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by Abigail Van Buren

Bad Therapist Is Good Reason to Keep Looking for Another

DEAR ABBY: After years of abuse at the hands of my mother's boyfriend, I finally sought therapy to deal with the emotional issues. I spent weeks interviewing licensed therapists and finally picked one I felt comfortable with.

After several sessions, I finally revealed the true nature of my issues. Her response? "At least you weren't raped!" I was so horrified by her reaction that I got up and walked out.

It had taken me 20 years to finally work up the courage to speak to someone about my problems. Now I feel completely defeated -- even exploited -- all over again. I know not all therapists are as inept as this woman was, but I'm really afraid of the whole process. What do you do when therapy is the one thing you need, but also the one thing you are petrified of? -- NEEDS THERAPY FOR THERAPY

DEAR NEEDS THERAPY: Because someone has a license to practice does not guarantee that the person is actually good at it. I'm sorry you learned that the hard way. But please do not let one bad experience keep you from getting the help you know you need.

When therapy is the one thing you need, but also the one thing you are most afraid of, you should do what smart people who have felt as you have done. Go anyway. This woman wasn't equipped to help you. Be glad that you realized it quickly. You did the right thing by leaving.