Why are so many Jungians facing complaints hearings?

Since my last blog about the UK Council for Psychotherapy’s attempts to bring in a centralised complaints hearing, somebody has pointed out to me an interesting trend among therapists who’ve been hauled up on allegations of misconduct.

The first psychotherapist to go before the UKCP’s new central complaints system was John Smalley, a Jungian analyst with the Independent Group of Analytical Psychologists. Several allegations of serious misconduct were found proved.

Since then another therapist, Rob Waygood, has been suspended from the UKCP register pending investigation due to “allegations of gross professional misconduct”. His website describes him as “working in the Jungian, integrative, transpersonal and process oriented modes.”

And then there’s Geoffrey Pick, who was found to have committed a serious breach of sexual boundaries with a patient. He didn’t go through the new central complaints service. Instead he was sanctioned by his UKCP member organisation, the Arbours Association. Appallingly, they suspended him for a year and then allowed him to re-register as a psychotherapist. In any other profession it would be considered unthinkable to give any sanction other than a striking-off. He since resigned from both Arbours and UKCP, but before he did, I took a screenshot of his register entry.

PickScreenshot from 2013-04-03 18:59:30redacted

Once again, he’s a Jungian.

Other than that, there’s only two other complaints decisions in the UKCP archive for the past year. One is against a family therapist, the other for a gestalt psychotherapist. Both were found to have committed misconduct and give conditions of practice orders.

So, of the 6 known investigations into alleged misconduct by UKCP psychotherapists since March 2012, 4 of them were into the practice of Jungians.

Okay, it’s a small sample, but an interesting result.

Of course, Carl Jung himself was no stranger to misconduct. He had a sexual relationship with Sabina Spielrein, one of his patients at the Burgholzli psychiatric hospital. It was recently the subject of a movie by David Cronenberg.

File:A Dangerous Method Poster.jpg

So, does anyone reading this have any ideas why Jungians seem to be over-represented in recent fitness-for-practice investigations? I just thought I’d put the question out there to see if anything comes back from the Hivemind.

41 thoughts on “Why are so many Jungians facing complaints hearings?

  1. I’m afraid my comment did not make it past the Solicitor.

  2. Jung himself would surely feel shamed by this exposure.

  3. Hello
    I recently complained to a Jungian organisation about one of their high profile analysts and in his defence he wrote a 12 page character assassination of me accusing me of having a personality disorder, being psychotic and delusional. The organisation came to the conclusion that he cared about me and he did not intend to cause me harm. I was so traumatised, exhausted and disillusioned by the profession I did not take it forward to the UKCP even though their decision was perverse. My belief is that many analysts have become out of touch with reality and our blinded by their own arrogance.

  4. Hi,
    I too found myself having to make a complaint about a high profile Jungian therapist. The complaint was upheld and the therapist received two sanctions. His problem seems to me to be his arrogance. He had little or no regard for professional boundaries and ethical practice unless it suited him and from what he told me he did not believe that his professional body would take any notice of my complaint. Fortuanately they did to an extent, and one of the sanctions is on going. But he still practices and I worry the sanctions will be ineffective and others will be as hurt as I have been.

  5. Just a layman’s guess: Perhaps Jungian therapists prefer to think via analogy, seeking similiarities, and dislike the type of thought that requires making distinctions — aka critical thinking.

    The problem is that critical thinking, is exactly what is needed to remain mindful of boundary ethics–to know and care that one is different from one’s client because one has the duty of care–fiduciary responsiblity.

    Historian Maria Carlson describes analogical thought in her survey “No Religion Higher than Truth: A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia 1875-1922

    “”Occultists”, Carlson tells us “tend to develop their arguements not by deduction or even induction but by analogy (author italics for emphasis). The reader, at the time of reading, momentarily senses the relationship of terms and intuitively or sympathetically perceives the parallel; afterward the understanding dissipates.

    “Finally, not only do the Theosophists constantly redefine their own terms, but they “translate” the statements of non-Thesophists into their own terminology, invariably muddling the translation. Their definitions of basic concepts are unfortunately so loose and subjective that just about any alien concept can be subsumed by them.

    Carlson then gave an example.

    “Thus, Maria Kamenskaia, discussing Fyodor Dostoevsky (who was not much taken with oriental philosophy) blithely attributes to him the diea that mankind will achieve spirtual heights not through sorrow and suffering, bu through the radient flight of an exultant soul liberated from the chains of karma(!), although Dostoevsky would never have chosen to express himself this way.”

    Carlson, page 229, n. 4.

    The difficulty is, one has to be capable of seeing distinctions and caring about distinctions in order to be aware of boundaries and put this into practice.

