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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: September 27, 2013 12:08AM

A therapist should walk into the waiting room in a
kind, non threatening way.

Batting eyes, flashing smiles, whistling, that is
the excessive projection of personality. This
projection of charm, quasi seductive. And this can
be quite hazardous if clients have endured seductive
behavior or worse, from parents.

Long term changes in a therapist's body language.

If a therapist starts making Grand Entrances of the
kind described above, this is pushing the edge
of the boundary situation.

In some cases, a therapist tilting his or her head slightly back, chin up, combined with a condescending smile, may signal a covert attempt at dominance.

If you, the paying client, find yourself getting into a routine o
feeling angry, crabby, whiney, with the therapist sitting,
with a smile, chin slightly titled back, examine this closely.

Some inwardly fragile therapists cultivate a facade of being
nice all the time.

If a therapist is a long time inmate of an anger-phobic sect,
he or she may lose whatever capacity once had to deal with

If a therapist chronically disowns his or her own anger,
there is a risk that the therapist's disowned
anger may be displaced onto one or more

This may occur via subconscious leakage of disowned
anger from therapist to client.

In some cases, the anger phobic client may subconsciously
rile a client into expresing anger, leaving the therapist
in a congenial role of sitting, calmly, with a serene
'spiritual' smile.

If you, the paying client, have these kinds of doubts,
insist on takeing a break of at least two weeks to a month.

If the therapist threatens you with loss of your slot, this is
unprofessional behavior.

If you're in a rut of being crabby and angry before and during sessions,
see if you feel better, feel more calm if you take
a break. Your dreams may give you clues, as well.

Feel free to investigate. Especially if you find you actually are glad to come down with an illness so you can avoid sessions.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/24/2014 09:33AM by corboy.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 02, 2013 11:51PM

This list of queries seems funny but is accurate.


Here, we can apply it to therapists. I have taken liberties to pick, choose and do light editing of author "By Siri Seriously Singh, S.S.S."

Back in your hippie days, you grew your hair long to piss off your
parents, but meekly cut it short on orders from your guru.

When you were a young rebel, you threw away your bra and girdle
or swore you'd never dress in a suit. But under influence of
your guru, you re-learned how to shave your legs, wear heels
or, if male, got remdial lessons on how to knot a necktie.

You despised your parents' generation for being Establishment
phonies, but on obedience to your guru, created your own tax
exempt Establishment.

For your honeymoon, you go to some famous place, not
because of its place in world history or because of its
museums, but because your guru had special visions there.

Your smart phone is loaded with other members' contact info.

(Members of your consultancy group if you are a therapist or other professional are mostly other sect members)

The only music that you listen to comes from your organization or its authorized list.

You think that most people who
aren't in your group are alcoholics, drug addicts, or neurotic (unless of course, they're friends with your leader).

The only things you can remember about your past are the painful parts.

Even though you don't believe in superstition or faith healers,
you believe what your guru says about auras.

You wonder how it is that you can have a health problem when you know you've done everything just right like you were told by your group and its leader.

The only real vacations you take are sect related.

You just sold your car so you can afford to go to a group activity or fundraiser.

You are seriously thinking about selling your house for the same reason.

The only way you can really like people is when they are members of, or potential recruits for your group.

You do your two and half-hours of evening meditation and still wonder if that was enough and feel bad because you think you can never really do enough.

Even your nightgowns meet the group's code.

Even though you might think that a piece of clothing looks good that's "not approved"--you don't even allow yourself to want it.

You think all the other groups just like yours are "cults," but not yours.

You think all the other groups just like yours don't ask enough of their members, but yours is better-- because you have to do even more than they do.

A lot of stuff that you used to think was really weird you are now doing.

Even though you told yourself that you would never bow down to a human being--you just touched your teacher's feet.

You find it easier to forgive your friend's husband for abandoning his children and stealing her money--than to forgive her for disobeying a group rule.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/24/2014 09:38AM by corboy.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 04, 2013 08:16AM

Signs that matters might be amiss

The theapist says sudden, shock comedy things
rationalized as 'crazy wisdom' or unconventional

This merely draws attention to the therapist's
personality. It can also carry risk of throwing
clients into a light trance. The best therapy
is done lucidly so one can transfer insights to
every day life outside of the consulting room.

