If, like me, you’ve ever wondered if therapists hear some truly crazy stuff in their sessions, this is definitely the post for you. In truth, most of these stories are scarier than my wildest imagination.
#15. Call the police.
“Im no longer a marriage counselor,but I once had a couple who brought pistols to their first session, and insisted on pointing them at each other in order to “keep the conversation from getting out of hand”.
Scared, i played along, and then instructed my staff to call the police if they ever showed up again.”
#14. Legitimately concerned.
“I work as a community-based social worker but I have my masters in mental health counseling so I consider my sessions to be “counseling informed.”
Disclaimer out of the way, I visit all of my clients in their homes at least once a month. Many of them live in low income housing and in pretty bad neighborhoods. Many of them struggle with their basic living skills like cleaning their apartment. Head on over to r/neckbeardnests to get an idea of what that looks like. Also, some of clients have had bed bugs so that makes meeting them a bit more challenging.
So the scariest session that I ever had happened earlier this year. My client in question was addicted to crack and he had connected himself to a pretty dangerous dealer. The dealer originally let him have a bunch of crack for free, then said that my client owed him. To force him to pay, he took my client’s key to his apartment so that he could come in and out as he pleased and sell my client’s stuff. At one point my client told me that he even brought a prostitute and made use of her services in my client’s bedroom while my client was in the living room.
Anyway, during one of my sessions, he came into my client’s apartment. I was in the same room as a very intimidating, tall, muscular, crack dealer who was not above threatening my client and stealing his stuff. I was legitimately concerned that I was going to be shot at some point during the session or as I left. The only thing going for me was that I don’t think he knew that I knew who he was since my client only greeted him by name and not by his occupation (I just happened to know his name from previous conversations with my client).
Luckily, I did not get shot. I started meeting my client with other people from then on. Never saw the dealer again but he at least seemed friendly. I would have assumed he was a decent guy if I didn’t know anything about him.”
#13. All around.
“I’ve been a provider of psychiatric care for 13 years and my most interesting episode got a lot of attention on Reddit so I’ll be careful to toe the line.
This patient had been in and out of our center on multiple occasions always linked to failing to consistently take medication for delusional schizophrenia.
He is now under 24 hour “care” after sexually assaulting a man while he (the patient) believed he was Jesus Christ. The patient claimed he believed the man was dressed as a religious woman who wanted his (Jesus’s) advances. He claimed he was shocked when the man revealed that he was actually a public transportation employee.
It was just a bizarre case all around.”
#12. Don’t miss.
“On a psych/prison unit a boy stabbed through his own hand while pressing his hand over a guy’s chest so he wouldn’t miss the guy’s heart.”
#11. No sense of irony or shame.
“Was a counselor at a Psychiatric Hospital for children in my previous career. So many of these stories sound so very familiar.
One patient we had was a 9 year old boy who had been brought in because not only was he sexually acting out in his neighborhood with the other children, but would also torture neighbor animals and frequently break in to neighbors homes just for the sake of doing it. He liked to move stuff around in their houses and then hide in the closet to watch and see their reaction. The first time he was brought to the hospital, he had been caught by the homeowner, and had attempted to set the house on fire when caught by squirting lighter fluid on matches that he’d brought with him “in case he was found out”. One day a fellow staff member and I were asking him and the other patients what they wanted to be when they grew up. Most gave typical answers like baseball player or policeman.
When it came to this kids turn, without missing a beat he said “I want to be a rapist.” He said it with no sense of irony, or shame.
There’s that scene in Halloween where Dr. Loomis says looking into Michael Meyers eyes that there was nothing behind them other than evil. I understood what he meant that afternoon.”
#10. The lights went out.
“Not me, but my wife. She used to work in an adult prison and had been meeting with an inmate who had an extensive history of assaulting staff. While she was meeting with the inmate alone in a room, the lights went out. The inmate was closer to the door and no one came by to check on her until the lights came on 10+ minutes later.
She also had been working with an inmate who swallowed a razor right in front of her…”
#9. Avoid the usual way.