    One temptation that precedes boundary subversion is pseudo egalitarianism. The therapist may imagine he or she is merely sharing a quest with the client, rather than remaining aware tha the therapist is powerholder and fiduciary.

    To remember one is in the position of responsiblity is to recognize one is older, one does not share the youth of one’s analysands. That is a painful matter.

    Robert S. Epstein, in his book

    • The text in the section “analyst and patient” from ‘A Critical Dictionary of Jungian Analysis (Samuels et al, 2007 p18) states

      “Jung was emphatic that the analytical relationship was not to be viewed in terms of a medical or technical procedure. He referred to analysis as a ‘dialectical process’ implying that both participants are equally involved and that there is a two way interaction between them. Thus the analyst cannot simply use whatever authority he might possess, for he is ‘in’ the treatment just as much as the patient and it will be his development as a person rather than his knowledge that will be decisive”

      The section goes on to caution that the idealism needs to be tempered, but that “Jung has underscored what would now be called the real relationship or therapeutic alliance” (P19)

      Perhaps it is these basic aspects of Analytical Psychology that distorts the critical thinking of Jungian Therapists when considering boundary issues, and making distinctions between them selves and their clients/patients. Very dangerously in my view.

  6. This (IMO) sounds like pseduo egalitarianism. The Jungian analyst is sought for and paid because he or she
    is seen and certified as possessing expert knowledge.

    If the Jungian analyst were truly ‘in’ the treatment just as much as the patient, why is the analyst the one being paid.

    The analyst has the power and yet this description disowns the actual power the therapist possesses and fails to
    acknowledge the potency and hazards of counter transferance.

  7. Well, to answer the question you pose, it’s because it appears from my recent experience that they are ill-trained for real psychotherapy in dealing with real people with actual problems. I had a 30-year interest in Jung, reading books here and there both by Jung (MAN AND HIS SYMBOLS) as well as Jean Shinoda Bolen, James Hollis and of course Joseph Campbell. Finally I decided I would invest in Jungian therapy. This is not just a money investment (though I spent thousands of dollars) but the psychic energy invested in my bringing up painful memories to talk about. My recent six-month experience was not one so much of having “voodoo-ish” ideas put in my head but instead, just a non-therapy with a poorly-skilled practitioner. In many ways, it was quite rejecting to have this experience, it was as if I wasn’t worth the therapist’s time.

    I agree with the comment someone made of why the therapist is getting paid when both people are doing the work! My therapist was even giving lectures on how one “could be a better patient”! What’s interesting is seeing the forums Jungian therapists have amongst themselves. They say how demoralizing it is when a client just stops coming to therapy. Well, could it be because the therapists are incompetent? One said how it’s wonderful “when the patient cures the therapist”. Nice work if you can get it! How do you like that, we pay through the nose and the therapist gets cured. LOVELY! (Also, I’d like to remind all Jungian therapists that we are NOT patients, the correct term is client. They inflate their abilities.)

    Anyway, I was in the somewhat fortunate position of seeing a psychiatrist, an M.D. with decades of experience, during the psychotherapy process. One day I presented her with the same story and material that I had presented the Jungian therapist with just a few days prior. I had a vastly different response from the M.D. As in “helpful”! As in “therapeutic”! So I ditched the dud therapist. Of course they have this “termination” process which lasts God knows how long. I just explained in a series of emails to both the therapist and the person in charge of referrals at the Institute how bad I thought this “therapy” was. The referral guy by the way was full of double-talk, saying my complaints were issues I needed to further discuss in therapy! What a load of b.s. and I told him that too. Needless to say, I have ordered the Richard Noll book on The Cult of Jung; the only reason I’m not reading it right now is they don’t have an ebook version out. You have to realize, the therapy was so bad it actually un-did a 30-year interest of mine in Jung! Next up is throwing out all my Jungian-related books in the trash.

    I am in the US. Is there a board I can file a complaint to here? I found your site by googling “forums to complain about Jungian therapy”.

  8. Dear Diane and others:

    In case this is useful, here is some information.

    I am not a professional, just a private citizen.,

    Below .is a URL to an article another
    person wrote describing how she filed a complaint to a state
    licensing agency concerning her former therapist.

    find out what kind of license your former therapist practices under (MFT, MFCC, LCSW
    PSY.D or Ph.D).

    In fact, find out if your former therapist is licensed. Therapists, like hairdressers (!!) are licensed by the
    state–New York, Arizona, Texas, etc.

    Then, look up the agency in your state government that licenses psychotherapists.

    These agencies have searchable databases for therapists who are licensed and you can, among
    other things, find out if others have filed complaints. Your former therapist may have more than
    one license if he or she practiced first as an MFT and later got a PSYD or LCSW.