A therapist who lists addictionology as a qualification on his or her business card, yet never refers to 12 step concepts, not even when you make use of them.

Even if a therapist is not him or herself a member of a 12 step program, if he or she specializes in counseling addicts and alcoholics, he or she should have some knowledge of 12 stepwork, since a signficant proportion of people in recovery make use of the program.

The therapist begins slipping away from standards he she has set.

*Starting appointments late or starting them early. That is an early sign of boundary softening. This should not be allowed to go uncommented on. Renegotiate a time and stick with that precise time. No matter how many months or years a therapist has adhered to a precise ending and starting time, this should never be allowed to loosen up.

A clinician told me 'It is possible for a therapist to become careless if he or she has been seeing the same client for a long time." Imagine the havoc if a long time surgeon becomes careless about handwashing procedure.

*A therapist should never mention things other clients have said or done, even if names are omitted. That means he or she would feel free to talk about things you've said or done in session. Even if names are not mentioned, this kind of disclosure means that the therapist is treating boundaries in far too casual a manner. (Analogous to a surgeon being careless with handwashing)

*A therapist who formerly made a commitment to avoid keeping magazines with violent content off the waiting room table, begins placing such literature in the waiting room. (Eg An issue of Rolling Stone magazine containing gory photographs of the drug wars in Mexico). When a therapist falls away from his or her self stated standards, this, combined with some or all of the 'soft signs' listed above indicates a growing laxity with boundaries.

Your serious questions about concerns you have should be responded to respectfully. If you feel afraid or angry, you are entitled to specific answers--respectfully given.

Do not be satisfied if you state your concerns (or yell them out--some of us have to get angry in order to access the courage needed to express ourselves) and the therapist sits there, looks at you and listens, but does not respond specifically and in detail.

Some of us who have grown up in angry families may feel such relief at being passively listened to, that we may not realize that the therapist has not actively and specifically responded our concerns. If paying for therapy, one needs a better response.

(Note: I was once buzzed at close quarters by a sidewalk slob on a heavy bicycle. I told he could easily have hurt me or someone else. The guy just kept giving a sweet smile, saying "I hear you", "I hear you" "I hear you mannn."

The guy was merely waiting for the tiresome adult (me) to stop making funny noises that interefered with his own pleasures. He had not heard me at all. The words were just the verbal equivalent of packing peanuts--to buffer unpleasant input from a world outside of himself.)

So, when paying for therapy, if you have specific concerns (or are seriously scared or angry by something the therapist has done or failed to do) dont be satisfied with passive listening or cliche phrases or the verbal equivalent of packing peanuts. You're paying (or your insurance is) for a service--expect excellence. In a restaurant, you'd not permit it if your soup arrived with a cockroach in it.

No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry: the therapist no longer responds to your questions in a manner that is respectful and in the form of specific answers.

Instead the therapist more and more turns legitimate questions away from his or her oversight of therapeutic boundaries and instead turns it back on you--your queries are reframed as your "issues".

Remember--the therapist is your employee. You want to benefit from his or her steadiness and expertise. But you dont want a mini-dictator or someone playing guru taking over your life, either.

If you have never been diagnosed with major psychosis, do not need medication, and have a strong track record of responding resourcefully to stressors, and suggest tha you could benefit by taking a month's break to see how well you handle matters without consulting the therapist, beware if the therapist suggests you are only just beginning to face your issues, and you will lose a priceless growth opportunity if you take a break--or leavwe at this time.

Allow yourself to have doubts if the therapist suggests you are avoiding your own issues--especially if you have shown a willingness to face tough situations and responded well when you did.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/24/2014 09:41AM by corboy.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 04, 2013 10:29PM

Should you go see the same therapist your friend sees?

You may love your friend dearly, but this does not mean your friend made a good decision in selecting therapists. If your friend urges you to see a therapist when you are in stress or down in the dumps, it can be tempting. Especially if you and your buddy have shared an intense history together.

