Research proves that the most effective therapy happens when the relationship between the client and the therapist is comfortable and where the client feels understood.
This is especially important for narcissistic abuse survivors because so often, we are starved of any personal validation. We need to know that they “feel” us – feel me?
How to Interview Your Potential Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist
Start With a List of Potential Therapist Candidates
The first step to finding a narcissistic abuse recovery therapist is to find a list of therapists covered by your insurance company who specializes in relationships and emotional abuse, if possible. You might also find therapists who specialize in codependency, adult children of abusive parents, or even family therapy.
Schedule the Interview or a Single Session to Evaluate
Don’t commit to a therapist unless you feel comfortable with them. A lot of people don’t know this, but you can do an interview or an introductory session with therapists, in most cases. So, if possible, you can schedule an in-person, online, or telephone interview in advance. Failing that, you could also just schedule a single session to explain your situation and evaluate the therapist and whether he or she will be a good fit for you.
Ask This Question to Figure Out If the Therapist is a Fit for Your Recovery
Maybe you don’t want the therapist to know that you’re sort of “testing them,” so you’d like to kind of tiptoe around the issue, while still figuring out if they can help with narcissistic abuse recovery effectively. If you can only ask one question or you prefer to avoid the more direct approach, here’s a quick way to find out if your therapist is familiar with narcissistic abuse recovery and narcissistic personality disorder.
I’ve had a lot of clients tell me that their therapists aren’t familiar with that term, and if they’re not, it’s a really great sign that they don’t know about it. I also suggest, if possible, that you find someone who has at least a bit of personal experience with emotional abuse – and if they have, they’ll generally admit that to you. Visit Our Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist Page.
10 Questions to Help Determine if They Can Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
If you’ve got time for a full-on interview, here are some questions to consider asking to figure out if the therapist you’re considering working with will be able to help with your narcissistic abuse recovery and any C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms you might be struggling with.
1. What do you know about emotional abuse?
You may or may not actually want to mention the term “narcissist” or even “narcissistic personality disorder.” In that case, just say “emotional abuse” or “psychological abuse” and leave the actual diagnosis to the therapist. Here are some examples of things you can say.
I have been dealing with someone who has emotionally abused me, and this person appears to demonstrate some of (or all of) the traits of narcissistic personality disorder.
If you want to start feeling better by treating symptoms and learning coping techniques, you want a therapist who is more CBT-focused.
If you want to reach the root of the problem, you will want to dig into it with a psychodynamic-based therapy style.
Ideally, you might want both – so a program that starts by treating the immediate pain and that leads to digging into the root causes as you go. A combined approach would probably be best for you as a narcissistic abuse survivor. It’s good to understand how you got there so you won’t be there again.
Best Practice: If it fits in your budget, get a narcissistic abuse recovery coach along with your therapist. This way, you can focus on learning coping techniques and getting validation from a coach who understands where you are, as well as traditional therapy.
3. Do you usually act as more of a guide or more of a consultant?
Fact: Some therapists use really harsh “in your face” kinds of therapy and this is usually not good for survivors. It’s often used by practitioners of “Gestalt” therapy which puts all personal responsibility for your circumstances on your own shoulders. Now, don’t get me wrong. Each of us can shoulder our own responsibility in the relationship – mostly, we are responsible on some level for tolerating as long as we did, for allowing ourselves to be disrespected over and over again. But what many traditional therapists don’t take into account (and won’t recognize) is the extreme amount of psychological warfare we experience at the hands of a narcissist.
So, while none of us is completely without fault in having been in the toxic relationship, we are not to blame for the abuse we endured. After spending years or even decades being told you are the cause of every single problem on the planet, you don’t need any more blame. You need actual help. In other words, you want to know if they’re going to lead the sessions with a tight, planned structure or if they’ll let you lead with whatever you’re dealing with. I like the idea of a flexible session – so if you want to talk about a specific thing, it’s okay to put your planned goals for the scheduled session on hold.
