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    30 Times Therapists Were Anything But Professional To Their Patients And Said Extremelyyyyyy Toxic Things

    There are some great therapists out there — these aren't them.

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the most toxic thing a therapist has ever said to them. Here are the eye-opening results.

    Warning: Some stories include topics of sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, suicide, addiction, and eating disorders. Please proceed with caution.

    Note: There isn't one "typical" therapy experience — everyone's stories are different, and if it hasn't worked for some, that doesn't mean it hasn't worked for others.

    Note: Some submissions have been pulled from this Reddit thread by user u/Physical_Philosopher.

    1. "In my mid-twenties, I went to see a therapist for the first time because I was struggling with anxiety. The therapist asked out of the blue if I had ever had sex, and I told him I hadn't (I'm asexual, but I didn't know it at the time). He suggested that I just needed to get laid because it was a great stress reliever and would help me 'loosen up.'"

    Gina from "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" looking disgusted by someone's comment

    2. "I was in therapy dealing with the fact that my father didn't really know how to be one and was never there, which caused me to try to be perfect (which, SPOILER ALERT, isn't healthy). My therapist told me I needed to try harder and that if I found something my father actually cared about, he'd be a better dad. I explained that I had already emulated as much as I could from his high school years (soccer, choir, etc.), but she insisted I hadn't done enough."

    ABC

    3. "I wanted a divorce from my spouse, but agreed to try marriage counseling. When I told our therapist I was really unhappy, she stated, 'The goal of this type of therapy isn’t for you to be happy — the goal is to keep your marriage together.' She followed up several sessions later by saying, 'And there is nothing more I can do to help the two of you, so I suggest you turn this over to god.' We got divorced a few months later — in retrospect, I wish I had stood up for myself and told her how outrageous and unethical her comments were (towards me specifically)."

    Michelle Pfeiffer in "Batman Returns" making a shocked/speechless expression
    Warner Bros. Pictures

    —Anonymous

    4. "My daughter died, and I went to a grief therapist who specialized in infant death. During my first visit, she told me I just needed to eat chocolate and I would feel better — I kid you not. My husband was in the room with me. At the end of the session, she told my husband, 'Make sure you get her some chocolate.' We left, I bought a Hershey bar, ate it, and did not feel better. I never went back to her after that."

    Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" saying "Unacceptable!"
    Comedy Central

    5. "I was struggling with intimacy with my partner during a deep-depressive episode that lasted a couple of years. During this episode, I was coming to terms with a previous sexual assault. The therapist I started seeing told me to 'just do it' with my partner, despite my sex-related trauma, and I stopped seeing her right then and there. I started seeing a new therapist who actually helped me, and now my partner and I have never been closer."

    Oprah making a confused expression on one of her "OWN" TV programs

    6. "I saw a therapist specifically for help with an eating disorder, and during one session, I revealed I was feeling stressed and as a result had ended up restricting. We discussed it and moved on — the next session when I came back in, they gave me over 50 pages of random nutritional information they’d printed online. They told me they had no nutritional training and we spent an hour reading the information, going over carb watching and calorie counting in order to achieve a ‘healthy’ diet. I found it incredibly triggering, and admitted so in our following session — they took it badly and suggested I was being overly sensitive and not ready to change. Our sessions didn’t last long after that."

    Netflix

    —Anonymous

    7. "During the pandemic, we were obviously meeting via Zoom. She thought the call had ended, and I heard her say, 'Jesus Christ, she's fucking exhausting.' I immediately texted her to call her out; she started and stopped typing a few times before asking to speak to me after she finished with the rest of her appointments. I had really liked her, so I was torn. I told her I would reach out when I was ready, but I wasn't able to get past it, and my therapy came to an abrupt end. It was already hard opening up to someone. After that, I was completely soured."

    Lisa Simpson from "The Simpsons" making a "WTF?" reaction
    Fox

    —Anonymous

    8. "I have OCD, and when I was 12 years old, my symptoms were extremely severe. So, my parents took me to see a therapist (even though I didn't want to). I didn't say a word to her for the whole hour and she became frustrated, so about 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave, she started describing how everything around me was contaminated and dirty, and how many people had touched things that I did in that room. When I started crying, she was visibly very satisfied."

    Chidi from "The Good Place" making a shocked expression
    NBC

    —Anonymous 

    9. "I have had bad therapists in the past, and finally built up the courage to try a new one again. I sat down and spoke about things that were going wrong, and as soon as I brought up something, she shut it down and dismissed it. Halfway through my story, she said, 'Oh, do you ever stop whining?!' and added that I would be better if I didn't complain all the time. I was flabbergasted — she wasn't hearing any of it. I said that I had a lesson and had to leave the session, and she just said, 'Why did you book an appointment when you have a lesson?' and then wrote something down. I just left."