But...what if the friend sees the therapist, not just as a therapist, but as having some sort of quasi magical powers?

"X is not an ordinary therapist. She/he is a healer." If the friend makes a hint that what makes the therapist special is that he or she practices in some special religious tradition, dont go with your friends referral.


Because a boundary aware therapist will beware of letting slip what his or her religious affiliation is.


In early stages of therapy, one can become a bit enamored of a therapist, to the point of forgetting who one is and taking on a therapist's mannerisms. Those of us who grew up in families that bred co-dependance are at special risk. Someone in this predicament may do a please the parent re-enactment by imitating the therapist and convert to the therapists own religion, if the therapist is careless and lets slip what his or her religious or spiritual interest happens to be.

If your friend knows what church or ashram hjs or her therapist belongs to, thats as sign that this oh so wonderful therapist was lax or careless about boundaries and leaked personal information into a session. .

No matter how shitty you feel, this-where a buddy makes it seem the therapist is more than a mere professional, but a healer and a spiritual adept-- is a referral best avoided.

If your buddy has been in therapy with this person for a couple of years or more what the friend should mention are the issues he or she has resolved--the personality and alleged specialness of the therapist should not be major features of the conversation.

A friend who recommends a therapist he or she is seeing may be a great referral resource.

But, this can bring potential boundary issues.

It would be ideal for the two of you to have a session together with the therapist at the very beginning if you decide you want to work with the same therapist as your friend.

Rules need to be spelled out. You two may need to make an arrangement not to discuss matters that arise in your sessions and also arrange not to discuss the therapist.

The pitfalls are many. What if you see changes in your friend and mention it to the therapist? Is this betrayal or not?

What if the friend joins the same church or ashram of which the therapist is a member.

And you yourself, are determined to remain secular and also do not want to hear anything about the therapist outside of what the two of you do in session.

What if your friend becomes puts the therapist on an adulatory pedestal, babbling away, while you find you want to keep a steadier, more sober attitude and dont want to listen to these disclosures? By having the same therapist, this can strain a friendship.

There are so very many pitfalls that it is probably better, far better for your friend's therapist to recommend that you see someone else.

There is no shortage of capable of therapists, especially if you live in or close to a large city. A good therapist keeps up with continuing education and will cultivate ties to other therapists.

A boundary conscious therapist may prefer not to see two persons who are close friends. An arrangement of this kind would give rise to many boundary temptations and pitfalls.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 05, 2013 01:30AM

To revisit this theme:

If a friend recommends a therapist, and regards the therapist as more than an ordinary therapist because he or she has spiritual qualities, due to belonging to some tradition or ashram---that therapist has already leaked his or her personal information into sessions.

Better to go with someone who doesnt allow personal info into the sessions.


You want uncluttered space within which to explore your own issues--not become intrigued by the therapists own personality.

The reason why we pay important sums of money to therapists is precisely so they have what they need to take care of their personal issues on thier own time and in private--so as to keep the therapeutic space clean and free from thier own hang ups.

Those of us who grew up in families where we learned to survive by taking on the mannerisms and emotions of our adult caregivers, while suppressing our own selves are especially in need of a clean, clear boundaried space without any leakage of personal material from the therapist.

A therapists religion or lack of it should never come up and no clues should slip.

*The therapy room should be free from any cues about a therapists religion. At most, the therapists private office (where paperwork is done and phone calls made) might have a few such items, but they should not be visible from windows, if the windows are at ground level to the parking lot, or visible from the hallway, if a client passes by the door on the way to the consulting room where sessions take place.

* A therapist's automobile should not have visible insignia of political or religious affiliations. (Bumper stickers, dashboard altars, mirror ornaments)

* A therapist should not wear ashram attire to the office and should keep personal medallions or jewelry indicating political or religious affiliation out of view.

Finally, goals must be specific.

Terror doing job interviews.

Chronic, repeated choices of hurtful persons as friends.

Constantly selecting addicts or alcoholics as room mates or partners.

