Sometimes your therapist will make a mistake:
- an insensitive or clumsy comment
- an intrusive line of questioning
- a failure to notice, attend to, or take seriously, something important in the session
- unwelcome or way-off-base advice.
If such problems are recurrent and severe, it may be a sign that you don't have a very good therapist, and that it is important to seek a referral to someone else.
Some problems could be forms of malpractice (e.g. being given dangerous medications inappropriately), and could be pursued through legal channels.
I think that a healthy therapy frame is one in which the therapist will be open to discussing any problems or mistakes.
The therapist should sincerely apologize for all mistakes, and be open to making a plan to prevent similar mistakes from happening again.
You deserve to feel safe, respected and cared for in therapy.
There are other types of conflicts that can arise in therapy, when one person or the other feels hurt, frustrated, or misunderstood. I can think of situations over the past ten years in which there have been tense conflicts, and in which my patient chose not to continue seeing me. In some of these cases, I have felt that there was a conflict--a problem in the relationship--which needed to be resolved. Sometimes these conflicts were made more likely by my own character style or behavioral quirks; other times I think these conflicts were at least partly "transferential," in that my actions triggered memories associated with conflicts from previous relationships (such as with parents growing up). In a few cases, I think the conflict was influenced by active mood symptoms (e.g. severe irritability). I think many conflicts have a mixture of different causes, and are not necessarily caused by just one thing.
In any case, I do strongly believe that resolving conflict in therapy is very important. And I believe a therapist must gently and empathically invite a dialog about conflicts, in a manner which is open, non-defensive, and "non-pushy." Such a moment of conflict-resolution, if it occurs, could be one of the most valuable parts of a therapy experience, a source of peace and freedom.