to flirt with her, she attributed it to her imagination and her own need for male attention.
However, when Dr. Cole began to compliment her about her appearance and clothing, and repeatedly turned the subject to her sex life, she became very uncomfortable. At the same time, Lisa was like a drying plant in need of watering. Despite her painful doubts, she liked that Dr. Cole found her attractive.
During the same year, sexual tension between them grew, constantly fueled by compliments and inappropriate attention from Dr. Cole. At some point it became more obvious. When she was upset, he offered to hug her, and this resulted in a concrete sexual overture. He kissed her and caressed her body through her clothes.
Lisa convinced herself that this meant that they were in love with each other, and that this situation was above the prohibition on romantic relationships between clients and therapists. Now almost every session ended with their hugs, kisses and mutual touches.
Although Lisa still started the sessions by talking about her problems and continued to fully pay for her
therapy , all she got was 50 minutes of flirting culminating in a kissing session. And soon they were spending most of her sessions sitting on his couch kissing each other passionately.
It all ended overnight when Lisa asked when they would meet outside the office. Dr. Cole suddenly became cold and distant. He stated that a meeting outside the walls of his office is impossible.
Lisa was shocked and asked:
Don't you love me? I thought all this meant that we would be together! Dr. Cole said:
You are a beautiful girl who has had a very difficult life. I consoled you and helped you feel safer. I'm sorry if you thought it was something more than .
Lisa went home in tears and was too embarrassed to share with anyone what happened during her so-called therapy sessions. It seemed to her that everyone would think that she would simply be considered an inventor, because it was she who had problems in the first place. She never came back, and the whole situation was another traumatic experience and another reason to feel unworthy of love.
How to deal with potential sexual predators:
If you think your therapist is flirting with you, say something like this:
This sounds too flirtatious to me. Your comments about my attractiveness make me uncomfortable.
If your therapist is very focused on your sex life and asks for details (and you are not in couples therapy or sex therapy), you might ask:
How does this relate to my problems?
If your therapist frequently touches you or offers to hug you, and it feels like something extra or out of place, it probably is - even if it is motivated by good intentions. Tell your therapist you came for therapy, not hugs.
Your therapist is prohibited by law from dating or dating you outside of your session (with rare exceptions, such as emergencies). If you think that flirting during a session will lead to a real relationship, you are wrong. Stop therapy before you are harmed. (Translator's note: this paragraph reflects the legal realities of the United States, in the countries of the former USSR, similar prohibitions operate only at the level of professional ethics, which is often violated or perceived as a formality).
Most people who seek psychotherapy are unaware that most types of licensed mental health professionals in the United States are admitted to work in therapy without having studied even one form of psychotherapy to a degree sufficient to work adequately. Many therapists simply compose as they go and hope for the best. They can be very supportive, they can be good listeners, but they have no idea how to handle specific issues in situations where empathy is not enough.
Reluctant Thomas and his bewildered therapist
Thomas came to my therapy and told me in the first session that sometimes he needed a little push. It was putting it mildly. He demonstrated the strongest resistance to any interventions and proposals. He ignored my feedback and sabotaged any attempt I made to stay on topic with him or talk about his problems. When I called his attention to this, he showed surprise.
I knew that Thomas had been in therapy before, and I asked him how that therapy was going, because our therapy was definitely not going anywhere. Here is a short version of his answer:
I defeated my previous therapist. He is such a fool! He had no idea what to do with me. At first he asked a lot of questions, but when I stopped talking, he also stopped talking .
That's it. He really didn't know what to do with me .
And how did it all end?
Well, I beat .
What do you mean?
I just stopped talking. At some point, he also gave up and stopped talking. We just sat for months in silence. Then my insurance ran out and I left .
How can this be considered a victory? You came into therapy to work through your life challenges and instead you played games. You wasted a year of your life and didn't get anywhere .
I never thought about it that way. I just felt good about beating my stupid therapist. He had run out of interventions and I knew it. I wanted to see how long we could go on before he gave up and kicked me out .
I came to the conclusion that Thomas's previous therapist was not adequately trained to work with someone with Thomas's level of resistance. When his few therapeutic tools failed, he stalled. He continued to take money from Thomas, but stopped even trying to do therapy.
