Therapists entrap their clients when their clients are at a low point and are emotionally vulnerable. The advertising does this in a completely naked way – focussing on what are, for many people, difficult times in their lives; bereavement, losing a job, splitting up with a partner and so on. At these times peoples’ self-confidence can often be at a low ebb. They are susceptible to the blandishments of the therapists and counsellors. Of course; what people who respond to these adverts really want is a bit of warmth, some companionship. They are lonely. If they had a strong circle of real friends they would not have been browsing the therapy ads. in the first place. And so; they are sucked in.
From the first encounter the therapist goes to work extenuating this basic sense of inferiority; this lack of self-confidence. The therapist tells them “Only I am able to understand what is going on inside your feelings and thoughts. You can’t understand them; that’s why you’re here. Your friends can’t understand; they aren’t professionals, like me”. Some therapists explicitly caution their clients against relying on the friends; sawing away at these normal social relationships in order to deepen the dependency of their clients on their paid substitute for friendship. The therapist will always try to over-awe their client with their expertise. In the more blatant examples they will line their “consulting rooms” (often just a front room in their house) with important looking tomes on the “science” of psychoanalysis. They may hang certificates in prominent places. The vulnerable client is probably too preoccupied with their own problems to look at what the certificate really means. If they did they’d invariably find out that it was bought as part of a pyramid marketing scheme. (In this system the new entrant to the profession acquires the certificate from one of any number of therapy training schools by paying substantial sums for training. This training may include paying a therapist higher up the ladder for a ‘training therapy’ or substantial fees for seminars. The schools are not regulated by any kind of governmental oversight as is the case in state-backed certificates). The vulnerable patient is also likely to be too preoccupied with their own problems to ask the therapist any difficult questions about the intellectual basis for their practice. Even if they did the therapist would be likely to deflect such questions and turn the client’s attention back to their own emotions and the sense of deficiency which brought them to therapy in the first place.
The therapist will do everything he or she can to cause the new client, who represents a lucrative new income stream, to feel that their problems are deep-seated and internal. It is not simply that you are sad that your partner has died, bereft and adrift after the end of an important relationship or in a state of confusion about what to do at this point in your life. All these perfectly normal life-experiences are reinterpreted as being the surface manifestations of deep-seated neuroses. In their vulnerable state, and over-awed by the therapist’s pretensions (entirely fraudulent) to expertise and professionalism the new client comes to believe in this new interpretation. They settle down to years* of pointless psychotherapy. Eventually, despite this de-energising disciplinary experience the client’s life will, in the normal course of events, change. The change will come by default and certainly slower than it would have done had the client simply faced their problems in the same way that people have dealt with these kinds of problems for milenia – without therapy. But the change will come. At a judicious point the therapist will draw the therapy to a close and move on to their next cash-cow. Many former clients will believe in the therapy. This is, unfortunately, as foolish as believing that the positive change occurred in your life as a result of the spell the witchdoctor cast for a fee and not just at the same time. A basic error of attributing cause to coincident events.
* (Therapy knows how to spread its marketing offer and nowadays despite years of assuring everyone that it was a scientific fact that therapy was a long-term process many therapists now offer “short-term solution focussed” therapy).