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VERY BAD THERAPY

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what is very bad therapy?

 

This podcast gives voice to the stories that begin with an exasperated “You would not believe what happened with my therapist.” Weekly episodes will explore real-life stories of very bad therapy experiences as hosts Carrie and Ben, with a growth mindset, seek to learn from their diverse guests and experts in the field who can help shed light on how things could have gone better. Supported by scientific research and a mission to bring out the the best in psychotherapy through discussion of its worst moments, Very Bad Therapy is a corrective emotional experience for clinicians and clients alike.

 

 
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Ben Fineman is a marriage and family therapist trainee in Los Angeles, California. He spends much of his free time researching the mechanisms of psychotherapy, dabbling in philosophy, and enthusiastically sharing his findings with anyone willing to listen, regardless of whether or not they actually care.

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Carrie Wiita is also a marriage and family therapist trainee in Los Angeles, California. She does not have any free time, and her research interests include the professional development of therapists, postmodern approaches to psychotherapy, and the finer points of cheap wine.


Episode
13

Cuddle Therapy

Imagine a spectrum of unethical therapist conduct. Far, far toward the most extreme end, just before sexual coercion, are activities like grooming behavior and inappropriate physical touch. Our guest Jessica shares her dread-inducing story of working with a therapist who abused his power in ways that mental health professionals should only experience when reading ethics textbooks.

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Episode
12

VBT in History (1900s): Some A+ Oppression Right There

Adolescent girls should be sent to the country to prepare for housewifery and motherhood. So writes G. Stanley Hall, first president of the American Psychological Association, in 1904. This is the first in a series of monthly episodes exploring very bad therapy in the decades preceding the stories of today. Floating uteruses not included.

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Episode
11

The Intake Process is a Mess (with Dr. Daryl Chow)

Gathering client information: good. Transcribing client responses into a computer while facing a wall: not good. It is estimated that 34% of clients don’t return after their first session, a strong indication that the traditional intake model is in need of repair. Dr. Daryl Chow joins us to discuss our guest Bryan’s bad intake experience, the importance of focusing intakes on giving rather than taking, and we explore how psychotherapists can achieve better outcomes over the long-term future.

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Episode
10

On Harm Reduction Therapy (with Lauren Cohn-Frankel, AMFT)

Today's episode is a deep dive into the nuances of harm reduction therapy. How does stigmatization, politicization, and cultural bias regarding substance use influence the way mental health professionals view and work with their clients? What happens when abstinence is not a client's preferred option? Also, Ben and Carrie say hello to Sweden!

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Episode
9

Empathy First, Paperwork Later

The quality of the therapeutic alliance is one of the largest predictors of successful therapy. What doesn't help with building rapport? 25 minutes of paperwork to begin every session. Today's guest Meredith shares her challenges in working with a therapist who failed to convey appropriate messages of empathy but felt very strongly about the positive impact of collecting sticks from the ground.

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Episode
8

Projections of Body Image Bias (with Rachel Coleman, LMFT, CEDS)

Societal messages around health, beauty, and body image can contribute to problems that lead individuals to seek out therapy. But what happens when the therapist herself is unaware of how these cultural influences impact how treatment is provided? Our guest Holly shares her story about working with a therapist who reinforced unhealthy disordered eating behaviors under the guise of helpful therapy.

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Episode
7

Boundaries and Institutional Power

Today's episode features a story about a therapist who pleaded with her client to help with research for her Master's thesis. We discuss why this is objectively problematic and look at the difference between boundary crossing and boundary violation in the context of inherent power dynamics within the therapeutic relationship. Plus, Carrie and Ben share their own absurd experiences of very bad therapy.

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Episode
6

Zimbabwean Granny Wisdom

In Zimbabwe, hastily trained "Grannies" were found to be significantly better at treating depression than the standard of care that best resembles Western psychotherapy. Ben and Carrie put on their researcher hats to explore how lessons from Friendship Benches in Africa reflect the need for a mental health paradigm shift around the world. Ben says thank you for taking care of his feelings.

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Episode
5

Please Don’t Tackle Your Clients (with Dr. Ben Caldwell)

Therapists are not supposed to tackle their clients*. But what are the ethical limitations in trying to prevent a potential suicide attempt? Today's guest Katherine recounts her experience with a caring clinician who went to extreme lengths to protect her safety, and Dr. Ben Caldwell shares his expertise to help us understand how therapists should manage delicate yet ambiguous situations with clients.

*Unless perhaps the client is attempting to physically harm someone else in the room. Perhaps.

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Episode
3

Black Clients/White Clinicians

Our guest Eric shares his story about being invalidated by a therapist who suggested that he get over racial discrimination with the help of medication. How can white therapists best work with racial and ethnic minority clients? How can Carrie and Ben tackle this subject as white people without reinforcing white supremacy?

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Episode
2

Doubting a Client’s Gayness

If a person claims to be gay, should you ever doubt them? Ben shares his story about winning $50 betting on his own sexual orientation, our guest Shaw tells us what it's like to debate your therapist about same-sex attraction not being a symptom of sexual assault, and we look at research that links sexual trauma to sexual identity.

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Episode
1

EMDR for Dummies (with Curt Widhalm, LMFT)

EMDR is a groundbreaking, controversial, and maybe not-that-special psychotherapy treatment. We explore the research on its mechanisms and effectiveness before hearing from our guest Justin about his EMDR experience with an overeager therapist. Then, Curt Widhalm, LMFT, EMDR certified, and cohost of The Modern Therapist's Survival Guide sits down with us to answer our questions about EMDR and highlight what went wrong in Justin's therapy.

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episode
0

An Ultra-Brief Intro

Carrie and Ben share why they decided to start a podcast about bad therapy. What can be learned from our guests' varied experiences in the counseling room? How will this podcast be helpful to listeners with an interest in therapy? These are conversations that are rarely held within the field of psychotherapy. Thank you for listening.

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