Emotional Abuse

The term seems to be everywhere today, probably because there is so much of it in the UK. The damage it causes when it starts cannot be measured easily. The long term affects of it can only be guessed at, but one thing is certain when it takes place in a therapeutic context its impact is increased considerably. The nice/nasty approach to counselling often leaves many in therapy wondering if it's all part of the treatment. No one would argue with someone who after all is there to help a person on your side.

This is how it should be, this is the trust factor, which often erodes away at the clients intuitions to the point where they no longer know right from wrong. Trust is then converted to emotional abuse in an instant, usually all in the name of unconditional positive regard.

Yet it does not have to be like this, a much better approach would be for a counsellor to be totally honest about his/her skills. If she can help without engaging in UPR, great. If not - why not try to encourage the client to find out more about the basic emotions that cause most people problems.

Here we are into teaching, which as long history of success going back to the dawn of time. Therapy would be far better if it had remained in the domain of teaching; instead it branched off on its own about 100 years ago with the result that today in the UK anyone can be a counsellor, hence all the problems.

To become a teacher takes about five years. In that time a person learns if he or she is suitable for the job, as well of course learns about what the job entails. Its called training.

This is all for the future, at the moment all that anyone can in do in therapy is to teach themselves, not an easy task. If you're just been emotionally abused in therapy its harder still, but it's worthwhile.

Step number one for those abused in therapy is talk to has many survivors as possible, it's a shared experience and they know what your talking about and more or less how you feel. Your pick up bits and pieces of wisdom here and there, some of it you will agree with, some of it you won't but the main thing is that its real.

A counsellor wants you all to his or herself, they would never encourage a client to talk to another counsellor, (difficult clients often get passed on, see film review of 'What About Bob', abused clients often get treated like a leper, see book review of 'Folie A Deux') there reasoning is that it is counterproductive. Within group support or in the real world the more advice you get on a subject is usually better.

For more information on emotional abuse and some excellent links please go to