    Do searchers under all licenses your former therapist ever had.

    IF the person never had a valid license or already has complaints on file, you already have a foundation.

    Don’t be downhearted if there are zero complaints. In one situation I know of, the erring therapist
    has a degree from an excellent clinical program, zero complaints on file. But this person
    hand picked his or her clients — and was adroit at making it seem he was special, sought
    after, and the only affordable option.

    you wrote that “Of course they have this “termination” process which lasts God knows how long.”

    As you have written, this can be easily perverted into the client taking care of the ‘therapist’– while the client
    is paying the bill!

    I ended a messy entanglement with a therapist who started out well, but who, it later turned out, had a multitude
    of problems with dual relationships, boundary erosion, and yep, happened to be quite interested in Jung and theosophy.

    I got angry at the way I was treated but went unconscious about it, because this guy was adroit
    at invalidation. Even my dreams went mute. I was even glad when I got sick because that
    meant I did not have to go in for sessions. (Should have seen that as a red flag!)

    will tell you that I did find and read (and buy) Noll’s book. My therapist did *not* like it when
    I told him about Noll’s conclusions. The ‘therapist’ equated interpersonal trust with idealization.

    After I fired this therapist, I did some background research and learned he had been member
    of a guru led group — which utllized Jungian notions among many other things.

    Problem with Jungianism is the assertions are non falsifiable. One cannot disprove them.

    Thus the authority of Jungian therapists and training institutes is based on non falsifiable

    • Thanks, Nad, for your long and thoughtful response! The link you gave sounded like a horrific experience that woman had. I guess I can consider myself lucky in comparison. This was more of a non-therapy, nothing ever happened. I even contacted the analyst at the Institute who referred me to this therapist to ask him when the Jungian part would begin! It was like nothing was going on. I was dredging up painful stories that anyone with expertise and skill would have been mining for quite a while and yet nothing would happen. In fact it was over this therapist’s head. He would say “I don’t understand.” I wrote an email to the referrer and said, here’s an analogy: If I go to my internist with a broken bone that needs to be set, it does me no good if the internist just says to me honestly “I don’t understand.” I expect then to be referred to an orthopedist to be properly treated.

      This therapist, though in over his head, never referred me to anyone else. Luckily, as I said, I see a skilled psychiatrist. It was very interesting in that early on she advised me not to forget in my professional relationship with my therapist that I’ve “hired him. He works for you.” She’s probably heard a number of instances where boundaries get blurred.

      I did find it so interesting — and insulting — that the referrer felt my complaints of the Jungian therapist’s lack of skill were issues we could further discuss in therapy! What a laugh! As if. If I have a problem with a plumber, I am not going to make further appointments with that plumber to discuss how bad a job I think he’s doing and pay for his time. And have him ask me “How do I feel when I do a bad job?” You know?! Also what’s interesting is this Jungian therapist’s regular fee is $200 a session (I got a reduced fee because of a financial situation, yet still spent plenty believe me) — which is my psychiatrist’s fee. He and my psychiatrist are night and day. She deserves every penny of her fee. He, the Jungian therapist, certainly does not!

      I will look up the state licensing board thank you, though I think “poorly trained” is unfortunately not the biggest violation, though it can be noted as a complaint. You mention his degrees. Get ready to howl with laughter. The PhD? In music. I’m sure that comes in very handy in treating clients…right.

      • The psychiatrist is 100% correct. We are customers, we hire the psychotherapist.

        It may be no accident that in some states in the USA, licensure of psychotherapists is under over sight
        of the state’s department of consumer affairs.

        Ironically, my former therapist told me that I was the one who had hired him, I should never forget that.

        One month later, he acted like such a (expletive deleted) that I woke up and realized how barmy he’d become
        and walked out.

        And we do not sign away our rights as human beings, let alone our rights as citizens
        when we hire a therapist. We have the right to un – hire, that is to fire/sack a therapist
        whose performance we find unsatisfactory.

        Problem is, in a power imbalanced relationship, and one in which psychological transferance/counter
        transference of emotion takes place, it is only too easy for even the most intelligent of us to forget
        that we can leave. We forget we are paying customers.

        And, how can one remedy a power imbalanced relationship whilst discussing the problem within
        that same imbalanced relationship?

        No, a Ph.D in music does not give the skills in critical thinking and ethics needed by a therapist in order
        to maintain boundaries.

        Am sorry to state that someone can have a degree from a quite good clinical program, but if
        that person is immature, or regresses, and if that person fails to keep up with continuing
        education, he or she cannot remain alert and with the full repertoire of skills needed.

        Sad thing is most members of the public more fully understand the rules that define
        and govern football, than know in advance the rules that define and regulate psychotherapy.