“A friend of mine, who is a clinical psychologist, recently had this patient. She conducted the initial interview during which they touched upon some interesting topics. The guy was trying to explain to her his theory about the goverment. It was the usual – lizard people, mind control, chemicals in the water that make you gay… A couple of days later, a colegue of hers told her she’s “in the system” . Being in the system means you became a part of the paranoid delusion and play a role in it. Long story short the patient said that she knew too much and had to be killed. She had to avoid the usual way to work for a couple of days while they hospitalized him.”
“Second hand account from a friend, she was a grad student not prof at the time, I’m sure still violated HIPPA telling me, but whatever…
She was running someone through a study, normal script based, do something, collect your 20$ at the end for answering some questions on tape kinda thing.
Said a girl went through and seemed off. At first she thought the girl was flirting with her as she answered the questions, but then they started to become further and further from what she was asking, and eventually the girl was talking about her boyfriend, said something like, “we should all get together” then went from that idea to “you’re trying to steal him from me” and by the end was threatening my friend that she’d track her down and “make sure she can’t steal him” afterward.
Anyways, she said this whole thing took place over about 5 minutes, the last bits she had already called an end to the session and the girl just wouldn’t go. She had to call campus security to get the girl to go, then she said she didn’t feel safe for a long time.”
#7. Would not be convinced.
“Had to treat a mom who thought a neighbor family was responsible for her son being taken away. So she burned their house down. They had no idea who she was……she had previously had a daughter removed from her care and when her son was taken, she just lost it and set the fire. Would not be convinced that this family had never met her but yeah, started to really understand why her kids were taken….”
#6. A not-so-zen weekend.
“Technically confidentiality was already breached on this, so here goes… I was a young counselor just starting an internship with a new site. I had maybe 100 direct hours under my belt at this point when I start seeing a couple. Couples counseling, but girlfriend is sick of the cheating and just wants the breakup to be amicable. We get two sessions, but the guy is still in the mindset of saving the relationship.
The next weekend I head into the mountains (and out of cell range) for a short camping trip. As we’re driving back into town, my phone predictably starts chiming in rapid succession, but some forwarded messages are from the male in the relationship. He threatens me, then threatens murder suicide on his partner, and would answer when I called. We stopped in the next town and I had to call my supervisor for guidance. Called authorities and requested a safety check on both parties.
No one was hurt. Girlfriend got out of town and went to stay with a friend during a fight which I think is what sparked the threats. He must have just come to terms with the possibility of losing her. So yeah that was a super jarring thing after an otherwise zen weekend in the mountains.”
#5. That was concerning.
“Was working in a state psychiatric hospital and was called to a behavioral emergency. I saw seasoned mental health technicians walking away from the room in question with shocked looks on their faces, which was concerning. I walked into this patient’s room and saw that she had bitten a chunk out of her body and was in the process of chewing and swallowing it when I walked in. She had blood dripping from her chin.”
#4. No panic buttons.
“I used to manage clinical trials for some bigger name places…one of the last trials I managed required working with folks with schizophrenia who were not on medication. To be fair, this story is NOT typical of those folks, and I don’t want to stereotype them, but I’m just saying this to explain the behavior in this instance. The study involved 3-4 visits totaling 10-12 hours with these folks, so I got to know them fairly well. My portion involved an extensive clinical/diagnostic assessment and some other computerized tasks, so all told I spent 4ish hours alone with them (the rest was taking them to other providers/appts for the study). This all occurred in a room that (A) didn’t have a panic alarm and (B) where I was not closest to the door, which are two big no-nos. I did bring it up when I first started but was younger, naive, and figured the odds of something happening in this context was low.
I worked with upwards of 120 people and heard all kinds of stuff, like a little old lady who described her vivid hallucinations of people being cut up into pieces, slaughtering others, etc. just as calmly as she talked about her love of scrapbooking. None of this stuff ever bothered me, largely because even when people describe stuff like that there are so many other indicators to tell you whether or not they’re dangerous, and most of the time they’re not. Several others were pretty terrified of the other portions of the study (not disclosing, but people without schizophrenia were afraid of it, so it was normal) but were so compelled to help our research so others wouldn’t have to feel the way they felt that it was inspiring.
