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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 09, 2014 09:13PM

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Therapist - Disciple or Disciple -Therapist?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 14, 2014 01:11AM

Therapist Disciple or Disciple Therapist?

To be capable of doing true psychotherapy, a degree and good grades
from an APA accredited clinical program, a valid license in good standing
and all CE courses up to date are necessary.

Though necessary, these are not enough.

A true psychotherapist, in addition to training and a current license
must have the ability and the willingness to suffer. Not only that,
to use suffering creatively, in service to one's clients.

By suffer, Corboy means the ability to experience and then
bear anxiety, anger, fear, grief and even lust, without acting them
out. Instead, to experience these emotions consciously and, to use
these emotion as a 'tracers' by which the alert therapist reads
the emotional undercurrent rippling between the therapist
and the client in each and every session.

**This is what distinguishes therapy from ordinary conversations.

To develop this ability, a candidate therapist must already have
a certain level of consciousness and inner cohesion and then receive
training from mentors who have cultivated this ability and teach
it via repeated sessions, both in class, group sessions and supervisory
sessions, during clinical training and also the supervised hours
that are prerequisite to licensure in many states.

This ability to acknowledge and bear the full range of emotions, including
all painful and difficult emotions -- and do do so in service of
client insight and in protection of the boundaries that define
and protect the depth of the therapist client alliance-- this ability
may be quite difficult to cultivate and maintain if the disciple
therapist is a member of an ashram community that suppresses painful
emotion, whose membership may have been attracted to ashram life
by a shared flight from painful emotion and who collectively distance
themselves from painful emotions through repeated use of bliss
whether through guru devotion, constant smiles, and perhaps aesthetic
sentimentality in visual art and music.

In an ashram community that privileges ecstatic states and discourages
sadness, requiring a perpetual smile, and in which subconscious
material is unexamined and split off, and a constant
clinging to an image of the idealized guru, a disciple therapist may have great difficulty either learning conscious use of emotion, or may be unable
to utilize these important skills of any client mentions topics
threatening to the ashram or Guru X.

In some cases, a disciple therapist may be good enough as therapist
but lose ability to do so if any topic comes up which puts the ashram
or Guru X in less than a favorable light.

Additional requirements for doing therapy.

Maturity and conscious autonomy are needed.

To be a therapist, one must be a citizen, not a subject.

One must be capable of putting client welfare first and foremost and be
willing to anticipate areas where one may risk conflicts of interest.

If a therapist belongs to an ashram community in which the guru makes
total claims on one's inner life and where critical thinking is devalued,
problems will arise.

Critical thinking entails making distinctions. And one must be able to
do this in order to create and protect the boundaried space which
gives clients not only protection, but elctits a feeling of safety.

IMO a therapist disciple is someone capable of putting client welfare first and foremost, even ahead of loyalty to a guru.

The disciple therapist cannot do this; the disciple therapist's inner life
is 'owned' by the guru.

A guru adept at covert methods can say it is all one's conscious choice,
may speak in terms that would not alarm an outsider. But this same guru
could, in the ashram community, create a context Janja Lalitch has
termed 'bounded choice'.

If this is an ashram community which professes to follow Guru A, but
keeps it actual leader secret from outsiders, the disciple therapist
will be living out a family secret.

Energy needed for evenly suspended attention to clients will be
diverted to keep the actual nature of the ashram community secret
from the outside world.

Secret keeping on behalf of ashram and Guru X is also an avoidance
of discomfort, an avoidance of, an evasion suffering.

Secret keeping drains distracts ones attention and energy and
generates unconscious no-go zones.

This runs counter what the true therapist must do
endure the pain of difficult emotions so as
to remain insightful toward oneself -- and ability to be alert
to each and every client's contributions, both conscious and

If secrets must be kept from lower ranking members or potential recruits,
that adds another burden of dissimulation to the disciple therapist's

The disciple therapist may rationalise the tension of such
secret keeping as the price to be paid for higher status
in the ashram community. The cost of discipleship.

And there are visualization methods, some ancient, some modern, in which
the devotees can be led, incrementally, to internalize the idealized
image of Guru X. Possibly such methods (long periods meditating upon
portraits, first of Guru A, then of Guru X, may entrain subjects to
introject the guru such as to override self identity.

Some ashram communities create artwork celebrating Guru X and in some
cases, disciples compose music that supports moods of adoration. A disciple
therapist, along with other members of this ashram community, may be
taught to meditate on Guru X a set period per day, regularly gaze at
pictures of guru X during the work day, play ashram music in the car
when going to and from work, anchoring the indoctrination/internalization
of Guru X's idealized image.

In this hypothetical predicament a disciple therapist's inner life
may resemble a public space in a personality driven nation, with
portraits of Dear Leader everywhere. The internalization of Guru X
becomes embedded as a means for the disciple therapist to self soothe,
maintain a seemngly mature equanimity, but in reality, not much
different from a young child who has secure access to Mom.

