Karen Torry Greene: Do not become her client

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The logo of VIP MENTAL HEALTH.

I’m breaking away from my usual blog topics to discuss something that needs to be known. My hope is that future clients find this entry and reconsider their decision. If you are considering DBT, and have found VIP MENTAL HEALTH, LLC– run by Karen Torry Greene, I urge you not to become a client of hers. I feel that she is a danger to the mentally ill, the depressed, and those who seek out a trusted person for help. Below, I m going to outline some of my experiences with her.

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First, with Karen’s program, there are two sessions each week: a private session with the client and then a group session with other ‘clients’ that meet for a ‘class’ for two hours. On her website, Karen states that she works hard to provide a “safe, nonjudgmental environment” and that while learning DBT she “developed a love for working with personality disordered persons, people in crisis and people with complex diagnoses.”

When I first met Karen, she seemed quite nice, very polite and anxious to help me. I was diagnosed as ‘having traces of BPD.’ DBT, the form of therapy Karen provides, is the program designated for BPD sufferers. However, as early as my second session, I realized that Karen herself was somewhat unstable.  The first instance was when I did not understand a concept she was teaching. She seemed to get angry that I could not understand. She was persistent, for the next few minutes, raising her voice slightly about the concept. I did begin to get angry, finally, and she then said, “Are you angry with me?” I was honest, saying I simply didn’t understand, and that we should move on. She finally let it go. But, this was my second class and was due to a misunderstanding.

Karen actually taught at ASU for one year. On Ratemyprofessors, the one review mentions that “questioning her makes it 100 times worse.” And, that is exactly what happened in this example.

EDIT: As of October 2014, a “good rating” as appeared on RateMyProfessors, but Karen only taught there in 2011 and  2012:

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Someone decided to rate her well two years after the fact?

I started the group in early December. By April, things came to a head:

On 4/11/13, several instances occurred: First, when a female client did not agree with Karen’s opinion, she proceeded to raise her voice and exclaim angrily, “I love my job! I love my job! But you don’t understand it and I am hurt by what you just said.”

Later, I did not understand a concept and inquired about how I was quick to forgive people after arguments, but that they did not reciprocate. Karen says to me, ” I’m going to disclose something… the people you have issues with are having a normal reaction. You are not giving them ample time to process the argument. That’s a characteristic of narcissism.” While I don’t remember her exact words, Karen then added that she often does not allow narcissists to ‘come through the front door’ but that she had made an exception with me.  Firstly, I feel this was inappropriate to share with the group. Secondly, I find it hard to believe someone who thinks they are ugly and a waste of space, can be a narcissist.

Again, in explaining a concept, a female client did not understand. I spoke up trying to help the other client understand. Karen raised her hand to me and said loudly, “THANK YOU! THANK YOU” as a way to cut me off and prevent me from speaking.

After these two instances, the atmosphere was tense and a female client had a seizure. Karen did go over to the client asking if she was okay. The client was unable to respond. Karen then went to the front of the room and resumed teaching. I was in total shock and horror… I began to feel anxious and stopped paying attention. The client who had sezuired eventually regained consciousness and seemed disoriented. Karen asked why I wasn’t paying attention and “what could I do to help?” My reply was, “Well, I think we’ve all been triggered. We’re all anxious right now, and I believe the class should end for today.”

The class practically stopped here, as a discussion began about the events. All clients expressed tension in the room and that it was uncomfortable. Karen then reflected the issue on me saying, “In my 13 years of doing this, I have never stopped the class.” Her comment was said in a way to make me feel guilty. But she had asked me directly what I thought should be done, so I told her.

Six days after this incident, I had my private session. I had felt suicidal for the past few days. It is required when you feel as such, you are to fill out what’s called a “Diary Card” detailing your thoughts and issues. I had done so. Karen began the appointment asking me if I had been suicidal. I told her I had been and proceeded to discuss all the issues I had written on my diary card. When I was finished, Karen mentioned quickly my issues were a result of an abandonment schema . However, seemingly discounting my suicidal thoughts, at which she is required by law to address, she said this:

“You’re a bitter and mean person. You are mean to me. You are mean to others. Others have come to me saying you scare them. You are narcissistic. You have a sense of entitlement. You are not doing the work. Therapy is not this magic thing. I’m walking on egg shells here. I can no longer put on this show for you. I don’t think I can help you.” After a moment of silence, I told her I did not agree with her diagnosis of being a narcissist and I got up to leave. Karen then said, “I’m very sorry that I can’t help you.” I said to her, “I don’t believe you.” I then walked out.

For the record, other clients in the group never showed any fearful behavior toward me. I had even been complimented on my kindness and demeanor by a female client a week before the incident in April.

I feel that Karen was used to treating extremely submissive women. I am a man, first off and I do speak up when I do not understand or believe something. I always would express my opinion in an appropriate manner. Karen seems to have an issue with ‘being challenged’, as referenced in her one teaching review. This behavior had been seen in my second group session and on April 11th, with me and another client, as noted above.

