Annoyed or Impressed By Your Therapist? PatientsLikeMe Mood Members Chime In

In a recent blog post by New York Times’ Tara Parker-Pope, PsychCentral highlights “The 12 Most Annoying Habits of Therapists.”  Launched a year ago this week, our very own Mood community has more than 1,300 patients using “Individual Therapy” as a treatment for their condition.  We asked them to tell us some of the habits they find most annoying and elaborate on the ones outlined by Parker-Pope.  Here’s what they had to say about some of those respect issues:

  • I had a [therapist] fall asleep during the session!  I walked out (without paying of course).
  • My biggest peeve is with therapists who refuse to work in conjunction with my psychiatrist and his diagnosis.
  • I hate it when therapists talk down to me. I’m crazy, not stupid!
  • [Therapists:]  Don’t look at patients as if they’re wacky or as if they’ve just said something wacky.  We are always reading faces and reactions, the last person we need to be judged by is our therapist.  Be mindful of how “tuned in” we are to your body language.
  • I love my current therapist, but…he once took a call in the middle of a session, obviously from a friend or family member (nothing critical), it had to do with whether or not they should order pizza…I don’t know if he was trying to get me to react or what, but with low self-esteem already, his disregard for my time and his placing more importance on ordering a pizza than on helping me really made me angry and hurt.
  • I spent 30+ years in the business world, so things like consistent lateness, taking private phone calls on my time, clock watching and snacking while in session are all things one would never do when with a business client.  Perhaps therapists should take a few business courses.


On the flip side, many of our members (those with depression, anxiety, bipolar, OCD, PTSD) had some positive things to share about their therapy experiences.  Here are a few of those comments:

  • My doctor’s advice: ‘don’t let go of the things you enjoy doing.’  I decided to fight for those things–reading, creativity, enjoying the outdoors, animals, writing with fountain pens, hats, etc.–because they’re part of what makes me ‘me.’  I think it was great advice and should be passed on to other people.
  • [My therapist] is flexible about what kind of therapy works for me from week to week.  She has a lot of resources to recommend, and when one isn’t my thing, we try another. This goes along with flexibility, but it also shows that she knows her stuff. She has helped me find everything from relaxation tapes to yoga classes to PTSD workbooks.
  • My therapist won’t let me get away with anything. I think this is a very good trait in a therapist. She also believes I know my own body better than anyone else.
  • She is never shy about throwing me a compliment. In fact she has told me several times that she admires certain qualities about myself.

Got some experiences to share?  We’d love to hear ’em!  Leave a comment below.

PatientsLikeMe member lscanlon

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2 thoughts on “Annoyed or Impressed By Your Therapist? PatientsLikeMe Mood Members Chime In”

  1. I no longer go to therapist for my condition. I find them boring, uninterested, unable to give good solid advice or feedback. All they do is sit and listen and nod from time to time. I don’t get any good imput, homework, ideas on how to deal with situations. They are all the same vacant parking lots.

  2. I loved this! I am a therapist in New Jersey and I am always interested in hearing what the person in therapy wants and needs from their therapist. I can’t say that I have never committed some of the no-no’s but I work hard at being both human and respectful. The key word for me is human – I don’t want to have an elevated status as I am equal with and to everyone I am trying to help. I’ve been through many of the life experiences that my clients/patients have and I’m honest about it without making the therapy about me. It was nice to see that as a therapist I do many of the things that make for a positive and successful therapeutic experience. Stay tuned for my blog which I also think helps, if they are done well, to make therapists appear more human.

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