And this raises a most important point: to function to fullest
capacity as a psychotherapist, one must have the ability and
williness and stamina to bear anxiety and other difficult emotions
consciously -- and utilize these emotions as sources of important
information about what is happening subconsciously between
oneself as therapist and ones client during each session.

A anxiety if clients come in and attempt to discuss topics
that express skepticism of gurus, or a disciple client, member of the
ashram community, is distressed by Guru X's expulsion of some beloved
friends from the ashram community, and comes to the disciple
therapist hoping to discuss this and hoping for much needed encouragement
to discuss this - a topic so fraught that it carries the possiblity of raising doubts about the infallibility/benevolence of Guru X.

In the following hypothetical scenarios a disciple therapist may not
be acting consciously.

And this outcome might occur if Guru X actually teaches a doctrine
co - mingling themes from psychotherapy with the guru's own teaching.

If a disciple therapist is unable to imagine any possiblity of
current or future conflict of interest between ashram x or
guru X and client welfare, this means the therapist is
to think imagine how secular society and licensing
bodies could view the situation. Objectivity, a most important
skill for any therapist has been impaired this case.

For just like firefighters, are trained to think in terms of
potential hazards and know what to do, a psychotherapist to function
at full capacity, must be able to view all areas of his or her life,
as subject to scrutiny, even the ashram, even Guyru X.

If a thearpist cannot visualize any instance in which conflict
of interest could ever arise between client well being vs ashram X
or guru X, the therapist is analogous to a firefighter who cannot
imagine that a fire hazard could ever arise or be created on ashram

What if a client comes in with disclosures that put the asram or
Guru X in an unflattering light?

A disciple therapist, whose inner life is owned by guru X
someone who once was able to do therapy reasonably well is
now put in a situation where he or she, due to guru X indoctrination
runs up against an anxiety zone.

The vested interests, perhaps some secrets of the ashram community
and its leader are threatened.

Some hypothetical scenarios of such conflicts are given

To be a therapist, not merely carry the title, one must be able to
put client welfare ahead of the claims of Guru X, even if this
means the therapist must put his or her social position at risk.
That is one reason we pay therapists high fees -- the expectation
the therapist is ready to face pain and unpleasantness in order
to defend clilent welfare.


Suppose Guru X has ejected long time disciples B and C from the

A therapist who is loyal to Guru X and who also friends with
members B and C -- the therapist, loyal to Guru X, may be unable
to admit feeling grief for the departure of members B and C.

The disciple therapist may be unable to allow anger or doubts
about Guru X. To question Guru X's behavior would bring intolerable
emotional conflict for the disciple therapist and might even
lead to demotion in the ashram community. If the therapist is
married to someone loyal to Guru X, this could bring marital
discord as well.

If this is a group where everyone must present to each other and
to the outside world with smiles and happiness and act
at all times as though everything is wonderful, the burden
of keeping a mask in public is added.

This is a re enactment of life in a dysfunctional family.
Suffer inside, smile, smile, smile to the world.

Thu, our compromised therapist, to remain loyal to Guru X and
avoid intolerable anxiety may have incentives
to steer the client away from exploring his or her grief for
B and for C -- and anger/doubts about Guru X.

Instead, the disciple therapist may find it safer to
steer the client into rehashing earlier losses, say the death of
Mom or Dad, distracting the client from a topic that the therapist
finds threatening.

Meanwhile, the client, who felt afraid to discuss B and C,
felt downright scared of daring to wonder if Guru X is unjust,
who desperatly and silently hoped the disciple therapist would
earn her fee by being an ally, by encouraging the client to
discuss and fully explore all these important topics --
the client gets a non verbal message that this is a no go zone
for the disciple therapist.

The client, perhaps already from a verbally violent family,
who has come to depend on the disciple therapist because the therapist
seemed helpful in other situations, accepts second best.

The client professess acquiescence and allows the discipel therapist
to move the topic away from the dangerous turf (Guru X, grief
and anger on behalf of those treated badly by Guru X). The client
doenst want to lose the disciple theapist -- who has, in this
encounter, ceased to be a therapist, by silently using the
session to protect Guru X rather than support the client in discussing
Guru X's treatment of friends B and C.

Another Hypothetical Scenario

A client disciple who wishes to remain friends with ejected
members B and C outside of the group and in defiance of the the
guru's hints, might also pose a threat to our compromised disciple

IF a client continues to befriend ejected members B and C, the
disciple therapist may find this painful--especially if he or she
doesnt want to be reminded of an action by the guru he or she
already has doubts about--and doesnt want to be reminded of.

The discipletherapist doenst want to be given evidence that B and C might
be doing better outside of the group and away from Guru X.

And the disciple therapist may risk losing favor with Guru X if word
gets out that disciple D is continuing to befriend ejected members B
and C and the disciple therapist is allowing this subversive situation
to continue.

Thus conflicted, a disciple therapist may find ways
to discourage the disciple client from continuing to
associate with former members B and C.

