24 Things Therapists Said To Folks That Are So Disturbing, They Might Leave You Speechless

We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community, "What's the worst thing a therapist has ever said to you?"

John Stamos on "You"

Unfortunately these therapists were anything but helpful, and made inappropriate comments that most likely traumatized their clients.

Will Smith on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"

Here are some extremely disturbing things therapists have actually said to people:

Warning: Some stories include topics of sexual assault, rape, domestic violence, suicide, addiction, and eating disorders. Please proceed with caution.

Note: Some submissions were pulled from this Reddit thread by user u/Physical_Philosopher.

1."A therapist told me to stop talking about my eating disorder, yelled at me for self-diagnosing when I said, 'I notice I'm having symptoms that sound like this,' and told me that if I dressed 'normally,' I wouldn't have anxiety about school."


2."I was 10, and TWO different therapists said, 'You're the reason for your parents' divorce.' They failed to acknowledge my father's abuse, saying I was the problem...nope. I told my school about the abuse, and with a push from the Department of Homeland Security, my mom finally left after we were locked out of the house and left homeless. I may have gotten the ball rolling, but I am not the reason they divorced."


A young child sits against a wall with a teddy bear, covering their face. Shadows on the wall show two adults arguing and pointing fingers at each other
Romolotavani / Getty Images

3."In my mid-twenties, I went to see a therapist for the first time because I was struggling with anxiety. The therapist asked out of the blue if I had ever had sex, and I told him I hadn't (I'm asexual, but I didn't know it at the time). He suggested that I just needed to get laid because it was a great stress reliever and would help me 'loosen up.'"


4."I was in therapy dealing with the fact that my father didn't really know how to be one and was never there, which caused me to try to be perfect (which, SPOILER ALERT, isn't healthy). My therapist told me I needed to try harder and that if I found something my father actually cared about, he'd be a better dad. I explained that I had already emulated as much as I could from his high school years (soccer, choir, etc.), but she insisted I hadn't done enough."


5."My mom had me go to therapy when I was 12 after my dad passed and I was in the room when it happened. I was a really shy kid and didn’t want to go, let alone open up to a stranger about an ordeal I didn’t even fully understand yet. After I was not giving him a whole lot in the way of answers, he asked me, 'Do you even miss your dad?' Maybe examine your way of talking to a grieving child before blaming said child, asshole."


Father lifting his young daughter into the air in a bright, cozy living room with toys and blankets around
Momo Productions / Getty Images

6."I have had bad therapists in the past, and finally built up the courage to try a new one again. I sat down and spoke about things that were going wrong, and as soon as I brought up something, she shut it down and dismissed it. Halfway through my story, she said, 'Oh, do you ever stop whining?!' and added that I would be better if I didn't complain all the time. I was flabbergasted — she wasn't hearing any of it. I said that I had a lesson and had to leave the session, and she just said, 'Why did you book an appointment when you have a lesson?' and then wrote something down. I just left."


7."When I saw a therapist after having suicidal thoughts and self-harming, she asked me why I didn't just go through with it. I said, 'I got caught and the police escorted me to hospital.' She replied, 'Well, if you were really serious about it, you'd be dead right now instead of wasting my time.' I never went back to her after that."


8."I was struggling with intimacy with my partner during a deep-depressive episode that lasted a couple of years. During this episode, I was coming to terms with a previous sexual assault. The therapist I started seeing told me to 'just do it' with my partner, despite my sex-related trauma, and I stopped seeing her right then and there. I started seeing a new therapist who actually helped me, and now my partner and I have never been closer."


A therapist holds a red notebook and pen during a counseling session with a woman seated on a couch, discussing mental health
Lorenzoantonucci / Getty Images

9."I have childhood PTSD and experience horrible anxiety attacks as an adult. I was wearing a nice sweater in the session, and we were discussing anxiety-attack coping mechanisms. She very snidely said, 'You should go shopping when you feel anxious. You clearly like designer things.' I was floored."


