18 Ratings with 18 Comments
James P Leone is a health care provider primarily located in Cambridge, MA, with another office in CAMBRIDGE, MA. His specialties include Psychology. He speaks English.
Half of what I hear about cults matches Leone. We had a member who defended him and attacked the new member who called him out on teaching bad things. They immediately jumped to defend him by attacking the one who spoke. Even if we agreed with the member condemning the Leonard, I'd be too terrified to voice that and stand up against Leone in front of him. This is so stupid. Just shows I don't think for myself and have a dependent personality. Funny how I just trusted the first therapist and then Leone even against my better judgment. In retrospect, it was so simple that Leone had bad effects - they were so evident, but somehow I just followed what I was told. This is so bad..And Leone is a sick guy for manipulating people like that in the moment - shaming them, criticizing them, praising them, etc. - the member commented how they would like to be praised by him like he does to others in the group. Somehow we just all ate it up and took it for granted. I really thought that if I had relaxed and let my guard down and actually said what I though and didn't waste group time, I would make progress through my obstacles to achieve normal communication with people that I have not tried before in my life.. I no longer believe that! Because I understand what Leone could have recommended was bull no matter what. What a cult!! His language was like word for word from cult leaders except he just inserted the therapy method into it. 'Drop your defenses,' 'submit to the process', 'be honest.' Then him talking about people in third person in front of them and undermining their character. What dirt and trash. What a cult. It is like dirty porn seriously. Unbelievable. And so many people bought into it, felt bad, but did not make the connection between feeling bad and Leone. Then people left because they felt bad, not realizing he was a cult leader. Only 10 years after joining, I am beginning to be deprogrammed after alienating and traumatizing my family and coworkers as well as losing jobs due to using Leone taught techniques and flashbacks to the antics he encouraged in the group. So much irreversible damage to my life. I quit the group, thank God, but the effects of the antisocial narcissist remain. This is typical and common for cult like scam groups ran by antisocial psychopaths though. Oh well.
Psychopaths usually also naturally have sociopathy. Sociopathy can be taught to normal people like us. Leone made me antisocial - antagonistic to people and antisocial interpersonally, instead of making me prosocial, he taught me the opposite of prosocial ways of talking to people, so he taught me a form of like interpersonal sociopathy. Doing things people hate and being dishonest and mad at them where it puts me in a worse situation, unwise behavior. Therefore, perhaps, Leone taught us sociopathy! He is a psychopath bestowing sociopathy on his clients and presenting it as Freudian “tell them how you really feel” therapy. His “tell her how great she is” always sounded not true and not genuine. Because psychopaths have only superficial empathy, so he may have no idea what it is like to like and be grateful to someone for who they are, since he naturally does not feel that and thus he has to fake those emotions, and inadvertently overdoes it, and then also his desire to manipulate people with exaggerations kicks in too when mimicking those emotions he naturally has never felt. Search for 'being fooled by a psychopath' on YouTube. It explains well there. People should really be taught about psychopaths in school, so we know when we encounter one. One sign of a psychopath personality is a very convincing manipulative person who never apologizes, does that ring a bell? Someone superficially charming, whose body language and tone of voice are very convincing and mesmerizing - those are characteristics of someone with psychopathic tendencies.
Leone advice amounted to this: "Tell your family F**** YOU, physically wrestle your dad, keep alienating your mom, it may be good to be mean to your mom actually, then come to me [Leone], I will help you in your attempts to find an attractive boyfriend or girlfriend, get a career and interact with people - whatever you want, I will help you in everything in life! Forget about your friends too - they are jerks, and don’t do group stuff, we only talk about group here to make it more effective, but if you forget your friends altogether - that’s even better. Oh, by the way, you are here because you are a loser and need to be here to get what you wish for, you need to do it for fifteen years and only with me. Did I say this was the best place to work on any issue? - Yes, but it takes fifteen years - a lifetime actually, forty years - like me at the height of my career now, you are very lucky to have me as I give out profound advice of the highest quality with PhD and MD level credentials, but if it doesn’t work, then I never told you so, and it’s your fault, and I despise you for doing what I told you to do, you need more group, here, let me get everyone in the group to tell you that you are awful because you did what I told you and they despise you for being that kind of person and they are even telling you in your face that they dislike you, you need to know this about yourself, that is why this group is very good for you, as I have always said, only the best people come here, but they are all losers, that’s why they need me." That's Leone's circular narrative basically. He does that on everyone in his groups, maybe not in one session, but over the course of a few. Then people walk around having alienated their family and given up on their friends, thinking Leone is teaching them how to have relationships. You'd think he is either unqualified to be giving bad advice, or evil. I think he is both - evil and unqualified.