Another Scenario

Another estrangement strategy may be for the disciple
therapist to flatter the disciple client by telling the client
something confidential, something never to be told to friends
that the disciple client has in the group -- or outside of the

In this way, a client may be steered into becoming estranged
or less forthcoming with friends who might be sources of
information beyond the therapist's control - and Guru X's
-- control.

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It is important to find out if your therapist is in a feudal relation
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 27, 2014 12:10AM

Vajrayana (aka Tibetan) and other forms of guru led movements have
attracted loyalty of many who have since become licensed psychotherapists.

But Corboy suggests that a client, before investing long term monies and
time, should take the trouble to learn in depth about a therapists guru

You need someone and are paying someone who will not be distracted by blind
spots and can assist you to apply conscious awareness.

An interesting article is provided here by Mr Stephen Schettini, who was a Gelukpa monk for 8 years, before leaving and questioning the entire social context. It was not only the guru principle that perturbed him; it was
the kind of acquiescent communities that condensed around and were created
by the same culture that placed gurus in an exalted role, making gurus (whatever
the title) necessary for a disciple's spiritual progress.

There are many non Tibetan systems which place a guru in so exalted a role that disciple proximity and obedience to this allegedly advanced being is necessary if the disciples are to progress.


If your therapist considers a guru (or whatever the title) to be the highest
form of humanity, how can he or she have respect and empathy for ordinary
struggling humans like us?

If your therapist keeps it secret that he or she is an advanced disciple of
a guru or 7th plane adept or whatever term is used, how can he or she have full
empathy if you, the client, do not believe in gurus or the guru system,
loudly express your skepticism and worse, make fun of the entire enterprise?

A therapist in this predicament is, in Corboy's opinion in a conflict of interest.

Reincarnation, Rebirth, Metempsychosis

You the client, need to take a look at your own bedrock beliefs when evaluating
a prospective therapist or are taking stock of an onoing alliance with your current therapist, especially if you are feeling stuck and have felt that way
for awhile.

What is your basic belief about life and death? Do you consider that one life is
all we know? Or do you believe in some sort of reincarnation?

If you and the therapist both believe in reincarnation, and you are paying for therapy, not religious counseling, the issue of reincarnation should not become a distraction. Nor should a therapist use it to encourage a client's interest
in whatever religious/spiritual group the therapist happens to belong to.

Pictures of a guru should not be visible in the therapists waiting room, office, and the therapist should not wear guru jewelry, insignia or a rosary
in any visible manner.

But let us ponder implications of a belief in reincarnation.

Many come to therapists dealing with trauma.

If we consider we have only one lifetime, this brings urgency to our
experience of injustice or abuse and a deep drive for justice.

A therapist who believes in reincarnation/rebirth, will have
perspective that removes urgency from situations of injustice and tragedy.

If someone buys into reincarnation, he or she loses incentive to take
trauma seriously. This can be smilingly dismissed as a lesson, or as samskaras
and a suffering abused person will be compensated by having a nice, lovely
rebirth in a next life.

If a client believes in reincarnation and has a history of abuse, this can
bring an added dimension of terror. These days we get a lot of media coverage
of horrors being perpetrated all over the world. Suppose a client who has
survived rape hears news coverage about atrocious use of rape to break the
spirits of women and girls, estrange them from their families, drive entire
populations from their home regions? A client who believes in reincarantion
and who has been raped could fear that he or she might be reborn in that
ghastly part of the world.

A therapist who shares belief in reincarnation could coo that "You might have
a wonderful life, the next time around."

This isnt therapy. This sidesteps the depths of the terror -- and also
evades the personal nature of a client's terrors.

And a therapist in a reincarnationalist group (Corboy's neologism) may be in a group where people are "kept in line" with an implicit threat that if they
dont obey the guru, they will not only get kicked out but be doomed to
ghastly rebirths.

If a therapist in such a group happens to enjoy a high rank and has been
told he or she is destined to be a tulku, or 7th plane guru in the next rebirth, a therapist thus flattered, has all the more reason to believe in reincarnation---and may not share the anxieties of a client who feels

So..if YOU, prospective client, do not buy into reincarnation, find out
what your therapist believes about it.

And that also means researching your therapists religion, including
finding out if some of it is kept quite secret from outsiders or low rankers.

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Unearned serenity vs citizen doubt
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 29, 2014 09:38PM

(Quote_If a therapist deeply believes in reincarnation/rebirth, he or she
operates from a perspective that removes urgency from situations of injustice and tragedy.

By contrast, if one believes we have only one lifetime, or this one
life is all we can know, this brings a much greater urgency
to our experience of injustice and a quest for healing.

Episodes of abuse endured oneself or heard of from othrs will bring
a particular anguish to one who believes that this life, in this body
is all we can be sure of. The person who believes in metampsychosis/reincarnation has an easy evasion of the tragic dimension:
he or she can view abuse as a lesson in this life that will bring a
better rebirth in the next life.

If someone buys into reincarnation, he or she loses incentive to take
trauma seriously. This can be smilingly dismissed as a lesson, or as samskaras
and a suffering abused person will be compensated by having a nice, lovely
rebirth in a next life.

So if you do not believe in reincarantion and you are consulting a therapist
who does have a very strong belief in reincarnation, this could have some
serious implications.

The reincarnatinalist might have a smiling serenity, a calmness when
hearing your anguished descriptions of a bad or downright horrbile situation.

If you do not believe in the comforting doctrine of reincarnation and your therapist does, you may feel pain and grief, notice how serene and grounded
your therapist seems, and think you are lesser, less mature, than your

When what may be happening is that you are facing a bad situation head on,
without the easy come easy go comforts of a doctrine that takes the
pain out of tragedy.

Your therapist's seeming maturity and calmness is not actually earned
through maturity, but from a cozy fairytail belief that bypasses
tragedy and the issue of fairness and justice.

A therapist may be less than forthcoming about his or her beliefs, so
you have every right to do some fact checking. Especially if you are
from a background where you suspect family secrecy, co-addiction, and

A therapist who is secretly enabler to a guru, who has spent years
normalizing and rationalizing a guru's bizarre or unethical behavior,
will be burdened by blind spots and have some difficulty assisting clients
who come from alcoholic or addicted families with similar behavior patterns.

A client who considers this life the only one that matters, will
be carrying an adult burden of existential anxiety.

He ors he may risk feeling inferior to a therapist who comes across
as serene in all circumstances, because that rejects anxiety by seeing
even the worst human tragedies as mere 'lessons' or 'unwindings of samkararas on a path of reincarnation where all well be well ---without any human effort on our parts.

A client who mistakenly thinks the serene therapist is some paragon of maturity
may spend years in sessions, hoping to 'get' whether serenity the therapist
appears to display.

But if that client functions as a citizen, both socially and at the emotional
level, refuses the easy comfort of belief in reincarnation, has a sense of
justice because of a belief that this very life is what matters, that client
cannot 'get' serenity from a therapist who is serene because he or she
believes in reincarnation and is getting unconscious self repair from
internalization of a guru imago, and who, between sessions, is using multiple
methods of self soothing that the anguished client would refuse ever to use
---meditation upon the guru's picture, listening to ashram music while in the
car driving to and from work, going home to friendships and perhaps a marriage
all rooted in this same self soothing ashram community.

A client who goes forth into the diverse unsheltered world has the task
of staying steady amid a multitude of stressors evaded by a therapist
who is buried in an ashram commumity and who sees even the the worst of
human tragedy as a mere lesson in the process of reincarantion where
some sort of Magic Daddy or Magic Mommy will make all come out well in the end.

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Is a Therapist Dressed as Citizen but Serf or Vizier to a Guru?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 30, 2014 09:55PM

Additional reflections at Naked Monk -- Fantastic website. Get
and read Schettini's book, The Novice.


(Quote)Even when sexual propriety is maintained, the asymmetry of the guru-disciple power arrangement sets up loyalties that favor personal fealty over truth and integrity. It is undemocratic. It is illiberal and misguided. This feudal power relationship has been dragged into the modern world in the guise of romanticized Orientalism. It is in profound contradiction to all the Buddha taught about working with your own experience. It takes not just the charisma of a clever teacher but also the active collusion of those who buy into it. The price of admission is a bit of existential doubt and a brief phase of personal weakness. Once you’re in, the door closes hermetically on any lingering doubts.

There is natural community, not contrived to support your fondest wishes but to commiserate with on life’s hard byways

No one is eternally strong. Everyone is at times overwhelmed by self-doubt, sadness, depression, anxiety or angst. When spirits are low and we turn to spiritual solutions, our judgment may be not just poor, but vacant.


A therapist who mostly socializes and worse, gets and stays married in a
selective spiritual community may have a seeming serenity, but
only possible in a controlled environment.

(Quote)There is such a thing as natural community, not contrived to support your fondest wishes but to commiserate with on life’s hard byways. There is no preexisting group out there waiting for you. Real community forms organically, spontaneously. Prepare yourself for it by traveling light. People of like mind are not found in any particular monastery, school or social group. It’s rare to meet others with whom we truly commune. We know that. You know that. Locking yourself into a gated community, pretending you’re safe and sound, is a sure way to not bump into anyone intimately.

Get out there, vulnerable and honest. Admit you’re alone on your path through life and you’ll sooner or later meet fellow-travelers. You’ll share your insights as equals. Some of them may for a while become mentors or guides. Bear in mind though, that relationship will deteriorate the minute you abandon your discernment, the instant you stop taking your own risks.


(Quote)The truth is that freedom of choice is burdensome. Most people simply submit to the pressure and get on with it. Some of us question the status quo and conclude that this is nuts, that our society is bamboozling us, dressing up fast food as nutritious and advertizing fast life as glorious. Far from bringing relief, these insights compound the stress. No surprise then that some people will go to great lengths to be free of this stress, to find someone else to make their decisions, someone they can trust.

When dispirited, we seek to raise our spirits. The same society that has us trapped in its freedoms offers conciliatory pleasures and distractions. Once we’re through with those however, we turn to pursuits that are more ephemerally spiritual. This deliberately vague word defies definition. It’s more about what it’s not: not materialistic, not conventional, not rational.

Meditation, philosophy, no-mind and non-dual emptiness
are guaranteed to make us feel way cool and special

That’s when things get complicated. It’s when we grow vulnerable in the most unhealthy ways. We’re tempted by communities that embrace us with hugs and gushing love, with namastes and tashi-delegs, by teachers said to be living Buddhas, by systems of meditation, philosophy, no-mind and non-dual emptiness guaranteed to make us feel way cool and special. We’re even promised magical powers and omniscience. Who knows what’s possible and what’s not?

The paradox is that Buddhism appeals to the most educated among us because of its reputation as scientific, objective, atheistic and non-religious. None of these are traditional appellations of Buddhism. They are modern spin, the urgent rationalizations of Westerners who turn to Buddhism after having rejected their own inherited culture and beliefs.

Like self-help gurus, Buddhist teachers today know what we want. To reel us in they promise escape from stress, peace of mind. We want to stop the inner chatter, stop the angst, stop the pointlessness, stop the torment…and to belong.

At some point in this search for refuge we abandon our hesitation and believe that the guru is especially able, both in ethics and in skill. He is wiser. We trust him. The community assures us. We see their sincerity, feel their love for him and are touched by the same love for us. They want us to bathe in it too. They call him a ‘living treasure,’ and assure us of his credentials. If he’s Asian, all the better. All the easier.

Can we really be so simple? I was, but not in isolation. I was desperate, arriving in the nick of time into the friendly, loving arms of the community. They taught me that to doubt is disloyal and unspeakable; that they—that we—were righteous and sincere.

We sometimes slice our awareness into layers. It’s strange. Everyone knows what it is to know at one layer that you’ve sacrificed self-reliance and compromised your integrity, while at another to assure yourself that your decision will have to do; that doubt is unbearable. Believe with the community and you’ll share in their love and security. You’ll also be committed to their righteousness.

In the words of Alan Watts, “When you confer spiritual authority on another person you are allowing them to pick your pocket and sell you your own watch.”

The mentor relationship deteriorates the minute you abandon your discernment, the instant you stop taking your own risks


If you are seeking recovery from long term addiction or long term co-dependance
to an addicted family member, and you are looking for a therapist, you
will need and deserve value for your time and money.

A therapist who is secrety in an active addiction or is secretly and long term
in an unexamined codependant relationship on a guru cannot assist you to become
free. He or she will have too many blind spots.

Your growth may occur but stutter to a stop at whatever point your therapist
has hit the ceiling.

An addicted therapist, whether addicted to a substance or addicted to being
codependant/enabler to a guru, leader and member of a secret keeping ashram
will be anxious if you develop insight into these dynamics.

If ethical, that therapist will tell you you have graduated and congratulate you.

But very few addicted therapists (whether to a chemical or a guru) are
so conscious.

Too often, the addicted therapist may try to thwart and pathologize your insightfulness.

Your refusal to go into infantile idealization will might labelled by
the therapist as hypervigilence or as attachment disorder.

If your therapist is in a long term feudal relationship in submission to a guru
(or whatever the title is), he or she may be unable to teach you how to function
as a citizen in a modern, participatory democracy where one is confronted
with multiple and ever changing choices.

Too often people are told that when they have found a guru, the discernment needed in the search can then be set aside.


"Even when sexual propriety is maintained, the asymmetry of the guru-disciple power arrangement sets up loyalties that favor personal fealty over truth and integrity. It is undemocratic."

In the past thirty years, those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear have no shortage of harm reports concenring gurus who seemed sexually and financially
honorable but who turned out to be living secret lives quite different from their public images. To follow such a guru is to re-enact childhood in a secret ridden family.

And protectiveness toward a guru and his or her secrets and infirmaties can be a potent attraction. Some gurus have repeated trances, coma like illnesses, go mute or communicate in strange ways (Gurdjieff, Maharshi, Amma Meera, Meher Baba).

A guru who needs to be taken care of, whose eccentricities and scandals must be
excused or rationalized by disciples, becomes not only their superhuman guide, but also their surrogate infant.

This combination can be quite powerful.

A therapist who is disciple of such a guru is re-enacting the role of an adult child of an alcoholic or mentally ill parent and will have blind spots.

A therapist who has learned in an ashram community to normalize and rationalize bizarre behavior may be unable to "catch on" if a client comes in describing a
relationship in which a partner is lapsing into bizarre or increasingly dependant behavior.

A therapist who rationalizes weird and needy behavior in a guru as holy madness
may be unable to remember what he or she learned in school and be unable to
clue in a client that this resembles addictive behavior, histrionic behavior or possibly a sign of borderline personality disorder in the clients troubled friend.

If a therapist cannot see what a guru does as bizarre, is serene because the sting of abuse and injustice is removed by belief in reincarnation, the therapist may have a serenity, a comfindence that a client wishes to internalize.