        There is a difference between a fully functional psychotherapist v.s what I term a PWC
        –Person With a Credential.

        Good luck with your procedure.

        Let speaking up and filing that report be an expression of your human
        and citizen dignity.

        When you send it, make sure they give you a file or case number.

        Do it in such a way that you have proof of mailing and that your state
        licensing agency received it.

  9. Sonu Shamdasani has written a very convincing rebuttal of the Richard Noll Jung Cult book call Cult Fiction which includes pointing out some very simple facts that Noll seems to have deliberately twisted in order to craft his arguments. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t anything wrong in the world of Analytical Psychology or that all Jungians are competent but I’m not sure we will find any useful pointers in Noll’s work.

  10. Well, you know what I say to that, Transitional Object? I say: “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.” I personally look forward to reading my copy of THE JUNG CULT when it arrives, as it may very well be a much-needed antidote to 30 years of reading pro-Jungian books. I will check out Shamdasani’s as well though, I did already take a look at his on Amazon. And Nad, thank you for your support and encouragement. I can assure you I’m working on the proper reporting of this!

  11. Nad, I was more than a little put off by Transitional Object’s wording. Why would she/he say “I’m not sure we will find any useful pointers in Noll’s work”. Who are “we” anyway, how is she/he deciding for ALL of us what we find useful? So I’m glad you pointed out that Noll is cited by academics, as I’m sure he should be. I really look forward to Noll’s THE JUNG CULT for many reasons. I don’t know much about Jung’s life growing up, it sounded like it was a hotbed of neuroses. Some relative being a medium; having his nieces carry out mediumistic experiments, that sounds definitely interesting — I want to read about that. I would be horrified if the assertions I see in the 5-star reviews of Jung being an early supporter of the Third Reich are true, but I do want to know about it. What about the assertion that the Jungian therapy business is a pyramid scheme that rivals Amway? I want to read more about that! This info is all gleaned from my reading the reviews, which make me want to read more. Also, something about Richard Noll being a former Jungian analyst, well I mean: wouldn’t he know? The only thing is I realize Noll’s info is about 20 years old but seeing that the book is still in print in this day and age when books go out of print all the time, it certainly is standing the test of time.

    This brings me to wondering what I should do about my own Jungian library. I have a strong urge to junk all the books in the trash. I normally donate to libraries and thrift shops, however I just don’t feel they need to be picked up by another. I realize that goes against my argument for Transitional Object, as in “don’t tell me what to read”! I mean, I own a tote bag from the Strand book store that says I READ BANNED BOOKS 🙂 But I think I will just trash my Jungian library.

    Also, Nad, I wanted to let you know that the results from my reporting of the bad Jungian therapist may take a while but I will remember this forum and update when I have news of action/non-action taken. Thanks so much!

    • I’m up for buying your Jung books, Diane.

      I have no interest in discouraging people from reading anything. “We” was meant very broadly to indicate those reading to learn, whether we agree with what we are reading or not. I am sure everyone in that group has their own different reasons for reading something, inferences to draw and different interests and long may that remain so. My doubt concerns what constitues a well-reasoned-argument as opposed to a less-well-reasoned-argument. For me, Shamdasani’s criticism hits home, but you will make up your own mind. You clearly know more of Jung than I do so you are in a better place to judge.

  12. Noll’s book, The Jung Cult was published by Princeton University Press.

    Much of Jung’s work, and that of the Eranos conferances, was published in the Bolligen Series,
    which is part of Princeton University Press.

    So let us give Princeton U Press it’s due. They published so much of Jung, and also published
    Noll’s dissenting book.

    This is academic freedom as it is meant to be.

    For further fun, look up Karl Popper’s descriptions of what he terms closed vs. open societies.

    An open society, among other things, is capable of self critique and self correction – and allows
    and heeds input from those outside of it. . A closed society does not do this.

    Occult and esoteric studies are done by elites, those who Know. Gnostics.

    Scientific research of the kind that created your psychiatrist’s field and the methods she
    uses, that research is made possible of the open society of science and medicine.
    In such societies self critique is possible and necessary.

    Jungian assertions are aesthetically fascinating. But…they cannot be falsified.
    How then can one know whether one has reached a point at which one can
    graduate from analysis?

    And to do genuine science, one starts with a proposition that is falsifiable — it can be
    proven wrong. (That is, X drug has no greater effect than A)
    currently available drugs given to one group of test subjects and B) no greater effect
    than placebo (inert substance ) given to a control group.)

  13. Thanks, Nad. Princeton University Press should be commended for publishing Noll’s work despite having a long history of publishing Jung. It’s a fair, rational decision, something you don’t see every day unfortunately.

