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Information for People Considering Therapy

Welcome to this site! By visiting this site, you have demonstrated that you have an open mind and are committed to being an informed, educated, empowered consumer in control of your own life. Please feel free to read the entire site and all of its resources. You can visit this site and read and use its pages in complete privacy. This site would never try to determine your identity, and even if it did, the security features of web browsers make sure that it can't. You can visit here as often as you wish as we post new information. The Internet is a great way to learn in complete privacy.

By considering therapy, you have demonstrated the courage to acknowledge issues in your life and the commitment to deal with them instead of ignoring them. It takes courage to admit that not everything in life is the way you might wish, and it takes courage to work to change that.

Unfortunately, just as in other professions, not every therapist is knowledgeable, responsible, competent, or even sane. Even compassionate, well-meaning therapists can be ignorant or make mistakes. There's also no guaranteed way to determine in advance the competence of a particular therapist.

Be aware that misguided therapy can make real problems worse and create new ones as well, and no one but yourself can protect you from bad therapy. In selecting a therapist, it is up to you to keep yourself from being misguided or exploited by an ignorant, incompetent, irresponsible, or mentally ill therapist. Unfortunately, since therapy is conducted in private and the contents of sessions are generally kept confidential, only you and the therapist know what is taking place, and no one else can protect you from a bad therapist. strongly recommends that anyone considering psychotherapy of any kind first read Beware the Talking Cure, a book which discusses the most common kinds of psychotherapy and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of each. Beware the Talking Cure also discusses some common problems which can develop in therapy and warning signs which may help you to recognize such problems early. It contains an appendix with a list of questions which are useful for evaluating ongoing therapy to detect possible problems and which can also be used by a person when they are selecting a therapist. The book's author has given permission to make this list of questions available online. Beware the Talking Cure was written by Terence Campbell, Ph.D., who is a family therapist in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

Suggestions of Abuse, by Michael Yapko, Ph.D. also contains an excellent section about Choosing a Therapist which the author has allowed to make available online. strongly urges anyone considering therapy to read that chapter as well.

To learn more about the potential problems which can develop in therapy, you might also consider reading these books:

  • Suggestions of Abuse, which explains the results of a large-scale survey of therapists, demonstrates that many well-meaning therapists are unfortunately ignorant of basic research findings about memory and hypnosis, and discusses the risk that a well-meaning therapist can accidentally (and without even realizing it) suggest things to a client which may cause the client to distort, misinterpret, or inaccurately reinterpret his or her memories
  • Victims of Memory, which discusses the risks of memory recovery therapy and contains interviews with therapists, people in therapy, retractors (people who believed they had recovered memories and then realized they were mistaken), and family members of people in therapy
Psychotherapy with a well educated, well trained, licensed, responsible, sane mental health provider can be a positive experience. By being an informed consumer, you can increase your chances of finding a good therapist and may reduce the risk of being harmed by a bad one.

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