I hear life stories of individuals who have suffered not only from their psychological problems and emotional pain but in addition have been harmed by narcissistic therapists of all kinds—psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, etc. There are dedicated, brilliant, empathic professionals who help their clients and patients to heal. These individuals go the extra mile always to be present both in the office and on call for their patients. They help to change the lives of their patients so that they can move forward to become their true selves and to live freely with full use of their many gifts.
I have had the experience of “working” with several highly trained narcissistic therapists whom I have personally seen. They did very little good and in some instances–harm. They took my money without a hint of doubt and kept me going to them as long as I met their need for narcissistic supply. The longer I attended therapy sessions, the more money they made to satisfy their greed motive. Fortunately, I learned to recognize non-therapists and extricate myself from them. I want you to be able to do the same and to find therapists who are doing the real work of helping you heal.
Narcissistic therapists are in very large supply these days, just as they are in our population. The current society rewards narcissists handsomely for many of the traits that make them harmful to others: extreme self entitlement, ruthlessness, lack of conscience and ethics, complete lack of empathy, winning at all costs at the psychological peril of those closest to them, lack of genuine emotional and psychological intimacy, deceitfulness, chronic incessant lying.
I am not talking about becoming successful as negative. It is wonderful that people do well, use their gifts, move up in the world, become educated, are creative at their work and are paid well.
Narcissistic therapists control patients who come to them often in a state of emergency and desperation. They feel emotionally dependent. They are in crisis. They have tried many ways to heal themselves before they knock on the door of the narcissistic therapist. They are at the mercy of this person with the credentials, the education and the clinical experience that speaks of their qualifications to treat them. It doesn’t matter how great the credentials and training is if the individual you are seeing is a narcissistic personality disorder. By definition this person is incapable of genuine empathy which is essential to the healing process in psychotherapy.
Narcissistic therapists have a money motive. Often their fees get higher and higher as the patient becomes more desperate. Narcissistic greed is running their show.
Pay attention to the signs of a narcissistic psychotherapist:
1. Inability to listen carefully and take in what you are saying and how you are feeling.
2. A lack of empathy–the incapacity to experience what you are feeling from your perspective. Some narcissistic therapists blame the patient for his problems. Narcissistic therapists are bored with their patients. You notice boredom particularly in the nonverbal behaviors of the therapist (lack of eye contact, sleepiness, restlessness, inability to be still and listen).
3. Inordinate focus on fees and insisting on very large fees that are out of line with the professional services offered.
4. Psychotherapists who project their unconscious venom on to their patients.
5. Psychotherapists who foster unnecessary dependence on patients to make them come to additional sessions that will bring them more money.
6. Psychotherapists who talk about their private lives. You are paying them to talk about themselves. That is completely unprofessional and a red flag that this person is a narcissist.
I hear from individuals who are in the process of healing from narcissists in their lives. They are doing the hard work each day of becoming the person and leading the lives that they deserve. You are entitled to find and work with a psychotherapist who is worthy of you. Remember you are in charge. You decide after doing your research and interviewing who will work best with you. And remember as well, that you do not have to stay with any therapist. You can always terminate. You hired this person to help you heal and you deserve the very best.