    I figured Noll was on to something good when I saw the Amazon page for the Jung cult book. It was clear that not only were the 1-star reviews from Jungian analysts, but that the Jungian analysts had taken the time to respond to the 5-star great reviews (in a negative manner, of course)! They were commenting on those! Very few people take the time to comment on a review at Amazon. So it was plainly obvious that the book was touching a nerve. It was just another excellent reason for me to buy it!

    So the Wikipedia section on the Jungian reaction of the Noll book did not surprise me then, I had already witnessed the little display there at Amazon in the reviews. What’s very interesting is in my case it wasn’t that I was A-OK with the Jungians for 30 years and *then* I saw the Richard Noll book and wanted to drop them like the proverbial hot potato. I had spent good money on Jungian therapy, saw how bad it was, experienced how bad it was, and was essentially *driven* to embracing the Richard Noll book. Which, remember, I haven’t read yet. I wish it was an ebook, I may write to the publisher requesting that. I would have surely read it by now if it were an ebook.

  14. Thanks for clearing that up, Transitional Object. No, I’m not selling the Jungian books. The thought of taking the time to price them, getting boxes for them, taking them to the post office to ensure they have “good homes” does not appeal, sorry. I have enough work ahead of me all because of the bungling of my Jungian psychotherapy. I’m sure you can buy used copies of anything all over the place on the Internet.

  15. Professor Steven Dutch, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.
    puts it this way.

    Notes to visitors:

    “”What evidence would it take to prove your beliefs wrong?”

    For the entire thing, read here.


    If persons in a movement can so no valid reason to critique
    that movement or its founder, be alert.

    Nad note: if Jungianism isn’t science, one could call it
    an aesthetic movement, an ideology or religion.

    Key question is for the fee paying customer is,
    how do I know I am getting satisfactory service?

    How do I know I am ready to graduate?

    .A good way to get current prices on books is
    the website bookfinder (dot) com

    (Disclosure) I have zero to gain financially or socially by recommending this site.

    In fact, it is an excellent research tool for finding how many editions of a book have been
    published, comparision pricing, etc.

    Final note: Selling one’s books online means putting a name and address on
    the parcel one ships to the purchaser.

    This means your own name and home address, unless you take care to use
    a mail facility or post office box as your addess — worth doing if you value
    your privacy.
    I order a lot of stuff online and have often seen people’s names
    and home addresses on parcels sent to me .

    • Thanks for the links, Nad. And no fears, I was never going to mail anything with my name and home address to random responders! My Jungian books will go in the trash, where they will be recycled into nice greeting cards or perhaps school notebooks for children — at last, a use for them 😉

      Btw, when I wrote to Princeton Press requesting they issue both of Richard Noll’s Jung books in e-book format, I asked that they forward a little note I wrote to Dr. Noll. It just said while I hadn’t read the book yet, I was glad to find it existed. Even though it was published 20 years ago, I assured him that sadly bad Jungian therapy was still alive and unwell out there.

      • Since I wrote this blog post, I’ve heard more horror stories involving Jungians – in fact, more than all the other therapeutic modalities put together.

  16. Wow, Zarathustra! Would love to hear more! Can you say what the stories are? I’m actually not shocked after my own really bad experience. Certainly I wish I had known this before I started my 6-month course of Jungian therapy. I must try to get better about doing this “due diligence” thing!

  17. Jung, in his alchemical studies, had an interest in an Arabic allegorical alchemist, Ibn Umail/Umayl.
    .Muhammad Ibn Umail


    But,,,there are other perspectives. Jung could not read Arabic. Robert, Irwin,. an expert on.Mamaluke history, and
    who had learned to read the type of Arabic in which Ibn Umyl wrote, describes how he stumbled upon
    an unexpected discovery about Jung. It is in Iriwn’s biography Memoirs of a Dervish.


    Perspectives on Joseph Campbell





  18. Oh, Nad, why do you encourage me? 😉 I’m so angry it doesn’t take much to push me. And I’m a very creative person who never said I was fully hinged.

    SO. What I’ve been working on is a little parody to entertain us all, all of us who feel the Jungians are a joke. You know the Tom Waits song “Fannin Street”? It’s a classic. To me, it’s actually better done by John Hammond, who has an awesome version on his “Wicked Grin” LP. Anyway, I’m working on a little parody of it right now. I have the first two paragraphs done, perhaps I’ll finish it another time. It actually hardly has to be changed at all, except for the first two lines — and of course instead of “Fannin Street” there’s now “Jungian Town”. Here you go, enjoy:

    There’s a crooked path in psychotherapy,
    It’s a well-worn path that’s ruined others than me,
    Now there’s ruin in my name, I wish I never got off the train,
    I wished I’d listened to the words you said.

