Wading Through the Muck to Find a Therapist who is NOT a “Jack of All Trades”


Something that I have noticed is that so many therapists believe that they can treat anybody, or a wide variety of disorders.

This is what lead therapy to fall apart for me with my newest therapist. I was told that she could help treat my OCD type symptoms as this is what I had requested. I reiterated this in every session. It got to a point where I said “No DBT, as I do not find it helpful for this issue”. Her response? “I need to terminate therapy as DBT and CBT are my specialty.” And at this point I’m dumbfounded.

From day 1 she pushed me to talk about my trauma and told me I have CPTSD. She instructed me to read up on Pete Walker and when I mentioned Judith Herman, and her 3 part model, the woman who coined the term “CPTSD” she said she wasn’t familiar with her or that approach. Hmm, interesting, considering she was pushing the idea that she was a trauma expert…. I will note that I did not want to talk about my trauma as that is not why I was there. I don’t believe I should be forced to process my trauma when that’s not the issue I need help with. If a person walked in with OCD symptoms and no trauma history, they’d get OCD treatment and not be distracted by other issues. Not everything leads back to trauma, and she couldn’t grasp this concept.

Moving on, in later sessions she kept pushing mindfulness on me and yeah, that’s great, but the basic form of this concept of being aware of my obsessions doesn’t do anything to stop them.

DBT isn’t even a first line or even second line type of treatment for OCD, hence my frustration with her belief that it could treat my symptoms. It’s insane to me that she actually thought THIS would be helpful for me.

I told my mom what happened and gave her the clinical manual to read. She even looked up DBT online and was like “uhhhh, this is a cult!” I seriously laughed so hard.

The nail in the coffin was that in my last session I was literally spouting off the crux of my obsessions and SHE WAS REASSURING ME the WHOLE session! Yeah, this is exactly what NOT to do as it just fuels the disorder, and anyone with a basic understanding of OCD would understand that.

So, it’s clear that she thinks she can help anyone, but in reality she can’t.

Interestingly since she’s a “senior” therapist there, my transfer to someone else happened quickly, but I’m dubious as to whether or not this person can treat OCD. I’ll call and find out though. (My last transfer took months.)

If you search for a therapist, you’ll find this same phenomenon ie that therapists think they can treat a wide variety of disorders. This is all found my viewing their online profiles. I REALLY need someone trained in treating OCD but I don’t think there’s anyone in my county.

I do have an appointment on Thursday with a therapist I saw once online. I couldn’t handle Skype therapy during the pandemic so did not continue. She has a modality that has helped me in the past so I am hopeful.

But yeah, this idea of a generalist therapist who can help “everyone” needs to die. Maybe if you have very minor symptoms? For certain disorders? But no, many people really need specialists. Yes, OCD can be treated by CBT, but it needs to be a modified version from what I’ve found so far.

Anyway, this is just my frustration in finding yet another new therapist.
this idea of a generalist therapist who can help “everyone” needs to die.
please don't kill the generalist therapy approach. i can salute the premise that it is not for everyone, but it works well for me. my attention wanders with too narrow a focus. specialists, in general, bore me. i tend to think of them as folks who know more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing at all.

buttttttttttaaaaaaaaaaa. . .

i'm grateful for the diversity. may there be something for everyone as each of us stays true to our own healing needs.

steadying support while you find the therapy and therapist which work for you.
From day 1 she pushed me to talk about my trauma and told me I have CPTSD. She instructed me to read up on Pete Walker
🚩🚩🚩 That would turn me off big time! I don’t want someone to tell me what’s wrong with me unless I’m specifically asking, like when I needed a referral letter. My T was really good at playing dumb and when I would bring up a symptom she would say, “What’s that? Can you tell me about it?” And my T would gently guide me *away* from talking about trauma, so much so that I had to be the one who pushed talking about it, which meant I did when I was ready.

It stinks that you’re having such bad luck finding a competent T! I don’t know if it helps that you are definitely not alone—took me 20 years to find one that I could work well with. 🫤 And lots of people on here are going through something similar—not that it makes it any better for you. You are a warrior to keep trying.
I hear ya.

Someone whose day has an autistic toddler, a suicidal teenager, a personality disordered 20something, profound grief after the death of a child 30-something, an ADHD+Eating disorder 40 something, a PTSD from childhood trauma 5o, early onset dementia 6o, 70yo with cancer & learning difficulties, an 85yo giving up their driving license and going into care, and a 95yo with combat trauma getting kicked out of care?

Meanwhile tomorrow is schizophrenia, and divorce, and a delusional disorder, and problems at school, and transgender in the Asian community, and a refugee who has lost everyone, and a 3yo with STDs, and a car accident victim who is newly paralysed, and, and, and.

Is doing a SHIT job by their patients/clients.

No one is that good.

No one can be conversant, much less hold deep understanding, in all 200 some disorders and conditions; as well as be equally adept with all life stages (toddlers to childhood to adolescence to teens to young adults to all the stages of & socioeconomic challenges & professions & relationships & lifestyles & & & of adulthood, progressing onto geriatric & comorbid medical, and end of life coming at ALL life stages).

No one.

That’s why only students still in the process of licensure & beginning their specialization… and washouts with no ambition or talent… do “everything”.
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please don't kill the generalist therapy approach.

There is no such thing as a therapist who can help everyone.

I am not saying to “kill the generalist approach”.

I am saying that the idea of a therapist who can fix everyone needs to die.

There is a difference, as no one therapist can fix everyone, it just doesn’t work like that.
the idea of a therapist who can fix everyone needs to die.
fair enough. i count myself blessed for having never met such a therapist, though i have met quite a few patients who believe any therapist should be able to do so. sorry, friend. you can't pluck your prepackaged recovery from the shelves at dollar general.
Yea this is so frustrating. In my view a ‘general’ therapist should be dealing with low level anxiety, day to day worries, maybe ineffective communication - yanno?

There is no way a single therapist can specialise in all of the 40+ disorders they’ve listed. I see the value in a trauma specialist having a stronger knowledge of ED’s, SH, addiction, all the fun stuff, but anyone claiming to specialise in autism, schizophrenia, personality disorders, anorexia, addiction, trauma….. is just full of shit and bound to be bad at all of them.

Makes it a right pain in the ass trying to search by speciality online because half the hits are for these morons, so even more time sifting them out.