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Complaining About Your Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy helps some people, and doesn’t do much for others. Just like most psychiatric medications. But you won’t know unless you try, and your experience and success (or lack thereof) in psychotherapy will vary widely according to the therapist you see. You may see two that you don’t seem to click with before you find one that actually seems to help. You may see that perfect therapist the first therapist you find. You just don’t know.

But like a car crash I can’t stop watching, I couldn’t help but read an entire recent blog entry from Violent Acres (NSFW), which is a blog that is often entertaining, although it is definitely not family-friendly with a lot of f— and s—- words and similar profanity lacing every entry. The entry in question was entitled, “When to See a Therapist” and the long rant ended with:

The thing I’ve learned about shrinks is they rarely actually help you with anything. Instead, they press your buttons in an attempt to make you cry. I guess someone taught them in shrink school that crying = progress. But crying is not progress. Crying gets you nowhere.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: If you want a quiet place to cry, see a shrink.

On the other hand, if you want to actually make changes in your life, start holding s— up in front of your face until you can finally learn to live with it.

This person obviously comes from the “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” school of hard knocks and nihilistic learning. If it really were so easy, that all that was required was simple insight and “looking at your own s—,” then we’d all be Freudians and blaming our mothers.

But that doesn’t work, and it requires more than just staring at your own issues in the mirror until you just “learn to live with it.” Good psychotherapy is hard work, takes time and patience (on both the part of the client and the therapist), and actually requires a desire to change. If you see nothing wrong with your life and have no desire to actually work on changing it, then therapy will do little for you.

Of course, if you think everyone is a manipulator and the whole world is just in it for themselves, then this “psychotherapy = good to get you to cry” viewpoint is right in line with it. But I think psychotherapy has a lot more to offer than simply making you cry, and I suspect anyone who’s ever been in good therapy feels the same.

Perhaps psychotherapy just isn’t for everyone, no?

Link to blog entry: When to See a Therapist (Warning: Strong language, NSFW)

Complaining About Your Psychotherapy

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Complaining About Your Psychotherapy. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
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Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 1 Dec 2007)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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