Then I had one who was incredibly obsessive. I didn’t spend enough time with her to figure out if this was separate from or a part of her schizophrenia, but she ended up pinning me in the corner, grilling me in an aggressive-but-crying manner about why I kept asking her to come back to these appointments but didn’t want to date her (she had NEVER mentioned this until this point). Again, no panic buttons, no way out. I’m a small guy and she was taller and much larger than me. Thankfully her mom came to pick her up a little early and it saved my ass. But it happened in a matter of a minute or less and that’s what scared me most.
Suffice to say I told my supervisor I would NOT be continuing that study until he rearranged the clinic so I was closest to the door and we had a panic button/protocol in place.”
“I’ll post a few.
Two schizophrenics both thought they were Jesus in a pod and it came down to a holy throw down over who was Jesus and who was the blasphemer.
Routine inmate check (where I ask how everyone was doing, any thoughts of hurting themselves or others, and such) I had a bunch out in the air room (like a half basketball court that was open for inmates to get there hour) and I walk out side with the guard behind me. Right as I make it out the power kicks off and the door auto shuts with me out with 6 people. Now it was a moment of panic. Us all standing there, them looking at each other. 100% thought I was gona get messed up. Trying to figure out if I could use a clip board as a weapon. I just blurted out “line up so we can get this done so no ones time gets wasted, I’m sure they will still count this as you being out”. They all lined up and did my checks. By the last one the power kicked on and a full team in riot gear was there. I learned the battery backup had died on the door and was scheduled to be replaced. Because it was dead dead they couldn’t manually open it either or something. I didn’t stay much longer.
Last one, was the only case of dissociative identity disorder I’ve ever come across….well came across legitimately. I’ve ran into a few that said they had it, or had tried to use them to get out of a dui, assault. Those kind of things. Never one with a stick of peeper work except this one. Diagnosed by court evaluation. Now this is special cause this was my last day and I left after this. She’s Just in jail waiting like 3 days to be transported to a mental health facility. Attacked about a dozen people. Little 90 lb girl. Messed up a couple guards real bad. Well it comes down to onlyindef to go check on her cause she’s been acting “weird”….so okay, grab like 3 guards to go check on her in a suicide cell. Where there’s nothing but a little tunic. Well look through the glass can’t see nothing. First guard walks through after the door opens. Looks around confused…I’m just walking through the door as he points up and gasps. I flip around and she’s fucking scary move status up in the corner. Like up by the fucking ceiling with hair over her face. Like 100% horror movie status. So what to do? I go “ (clients name) do you want to come down and talk?” Expecting crying girl or shaky arms to give out. Silence for a minute. Now here’s the part where people don’t believe me. Thats fine. She looks out from under her hair after a long silence and just says in a exorcist sounding voice “clients name isn’t here, only me”. Now you ask what did I do? I stared for about 30 more seconds and did what any good therapist did and said “ sorry wrong cell” and walked the fuck out. I asked the desk sergeant how long she’d been up there, he said a couple hours. I walked out and went home. Done. Ain’t messing with nothing like that. Out of my scope of abilities. Someone with way bigger degree needed to handle that. I was later told by another staff member, that she had dislodged both shoulders and wedged herself up there.
Edit: cleared up a couple typos. I’m okay with the rest.”
#2. Vacant staring.
“I had a patient become preoccupied with me and use explicit language and imagery about me in front of other patients. They were convinced that they had witnessed me perform sexual acts on others and reported it to the entire group all while maintaining a flat (emotionless) affect. Then they asked me how much it would cost to have me perform oral sex on them. The frustrating part of the entire situation was they had become violent with another clinician while they were in our care previously. I’m not sure why they were allowed to return as this specific behavior only manifests at our particular location (records do not mention this happening elsewhere). I was incredibly scared due to our size differences and just the complete lack of any affect plus the vacant staring. Ugh.”
#1. No fun.
“I worked with bahavioral students for a while. I think the most disturbing was one kid who grabbed a pair of scissors in each hand and proceeded to run around the room threatening other kids. Once I had him cornered and the room evacuated I managed to get them away from him, thats when he grabbed a pencil and lodged it in to my arm. Attachment disorders aren’t fun folks.”