Information for People Considering Therapy
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.
StopBadTherapy.com 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 StopBadTherapy.com 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 StopBadTherapy.com to make available online. StopBadTherapy.com 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: