Many times I’ve been contacted by people, who were currently in therapy and wanted to know if their therapists were doing the work competently and/or ethically. Such questions arose out of concerns about the specific actions or non-actions made by the therapists that didn’t seem consistent with what people believed the normal therapy process should entail.
There are three major causes of client harm in psychotherapy: Therapist unethical, unprofessional or outright abusive behavior; Therapist’s incompetence; Systemic flaws of the psychotherapy profession as a whole. The cause of harm is usually a combination of all of the above factors. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
The notion that psychotherapy can harm may be novel to the lay public and the professionals alike, or so it seems due to the lack of a broad public discussion of this issue. Nevertheless, people do get harmed in psychotherapy, and those instances are not as uncommon as we would like to think.
Unlike the cases of medical malpractice, the cases when therapy harms are not discussed broadly enough to be known to the general public, and that is for several reasons. Firstly, the harm received in psychotherapy is very difficult to prove in most cases,