4. Have you ever helped someone like me before?
For the most part, you don’t have the time or energy to be anyone’s guinea pig in narcissistic abuse recovery. So, ask the therapist if they have done this before. Some clarifying questions you can ask include the following.
Are you familiar with domestic violence and/or emotional abuse in relationships?
What is your best piece of advice for recovering from this kind of trauma?
5. Do you offer phone check-ins or text support between sessions?
You may or may not wish to check in with your narcissistic abuse recovery therapist between sessions. This is a good time to find out their preference.
Be careful to find out the times you are able to check-in (if that’s the case) and how quickly (and how often) you can expect a response.
6. Will you give me advice if I ask for it specifically?
Some therapists absolutely will not give advice or direction under any circumstances, depending on their particular style. If you want to ask for advice and get answers, you need to know ahead of time if that will be an option.
7. What can I expect during our work together?
Will you give me assignments and/or coping techniques I can use between sessions for healing and managing during recovery?
What will a session be like?
How often will we meet?
8. Who is your ideal client?
9. Is our session completely confidential, or will you disclose details to my insurance company (or employer)?
10. Do you think you can help me?
The Most Important Part: Does it FEEL right?
How to take notes during the interview.
Consider the following points in your notes during the interview.
How quickly you were able to feel comfortable with the therapist.
Whether you felt rushed or if you were allowed to go at a comfortable pace.
Whether the therapist seemed to “get” you from the start, or it took several attempts to help them see your point of view or perspective, or to understand what you were trying to explain.
Whether you understood the responses clearly and comfortably.
Whether you think you’d feel comfortable sharing your deepest secrets with this person.
My best tip? Go with your gut! Use your intuition! Since you might be an empath, pay attention to how the therapist makes you FEEL. You should feel comfortable and not feel the need to hide who you are in any way from this person. You should not feel “judged,” just safe.
Why Traditional Therapy Doesn’t Always Work for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
It seems counterintuitive, but in some cases, a specific therapist may not be the ideal person to help with your narcissistic abuse recovery.
Therapists are often under-educated when it comes to narcissistic abuse recovery and toxic relationships with people with narcissistic personality disorder. It’s not that therapists are useless, it’s just that they don’t always know the depths of emotional abuse and how to recognize someone with narcissistic personality disorder.
In most cases, when you consult psychologists on love, they are fairly accurate. But when it comes to finding a good narcissistic abuse therapist, it’s often easier said than done. And going to couples therapy with a narcissist will almost definitely set you up for victim-blaming.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
Are you a survivor of narcissistic abuse, who feels alone and are having suicidal thoughts? We know how you feel. That helplessness, hopelessness, despair sometimes consumes us when we don’t think we can go on. When anxiety, fear, and panic take over because the voices, lies, and tactics of these abusers are all running through our heads and we can’t tune them out anymore.
Maybe you’ve tried to reach out for help, but you’re not sure if you’re being believed. Or, perhaps it seems like others are avoiding you and your family, because of what happened with your ex. You feel like no one really understands, and maybe you don’t either. The good news is that there is help for you – you can jump in right now and get a start on your narcissistic abuse recovery.
No One Wants to Talk About Suicide
It’s a taboo topic and it is one that triggers people of all walks of life – definitely not something that people like to talk about. It can leave a devastating impact on the ones left behind, of course, but for now, let’s focus on keeping our fellow survivors alive and well.
Suicide Prevention for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors
There’s an unfortunate epidemic of victims of narcissistic abuse becoming suicidal, and at QueenBeeing.com, we want to do everything we can to prevent even one person from taking an action that they can’t take back. Not only is suicide NOT an option, but it’s also something that will affect so many more people than you realize.
We know it hurts right now, and a lot of us have been there. But please don’t do anything to hurt yourself – you can’t take it back – and what if you don’t succeed? Angie knows a lady who tried to commit suicide and she ended up losing half of her face and will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. You don’t want that.