    Pete Davidson on "SNL's" Weekend Update saying: "I have no idea what's going on"
    NBC

    —Anonymous

    10. "He began our session by asking questions about my experiences and things my siblings had been through. One of the things I disclosed to him was that my sister was raped when she was a teenager. During our next session, he was reading from his notes and said, 'I see you were raped at 16,' and before waiting for me to correct this *massive* piece of incorrect information, he went on to say, 'While you were being raped, Jesus was there being raped with you.'"

    Adele in a 2020 sketch on "SNL"
    NBC

    Wren

    11. "When telling a new therapist about my experience with sexual assault, she told me, 'He must've not been that bad a guy if he wore a condom! If he was really a rapist, he wouldn't have bothered.'"

    Angelina Jolie during a "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" press junket
    Access Hollywood

    —Anonymous

    12. "My dad left the family when I was 20 years old, and I was so angry on the inside that I projected this cold personality because I couldn’t handle my emotions. My mom, sibling, and I went to family therapy to discuss how everyone was coping with the situation, and the therapist told everyone that I was handling this totally fine and didn’t need therapy. Meanwhile, I couldn’t speak during the session because my emotions were about to explode — my personality had done a total 180 and my mom brought up her concerns about my anger and inability to handle this multiple times to her. I had never felt more unseen than in that moment — I never went back to therapy after that, but I did become a therapist so other people wouldn’t experience a therapist ignoring serious signs of an issue."

    Will Smith on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" wearing a bowtie, glasses, and folding his hands on his lap in a confused manner
    NBC

    —Anonymous

    13. "This guy was an 'ADHD specialist' I was seeing to try and make sense of my crippling executive dysfunction and life-long problems with attentiveness. He just spent our sessions telling me my problems weren't bad enough because apparently everyone with an attention disorder is a fucked-up delinquent. 'You make good eye contact and you're an engaging, interesting conversationalist — clearly you can't have ADHD. My other patients are meth addicts with no direction in life, and you think your problems are as bad as theirs?' Also, way to throw your other patients (who are surely coming to you to deal with their own demons) under the bus, dude."

    Johnny from "Schitt's Creek" saying: "Things seem to be going downhill fast"
    Pop / CBC

    14. "My brother had a nervous breakdown after our mother died — it was like losing two people at once. My late father believed that my brother would find his way home one day, but he never lived to see him again — I know he's alive out there somewhere, I just don't know where. Now, I've worked in a funeral home assisting the coroner's office — if someone passes away, they can take the fingerprints to identify them. Bottom line is, there are many ways that they can identify a deceased person. My father was a good person who loved his children — when we went to therapy, the therapist asked him why he was so depressed. He said he missed his son, and she responded with, 'You know, there's a good chance he's been dead for a while — yet you've continued to live.'

    Red Table Talk

    He was quiet when we got into the car, and I knew something was wrong — I called the therapist and asked her where she got off putting that idea in his head. The man had lost enough already — he refused further counseling."

    u/Wackydetective

    15. "I was having panic attacks on a daily basis, and the meds he gave me made my anxiety worse. It turned out I just have bad reactions to SSRIs, and that was all he kept trying (like a moron). Anyway, I'm in his office and he seems to be taking it personally that all if the SSRIs he had put me on were giving me seriously bad side effects. 'Have you just given up then? Do you want to be like this the rest of your life?' Obviously not, that's why I'm in this office trying new medications — I was so angry while having a panic attack at the same time. I ended up just walking out and finding a new psychiatrist later."

    Michael Scott from "The Office" saying: "Nope. Don't like that"
    NBC

    16. "During a session, I told my therapist that earlier that day I was at a gas station and ran inside to grab something to drink. While I was looking at the coolers, this much older man in his sixties came over and cornered me — he told me I was pretty, and after I said 'thank you,' I tried to walk around him. He stepped in front of me and told me that when someone compliments me I have to compliment them back — he wasn’t letting me pass. Finally my mother came in because I had been there forever — she stood next to me while the older man started telling her I was rude. I told him I didn’t owe him shit.