So here are the clues for you that the guy has a psychopath personality type. One, he charms you. Two, he is seeking to manipulate and improve his status often doing so impulsively and then denying he ever said that. For example, I mentioned CBT, and he impulsively said that it's effect doesn't last and that it is not as good as the talk therapy like he provides. Fast forward a few months later, he completely denied saying that and said that CBT is great. That's a psychopath quality - they manipulate in the moment and change their beliefs like chameleons naturally. That is why being open and honest about your feelings in the moment is not a redeeming quality for them, since that is how they manipulate people naturally. Another quality is they don't use filler words like 'ummm.' He doesn't either. Instead, they use phrases like, 'You know, George,'.. do convince you. And finally, researchers who have studied psychopaths say that after spending a few hours with them, they walk out of there like hypnotized. That is the 'salivating' part I described. Like is natural for psychopaths, the guy uses his lip movements and facial expressions and just his whole persona to convince you and lead you on in a manipulative way. That is why you walk out of his office sessions strongly affected and almost hypnotized. I'd say that 70% of his personality is psychopath. And that explain the lack of real empathy, with plenty of superficial empathy and charm. The goatee and jacket with a tie is a costume he wears to convince people he is a good therapist. Unfortunately, in my opinion, he is a person with a psychopath personality disorder who should not be doing therapy because it interferes with his attempt at doing this work. He has many excuses and distractions to hide that, but ultimately it comes out.
Regarding Leon’s advice and influence. Horrible for Aspergs! Aspergs are people too, and they can be like able, different but likeable and somewhat relatable. But Leon isn’t. So I went from an Asperg to a Leon. Criticizing and going against the established natural settle ways of people is obviously going to cause discomfort. Nobody likes a change to how they are used to do things. In the context of group it sounds like new and exciting radical advice, but to others it’s unpleasant, stressful, confusing, and offensive and if you step back you will realize that nothing is usually worth causing people so much stress and discomfort. Most smart tactful people are very aware of this and tip toe around not criticizing and contradicting others or making them feel uneasy, or showing aggression. Leon just tells you to be an ignorant brute voicing confused frustration onto others. It ends up with you taking your bad mood on others though you do solve some problems and get clarity on some things, you cause damage that you don’t notice. It’s highly irresponsible what Leon is doing - telling people to look for frustrations that may not even be there and instructing them to channel both the real and imagined frustrations into conflicts against others. I kept doing it for 12 years now in different phases of my life. So scary and highly damaging. I’ve had a long time to deconstruct, quantify and qualify exactly what he actually does and why it is bad. Most people have a feeling about him, but can’t get their thoughts together to say exactly why he is bad. Here, I am explaining it to you in plain language.
I don’t think Dr. Leone is good for people in crisis. Rather, you should see him for racist dating advice and advice on new ways to disrespect one’s parents.
