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Qualities to look in a Therapist

What Qualities to look in a Therapist

Dr. Hawkins discusses emotional abuse, narcissistic abuse and secondary abuse. He also explains the importance of finding a qualified therapist to treat these behaviors and what qualities to look in a therapist.

What Qualities to Look in a Therapist

Finding an appropriate therapist who understands narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and emotional abuse can be an incredibly complex task. Many individuals who have experienced narcissistic and emotional abuse struggle to find professionals, such as pastors, therapists, or counselors, who are knowledgeable in these areas. It is disheartening that despite our growing understanding of domestic violence, emotional abuse often remains misunderstood. This article aims to shed light on the qualities to look for in a therapist when seeking help for narcissistic and emotional abuse.

Understanding Narcissism and Narcissistic Victim Syndrome

A therapist who specializes in working with individuals affected by narcissism should possess a deep understanding of narcissistic personality disorder and its impact on relationships. They should be familiar with the dynamics of narcissistic abuse and the concept of narcissistic victim syndrome. Look for a therapist who recognizes that emotional abuse is not solely a communication problem or a couples’ issue but rather a manifestation of character issues rooted in narcissism.

Knowledge of Emotional Abuse and its Complexity

Emotional abuse can be intricately complex, often leaving victims feeling invalidated and misunderstood. A skilled therapist should comprehend the nuances of emotional abuse and the various tactics employed by individuals with narcissistic tendencies. They should be well-versed in the manipulative behaviors such as blame-shifting, victim-reversal, projection, deflection, and rage. This understanding will enable the therapist to help victims address their experiences effectively.

Expertise in Personality Disorders

Given that narcissism is a personality disorder, it is crucial to seek a therapist who possesses expertise in working with personality disorders. They should have a solid foundation in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of personality disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder. Such knowledge will help the therapist provide tailored support and guidance to individuals impacted by narcissistic and emotional abuse.

Recognition of Double Abuse and Complex PTSD

Double abuse, also known as secondary abuse, occurs when the victim seeks help but ends up being further victimized or invalidated by the therapist or counselor. A therapist who understands the concept of double abuse will be mindful of avoiding this harmful dynamic. They should be aware that the consequences of emotional abuse can lead to complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and should have the skills to address the resulting trauma.

Continual Learning and Training

Therapists must stay informed and up-to-date with the latest research, developments, and approaches in the field of narcissism, narcissistic abuse, and emotional abuse. Look for a therapist who actively seeks ongoing education, attends relevant workshops, and stays current with advancements in understanding and treating these issues. Asking the therapist directly about their training and expertise in this area is essential to ensure they are adequately prepared to address your needs.


When seeking therapy for narcissistic and emotional abuse, finding a knowledgeable and empathetic therapist is crucial. It is vital to ensure that the therapist understands the complexities of narcissistic personality disorder, emotional abuse dynamics, and the long-lasting impact on victims. By selecting a therapist who is well-read, trained, and experienced in working with narcissism and emotional abuse, you can increase the likelihood of finding the support and validation you need to heal from the trauma and regain control of your life.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: Trauma Bonding: What It Is & How to Heal

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


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