What to do when you feel you are not in good hands?

Authors: Dr. phil. Ulli Biechele, Dipl.-Psych. Margret Göth, Dipl.-Psych. Thomas Heinrich, Dr. phil. Jochen Kramer and Dipl.-Psych. Andrea Lang

If you are not satisfied: talk to your counsellor or therapist about it! Openly address the issues that are bothering you. Usually having a clarifying factual discussion can really help to clear up misunderstandings and create clarity.

If difficulties persist and are not resolvable in your opinion, you can contact the ethics association (Ethikverein). The ethics association helps in the following situations, among others:

  • If you feel insecure, hurt or badly treated
  • If a conflict has arisen during your treatment and you feel you cannot resolve it on your own
  • If the your treatment has been discontinued or its continuation threatened for reasons you cannot understand
  • If you are looking for advice or further information about psychotherapeutic treatment and the conditions for accessing it

The ethics association works independently and free of charge. VLSP* is a member of the ethics association. You can find more detailed information on the website of the ethics association.

If difficulties in your therapy or counselling are unresolvable, you can stop seeing that therapist or counsellor at any time and change to another one. Try to communicate your decision to the counsellor or therapist in person. This will end the relationship between you in a more “reasonable” way, without any resentment or dissatisfaction.

You can, or even should, consider ending your therapy or counselling if the therapist/counsellor does not fulfill their duties towards you or if they do not respect and value your identity or you as a person. This also applies if they clearly insist that it would be better if you were heterosexual and cisgender. This view is based solely on negative attitudes of the therapist/counsellor towards LGBTQI* people and has absolutely no factual or professional basis. Information about how to treat LGBTQI* people professionally is contained within a number of guidelines (see VLSP recommendations on counselling and therapy for lesbian, gay and bisexual clients).

In order for counselling or therapy to be successful for LGBTQI* people, it is crucial that they are valued, and not just for their being LGBTQI*, but rather in all facets of them as people. This means their sexual orientation and gender identity should be valued – or the questions and insecurities they have about them.

Since this acceptance and appreciation is important for the success of the therapy, we recommend discontinuing counselling or therapy if the counsellor or therapist is not able to appreciate sexual orientations other than heterosexuality. This is important, as no claims can be made retrospectively if counselling or therapy was not successful for this reason! Case law in Germany interprets this as follows: if you continue therapy or counselling despite not being valued, you have still given your consent to it.

Last updated: 03/09/2021 - 16:20

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