There are many highly qualified therapists who have fine clinical training and are excellent working with clients and helping them to heal.
This post is about a segment of psychotherapists who are narcissistic. This includes psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, psychologists and various other licensed counselors who work with clients. Narcissistic psychotherapists are out strictly for themselves. They often have a money motive as the primary purpose of their practice. Certainly, professionals are entitled to be paid fairly for the services that they offer. I am speaking about outrageous fees that climb higher and higher and are based on endless sessions of non-therapy. In some cases I know of narcissistic therapists who spend entire sessions talking about their private lives and their personal dilemmas, including their failed marriages, money issues, etc.
Narcissistic psychotherapists project their unconscious self loathing on to their clients. When you are alone with a narcissist you are vulnerable to their toxic projections. I hear many stories about clients who were told that they were incapable of getting better, who were too dysfunctional and had to be in therapy indefinitely, who were very difficult clients and were not worth treating, who put you down and criticized you or belittled you.
Clients in crisis are in a difficult situation. They need help–Now! Narcissistic psychotherapists mercilessly prey on these people. They get money out of those who are desperate. Narcissistic psychotherapists can lead clients to feel confused and worthless and cause psychological harm.
When you decide to go to a therapist, do a lot of excellent research. Check the therapist’s credentials carefully. If you can get a referral this can be helpful. However, choosing a therapist is personal. You are looking for the therapist who is best suited to your personality. Make sure that the therapist is very clear about the fee. Check the fair rates for payment depending on the education, clinical training, degrees, etc of the therapist. Interview several therapists before you make a decision. You don’t have to stay with a therapist with whom you cannot work. If you don’t feel heard and understood after the first session, it is your right to not return to this professional. After all, you are hiring them. You are in charge. Always remember this. Pay attention to how you feel when you are with the therapist. Do you feel secure, accepted, understood. Is the therapist highly empathic–capable of putting themselves psychologically and emotionally in your place. Is the therapist’s ego dropped or is he or she name dropping or polishing his or her image during the session. Does the therapist have a calming temperament and give you a genuine feeling of hope.
How well do you think the therapist knows himself/herself–This is essential. Therapists can be highly trained and recommended but if they are not self aware, they cannot successfully work with clients. Is the therapist a steadying influence in your life? As yourself these and many other questions and always remember to pay special attention to your intuition about the prospective therapist. What are you intuiting about this person?
The answers you receive are invaluable. I wish you the very best in finding the psychotherapist who will help you to heal, become calmer, more assertive, creative, more capable of loving yourself and others and having full use of your many creative gifts and capacities.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.