I want to Complain about my Counsellor

Sometimes, the relationship between the counsellor and client can encounter difficulties.

From a [tooltip text='Psychodynamics is the theory and systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation.'] psychodynamic [/tooltip] point of view, the relationship between therapist and client can grow to mirror the difficulties experienced in the client’s life.  It is therefore not unexpected that seemingly-unmanageable situations in the clients personal life may be repeated with the therapist (albeit unintentionally & unconsciously).

Repeating Past Experiences.

The difference in these therapeutic circumstances will be that the therapist will try to help the client work through the problems (assisting the client in taking the opportunity to work with the problems in a different way) whilst at the same time trying to be aware of his own potential to unintentionally repeat behaviour that the client has experienced in his/her past.  It’s a very real process – it can be successfully worked through but for some clients it can be too disturbing if it occurs.

It is my approach to talk openly about difficulties as part of the therapy for these very reasons.

When Therapeutic Problems cannot be Worked-Through.

Despite the best of intentions, sometimes very difficult problems cannot be worked through between client and therapist. Whether the client cannot hold onto a spark of imagination that allows him/her to trust that this distressing manifestation is part of the transference, or the therapist hasn’t been self-aware sufficiently to work with their [tooltip text='Counter transference: the therapist`s emotional entanglement with the client; the therapist`s unconscious response to unconsciously communicated client material.'] counter-transference [/tooltip] response to the client’s [tooltip text='Transference is a phenomenon in psychoanalysis characterized by unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another.'] transference [/tooltip] – and the client feels hurt, betrayed, let down etc.

Therapist Abuse.

The client cannot be blamed for being unable to disassociate from very real feelings of betrayal (etc). That is one matter.

Another quite different matter is when the therapist has not behaved ethically – whether by intentionally abusing the client (financially, sexually etc) or not being skilled enough or not using supervision enough to keep the therapeutic work safe.

Complaining to a Professional Body.

If , during therapy, you and Dean cannot resolve manifesting difficulties, and you wish to raise a professional complaint about Dean, you have the option of taking your complaint to his professional body: the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). 

  • This will make your complaint about me formal and the BACP have professional procedures in place to handle such formal complaints.
  • It may also be helpful to review BACP’s Making a Complaint page which gives information on what to do before raising a complaint.

Contacting the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.

British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy,
BACP House,
15 St John’s Business Park,
LE17 4HB.

Tel: 01455 883300,
Fax: 01455 550243,
Minicom: 01455 550307,
Text: 01455 560606