But if a client is determined to be a citizen and not a disciple, a skeptic, and not a devotee, and cannot accept reincarnation or the claims of an infalliable guru, a client will never be able to reach the kind of serenity
modeled by a therapist who is secretly or publicly an inmate of a guru centered
reincarnationalist cult, one in which most of the therapists friends share this same belief.

The skeptical client, who carries the burden of doubt and the pinch of feeling saddened by injustices in this one and only life, may risk feeling inferior
to the serenity modelled by a therapist who has beliefs and a way of life that brings constant self soothing, and in which pain is evaded and not confronted.

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Re: Therapist a mini-cult leader?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 01, 2014 03:14AM

The skeptical client, who chooses to carry the burden of doubt and the pinch of anxiety that comes from feeling saddened by injustices in this one and only life, needs to be aware that this mindset comes with a normal burden of anxiety.

Otherwise, a client with these beliefs may run the risk of feeling inferior
because he or she lacks serenity modeled by a therapist who does not bear the burdens of skepticism who has instead opted for belief in reincarnation and thus evades the pain of facing injustice and betrayal of trust.

A client who remains a citizen and who refuses the self soothing that easily comes to those who internalize the image of a guru will risk feeling immature
and emotional compared with the easy serenity of a therapist who, without telling the client, who perhaps unaware of this herself, has ready and constant access to self soothing through constant reminders of the adored guru---especially if the therapist mostly socializes with those who share adoration and use the same guru for their self soothing.

Corboy recalls how one relative seemed constantly serene and resilient. Years later, we learned that this relative had a years long addiction to prescription Vicodin.

What had seemed serenity and resilience and strong character, was merely the result of drug use/self soothing via opiates.

It was easy for this relative to say, "But can't you just look at the good things that happened?"

This relative's serenity was not earned through insight, but through evasion
of pain via opiate use.

It is possible to wonder whether adoration of a guru and dependence on social settings centered on guru usage could be similar to other "process addictions."

There are anecdotal reports of some exchanging substance addictions for process addictions, whether to gurus or some other form of religion.

The self injury that made addiction attractive remains unexamined.

In order to be emancipatory, a therapist must work toward conscious awareness and value autonomy, not servitude, not even servitude to the highest of causes.

A citizen is capable of service.

But servitude is done by those in bondage, not matter what bliss
is experienced; bliss is a mere twinkling of neural pathways, whether
through cocaine or via the ecstatic technology used by those in the guru

And...bliss can become addictive.

A therapist cannot submit to bliss. A therapist to be emancipatory must
question bliss and show us how to question bliss as well, whenever
we risk losing autonomy.

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Mission Creep: Psychotherapy turns into Religion
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 04, 2014 01:13AM

If a therapist lists addictionology as one of his or her areas of expertise,
that person should have fair familiarity with 12 Step work, even if not a member of any 12 Step group.

If a therapist starts out using terminology
from the 12 Steps and gradually over months or years, ceases to use that
terminology and in the same time, slips in more and more references to gurus,
coy hints that you investigate some guru or ashram, more and more allusions
to realization, reincarnation, etc -- and you are having misgivings, all this signals the therapist is in "mission creep". A therapist should keep the discussion free from terms that are not accepted for use in psychotherapy. "Bardo planes" "Planes of realization", "Old souls/young souls", cannot be co-mingled with terminology from the evidence based sciences.

"Self Mastery": is a vague goal. One can be in it for the rest of one's life and never have an end point. If you're endlessly wealthy, that's nice. But not if you are on a budget.

Another tip off: Does a therapist prefer only word of mouth recommendations
for new referrals? In rare cases, some may be in subspecialities where referrals come in from other professionals.

But if someone is a general psychotherapist, especially a social worker, he or she is supposed to be available for first consultations to a reasonably wide
sector -- a therapist is not supposed to be seeing only "safe" recommendations
from a network of clients who are part of an "in-group" -- whether focused on the therapist as guru or on the therapist's guru.

Therapists are licensed by the state or nation based on their proficiency in evidence based psychotherapy. The therapist should not use the license merely as a way to get public legitimacy to lend added credibility to religious/spiritual outreach.

To use a crude analogy, imagine evidence based psychotherapy as baseball. Religious or spiritual counseling is football. Fans would be justifiably annoyed if, in the middle of a baseball game, a football and goal posts were introduced and they were told the game had become football and they're close minded if they object.

If someone with an MFT, Psy.D, MD or MSW finds it oppressive to omit discussion of religion or prefers only clients who are into self mastery or potentially interested, only those receptive to discussing planes of realization, or various Buddha realms, the therapist should get licensed in pastoral counseling and advertise as a chaplain or minister, period.

One can start trusting a therapist who seems committed to practicing psychotherapy and not quite catch on when the therapist gradually slips
terms such as "bardo" or "planes" or "past lives" into the session. That is why
the therapist is, legally the fiduciary -- the one who has the burden of
care. The therapist is analogous to being the sober designated driver, so
the passenger can safetly "let go" and be conveyed from point A to point B
safetly. (That is, from minute one to minute 50 of the therapy hour)

Even the slightest hints from a therapist are magnified when one's trust
has been elicited by construction of a transference/working alliance.