This therapist also made the mistake of not formally admitting to Thomas that his therapy was not going anywhere and that they should talk about stopping. If the therapist didn't want to give up, the right move would be to go to a supervisor with a more experienced therapist to discuss how best to handle Thomas's resistance. The answer was definitely not sitting silently for a year.
I don't recommend deliberately sabotaging your therapist's efforts to help you, as Thomas did. However, if you are ready to work in therapy but feel like you are not getting anywhere, you may want to pay attention to what your therapist is doing or not doing to help you get going. If your therapist looks like he doesn't know what to do, or says the same things over and over again, you might want to check out this person's training.
How to avoid falling into a half-educated class?
It's quite simple. Look on the wall among the diplomas for a frame with a certificate from the three-year program of the postgraduate training institute.
If not found, ask your therapist where he was trained, what method of therapy he was trained in, and how many hours of training he received as part of his training in this method.
Search the Internet for information about this type of therapy and see if it is relevant to your problems. You will be amazed at how many therapists deliver therapy that is not appropriate for their clients' problems.
After collecting this information, ask your therapist any questions you have about his preparation. You have every right to know what you will pay for.
If you have a serious problem that is out of the ordinary, such as a personality disorder or a phobia, you may need a specialist in this field. Many therapists are like family doctors - they have enough knowledge to treat ordinary anxiety or reactive depression, but not enough knowledge to deal with anything more complex.
All therapists start as beginners. Beginning therapists are very rarely very good. Some of them, of course, may have a natural talent for building rapport with clients and be more creative than others. They can also balance their lack of experience with a high level of enthusiasm, low prices, and a strong desire to do quality work.
However, beginners make stupid mistakes. They are just learning. Nothing can replace education – and just as nothing can replace years of practical experience. However, if your problem is fairly mundane and simple, an entry-level therapist may be enough for you.
Sarah and her counselor Corinne
Sarah was a sophomore in college and had just been dumped by her new boyfriend. This coincided with her first time living away from her family. She didn't do very well. She gained 20 pounds and started drinking heavily. She faced severe anxiety and depression.
One of Sarah's teachers suggested that she contact a free student counseling centre. It hosted graduate students who were working on their PhDs in psychology. Sarah was assigned to Corinne. Corinne was about five years older than Sarah. Sarah was Corinne's first client. Corinne had some training in supportive psychotherapy - listening, comfort and empathic feedback - and quite a bit in the basic principles of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
Sarah was not told that she was Corinne's first client, nor that Corinne had little to no training. It wasn't exactly therapy, but at least Sarah was able to talk to Corinne, let her feelings out, and ask for advice. Sarah was relieved that she was not alone and she treated Corinne like the caring older sister she always dreamed of. Corinne was delighted that her rudimentary skills were sufficient for the needs of her first client.
How not to get into an inexperienced therapist?
What degrees do you have?
Are you still in training?
How many years have you been in therapy?
Are you supervising a more experienced colleague?
I generally recommend that people see a therapist with at least five years of postgraduate work experience. If you have a very complex problem, I recommend at least 10 years of experience. Other things being equal, the more experience, the better the therapist is likely to be.
These are therapists who frequently cancel sessions, change appointments over and over again, regularly make you wait more than 10 minutes, and show other signs of unreliability.
David and group therapy
David joined a therapy group that met once a week. To get to the group, he had to drive a long distance by car and pay for parking. He was a very reliable person and made great efforts to arrive on time for all meetings.
Twice David came only to hear about the cancellation of the group. One time the therapist had an unnamed emergency force majeure at the last moment, another time the therapist decided to cancel the appointment because there were not enough attendees that evening. Of course, David was upset. At a minimum, his therapist should have contacted him as soon as he decided to cancel the group meeting. Over time, David decided to leave the group and find another group with a more reliable and respectful therapist.
What makes a therapist reliable?
It rarely cancels your sessions.
If he is forced to cancel one of your sessions, he warns you very early.
He's trying to arrange a back-up session for you to replace the one you missed.
He apologizes if he has to unexpectedly cancel or reschedule your session.
He gives you advance notice of his vacation plans and any other plans that interfere with your therapy.
He rarely keeps you waiting.
Most psychotherapists are conscientious and educated enough to help their clients. Unfortunately, some therapists are downright bad at what they do. They may be unethical, unmotivated, or lack adequate training. Because you are likely to invest a lot of time, energy, and money in your therapy, you should make sure that your therapist is ethical, reliable, well-trained, and experienced enough to be of service to you.