10."During the pandemic, we were obviously meeting via Zoom. She thought the call had ended, and I heard her say, 'Jesus Christ, she's fucking exhausting.' I immediately texted her to call her out; she started and stopped typing a few times before asking to speak to me after she finished with the rest of her appointments. I had really liked her, so I was torn. I told her I would reach out when I was ready, but I wasn't able to get past it, and my therapy came to an abrupt end. It was already hard opening up to someone — after that, I was completely soured."


A person sitting on a couch video chatting with a smiling woman on a tablet screen in a cozy living room
Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

11."During a session, I told my therapist that earlier that day I was at a gas station and ran inside to grab something to drink. While I was looking at the coolers, this much older man in his sixties came over and cornered me — he told me I was pretty, and after I said 'thank you,' I tried to walk around him. He stepped in front of me and told me that when someone compliments me I have to compliment them back — he wasn’t letting me pass. Finally, my mother came in because I had been there forever — she stood next to me while the older man started telling her I was rude. I told him I didn’t owe him shit."

"When I told my therapist this, she asked me why I dress the way I dress (I tend to dress a bit more provocatively) and I told her that’s what I'm comfortable wearing. This lady looked me dead in the eye and said, 'No — I think it’s because you like the male attention.'



12."I’ve been through a bunch of therapists and counselors over the course of my life. There was one point where I had been really depressed, and my therapist said to me, 'You seem to be having a breakdown, and I don’t think I can help you with that. I’ve dropped you as a client, and the HMO will assign you a new LCSW in six to 12 weeks.' When I saw my new LCSW, I apologized for missing a few appointments because I had just been too depressed to drive. She said I was lying, and that if I didn’t have enough respect to cancel my prior appointment, she couldn’t be bothered to work with me that day and I could just sit there while she did paperwork. If I had really been depressed, I would have tried to kill myself — I then went home and attempted."


13."I wanted a divorce from my spouse, but agreed to try marriage counseling. When I told our therapist I was really unhappy, she stated, 'The goal of this type of therapy isn’t for you to be happy — the goal is to keep your marriage together.' She followed up several sessions later by saying, 'And there is nothing more I can do to help the two of you, so I suggest you turn this over to god.' We got divorced a few months later — in retrospect, I wish I had stood up for myself and told her how outrageous and unethical her comments were (towards me specifically)."


A couple sits on a couch facing a therapist in an office setting. Shelves with books and decor are in the background
Urbazon / Getty Images

14."I saw a therapist specifically for help with an eating disorder, and during one session, I revealed I was feeling stressed and as a result had ended up restricting. We discussed it and moved on — the next session when I came back in, they gave me over 50 pages of random nutritional information they’d printed online. They told me they had no nutritional training and we spent an hour reading the information, going over carb watching and calorie counting in order to achieve a ‘healthy’ diet. I found it incredibly triggering, and admitted so in our following session — they took it badly and suggested I was being overly sensitive and not ready to change. Our sessions didn’t last long after that."


15."'I think you're happy being depressed.' No, just dealing with the comfort in my sadness that comes from chronic, 20-year-old depression."


16."When I was 11 years old, I had a lot of fear and anxiety about going to school, church, and basically any place with a large number of people. My brother had been going to therapy for a while, so my parents set me up with a counselor at the same facility. The only session I went to started normally enough — we talked a bit to help me get comfortable, I described what I was experiencing — typical first session stuff. The counselor then asked me to close my eyes and imagine a situation where I felt anxious, and when I did so, they instructed me to 'find Jesus there and go to him.' I grew up in a religious family, and nearly 20 years later I still believe, but that was not what I was expecting out of an alleged medical professional. Long story short, we did that and nothing else repeatedly for the rest of the hour-long session (aka eternity for an anxious, uncomfortable child)."

"I left with the impression that therapy was bullshit, and I didn't seek out any mental healthcare until I was in my twenties. Turns out I've got depression and anxiety issues, and they respond pretty well to medication.

