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Notes: When therapy does more harm than good.

Updated: Oct 13, 2023

In Monday's newsletter I touch on the idea that sometimes therapy can be harmful. In particular, sometimes the way we validate can increase the therapists-client bond, but decrease the likelihood of change.


I think we collectively feel this happening. Still, I'm not sure what to do about it.


Here's a sneak peak at next week's article.


Yes, there is such a thing as too much validation.

"People I never thought would go to therapy are now in it. At face value, this could be a great thing, except that now, people talk about their therapists the same way they talk about their personal trainers or facialists or, worse, friends. We’re now fully entrenched in the era of the theraposeur: a moment when a few swipes of a dating app will show you a bunch of people brandishing their therapy bona fides and/or naming it as a prerequisite for dating them.


It’s a time when a dumbscroll through TikTok will have you hearing about attachment theory or enneagram typing or Myers-Briggs parsing from strangers often (at best) wildly unqualified to speak on it.


More than ever, there’s a noxious tang in the brandishing of “self care” and all the supposed life optimization and enlightenment that comes with it. To err is human, but to go to therapy and talk about said error? Supposedly, divine.

Too many therapists assume the role of advocate — possibly rendering them worse than no therapist at all. Their patients should dump them and find replacements who are brutally unafraid of crushing their egos.


Over the course of the past 14 years, I’ve left two therapists after they veered into latent, head-nodding advocacy — cheering me on, validating my complaints about the world and losing their analytical edge (to say nothing of the power patients give them in allowing this). I’ve pointedly told them: 'Why are you agreeing with me on something I’m plainly wrong about?'"

Foster Kamer


Here's what it looks like in practice.

Ps. You can get an early copy of the upcoming blog here.

 


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