    Don’t go down to Jungian town
    Don’t go down to Jungian town
    Don’t go down to Jungian town
    You’ll be lost but never found
    You can never turn around
    Don’t go down to Jungian town.

    Thank you, thank you very much (in my best Elvis impersonation!)

    Here’s the excellent video of John Hammond performing this song by the way:

  19. (Sad smile)

    Diane, my former therapist had/has a good clinical credential, from a top rated APA accredited program.

    And the person did a lot to help me.

    But….X used a stew of modalities, including Jungian stuff, plus being a long term (decades long) inmate
    of an authoritarian group utilizing variant theosophy and a slush of other stuff. X was also a former
    hippie. However good his training was, he failed to keep up to date.

    One cannot practice consciously and responsibly as a psychotherapist if one has the
    inner life of a foot kissing, credulous medieval whose inner life is structured around
    Magic Daddy/Magic Mommy fantasies. (aka Masters, Maguses, gurus)

    Because X was good at combining counseling skills with subtle invalidation, I was involved in
    this oddball therapeutic situation for over 15 years.

    When I began to learn more and more about boundary ethics (I did outside reading and in the
    professional literature), and above all, when I learned about actual scientific method (principle
    of falsifiability) and above all, found Noll’s book and abandoned all trust in gurus, X
    became more and more sarcastic.

    Am still furious with myself for putting up with the shit for so long.

    So, am delighted you found Noll’s book sooner than I did and got out when you did.

    (Sigh) I recall reading a lot of Joseph Campbell. He’s a dazzling writer. A pied piper.

    Am sad to say that in my dotage, I have become leery of anyone who is
    renowned and cherished for being ‘inspirational’.

    Inspiration can mobilize our energies – it is like sprinkling lighter fluid on damp wood to get it

    But when inspiration is centered on someone’s public personality, and when we are forbidden
    to ask questions for fear doing so will kill the mood — that’s a sign to beware.

    We want to feel mobilized, feel better. In small doses, inspiration gets us out of ruts.

    But in sustained doses, inspiration IMO is almost drug like. It is a mood booster but
    disrupts critical thinking.

    In fact, critical thinking disrupts inspirational/devotional moods.

    Richard Noll’s first book was the proverbial fart at the party.

  20. Nad, I’m sorry and sad to hear your story. 15 years is a very long time. I can’t imagine how much that added up to financially though I instinctively know the psychic/emotional cost is always higher.

    One thing I found out already that is worth passing on to others who may in the same situation, only not up to the complaining stage yet: There are a lot of advocacy groups for the mentally ill out there. Clearly, I see a psychiatrist. Psychotherapy is supposed to be a supplement at best. These advocacy groups can give quite a bit of advice, for free, about the next steps to take. Again, I’m in the U.S. and it seems it’s a state-by-state thing rather than a national organization. I urge those who are in a similar situation to take advantage of that resource.

  21. Thanks for your kind words, Diane. This therapist was recommended to me
    by a friend who was seeing him.

    One thing that leaves me quite angry is that this guy conned me into believing
    I was excessively hyper vigilant. Only now do I realize that this was not true.
    I live in a big city with a lot of social tensions and with
    a lot of troubled persons on the street. I was exercising quite appropriate
    alertness and caution – I was not being paranoid at all!
    Subconsciously, I was also monitoring the boundaries — and it turns
    out I was quite right to have stayed alert.

    I tolerated this situation partly because I grew up in a tension ridden
    family, and enduring chronic anxiety was for me, part and parcel of
    human connection. I was too good at rationalizing and enduring other people’s
    Before I forget, here is something else about Jung. He was obsessed with
    researching evidence that proved Nietzsche had contracted syphilis.



    Some hard earned advice about therapists.

    .Be very clear on what you want to work on. Set clear goals and beware of mission creep.

    Every year, evaluate where you are. Discuss this with trusted friends.

    Therapists who advertise vague goals such as ‘self mastery’ — be cautious. How can we
    know we have attained self mastery.

    A good therapist has to be stable and capable of giving the necessary attention to
    his or her work. The renaissance man/woman ideal is nice in theory. But someone
    who is more interested in religion than in the fine points of countertransference
    and boundary ethics cannot function at full capacity as a therapist.

    A therapist who combines the role of meditation instructor/retreat leader may be
    unable to give full attention to clients — especially if he or she is in constant
    demand to lead retreats and is out of town frequently.

    Get answers from the therapist about his or her stance on antidepressants. Ask how many
    psychiatrists he or she works with.