If a designated driver promises to be sober and covertly uses an intoxicant
before getting behind the wheel, that person has failed as a fiduciary.

If a therapist is too intoxicated by loyalty to cult and guru to put client
welfare first and foremost and adhere to secular psychotherapy, he or she may
have the license and the certificates, but not be functioning with sobriety
needed to maintain boundaries and ultimate loyalty to client well being.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/04/2014 01:16AM by corboy.

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The person with a professional title - PWPT
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 04, 2014 01:44AM

Corboy dares to suggest that if a licensed psychotherapist behaves in certain ways that are known to erode boundaries, he or she ceases to be a therapist and merely becomes someone who appears to be a therapist but no longer functions as one, at least for clients or in situations where discipline breaks down. He or she becomes a mere person with a professional title (PWPT)

If you are a disciple therapist and your ultimate loyalty is not client welfare but loyalty to your guru or your ashram or religion, by being unable to place clients ahead of the claims of your guru and group, you become a PWPT.

You may kid yourself that you are a therapist who has clients' wellbeing at heart by serving a guru who is god in human form and that because god can never do harm, to serve your guru god is to serve the ultimate welfare of your clients but, the state licensing agency isn't gonna agree with this.

If a therapist keeps the nature of guru and group a secret from outside society, this means at some level all concerned are aware that this stuff is
at the very least out of synch with secular society.

Laughable to ordinary citizens at the very least.

"Dude -- you decorate your office this way because you have a guru who
acts like a drag queen and that's what the guru likes disciples to do?

"And you didn't even have the balls to just give the guy money but decorate your office the way YOU prefer?

"And you're a shrink?

"OMFG, Bwahaaaahaaaa!!!

Sorry chum. I am going to get advice for my life from someone
with a tad more independence. Might consult you for my daughter's
wedding dress, though. Ta"

Does the therapist gradually disclose so much that you could
write a capsule biography? He or she is telling you much too much. He or she has, IMO, turned into a PWPT.

Some therapists rationalize excessive self disclosure saying their patients
have been abused and thus the therapist needs to be "more real" by disclosing
his or her human side. BEWARE. When people are traumatized by abuse, they
need a therapist who maintains boundaries, not someone who undermines by
being excessively revealing.

Therapist self disclosure, carried to excess actually imposes a burden upon
clients, even if they seem to welcome this information. Because --
the client gradually comes to feel more and more protective of the therapist
and this too often becomes a re-enactment of how the client in childhood was
forced to protect fragile adults. This is familiar role to the client, but
a role that is a trap. Excessive self disclosure is mere self indulgence for
the person with the professional title (PWPT) -- who is not longer a therapist because he or she has excessively self disclosed and burdened the client with
an image of the PWPT which must be protected, or secrets to be kept.

One signal that your idealizing transference is wearing off is that
you notice not only that time is passing and you are getting older and
more resourceful; you may notice, with some embarrassment that your
therapist is getting older or formerly familiar and beloved therapist
mannerisms seem strained.

If you begin noticing your therapist is not only getting older, but
that his or her face is developing excessive grotesque wrinkles due to
forcing smiles too often, and you get a feeling that you are seeing
someone naked -- pay attention. Perhaps your therapist is covering up
too many painful emotions by fake smiles and forced cheer -- and you are
getting wise to this.

Note the condition of the office and waiting room.

I have already mentioned that you should take it seriously if eccentricities in décor put your nerves on edge. Trust your gut.

Does the therapist wear clothes or jewelry that do not seem in synch
with his or her personality?

Or over time, does he or she change how he or she dresses and the change jars at you?

(Big warning sign) If your own opportunities are not limited by how you dress, if no one else is objecting to or inconvenienced by your clothing and appearance, and you are paying your bills on time, is the therapist trying to push at you to dress in ways you dislike? Does the therapist seem just a
little too happy when by accident you dress in ways favored by the therapists
religion or ashram?

Is the office and consulting room kept clean?

Is a formerly neat and tidy therapist allowing the waiting room or
consulting room to get grungy?

If a therapist who formerly kept magazines with violent content out
of the waiting room now compromising his or her standards and allowing
magazines with violent content to sit in the waiting room?

Letters and audio recordings

1) If a therapist encourages you to write letters or disclose contents of
your journal,or proposes to do audiotapes of you, be very cautious.

If a therapist is diligent in record keeping, you should not need to do so.

2) Confidentiality: Any therapist who encourages you to write letters is legally obligated to protect your confidentiality and should discuss this with you.

Confidentiality means:

Your letters will be kept in locked secure place where no one except the therapist can get hold of them.

The therapist will never show your letters or the audio recordings to anyone
except other licensed therapists who are free of conflicting interests and only with your written permission (release form)

Under NO circumstances is your material or your disclosures in session ever
to be shared with the following:

The therapists guru (or spiritual guide) titles may vary

other members of the therapists' church or ashram or lodge.

