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The Dark Side of Therapy: Avoid These 5 Counselor Types
Counselors have become like hairstylists—everyone’s got one. Most people would be asking, “how to find a good Christian counselor?” but the better question is, “what counselors do I need to avoid?”
Just a few years ago, it was more taboo to need a counselor, whereas today, it’s often the topic of many dinner conversations. And that’s good. Mental and emotional health is crucial for emotional intelligence. But many well-meaning people have landed themselves with counselors that could be doing more harm than good. Or at the very least, wasting your precious time and money.
Of course, there are obviously unethical, illegal, or immoral behaviors of therapists that need to be avoided, but there are other more subtle signs that you’ve got yourself a bad counselor.
Here are the 5 types of counselors you need to avoid.
1. The Boundary Stomper
An intimate relationship can be formed between counselor and counselee, especially when the counselee is vulnerable. This can put an unhealthy counselor in a position to cross boundaries that shouldn’t ethically be crossed. But they also cross much more subtle ones by getting just a little too involved with your life or taking advantage of the relationship.
I knew of a counselor one time who reached out to her client’s soon-to-be-ex-husband to guilt him into giving her more alimony. This is not acceptable behavior for a counselor.
Other examples of poor boundaries are:
- cutting sessions short or running them longer than expected
- charging you more or even less than agreed
- canceling appointments regularly on short notice
- trying to have a relationship with you outside of counseling—for example, starting a business, hiring you to perform a service or even a friendship.
2. The Rent-A-Friend
Listening is an important part of the therapeutic process–a certain amount of advice and guidance (especially in the way of directive questioning) is needed to help you come to new levels of understanding, revelation, and behavioral/belief change.
But renting a friend is all about ‘talk therapy.’ In other words, you do all the talking–and that’s it.
Yes, sometimes we need a listening ear, but simply rehashing poor thought patterns and frustrations isn’t going to bring lasting change.
3. The Authoritarian
While professional input is vital to help you shift your perspective and reframe things that you’ve been viewing the wrong way, the authoritarian takes it to a whole other level.
These are the counselors who don’t let you get a word in edgewise. They also have a quiet undercurrent of criticism and judgment that is designed to intimidate you.
This therapist will often make the sessions all about themselves.
4. The Sweetheart
Compassion is a vital part of the healing process. It may be the only empathy and validation someone receives in their life.
But the sweetheart takes this to a destructive level by not holding you accountable for your part and challenging you in self-improvement.
No one is perfect and we all have a part to play in our relationships and healing. And even if you were victimized, it’s imperative that your counselor not coddle you, but rather challenge you to grow through your circumstances.
5. The Imposter
Christian counseling is in high demand and good ones are hard to find.
True Bible-believing counselors that seek to live according to the word of God are a scarcity. And that’s what you’re looking for in a ‘Christian’ counselor.
Many have weaseled their way into the Christian counseling niche by calling themselves ‘faith-based’ counselors.
Please be careful. You’ll want to know if they follow the Word of God as many ‘faith-based’ counselors encompass more than just the Christian faith. These counselors frequently contradict scripture. Many even incorporate the practice of other religions.
How to find a good Christian counselor then?
Finding the right person to help you in your struggle is crucial. That’s why I’ve teamed up with Faithful Counseling—to help you find the right counselor to meet your needs.
Faithful Counseling has a network of counselors all across the globe–and they even can provide financial aid when needed. But as with any referral, be sure to do your due diligence. Ask the right questions. Be prayerful and the Holy Spirit will guide you.
And as an aside….Please be cheap about your mental health and personal growth.
Your mental and emotional health and healing are far more important than any car you drive, the restaurant you dine at, the improvement you can make to your home, or the beauty treatment you perform.
If you’re hesitating to find a good Christian counselor because it’s “unaffordable”, you can’t afford NOT to get help. Make the investment into your mental and emotional health and it will return in dividends.
Want to know the 13 Promises of God that you can count on? Grab your FREE pdf here.
Want to know the 6 Signs that You Need Christian Counseling? Check out this blog here.