    A therapist should know more than one psychiatrist. Reason for this is that
    thanks to progress, and the vast advances in knowledge and treatment modalities,
    psychiatry now has subspecialties. A well connected therapist should have
    current contact with a psychiatrist who understands the bipolar disorders, another
    psychiatrist who is up to date on schizophrenia. A really astute therapist will
    have ties to a psychiatrist who is trained to assess the needs of children
    and adolescents.

    A therapist should be up to date on medications.. My therapist failed to recognize that I needed
    an antidepressant. After I fired the therapist and got my medication adjusted, my life
    blossomed. Am currently decluttering my apartment, and .feeling great.

    Do not buy in to the notion that your therapist is special and irreplaceable. There are many, many good therapists
    out there. Beware of the one who makes it seem he or she is your only option. One sign of trouble
    is if the therapist tries to monopolize/isolate you

    A therapist should not tell you about other clients.
    Two, get away if you notice the therapist gets lots of clients from the same church or ashram group.

    Three, a therapist has to be an adult — that means he or she cannot be ‘owned’ by a guru or magus
    or Tibetan lama. If you find out your therapist belongs to some sect, research it. You are a customer
    and have the right to do this. A sect with an elitist belief system and that denies the dignity
    of ordinary human beings who do not share its beliefs is incompatible with the humane and
    humanistic attitude needed to practice ethical psychotherapy.

    Four, the therapist is patronizing if you seek to read professional literature on how therapy is done
    and its boundary rules. Never put up with a therapist who seems threatened by your effort
    to educate yourself.

    Five, never put up with a therapist who says sudden shocking things.

    I was too young to know that it was already a red flag that this therapist
    would be willing to take me on, given that my best friend was already
    his longtime patient. An alert and ethical therapist avoids dual
    relationships. X should have referred me to another therapist.

    Am just plain glad I got out when I did. I have
    consulted a number of therapists. But this one was the only set up in which
    I felt as though I had achieved an escape from a prison. .


  22. Thanks for sharing your hard-won wisdom, Nad. I hope more people read the comments on this post, as I think it’s a very valuable conversation to share.

    It’s very interesting that you made that remark about your therapist thinking you were hyper-vigilant when in reality, you live in a big city with actual cause to be concerned. I remember early on I discussed a dream where I was looking for someone to walk with me as it was dark already and I while I could consider a deeper meaning to that, I had to argue for the literal meaning. My therapist was a man. I answered that this was “street-smart” and a reality for women. You generally do not walk in strange neighborhoods after dark by yourself. I can’t even tell you when I learned that, I am also in an urban environment. Other things he said and DIDN’T say made me feel he was “out of touch” I guess I’m saying with reality. We were clearly from two different social classes and I do feel in the end that made it very hard for him to “get” me. I never felt very understood by him. Some things I’d explain to him were quite remedial, in my thinking.

    I am very pro-psychiatrist. I truly don’t believe I will see a psychotherapist of any kind again. A psychiatrist can prescribe medications and do talk therapy as well. I am so happy I found one. I have found others in the past without complaints regarding them. I probably cannot urge strongly enough to someone reading this thread to fully consider working with a psychiatrist vs a psychotherapist. One assumes the psychiatrist will be more expensive. Not so. The regular fee this Jungian therapist charged was the exact same as the psychiatrist. Also, no insurance covered the Jungian therapist. Guess what? Insurance can cover at least some of the cost of a psychiatrist.

    I won’t go into the therapist’s lack of knowledge regarding medications or even having the sense to consult with my psychiatrist as these are major factors in my official complaints regarding his shoddy level of care.

  23. Full disclosure: I am a woman, and live in a big city with social troubles.

    My former therapist talked a good game about once (decades before) having been a hippie and
    then working for the county doing case management and home calls to rough neighborhoods.

    But..that was decades ago. This person was now living in a rich, bourgeois town run by a Republican
    local government that is tough on ‘quality of life’ issues. And to top this off, this therapist had
    become not only affluent, but mostly socialized and was married into the elitist esoteric guru
    sect he belonged to and was subject of.

    So, this person could afford to smile patronizingly at me. He was cosseted and protected.

    I of course, did not understand this until years later.

    Must give another bit of advice:

    A therapist may start out saying and doing all the right things, my even mention
    that he or she is accountable for maintaining the boundaries and that the therapists
    job is never to push or prod for information.

    For first few years, X was exemplary and I did benefit a lot.

    But, gradually, over the years, he proceeded to violate his own mission statement.

    Because I kept dwelling on the good times, I ignored current evidence
    that something was going wrong.

    Once again, if you find you are ill and feel glad to be sick because it means you
    don’t have to keep an appointment, this is a giant red flag.

    Too many sessions feel like ordinary conversations.

    Here is another tip off — and it was subtle — happened during
    the last 3 years I was seeing this person.