Your letters are to be returned to you.

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Why not just leave a bad situation
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 10, 2014 03:55AM

"Just leaving" is not straightforward if one has become emotionally invested in a long term relationship.

It is difficult to leave if one's partner or therapist has spent a lot
of time undermining your trust in your own perceptions.

In psychotherapy, especially if the working alliance contained some good and helpeful elements, and boundary infractions were not committed in an obtrusive
manner, a client may not be able to "just leave", not even if some things become dodgy.

* A therapist may mislead a client to believe that the therapist is not only the best for the client but his or her only affordable option.

(An ethical therapist must be able and willing to tell a client of
other therapists and clinics offering affordable options. Especially,
most especially if the client directly informs the therapist of feeling
worried about being able to pay going rate for a therapist in event
the current therapist is incapcitated, retired or dies.)

Undermining a client's trust in conclusions, just as a client begins getting a stable grip on a puzzling situation -- then the therapist claiming he or she is trying to help the client achieve a 'Middle Way' view.

Using a clients personal commitment to a religion to slip in concepts from
the therapist's own sect.

Reframing a client's verbal skills as "word machine"

Using bastardized new age concepts to cause an alert and evidence minded
client to regard intelligent skepticism as "hypervigilence"

The therapist tells so many stories of his or her own past, that this gives
the client an idealized, seemingly privileged glimpse into the therapists
inner nature -- and then the client is burdened with feeling protective
of the therapist and reluctant to face that the therapist actually
imposed a burden upon the client.

Imagining one's therapist as a former hippie or oppressed little boy or girl
(depending on the personal stuff confided by the therapist) can make it
hard for the client to understand the therapist is actually in a position of
power, has committed a wrong, by confiding such info to the client
when the therapist should be confiding this to a colleague.

A client burdened with such info may have all the harder time facing
he or she is best off leaving the therapist. One may hesitate to "abandon"
the small child portrayed in the therapists confessions.

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Therapist Keeps Reminding You of "Bad Times"
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: July 16, 2014 09:41PM

I posted this earlier but it may be worth a repeat.

Therapist Keeps Reminding You When You were Down
Posted by: corboy (
Date: February 03, 2014 10:47AM

One thing to examine is whether a therapist keeps reminding you of times when you were down in the dumps or suggesting you were out of control.

Ask yourself this:

If, after many years, I have not been diagnosed with a major psychosis.

* I never at any time threatened suicide, attempted suicide or been interested in suicide

* I never harmed or threatened to harm myself or others

* I have no history of abusing alcohol or drugs, no history of cutting, process addiction (gambling) or neglect of children or dependants

* Paid my rent on time

* I have not been harmed by a spouse or friend

* Never been hospitalized for a psychological issue and never been in the court system for anything more serious than an infraction, traffic ticket or for jury duty, or as a witness:

If you have this kind of stable background and yet your therapist is getting into a pattern of repeatedly reminding you of a time when you were in crisis during a session.

If you have been handling your issues well, yet your therapist from time to time reminds you of some situation where, according to the therapist, you were in crisis, especially if the therapist claims you were angry and seemingly almost out of control:

Be alert, and dare to ask yourself whether even a formely helpful therapist is starting to bust you down and that perhaps you are outgrowing therapy and its time to move on.

Ponder this especially if you have already been getting a feeling that therapy is at impasse and the therapist is not respecting your concerns.

If a therapist keeps reminding you of a time when you were (according to the therapist) seemingly on the verge of losing control or out of control and you cannot remember yourself being this way, look at the above questions.

Then ask yourself this:

*Did the therapist call the police?

*Did I need admission to any hospital?

*Did I need medication?

*After that episode, was I able walk out of the office, get into my car or to public transit, and function well during the following week?

And--was the therapist willing to continue working with me, after that episode?

If your seemingly out of control behavior didnt require intervention by the police, did not require hospitalization, or medication, and above all, if the therapist was willing to continue working with you--

your behavior could not have as dire as the theapist claims in retrospect that it was.

So if a therapist keeps reminding you of an incident where you were functioning at less than your best, yet you didnt need medication, hospitalization, a 911 call, and this same therapist was willing to keep working with you--

Feel free to step back and wonder why the therapist is rubbing your nose in this.

It may be you are getting strong enough to outgrow your therapist and he or she is not willing to admit it and is trying to bust you down.

Sort of like that song from Human League:

"You were working as a waitress in a cocktail bar, when I first met you"...

Yeah. But the fellow was willing to go out with her anyway.

Now he's annoyed she's become sophisticated enough to have a wider social horizon--and dump him.

So if you never were in danger of harming yourself or others, have handled crises in life responsibly, learned from mistakes and setbacks, and kept going forward, dont let someone, not even a previously helpful therapist, throw your past in your face.

Especially if you are already beginning to suspect that your therapist is no longer responsive--or worse, is pushing his or her religious or political beliefs and is refusing to take heed when you say you dont want to hear this stuff - thats not worth paying for

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