Besides keeping a patient for 10+ years in therapy being a questionable practice due to 'no effect' or 'dependence on therapist', let me explain my other concerns. Firstly, Dr Leone told me in individual therapy “I will be sadistic if you let me.” This is in conflict with APA ethics code 2.06, "Personal Problems and Conflicts - When psychologists become aware of personal problems that may interfere with their performing work related duties adequately, they take appropriate measures, such as obtaining professional consultation or assistance, and determine whether they should limit, suspend, or terminate their work-related duties." If he feels sadistic, he should not be doing therapy. Secondly, I told him the group may not be good for me, and another person told him that he made them feel worse than before they joined the group and he dismissed and degraded us. This is in conflict with APA ethics code 3.04 Avoiding Harm, "Psychologists take reasonable steps to avoid harming their clients..and do not participate in, facilitate, assist, or otherwise engage in torture, defined as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person, or in any other cruel, inhuman, or degrading behavior that violates 3.04a." He failed to warn of possible harm and change course at all when patients told him the group was making them miserable, and worsen their situation over many months. He would say 'this is not a support group', 'this is work for real change,' ‘now is when it gets really good,’ making you believe it was sort of growing pains or no pain - no gain scenario. I know of 5-10 people who in real life who were unhappy with him after spending more than a few months in the group, so there is more of us than you know of. One time, he said he was 'doing an experiment by placing a person with a type of diagnosis that never makes it in group therapy because he likes to always do personal experiments in his practice just to see'. Fouthly, his discussing patients’ unpaid bills in group may be degrading, and even cruel. Another time, he essentially had people with unpaid bills surrender their right to absolute confidentiality of their billing records, discussing people's unpaid bills in group therapy because it would be good for the person as well as others in their therapy process. Was it therapy, or a nasty attempt to collect on unpaid bills by putting peer pressure on the person with the unpaid bill? We will never know. But if your bill is way overdue, you shouldn't let the person rake up the bill even further is what I think. I used to feel bad for him, but again, that's inappropriate to make patients feel bad for you as a therapist, don't you think? Maybe.. manipulative even?
I feel bad for people going to him hoping it will help them, not knowing it's bad advice that will affect them for years, especially when they are in their older adulthood when it's their last chance to date or move forward in life. He acts like he knows something that could help you, but really he doesn't. If you follow his advice, there is nothing out there. You will realize this eventually, but because you trusted him and dropped your guard, it will be impossible to get his bad advice out of your head. Right now I am trying to get myself to where I was before I came to him. Undoing the damage his misapplied and misleading group therapy did to me may not be realistic for me though. I can't believe I his group for years. I should have turned around and left the first group session when everyone ignored me and continued having inside conversations, then he embarrassed a member and blamed it on me and others. He offers a fake promise that he can help, abuses you, blames you and refuses to take responsibility. The guy is a scammer people, though he appears professional, charismatic, brilliant and implies confidence in his trade. But this is a fake show. He is a fake doctor and a subpar pretend therapist with abusive tendencies. He vastly oversells his skills and life advice. It would be a violation of ethics if he asked people to post the positive reviews by the way. Don't do anything he says and don't believe his interpretations of most things. Maybe start a support group for former clients who have realized he was bad and are trying to unlearn the bad ideas he put in their head.
I have been a patient of Dr. James Leone in both individual and group therapy. He helped me build relationships and sustain them throughout my young adult life and into making my own family here in the US. I am forever grateful. The group therapy under Dr. Leone’s guidance was a powerful tool for change, most of the learning occurs from interactions with other group members. Dr. Leone gently guides and for the most part lets the group members do the work. Thanks Dr. Leone.
I have seen Dr. Leone in both private and group sessions for many years. I found him to be caring and insightful. I worked with him for three years initially, and it changed my life. I go back now for tune-ups. The group sessions, which I attended for a year or two after some progress in individual therapy, demand more of an individual because they're a way to learn more about your social interactions, which can be hard, but that's the point. And there's always a unique chemistry between each client and therapist. My choice to see Dr. Leone resulted in a reliably caring therapeutic relationship that I was able to trust for years of progress.
Group practice (which is how I know Dr. Leone’s work) is not for everyone. I find the opportunity to work through my problems with other men under Jim’s guidance to be extraordinarily helpful. However, I have seen several men pass through Jim’s group without learning very much – or worse, finding the process unpleasant. Self-discovery can take you to places you might feel that you don’t want to go, but I think that if you bring the right attitude to a group, you’ll be richly rewarded. As I see it, Jim is very well qualified to help you get there.
For more than a decade, I’ve experienced Dr. Leone’s compassionate and wise care. He is an experienced mental health provider who cares for the well being of his clients.
