How could I resist this from an article in the NY Times called "THE TWELVE MOST ANNOYING HABITS OF THERAPISTS." I figure I've been guilty over the years of many of them at some point or another.
1. Showing up late for the appointment.
2. Eating in front of the client.
3. Yawning or sleeping during session.
4. Inappropriate disclosures.
5. Being impossible to reach by phone or email.
6. Distracted by a phone, cell phone, computer or pet.
7. Expressing racial, sexual, musical, lifestyle and religious preferences.
8. Bringing your pet to the psychotherapy session.
9. Hugging and physical contact.
10. Inappropriate displays of wealth or dress.
11. Clock watching.
12. Excessive note-taking.
Okay, those annoying habits notwithstanding, I'd like to add a few to the list, things that led me to once write a piece called "I LOVE MY WORK BUT HATE MY PROFESSION." I wouldn't call these "annoying," though. I would call them destructive, incompetent and/or irresponsible.
1. Prescribing psychotropic medication for any disorder that isn't life-threatening before a full course of intensive psychotherapy has been tried.
2. Prescribing medication to children - ever - for the purposes of getting them to sit still, or perform better at tests or rote tasks in school.
3. Misleading patients into believing that there are any quick fixes in therapy or in life.
4. Misleading couples into believing that "saving the marriage" is always an appropriate goal of therapy or is inherently better for the children.
5. Supporting a patient's perception that he or she is the victim of their life or of their disorder.
6. Engaging in a co-dependent relationship with a patient and refusing to let a patient go.
7. Remaining aloof from a patient emotionally under the guise of the therapeutic "blank screen."
8. Never admitting mistakes.
I'm sure I can come up with more, but that's my short list for now. Listen, don't be dissuaded by these lists. After 5+ decades of living and 3 decades of practicing therapy, I still haven't met the person who couldn't use to be in treatment. There are good therapists out there, but you have to be discerning and proactive about finding them. It's worth it.