Non specific goals that shade into metaphysical stuff such as

"Finding your true self" or "peace through self mastery" -- those are much too vague.

You could be in therapy with that person for decades.

One goes for therapy to increase one's autonomy and, eventually, not need the therapist's assistance.

One should not become an inmate.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 06, 2013 11:03PM

Some religions, such as Anthroposopy (a theosophy derivative based on dogma of Rudolf Steiner) have the belief that structuring environment and even choice of colors brings desirable astral forces into the material world, and exposes even non Anthroposophists to good karma that increases their chances of a fortunate rebirth.

Persons at the higher levels of Anthroposophy feel entitled to keep what they believe a secret from non Anthroposophists while doing what they can to invite non Anthroposophists into Steinerian designed environments, such as biodynamic gardening projects and by representing Steinerian schools (aka Waldorf schools) as actually being non sectarian, so as to bring in children and parents who would otherwise refuse if they were told candidly and completely the full beliefs of Steiner's religion and its system of rank ordering human persons.

If a psychotherapist beliefs in Anthroposophy or a belief system with similarities to it, such as elitism and a belief that room environments and colors (walls, furniture, decor) designed to the specifications of that religion bring good karmic influences and perhaps a fortunate reincarnation to clients who have no knowlege of that religion and would not agree with its tenets, I suggest this is wrong and for several reasons.

*If one does believe in karma or astral forces, it is unethical to surround an unknowing client with talismans reminders of your worship sanctuary space. This is to do magical operations without a client's consent. Persons who take magic seriously and ethically would consider this wrong.

And..clients who grow up in secret ridden families will sense zones of secrecy at a non verbal level. This will trigger re-enactments of their family dynamics which will subvert the process of therapy.

* It is unethical to surround a non believer with reminders of your religion, whether its to draw down vitalizing astral forces, or remind you which plane you are on and which planes you hope to evolve or devolve up to or down into . If your religion or magical system are truly vitalizing you should have the inner resources that you can maintain a therapy room that does not contain of your worship sanctuary or coven. What you have in your private office should be sufficient to vitalize you.

*To impose your or your guru or magus' or churches decor specifications upon the waiting room and therapy room is to contaminate patient space with your private beliefs.

*A therapist should have the personal maturity to select clothing to his or her personal preferences and professional decorum. If one must dress in certain colors so as to draw down astral influences, confine that to one's worship space. Dont bring that into the therapy room. Magical thought is of a different type than what is needed for the work of licensed mental health practice, which is based on science and the principles of falsifiablity.

* It is not possible for a therapist to remain at adult level if he or she is in a therapy room designed to the specifications of a guru, prophet, or magus who claims to be at a higher level of realisation than the therapist. It is worth asking how a therapist can give full adult attention to a client if the therapy room is filled with cues designed to trigger associations with states of mind and--possibly trance--associated with one's religion or magic circle. Especially if the affiliation is a secret the therapist keeps from clients and not from other clients who are in on the secret.

*The therapist should have the maturity to hold and contain self integrity so that he or she can remain adult and grounded in a workspace (the therapy room) that does not contain remainders of his or her religion. It is quite all right for the therapists private office to have reminders of his or her religion, but the therapist should have the maturity to be able to function at adult and professional level without contantly being on the psychic teat of a belief system that requires dependance on external cues.

If the belief system ranks people hierarchically according to spiritual attainment or alleged lack thereof, how can a therapist who has attained some degree of rank in that belief system feel full and true empathy for a client who is seeminly at a lower level in the hierarchy.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 07, 2013 07:43AM

To repeat, if you are a therapist, and if you happen to a disciple of aspirant in a religious or esoteric system, or one which could formally be termed a magical system, that system, if worthy of your attention, your time and your treasure, should, in return, be vitalizing enough that you will be adult. Adult in the sense of having a sufficently coherant sense of self and ability to do self repair and outward observation and have sufficent inner resources such that you can function as a therapist in a therapy room that is not designed to mimic your worship sanctuary, not designed to the specifications of your magus, or meant to remind you of your magic circle.