    Cate Blanchett in "Carol" saying: "Jesus Christ"
    StudioCanal

    When I told my therapist this, she asked me why I dress the way I dress (I tend to dress a bit more provocatively) and I told her that’s what I'm comfortable wearing. This lady looked me dead in the eye and said, 'No — I think it’s because you like the male attention,' WHILE I WAS LITERALLY SHAKING TELLING HER THIS STORY ABOUT THE MAN AT THE GAS STATION. I walked out and never saw her again."

    samanthamikahlaanne

    17. "First-generation Indian-American here — any time I would talk to my (former) white therapist about family issues, I’d waste half of my time trying to explain the cultural significance of things in order for her to understand why they were issues to begin with. She’d always roll her eyes and shrug my problems off as irrelevant. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she said, 'Ugh, these third-world eastern countries are too backwards for you to bother giving any importance to.' I’m proud of my Indian heritage, and I left that session knowing I’d never go back — cultural sensitivity is super important, and I have yet to find a therapist who can help me without needing me to teach them about my culture."

    Devi from "Never Have I Ever" making a sad, frustrated face in the school hallway
    Netflix

    —Anonymous

    18. "I told my one (and only) therapist that I felt like I didn't have a personality, and that it seemed like I changed myself depending on who I was around. He asked me what remained constant, and I told him it was my passion for things like fiction (but also just subjects I found interesting — I was good at finding information about it and retaining 90% of what I read). He laughed at me and told me that didn't make me special — that was just helpful for trivia night."

    NBC

    u/adikg

    19. "When I was in my early twenties, I hadn't had sex, and it was really upsetting me. A therapist told me it was a good thing, and then showed me pictures of STDs — she told me that STDs were god’s punishment for immoral behavior, and one in three people had one. I told her they were probably irresponsible people that didn’t use condoms, and she told me that condoms couldn’t protect me from god’s anger. She then prayed I remained a 'virgin' until marriage, and that I'd no longer desire to commit the 'sin' of premarital sex. Looking back, I should have reported her to some sort of therapist license board (also, I’ve had plenty of sex since then, and I don't have any STDs — I guess God hasn’t been angry enough at me)."

    Disney Channel

    20. "I was 17 years old and homeless because my parents kicked me out for being bi and dating a woman. She was incredibly abusive (she also once killed a neighbor's dog by feeding it cut-up razor shards), and as a result, I was deeply depressed and anxious. I saw the therapist at my college and was told that 'women can't be abusers' with a real snooty attitude — when I countered her comment with examples, she scoffed and said, 'It must not be that bad if you didn't leave,' and then asked for my payment. I was young and scared and had no support net, and in hindsight, was trying to find someone to help me mentally steel myself to leave. Instead, the 'therapist' made me feel invalidated and weak and stupid, and as a result, I stayed in that relationship and it only got more worse and dangerous — I stayed for five more years. Eventually I figured things out, but she did so much harm...I wish I had that time back."

    Meredith from Grey's Anatomy saying "He can go suck it!" but edited to "She can go suck it!"

    21. "When I saw a therapist after having suicidal thoughts and self-harming, she asked me why I didn't just go through with it. I said, 'I got caught and the police escorted me to hospital.' She replied, 'Well, if you were really serious about it, you'd be dead right now instead of wasting my time.' I never went back to her after that."

    Bowen Yang on "SNL's" Weekend Update saying: "No!"

    22. "I can't remember the exact wording, but the therapist told me that me being sexually assaulted by a friend and abused by an ex was invalid because 'I was a man.' That really fucked me up for a while, and made me afraid of getting psychiatric or therapeutic help again until things got really bad. I went back, saw a better therapist at a different clinic, and she actually talked to me about how horrible that person was — she was really helpful."

    Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" saying: "Our power comes from in here!"

    23. "Sophomore year of nursing school, I told my counselor that I was getting really scared I was going into an anorexia relapse due to my need of perfectionism in school. If I got less than 93% on assignments, I felt that I didn't deserve to eat, and would restrict — her response was, 'Well, I really admire your hard work, and I think it's admirable what high standards you hold yourself to. That dedication is going to help your future patients.' I was also her last appointment of the day, and she was behind her desk packing her things up to leave while she was talking to me."

    Britney Spears in her "Toxic" music video, singing: "Don't you know that you're toxic?"
    Jive

    u/Gur_Signal

    "It’s so fucked how many people believe anorexia is a demonstration of extreme self-control, when really it's the opposite. It’s horrifying to know that also applies to professional therapists who should know better."

    u/TheDiplocrap

    24. "When I was 11 years old, I had a lot of fear and anxiety about going to school, church, and basically any place with a large number of people. My brother had been going to therapy for a while, so my parents set me up with a counselor at the same facility. The only session I went to started normally enough — we talked a bit to help me get comfortable, I described what I was experiencing — typical first session stuff. The counselor then asked me to close my eyes and imagine a situation where I felt anxious, and when I did so, they instructed me to 'find Jesus there and go to him.' I grew up in a religious family, and nearly 20 years later I still believe, but that was not what I was expecting out of an alleged medical professional. Long story short, we did that and nothing else repeatedly for the rest of the hour-long session (aka eternity for an anxious, uncomfortable child).