This guy is bad news. The prior reviews align with my own experience perfectly. If you’re a patient, and feel that you’ve been treated similarly to the reviewers here, it’s time to face the reality. You are not alone.
His groups are nothing like what he claims during the free consultation. They're a free-for-all. He encourages patients to articulate their negative feelings about other group members. That's ok if done carefully. But he encourages - instructs is a better word for it - group members to communicate their projections and transference issues onto other, vulnerable, members recklessly and with no regard for the feelings of the other person. Many a time I saw someone cry in his group after being attacked. It happened about twice per group, on average. Sometimes Dr. Leone attacks group members, under the guise of therapy. His words and tone are often abusive. Not subtly abusive, but very obviously abusive. It's nothing I've seen in a therapist. Dr. Leone told me "I will be sadistic if you let me." That was extremely disturbing. He encouraged patients to fight with their friends and relatives as a way to resolve interpersonal issues. He acted like an autocrat. As a general practice, he reads aloud to the group the private emails of those who fall behind in their payments as a way of controlling them. I knew him well, and he struck me as bigoted and chauvinistic. There were a whole lot of problems. He did more damage than good.
His groups are nothing like what he claims during the free consultation. They're a free-for-all. He encourages patients to articulate their negative feelings about other group members. That's ok if done carefully. But he encourages - instructs is a better word for it - group members to communicate their projections and transference issues onto other, vulnerable, members recklessly and with no regard for the feelings of the other person. Many a time I saw someone cry in his group after being attacked. It happened about twice per group, on average. Sometimes Dr. Leone attacks group members, under the guise of therapy. His words and tone are often abusive. Not subtly abusive, but very obviously abusive. It's nothing I've seen in a therapist. Dr. Leone told me "I will be sadistic if you let me." That was extremely disturbing. His insights were hit and miss, and mostly based on his own, possibly warped, life experiences. He stereotyped people pretty badly. When he misunderstood someone, he would usually persist arrogantly, and insist his insight was right, which would leave them feeling more misunderstood, confused, and angry. He encouraged patients to fight with their friends and relatives as a way to resolve interpersonal issues. He acted like an autocrat. As a general practice, he reads aloud to the group the private emails of those who fall behind in their payments as a way of controlling them. I knew him well, and he struck me as bigoted and chauvinistic. There were a whole lot of problems. He did more damage than good.
..he will discount criticism from last clients as not wanting to do the hard work, not understanding of group process, crazy, etc...will deny past things he said...will take credit for your successes, but not bad things that happened to you if you tried his advice...his answering machine says, “hi for me press 1, for my wife who is a therapist in our shared expensive Cambridge office press 2,” which would be absolutely fine with me since Cambridge real estate is super expensive, but it makes me wonder if maybe his wife does not trust him getting voicemail from his female clients and wants to keep an eye? This is just speculation though..
He unilaterally fired my therapist without my consent when I saw him as a group therapist. His rationale was that she was controlling and infantalizing me. Never saw her again - one of my biggest regrets. Runs his groups as a potemkin dictator - tells you he knows thoughts and emotions - because he is all-knowing... - if you disagree, he says he is the dominant male figure in the group, and your disagreement manifests father issues. I was in his group for 2 years. I content he is a fraud and a charlatan who doesn’t show proper respect to people. And I heard way to much talk of incest with my mother, attraction to my sister, and sleeping with my cousin. I know a group of patients who have been badly damaged emotionally by his groups and still are affected by it. I say this with full understanding of its weight: it’s time someone reported him to his licensing board for review.
Jim Leone seems like a very nice guy at first. I spent 1 year attending his groups, on a weekly basis. I also met with him individually. While he enjoys what he does, and his sense of enjoyment is initially infectious, it wears thin. I found Dr. James Leone's outlook on life, advice, and even behavior to be shallow. Then it becomes clear that Dr. Leone requires you to agree with him, and even degrades you if you fall out of line. Much more disturbingly, I found that he treats members of his group in cruel ways. There is no excuse for that behavior, especially from a healthcare provider.
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