New therapist 'won't deal with trauma'?


Hello, so last week I had a phone appointment with a new psychotherapist. I waited 11 months to have this appointment. I started to tell her some traumas I've been through and she said she 'won't deal with exploring traumas'. It was a psychologist I'd seen before who referred me to her. The new therapist said she isn't sure why I've been referred to her!? And she said she'll have a more detailed look at my notes and talk with the psychologist who referred me and then talk to me again this week. I'm starting to feel like there may not be help for me? (Well, not on the free NHS, anyway). And that is worrying me because I simply cannot afford to pay for private therapy. I suppose I'm wondering what other people might do if they were in my situation? Have any of you had psychotherapists who said they won't deal with trauma? I'm aware I can complain but the most important thing to me is that I get the right treatment. And it is starting to feel like none is available?


Is it that she won't deal with trauma at all or just during this pandemic?

I'm not sure how well it would go working through trauma just by taking on the phone. I could see many problems with that, especially with someone new.


How strange. And frustrating!

Are you able to contact your previous therapist who referred you to this new person, to try to get some clarity around why they thought you and the new therapist could be a good match to work together?

My very limited experience of NHS therapy is that the system can be flabby and the left hand often doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, so you can get lost, going round in circles in the system or waiting for ages or ending up waiting for a service that wasn’t really the service you signed up for... I found the whole thing incredibly frustrating!

My T (private) did tell me a few years ago that she felt we should stop trauma work because I was dissociated so badly when I was with her and the sessions were so brutal that each session basically wiped out my whole week. And then we would go again. So, really, she was saying it was harmful to me and I was getting retraumatised every week and that it wasn’t ethical for her to be allowing this to happen to me every week while that was where I was at with things. But I don’t think it sounds like what you’re describing? That she doesn’t think trauma work is in service to you right now because of your current state?

As JadeB mentions - is it possible she’s just saying not for now? Because starting with a new client and diving into deep trauma work immediately while face-to-face sessions are not possible may not be the best plan at this point?

Sorry that you’re in this confusing and frustrating position!


Hi @Lumos, I was refused therapy and emdr therapy by iapt nhs. They are terrible. They said I couldn't have emdr therapy because it's only 9 sessions and I've suffered from more than one trauma. I was so f*cking angry and upset. They said that I should just stay with my counsellor (private). Luckily I'm on disability benefit so that helps financially but that's not the point. I don't really have any advice, I'm sorry. You could make a complaint or seek advice from Pals. I hope something gets sorted out for you. Best wishes. 😊
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It sounded like she meant she won't deal with trauma at all @JadeB. I told her I felt ready for therapy. It's been a long time since the last psychotherapist I saw for one session - in 2018. That one said she didn't want to make me worse. Back then that would probably have happened because I was still struggling to deal with the separation from my abusive ex partner. These days I barely ever think of my ex and my head is much more 'together'. I told the new therapist this.

I agree with you @barefoot - that has been my impression too, that they don't communicate properly with each other. And they really don't seem to listen to patients either. She even said that people get mixed up between psychology and psychotherapy 🤦‍♀️ It seemed to me that after I saw the psychologist, she felt that I needed more long term therapy. And yet, psychotherapy would be longer but this woman says she won't deal with traumas. Whereas, psychology DID let me talk a bit about some of the traumas. That was in 2014. A lot has happened since then, I feel more able to deal with the traumas now.

They can do video calls as well as phone calls - is there much difference between a video call and face to face session? I would've thought it might feel similar? Maybe I'm wrong? I only done the phone as I have never used my webcam before. The therapist never said that doing therapy on the phone would be a problem, just that she won't deal with exploring traumas?

@Survivor3 that was really unfair of them. There should be support for people like us who have been through more than one traumatic experience. I can't afford private therapy. If I could, I would be doing it, at least then you can choose someone you feel will help. I'm thinking about complaining, for sure.

I did manage to have some counselling in the past for some of the sexual abuse but counsellors can only do so much. They even said I should ask for more help from the psychologists afterwards.

I am really tired of not getting the right help from the NHS.


When is your next call with the new psychotherapist? I'm really sorry you're not getting the help you need, I did get some help but not nearly enough.

Hope you get some good news luv


Thanks @Teasel I spoke to her today for 50 minutes. She says we'll talk again next week. This time she seemed more.. willing to help? Now I'm confused. But the session today was actually good and helpful. The time went in really fast. I think I feel a bit more hopeful? It's strange though, last week she said she'd speak with her team but she said the same thing this week as though she hadn't done that yet? She also said I might be put on yet another waiting list for a different person? Or I might continue seeing (talking to) her.. she doesn't know yet? 🤔