    Jennifer Lopez making a confused expression on "The World of Dance"
    NBC

    I left with the impression that therapy was bullshit, and I didn't seek out any mental healthcare until I was in my twenties. Turns out I've got depression and anxiety issues, and they respond pretty well to medication — if I had had help from a young age, I might've been able to develop healthy coping skills. Instead, I flunked out of college twice and developed an addiction to alcohol — live and learn I guess."

    u/deregnort

    25. "I’ve been through a bunch of therapists and counselors over the course of my life. There was one point where I had been really depressed, and my therapist said to me, 'You seem to be having a breakdown, and I don’t think I can help you with that. I’ve dropped you as a client, and the HMO will assign you a new LCSW in six to 12 weeks.' When I saw my new LCSW, I apologized for missing a few appointments because I had just been too depressed to drive. She said I was lying, and that if I didn’t have enough respect to cancel my prior appointment, she couldn’t be bothered to work with me that day and I could just sit there while she did paperwork. If I had really been depressed, I would have tried to kill myself — I then went home and attempted."

    BBC America

    26. "I had a therapist tell me that my soul, long before I was born, chose my parents and subsequent childhood abuse so that I could learn from it. By this logic, of course, the abused person is always in control and the abuser is helpless. Needless to say, I never saw her again. The therapist subscribed to the 'just-world theory,' which is often (but not always) taught in western psychology. The problem, of course (other than the victim-blaming) is the blatant narcissism required to believe someone else exists only to fulfill your soul's destiny by harming you. Abusers are 100% responsible for their own behavior, not their targets — I remember giggling to myself after I got home thinking I should've just kicked her really hard in the face and went, 'Whelp, I guess your soul must have chosen that for you!'"

    27. "A conversation between my therapist and I: 'Do you have suicidal thoughts?' Me: 'Yes.' Them: 'Do you have a plan to kill yourself?' Me: 'Yes.' Them: 'Do you feel you’re a danger to yourself or will harm yourself before your next appointment?' Me: 'Yes.' Them: 'Great, I’ll double your Prozac. See you next week.' I was a nurse, and I knew if a patient said those sort of things, it was an instant 24-hour stay in the hospital or admission for monitoring. I never went back. Events happened that kept me from following through instantly with my plan, but I’ll never forgive that bastard — I left the office thinking: 'Welp, even a dude that’s paid to care whether I live or die doesn’t care. That seals the deal.'"

    Helen Sharpe from "New Amsterdam" saying: "You deserve better than this"
    NBC

    28. "For this story, it's important to know that I live in Germany. I saw a psychologist once who treated and diagnosed adults with Asperger's. I was there for my second diagnostic interview, and my mother was with me to be interviewed as well. She told the doctor about my sensory issues, especially with noise, because I would occasionally scream and punch walls and throw stuff around if I was too overloaded with a sound. The psychologist said something along the lines of, 'Well, 100 years ago people like this would have been treated rather differently around here, eh?' and laughed in our faces. I felt incredibly disgusted and angry — the entire interview with him was a disaster, but this was clearly the worst thing he did."

    29. "I went to see a psychiatrist because I was having symptoms of PTSD after an abusive ex tried to kill me when I left him, then stalked me, forced his way into my apartment, and raped me. The psychiatrist (an older man) told me that I needed to work on my physical appearance and demeanor to be more feminine and demure because 'quality men' weren't attracted to women who looked and behaved like me. If I ever tried to get involved in another relationship without making myself more appealing to 'quality men' first, I'd end up right back in the same situation."

    Rosa Diaz from "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" making an angry face

    30. And "This is actually my mum's story, but it’s relevant — it was the 1980s in the UK, and my mum was pregnant with me. My dad was not a good person — one time he called my mum when she was out, asking her to come home. My mum thought he sounded odd, so she asked a friend to come with her — my dad was drunk, which brought out all of his angry, violent tendencies, and he fired a gun at my mum. Thankfully, he missed — they called the police, a stand-off happened, and it was hours before he was finally taken down. The psychiatrist who treated him after told my mum (who was bracing herself for a divorce) not to leave him, as he wouldn’t cope with it well. Fuck. That. Noise. Unfortunately, they did succeed in guilting my mum into staying, but she got out a few years later and gave me the best childhood. She passed a few years ago, but damn, was she awesome."

    MIchael Blackwood Productions

    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    The National Alliance on Mental Illness is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.