There are innumerable psychotherapists who are highly skilled, empathic, competent, professional and completely devoted to their clients.
This post is about narcissistic psychotherapists who have a severe personality disorder. They are highly educated with Master's and Doctorates and have completed extensive clinical training and practice. They may be experts in their area of specialty and highly respected by their colleagues. However, they have all of the attributes of the grandiose, ruthless, duplicitous, unempathic narcissistic personality. The major motivation for their practice is monetary and all of the narcissistic supplies that they collect: adulation, respect, perception as clinical experts, veneration by clients, etc.
Narcissistic psychotherapists victimize the most psychologically vulnerable of patients--those who are are so desperate that they cannot tolerate their emotional pain from one moment to the next. They have many kinds of psychological problems: severe anxiety, panic disorders, dissociative disorders, bi-polar disorder, severe clinical depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. These narcissistic clinicians are particularly focused on clients from whom they can extract the largest sums of money. Many of them frequently increase their fees to keep up with their personal lifestyles. When a client comes close to leaving them, they often scare them, saying: " We have done a lot of good work but you are still having a lot of symptoms and if you leave therapy now, your problems will become more severe. I don't think you want to take that kind of risk." The therapist has become a respected authority figure to the client, taking the place of the parent the client never had. If you are having anxiety attacks day and night or if you are so depressed that you cannot get out of bed without great difficulty or have frightening symptoms of extreme mood disorders, you are not likely to leave this therapist and go it alone. Narcissistic therapist know exactly how to reel you back in and reinforce their psychological and emotional hold on you. In the meantime you are not making any real progress and that works for this ruthless money driven therapist.
Patients who should have been referred to a competent clinical expert are taken on by these narcissistic clinicians who claim to understand their diagnosis and treatment. This is highly immoral and unethical but that doesn't matter to them. As long as they can get away with it and are prospering, that is all that matters.
I know of patients who have suffered emotional and psychological harm from these unscrupulous psychotherapists. Their conditions either don't change or become more severe. Protect yourself from these immoral and unethical practitioners. Research clinicians-- their professional reputations and make sure that you interview several of them. Having a referral from a friend or family member can be helpful, but even if a therapist is highly qualified, they may not be the right clinician for you personally. Take your time. Remember, you are hiring this person. You are in charge. Ask questions. If you get defensive or angry responses, this is a red flag. Never tell yourself that you can't know if a therapist is excellent or not. Use your intuition to lead the way. Be assertive and confident in yourself. To learn about the narcissistic personality disorder, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life