Am I overreacting in my anger towards my EMDR therapist? (Avoidable suicide scare & malpractice)

TL;DR - I tried to kill myself after EMDR. I think it was completely avoidable if my therapist had listened to my warnings and took basic precaution. I think it's malpractice and I'm very angry. Am I overreacting?

I had a suicide scare about 2 months ago. It was after an especially bad EMDR/Rescripting session. I was writing goodbye texts to my family and closest friends.

My friend who had worked in suicide prevention immediately recognized the signs, got in touch with my partner, and made him come home to me right away. Thanks to both of them, I'm doing ok today.

That day my partner contacted my EMDR therapist and called him out. I had done a virtual appointment in the morning, and the therapist knew how distressed I was (uncontrollable crying and wanting to die/disappear) and basically ended the session saying good luck.

I had been asking for "grounding techniques" during therapy for months, and I'd been asking for a 5 minute "wind down" at the end of our sessions for weeks, because it's too distressing to end so abruptly. My therapist listened, nodded, and changed nothing. I'd also emailed him a week before the "big bad event" saying something was seriously wrong.

Some days after the suicide scare, I met with him and the head of therapy. My partner joined. We were both upset and said this whole scare was avoidable. We agreed to stop all treatment for a few weeks (per my request). It was too much. We agreed we'd build a safety plan when I restarted therapy.

When I restarted therapy, my therapist used the time to instead tell me how he thinks my childhood trauma caused a personality development issue, and he thinks I should now see a schema therapist and work on that. To me, this sounded like a "cover your ass" situation. He messed up, and now he's trying to hoist me off to a different specialist, or imply that all this was somehow not related to EMDR therapy, and more to do with my personality development.

This really upset me. I've been a very accommodating and willing/eager patient for the past year. Even when things were rough, I stayed positive because at least we were working towards recovery. But this whole situation felt wrong. I'm fine with needing a personality development therapist, but the context in which this was recommended -- especially when we're supposed to build a safety plan to prevent future suicidal events -- felt very wrong.

Now it was 2 months after the event -- and still no safety plan. After some emails calling out this as malpractice, I finally got a session today to make that safety plan. Though I'm glad we're finally doing this, as we went through all the steps, I felt my anger rise again: We had such a useful tool in our arsenal all along, and they're only recommending we use it AFTER my suicide scare?? Even though self-harm and suicidal ideation/fantasies/planning were all part of my medical history?? And even after I'd been warning them for weeks??

My therapist's position is that they are a trauma center. They have a lot of patients with suicide ideation/fantasies, so it's not always easy to read the signs when someone is seriously planning it. And they say the new trauma therapy actually recommends "against" grounding techniques, and this is the reason they didn't do it. Again, it sounds like BS to me. I think no matter what your research says, you should listen to your patient.

Now my therapist is starting to act distant and awkward with me. I cant help but wonder if i'm overreacting. Am I not justified in my anger and frustration? Is this not malpractice? What do you think?
 
That sounds a really really challenging situation.
Doesn't sound at all that you are over reacting. These are your feelings about the situation. That's what they are and that's how you see it.
His responses to you don't feel right. So that means they don't sit well with your view of it. That's valid too.
The fact you are on here asking these questions shows that you're reflecting on yourself and your responses, so you're open to seeing if there is another way to see this situation.
Your partner and your friend saw the change in you and helped you. That makes me question why your therapist didn't.

Maybe there is something about trauma giving you a personality development. But like you have expressed this feeling wrong, that seems a somewhat separate issue to presenting with sucicial thoughts. In the moment it's the thoughts and actions that need dealing with. Stabilising that surely, before exploring the personality or split parts that might be coming up with those reactions. So to me your feelings that his response was off, I can understand that.

Has he apologised? Has he started to listen and put you in the driving seat?
If not, maybe this therapy is causing you more harm than good and just going with a new therapist is the way forward?
 
Now my therapist is starting to act distant and awkward with me. I cant help but wonder if i'm overreacting. Am I not justified in my anger and frustration? Is this not malpractice? What do you think?
I honestly don't know what would constitute malpractice in psychodynamic therapy...

I do think you have a right to be angry. You have a right to feel however you feel. The question is, what do you want to do about it?

Leaving seems like a very strong option. What are you getting out of continuing to work with this therapist?
 
TL;DR - I tried to kill myself after EMDR. I think it was completely avoidable if my therapist had listened to my warnings and took basic precaution. I think it's malpractice and I'm very angry. Am I overreacting?

I had a suicide scare about 2 months ago. It was after an especially bad EMDR/Rescripting session. I was writing goodbye texts to my family and closest friends.

My friend who had worked in suicide prevention immediately recognized the signs, got in touch with my partner, and made him come home to me right away. Thanks to both of them, I'm doing ok today.

That day my partner contacted my EMDR therapist and called him out. I had done a virtual appointment in the morning, and the therapist knew how distressed I was (uncontrollable crying and wanting to die/disappear) and basically ended the session saying good luck.

I had been asking for "grounding techniques" during therapy for months, and I'd been asking for a 5 minute "wind down" at the end of our sessions for weeks, because it's too distressing to end so abruptly. My therapist listened, nodded, and changed nothing. I'd also emailed him a week before the "big bad event" saying something was seriously wrong.

Some days after the suicide scare, I met with him and the head of therapy. My partner joined. We were both upset and said this whole scare was avoidable. We agreed to stop all treatment for a few weeks (per my request). It was too much. We agreed we'd build a safety plan when I restarted therapy.

When I restarted therapy, my therapist used the time to instead tell me how he thinks my childhood trauma caused a personality development issue, and he thinks I should now see a schema therapist and work on that. To me, this sounded like a "cover your ass" situation. He messed up, and now he's trying to hoist me off to a different specialist, or imply that all this was somehow not related to EMDR therapy, and more to do with my personality development.

This really upset me. I've been a very accommodating and willing/eager patient for the past year. Even when things were rough, I stayed positive because at least we were working towards recovery. But this whole situation felt wrong. I'm fine with needing a personality development therapist, but the context in which this was recommended -- especially when we're supposed to build a safety plan to prevent future suicidal events -- felt very wrong.

Now it was 2 months after the event -- and still no safety plan. After some emails calling out this as malpractice, I finally got a session today to make that safety plan. Though I'm glad we're finally doing this, as we went through all the steps, I felt my anger rise again: We had such a useful tool in our arsenal all along, and they're only recommending we use it AFTER my suicide scare?? Even though self-harm and suicidal ideation/fantasies/planning were all part of my medical history?? And even after I'd been warning them for weeks??

My therapist's position is that they are a trauma center. They have a lot of patients with suicide ideation/fantasies, so it's not always easy to read the signs when someone is seriously planning it. And they say the new trauma therapy actually recommends "against" grounding techniques, and this is the reason they didn't do it. Again, it sounds like BS to me. I think no matter what your research says, you should listen to your patient.

Now my therapist is starting to act distant and awkward with me. I cant help but wonder if i'm overreacting. Am I not justified in my anger and frustration? Is this not malpractice? What do you think?
As a therapist I would say you're justified in your feelings. If he is suggesting a different therapist, if I were you, I might take the new therapist referral he gave you and run with it. Looking at it from the outside, the relationship between you and the therapist has been compromised. You don't really want to see him anymore because of how you feel he screwed up and if he knew the risks there should have been a safety plan in place. As someone who has been a client I would feel the trust has been breached, end of story and I wouldn't go back. As far as malpractice, I'm not sure. If there is lasting damage from what he did you might have a case, otherwise I am not sure. I hope things turn out well for you.
 
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