Can therapy hurt more than help?

Despite all the talk about the dangerous side effects of medications, we rarely hear about the negative consequences of psychological treatment. However, researchers have found that a significant minority of people feel that they are worse off after therapy. When someone undergoes psychotherapy, the hope, obviously, is that they will recover. But if they don't, what's the worst that could happen? That the therapy will be ineffective? In fact, therapy can be harmful, and research shows that, on average, approximately 10 percent of patients get worse after starting therapy.

I know that the previous therapy (3 years) was too harmful for me to continue therapy once I was well, even though I had an amazing therapist. Recent therapy was harmful because of some general conditions that always exist within therapy (for better or worse) and because of the therapist's particular behavior. I think that the stigma of therapy has so much to do with therapists promoting and protecting their profession, rather than equally recognizing the reality of the harm that bad therapy entails for clients who come to it because of their suffering and could leave suffering with even more emotional (and financial) baggage.

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