I believe Karen  put me into the narcissistic category, so that she would have reason to terminate me from her care. Even if she was right in assessment, she chose to berate me just after I had told her I was suicidal, which is abuse and against the law. When a client tells a therapist they feel suicidal or have been, the therapist is required to at the very least, mark it in their notes, some cases require reporting. Also, Karen’s monologue of insults goes against her very own promise to provide a ‘safe, nonjudgmental environment.’

I do know at the very least, Karen has had two complaints filed against her already.

Also, it is a requirement for you to text her personally if you feel suicidal. I did so once. I did so at 3:30 AM. She did not respond until 4:30 PM that day. I did not expect her to respond instantly, but doing so 13 hours after the fact seems like negligence.

So, again, do not become a client of Karen Torry Greene, who runs VIP MENTAL HEALTH. Also, the two reviews on her google plus page are made by her roommate/companion. I would say that’s a conflict of interest.

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7 thoughts on “Karen Torry Greene: Do not become her client

  1. Claire H. says:

    I am amazed at what I just read. I am a former patient of Karen Torry Greene’s and she changed my life as well as my mother’s. I attribute my success and personal well being to Karen’s therapeutic support, validation, and incredible patience. As a trauma survivors Karen provided my mother and I with the straight-shooter honesty and endless acceptance that we both needed to move beyond our past and enjoy life in the present. I am sorry to hear that this poster had such a negative experience; however, I know for a fact many of her clients value her services and have been forever changed by them. I HIGHLY recommend Karen as a therapist!

    • Daleylife says:

      I don’t really know what to say. I’m grateful for a comment and I of course, want people to get help with their issues. If she successfully helped you, that’s wonderful. But yes, my experience was extremely negative. It’s quite possible she just has a thing against men. I don’t know. But I really took offense to her telling me I was mean and that I scared people… As I noted, I was complimented by several other clients on my kindness. I think she just couldn’t handle a man, so she decided to make things up to get me out of there. At the end of the day, her little monologue of insults was highly inappropriate, especially considering my mental state at the time. And any therapist who does that, shouldn’t be a therapist at all.

  2. ReneC says:

    That’s really sad. The first time you posted this story, it wasn’t as long. It seems like each time you post it, it gets bigger and more dramatic. I was one of her clients and she helped me, and all her classes were full, and she helped all of us. She specializes in helping people with borderline personality disorder, and you know, there are hardly any therapists who do that because we really are hard to work with. But she makes us feel safe, and she teaches us the skills we need, and it seems like she couldn’t help you, so you got really angry.

    Also, she won’t work with people who are sociopaths, it says so in her informed consent so maybe that’s why she wouldn’t work with you? it says she doesn’t work with Narcissitic Personality and you are saying she told you that you are narcisistic, and now you’re diagnosing her as narcissistc? Are you a professional? Or are you just pissed off and stuck in your anger like narcisstics get? It says that she has a right to discontinue services if she doesn’t think she’s effective with you, and it seems like she wasn’t effective with you. I never heard of anyone who is effective with every single person, so maybe it was just that she couldn’t help you and she had to stop working with you so you could get the services you need? Did you get the services that you need, because it sounds like you’re still holding a lot of anger? I don’t remember you from any of the classes, and I was with her a long time, I can’t believe how much she helped everyone and not you! And she kept us safe, and it sounds like she didn’t think you were safe to the rest of us, and she told you the truth, and now you’re angry. I think I remember people who are narcissitic are “other-based” they blame everyone and don’t take responsiblity for their lives.

    Ashley I don’t remember you either and I took as many of her classes as I could. Of course, SHE can’t get on this blog because of HIPAA, if she got on this blog to respond to you, then that would be like saying that she knows you’re a client. I guess it takes big balls to post one-sided accusations on a blog when you know they can’t respond. Even if you’re right, I think you hurt a lot more people than you helped.

    • Daleylife says:

      Rene, this is my blog and I have a right to tell my story. This entry is from my perspective.

      For the record, this entry has not been reposted. It was updated once. It isn’t being added too and made “more dramatic” as you claim. It sounds like you keep coming back to this entry over time, which is strange.

      Also, nowhere in this entry do I call Karen narcissistic But you decided to call me a sociopath. That was uncalled for and considering you don’t even know me, I don’t see how you can make that assumption. Are you a professional?

      I believe Karen is unfit to be a therapist; that she is a danger to depressed persons. The way she treated me was completely inappropriate and as a previous client, I am allowed to share my experience.

    • To Rene- I’ve never taken her class, I was friends with her husband, or whatever he calls himself now…. I had more of a personal insight than a professional one… and i wouldn’t say anything on here that i wouldn’t say to her in person though i’m sure she already knows how I feel about her. Thanks for the concern but my mental state is far from….. being confused…. have a great holiday 🙂

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