If I had had help from a young age, I might've been able to develop healthy coping skills. Instead, I flunked out of college twice and developed an addiction to alcohol — live and learn, I guess."


Interior of a church with colorful stained glass windows illuminating wooden benches
Michael Dean Shelton / Getty Images/iStockphoto

17."'Have you tried seeing it from your abuser's point of view?' She literally used the word 'abuser' because the situation was that clear-cut. Yes, actually, I've spent a long time trying to understand my abuser's point of view, and had come here to think about my own feelings for a change rather than theirs. Did not go back to that therapist."


18."I was 15 and I had a problem trusting men (I had extremely negative experiences with different men growing up, including my bio dad, my stepdad, a neighboring teenager, and my best friend's stepdad). I had just moved, so I was meeting with a new therapist for the first time, and he told me that I was too self-aware of my problems and he wouldn't be able to help me. I guess it didn't matter to him that I had spent the last two years working with my previous therapist to come to the realizations that had led me to be so self-aware of where I was struggling."


Person sitting on a bed facing a window and mirror, appearing deep in thought in a cozy bedroom
Mavocado / Getty Images

19."My adopted children have significant disabilities, some stemming from their biological mom’s drug and alcohol addictions during pregnancy. Instead of being sympathetic to the bio mom, my kids, and me, my therapist had the audacity to say, 'Well, at least they aren't really yours.' I was stunned. Seven years later, my kids and I are doing great, and the therapist is no longer in my life."


20."My brother had a nervous breakdown after our mother died — it was like losing two people at once. My late father believed that my brother would find his way home one day, but he never lived to see him again — I know he's alive out there somewhere, I just don't know where. Now, I've worked in a funeral home assisting the coroner's office — if someone passes away, they can take the fingerprints to identify them. Bottom line is, there are many ways that they can identify a deceased person. My father was a good person who loved his children — when we went to therapy, the therapist asked him why he was so depressed. He said he missed his son, and she responded with, 'You know, there's a good chance he's been dead for a while — yet you've continued to live.'"

"He was quiet when we got into the car, and I knew something was wrong — I called the therapist and asked her where she got off-putting that idea in his head. The man had lost enough already — he refused further counseling."


21."A therapist said to me, 'I don't think you're doing badly enough to test you for anxiety.' I was miserable, constantly stressed, and having complete breakdowns at least twice a week, and she completely invalidated that after talking to me for five minutes. After I went straight to a doctor to get diagnosed, the therapist pretty much just said, 'Oops.' She got fired from the college shortly after because a lot of students had various issues with her."


A person attentively listens to another individual who is writing in a notebook during a therapy or consultation session. Shelves and a plant are visible in the background
G-stockstudio / Getty Images

22."I have OCD, and when I was 12 years old, my symptoms were extremely severe. So, my parents took me to see a therapist (even though I didn't want to). I didn't say a word to her for the whole hour and she became frustrated, so about 10 minutes before I was supposed to leave, she started describing how everything around me was contaminated and dirty, and how many people had touched things that I did in that room. When I started crying, she was visibly very satisfied."


23."They said, 'I think you would feel better if you got some of that weight off of you.' Ummm, I'm here because my cousin raped me when I was a child, but thanks for letting me know that losing weight will solve all of my problems."


24.And, "My daughter died, and I went to a grief therapist who specialized in infant death. During my first visit, she told me I just needed to eat chocolate and I would feel better — I kid you not. My husband was in the room with me. At the end of the session, she told my husband, 'Make sure you get her some chocolate.' We left, I bought a Hershey bar, ate it, and did not feel better. I never went back to her after that."


A woman holds a baby close to her chest while looking worried and concerned, standing in a kitchen
Drazen Zigic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-800-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.

What's the worst thing a therapist has ever said to you? Share with us in the comments below (or in this Google Form if you want to remain anonymous).

Therapist from "Hey! Arnold"

Some submissions will be featured in a BuzzFeed Community post.