If a therapist has a belief system such that he or she is constantly hanging onto a 'titty' that reminds them of their religion, guru, shaman or magus, this calls into question whether the therapist disciple has a sufficiently adult and coherant sense of self needed to bring clients to a similar level.

If you keep these in your private office, this should be enough to renew you, so that you can enter and work within a therapy room without these triggers. Your belief system and devotions should give you sufficient 'miles to the gallon' that you dont have a constant need to refuel by surround yourself with reminders of your religion at expense of distraction from your clients. And without conveying a sense of mystique that could trigger in clients any unconscious reminder of family secrets and cue them to enable you, the therapist in protecting that which is unspoken.

Karl Popper has stated that it is desirable to be a lifelong learner and maintain dialogue. But he notes that after a certain age and amount of schooling, one should reach a degree of adult maturation such that one should not stand in need of tutelage.

Analogously, Robert Irwin, in his Memoirs of a Dervish, noted that he was well into his thirties before he became able to become as he termed it, 'self starting' and no longer needed gurus or sheikhs. He had grown up and did not need to submit himself to parental figures.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 07, 2013 09:46PM

From a discussion on a body building discussion venue. But it may be applicable here.


I was raised by New Agers.

My Mom believed I was the reincarnation of a dead relative. So she never got to know me.

She was waiting for me to remember who I "really" am.


A psychotherapist who is deep into some doctrine that imposes the grid of a belief system upon everything, and rank orders human beings according to their actual or potential spiritual attainment, may have great difficulty coming to "know" his or her clients.

A therapist who, like this persons mother, keeps waiting for a client to wake up and remember who he or she "really" is, in a way that fits the dogma of the therapists own group --- that therapist may not be fully present to the client at all.

And if the therapy room is designed to resemble the therapists own worship sanctuary or with reminders of the cosmology of the therapist's religion or cult, this too will impose distractions where none should be presence.

That is why a therapist must have the maturity to function autonomously without perpetually suckling upon the teat of an all encompassing belief system. Especially a belief system with an allegedly infallible living master or psychopomp/

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: yasmin ()
Date: October 10, 2013 10:49PM

Funny, I was just looking at Dr Pecks book, People of the lie. Very popular at one point, but seen from another angle, you have to wonder about him as a therapist.
If these are actual case histories, then you have to wonder about what type of therapist would write a book that describes his clients as evil, and what that damage it would do to them, reading the book.
One could also say that in some cases it appears his definition of an evil client could be said to be a client who did not respond well to his treatment, or did not choose to continue treatment with him.
I think it is good to remember that no one including people who are therapists, are ever going to be perfect.
Unfortunately there is really very little hard scientific empirical evidence available when dealing with the soft sciences such as psychology;even most of the popular terms we regularly discuss narcissism etc, are really only constructs, ( ie a term someone arbitrarily decided to make up) and as we know, historically mental illness is mostly defined based on the culture at the time. At one point slaves who wanted to run away were considered to be suffering from a treatable mental illness. Later than that, homosexuality was defined as a mental illness.
And even the mental illnesses we all talk about get redefined in the DSM every time it is rewritten. Personally, I'd rather look for ethics and effectiveness in a therapist than statistical analysis ability, though I'd want him/her to back any absolute pronouncements by showing me the science he/she was basing it on.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 11, 2013 09:25PM

That is a very, very interesting point about Dr Peck (now deceased) and People of the Lie. Yeh, I remember that book.

And Yasmin has ID'd two important points.

Describing clients in a book, especially describing people whom one has deemed 'evil'. Even if one does all one can to disguise people's identities, when one has gone so far as to label people as evil, any former client who read Peck's book would have been stuck wondering, "Could he have been writing about me?"

Two, how does one retain respect for someone's humanity (which doesnt have to mean approval of their behavior) in relation to people to whom one attributes a diagnosis of 'evil'.

And..evil---thats a subjective or metaphysical catagory.

I used to wonder whether Peck had actually wanted to be a theologian or preacher but didnt want to give up yhe social role of physician.

And he did have a career on the talk show circuit. Problem with that, is one risk becoming surrounded by too many people who agree with you instead of questioning your premises.

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