The main reason why people go to therapists is simple- it comes down to the confidentiality agreement. The only times when a therapist has to disclose what a patient is telling them to other people are when that patient is a harm to themselves or others. But this is Reddit- subreddits might as well have their own confidentiality agreements.
u/ral365 asked: Therapists of Reddit, what's the most disturbing thing a patient has disclosed to you?
CONTENT WARNING for violence and abuse.
A teenage boy who poured kerosene on a girl's car and set fire to it with people inside because she was allegedly cheating on his best friend. His "best friend" had been in Cub Scouts with him but they hadn't exchanged more then pleasantries in the hallway for years.
He had a very involved fantasy life involving several people that in reality he knew in passing but he would fill journal pages and spend hours talking about their opinions about subjects.
So the most disturbing thing a patient disclosed to me has to be his mother who had known about this level of delusion and obsession for years but told me it was wrong to treat him because then he would know he didn't have friends.
Some people shouldn't be parents.Giphy
When I first started, I really wanted to do Child Psych - I absolutely love kids and why not? Seemed like a good fit
Then I worked on a Child Psych unit and it changed everything for me - I heard so many god awful stories, saw parents drop kids off at the unit claiming mental health issues, but really they wanted to party (as evidenced by multiple weekend admissions and showing up to the unit drunk for family meetings)
The one that always stuck out to me was a nine year old who threatened to kill his family. I had to interview him first and the anger in his eyes was INTENSE. He told me how his whole life, someone would leave him, no one took care of him, his family would abuse him and despite having DCFS called, nothing happened. The part that I can still see is when he talked about how his grandmother set his dog on fire IN FRONT OF HIM when she was high and mad. I didn't even know kids could feel that angry and rageful. I still think about him (it's been like 8 years?) I hope he's okay
What a despicable human being.
Since you asked:
A client's abusive boyfriend once poured boiling water all over her cat, just to demonstrate what he was about to do to her.
I still feel nauseous thinking about this.
The world is a sh*tty place sometimes.
They witnessed their sister murdered by their parents.
I had to work with a family who just lost their 4 children to a fire, describing the sounds they heard of their children's last moments.
He thought about killing him.Giphy
My father is a therapist. Gets along great with his clients, often takes them out to eat. Anyway, he was working with a guy for a long time who was a heavy drinker. The guy told every person that worked with him that he'd never quit drinking. After a few months working with my pops, he quit. So my dad always picks him up and takes him to breakfast. One day the guy tells me dad, "I wasn't taking my meds the past couple of months, and when we'd drive around I'd think about killing you." My dad is pretty used to dealing with people who have intrusive thoughts, etc, but I think that one shook him up a little.
The one that really had an impact on me happened when I was a kid. My dad worked with foster kids, and sometimes we'd take them in for a period of time. We had 2 kids in our house for a while who were brothers. They were about 4 or 5. One wore glasses and had some cognitive disabilities. I asked my dad one time why they would walk around on all fours sometimes. He told me that their parents had kept them in a closet, and would throw hot dogs/water on the floor of the closet then go out drinking. One day the parents came home and the kids had gotten out, so the father in a drunken rage took a hammer and hit one in the back of the head. He blinded him in one eye (thus the glasses), and gave the kid brain damage (thus the cognitive disability). Thinking about this still breaks my heart.
When confidentiality NEEDS to be broken.
The exact place where he intended to bury his wife after he kills her.
Wow. What becomes of a situation like that? Is that preventable by law enforcement? Does the man now target you? What an awful situation.
I reported immediately to his doctor and he told me to write down everything in my notes so god forbid anything happens, there is evidence. And of course he reported to the necessary channels (there's a small investigation in these cases by a legal expert). He was discharged a few days later, not much we could do for him, it was a psychiatric institute and he was a diagnosed psychopath. I was scared for a few weeks that he may have learned my name but fortunately nothing happened. (He wasn't a regular patient of mine, he was mandated only 1-2 emergency sessions)
Anyways, therapist here. A little over two years ago I had a very odd client. He always seemed to be anxious, and most of the time he refused to tell me anything — he was very closed off. Occasionally, he seemed to be in a good mood and would "open up," but I sensed he was just making stuff up on the spot.
After our two-three months together, I asked him why he comes back, after all he refused to share anything. He said something along the lines of "I come here when I feel the need to kill. You help me get distracted, I cannot afford to get into any more trouble. After all, that's why I moved here." I went on to ask him what he killed, and he waited a minute and responded with "animals."
After that session he never came back to his walk-in meetings. I have a lot of notes on him written down, but I still can't find anything that would indicate a killer. Very, very strange.
There was a guy I had in the psychiatric intensive care unit that was utterly terrifying. I've dealt with a fair few violent people in my time, including a handful of people who had murdered someone. But this guy was the scariest by a long shot. He was absolutely huge, had schizophrenia and probably some form of pervasive developmental disorder (it was hard to tell where one started and the other began). He didn't want to talk, he didn't want friends, he would explode into fits of violence with minimal provocation, and I never once saw him ever display anything close to empathy.
One time I was taking him outside for a cigarette, and he started talking about the prostitutes he uses. I've never heard someone objectify another human the way he did. He didn't mention any violence specifically, but I simply couldn't believe that he hadn't murdered at least one. I said, in what I hoped was an assertively compassionate voice. "I think you should remember that those girls have feelings, too." Not even a flicker.
I campaigned for him to be taken to a secure forensic setting. He got transferred back to his area and the last I heard they were discharge planning. I've treated a few patients from the four highest security hospitals in the country and I would've swapped all of them to have that guy put away.
Ending on a completely different note.
My church has an online chat room, and I run therapy hour, every Friday evening at 6pm. The most disturbing thing I've ever been told, is from a 50 year old man. He admitted that he liked to get out the Christmas grotto at Christmas, shove the figurine of the Lord baby Jesus Christ up his rear end, and poot it out of his a**. He is pretending to give birth. It makes him feel like he's giving birth to Jesus Christ.