    On the bus, on the way to sessions, I occasionally had a fleeting fantasy.

    For a mere instant, I imagined myself a tired, underpaid construction
    worker, going one night a week to see the same prostitute I’d been
    seeing, one time a week for years.

    And feeling degraded and disgusted with myself for just going through the motions.

    Too bad I didn’t examine that fantasy AFTER I fled therapy
    rather than examining that fantasy just as it occurred.

    (Wry smile)

    What set me free was when a friend told me she noticed
    I was working hard in therapy, yet I was still depressed
    and stuck.

    That freed me to talk and that changed everything.

    It was for only a micro second.

    I would for an instant,

  24. More hard earned bit of advice:

    If your therapist shows signs that he or she approves of gurus, if he or she
    defends the notion that there exist persons so enlightened that
    ordinary persons have no right to pass judgment when these special
    persons misbehave — get out of there and get away, fast.

    This notion that super special persons are beyond ordinary standards
    of evaluation is a very dangerous one.

    Two, a psychotherapist is, if licensed, tied to the professional mandate of,
    above all do no (further)harm. The therapist must offer those treatment
    methods which have the highest risk benefit ratio — that is to say, the
    greatest likelihood of bringing effective outcome, with a minimum of risk (side effects)

    This is why a licensed psychotherapist cannot properly function as a spiritual guide,
    as a shaman, as a magus or as a guru.


    Because spiritual guidance entails bringing the seeker on a journey, which does
    entail risk, sometimes grave risk, and in which the outcome varies for each

    That role therefore, cannot properly be combined with that of a licensed therapist
    who is supposed to be accountable to a humbler, different standard, that of
    ‘Above all do no (further) harm’ and whose interventions must be within
    the ‘standard of care’ (best available risk benefit ratio) mandated by the profession.

    Therefore, anyone who has credentials, yet claims that roles of psychotherapist
    and spiritual guide/guru/psychopomp can be combined is best avoided.

    Too many of these persons want the power and prestige of the therapist
    role but dislike limitations and accountability.


  25. What can I possibly add to all the self-recovery and immensely helpful – to me – revelations described above?

  26. Hmmm… my terrible analysis experience was also with a Jungian.

  27. I was ‘in therapy’for 5 years with a Jungian who was also a GP. I am a trained psycho-dynamic therapist myself so was wary from the start. He knew nothing about boundaries and confessed to driving to my place of work, being ‘fascinated’ with me etc. I was in training for the first couple of years but carried on afterwards. He was a dud. One minute he was analyzing my dreams then telling me that I should ‘run from any therapist who analyzes your dreams’. I left. He wrote me several letters asking me to return. I ignored them. Years later, whilst seeking supervision for my own therapeutic work, I started having online supervision with him. Big mistake. What an inflated ego. All my clients were ‘patients’. He started to be derogatory about my abilities, at one point asking ‘Why would she come to you…?’ The client I was referring to was a GP herself so perhaps his professional pride as a retired GP was hurt. Whatever the reason, I left. Never to return. I saw him in person for one last session and could clearly see that he had not recovered from my dumping him. I love Jung, hence my initial reasons for going into Jungian analysis. I still love Jung and the idea of working with spirituality and the unconscious. Unfortunately, my one was stuck in his doctors coat, diagnosing my clients and ultimately, rubbishing my work. I value people for who they are not what they earn. This guy was and still is, a quasi jack of all trades and master of none. I told him so in an email. Never again. ghastly experience.

    • Wow charlie this sounds familiar! So many therapists (psychoanalytic ones) that I have met (psychoanalytic therapist myself) have such deep narcissistic wounds that they still havent worked through.. it is frightening that these people are seeing vulnerable clients

      No one is perfect and we always learn but some people really should never be left alone with vulnerable people, never mind “therap” them!

      • dear client1558, i totally agree with what you have said and these therapist are still seeing vulnerable clients. It is really difficult to expose thee therapists.

  28. Hi Charlie, So sorry to hear about your really bad experience. I wonder if you feel able to make a complaint to the therapists professional body? I complained about my Jungian ex-therapist and had it up held, and I then went on to sue him. It was a very difficult time for me but I am glad I stuck with it. My ex-therapist still practices but I hope that he has to behave now as he can’t afford to have another complaint made about his work. Although still hurting, I get a lot of comfort through knowing that my experience has helped to protect others. Perhaps so many Jungians face complaints hearings because they believe, as mine did, that they are ‘special’ and immune from complaints procedures – until they get taught otherwise by a client! Making the complaint was really difficult and I found aspects of it almost as hurtful as the ‘therapy’, but for me it was the only way forward. If you would like to e-mail me please ask Phil for my e-mail address and I will give you as much help/support/information as I can.

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