Are you guilty of it? A quick internet search turned up only 15 books on the subject. It’s strange, especially when you consider that between 5 and 10% of clients are actually worse off following treatment and an additional 35-40% experience no benefit whatsoever! (Yep, that’s nearly 50%)
And what about those numerous “micro-failures.” You know the ones I’m talking about? Those miniature ruptures, empathic missteps, and outright gaffs committed during the therapy hour. For example, seated opposite your client, empathic look glued to your face and suddenly you cannot remember your client’s name? Or worse, you call them by someone else’s. The point is, there’s a lot of bad therapy.
Why don’t we therapists talk about these experiences more often? Could it possibly be that we don’t know? Four years on, I can still remember the surprise I felt when Norwegian researcher, Jorgen Flor, found most therapists had a hard time recalling any clients they hadn’t helped.
One group does know — and recently, they’ve been talking their experiences! The Very Bad Therapy podcast is one of my favorites. After listening to sixty-some-odd episodes of clients exposing our shortcomings, I reached out to the podcast’s two fearless interviewers, clinicians Ben Fineman and Carrie Wiita, to learn what had motivated them to start the series in the first place and what, if anything, they’d learned along the way. Here’s what I promise: they have no shame (and its a good thing for us they don’t)!
OK, that’s it for now. Until next time, all the best,
Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.
Director, International Center for Clinical Excellence
P.S.: For the first time ever, we’re offering the FIT Implementation Intensive Online. It’s one of the four courses required for certification as an ICCE FIT Trainer. As with our “in-person” events, we have an international faculty and strictly limit the number of participants to 40 to ensure the highest quality experience. Click here for more information or to register.