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To feel uncomfortable that my close friend chose to see the same therapist as me?

(21 Posts)
cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 18:31:21

I should start by acknowledging that the problem is all mine. But I allowed it to snowball into a situation that I'm struggling to make peace with.

I started seeing this therapist because I have been having a hard time in a toxic work environment and was looking for help with that among other things. I felt it was very much a "safe place" for me to go and sort through things in an environment that was separate and detached from the rest of my life (work, husband, family, friends).

My close friend then, via email, asked for his number. And this is where I choked. I should have addressed it then by telling her that I felt weird about sharing the same therapist with her while I am still in therapy with him. But I ignored that particular email and she went ahead to find his number and she started to see him this week.

I know she has every right to see him if she needs to. But I really don't know what to do. I don't want to "share session stories" because its all very private for me at the moment. I know I wouldn't have a problem with her seeing him if I was no longer working with him but somehow this feels different. Sort of like dating the same guy or something. And this is where I know IABU - we are in a big urban centre and I just wish she had found a doctor of her own to go to.

At the moment, I'm trying to find a way forward by basically not engaging in discussions about her appointments outside of, "that's nice" or "sounds good". The hard part of me is that I care for my friend a great deal but this really bothers me and I don't know how to "get over it" which is really what I should just do. But I am interested in hearing different views on this as a (non) issue. Thanks for listening.

SingingGerbil Fri 07-Mar-14 19:13:07

YABU. You do 't have to share session stories and the therapist definitely can't share anything confidential.

Nanny0gg Fri 07-Mar-14 19:17:34

I can see the problem.

If you mention your friend and she mentions you (even without using names) it surely must influence the therapist? It's giving them more information, insight and ideas that they wouldn't normally have come to, surely?

DoJo Fri 07-Mar-14 19:17:40

I think you need to pin down what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable about the situation. Is it that your friend is too keen to share and you don't want to reciprocate? That you wanted to have something that was all to yourself? That you have a tiny niggle that he might say something like 'one of my other patients is x,y or z' and even though he doesn't say it's you, she will recognise you?

I think that if you could put your finger on what it was that makes you so uncomfortable then you might be in a better place to address it. Have you mentioned it to your therapist? Maybe if you brought it out in the open with him, he might have some ideas on how you can mitigate your discomfort.

CantUnderstandNewtonsTheory Fri 07-Mar-14 19:22:52

Does the therapist know that you two are close friends? I would be very surprised if he still agreed to see her if he knew - they have a very strict code of conduct to adhere to which makes it this unlikely, especially if you are going to be talking about each other in sessions.

cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 19:43:56

Thanks for the views expressed thus far. And you are right that I need to pin down the discomfort which I will discuss with the therapist about when I see him next.

I don't mean to sound like a self-appointed martyr but generally I tend to be the person who is stoic and who copes and is a "counselor" to others. I'm the problem solver at work. And I guess over the past year I've felt that this is one thing that I am doing for myself that is for me and I feel a bit selfish about it. I have a young child at home, I have a stressful job where I interact with lots of people on a daily basis and this felt like my personal "arms-length" island. Also, going to therapy isn't easy for me and it felt like a big effort for me to commit to in the first place. (I struggle having to be self-reflective and talk about myself)

Further to this, my friend, who is I love, has been struggling personally this year and I have been supporting her where I can (practically and financially at times). Because of her troubles, I haven't felt I could burden her with the extent of mine. Hence my reasons for going to a therapist in the first place.

I guess it just all feels a bit "too close to home" to me I suppose?

cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 19:49:25

Cant - I'm not sure because I'm trying not to engage in conversations around it at the moment until I figure out the best way to deal with it. I don't know what she told him regarding how she heard about him. My plan right now is to bring it up when I see him next and try to determine a way forward.

StopItBob Fri 07-Mar-14 20:00:35

I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I think to get the full value of therapy you need to talk without fear of being judged and your friend sharing the same therapist can bring doubt into that, what if you recount the same event or want to discuss your friend?

Rest assured though a good therapist will not judge, they are not looking to compare stories but are listening to how you feel and assisting you in exploring that. They are fully aware that if 10 people witness the same event you can get 10 completely different versions of what has happened, no one is more right or anyone worthy of judgement. I suggest you discuss your concerns with him to put your mind at rest.

Do keep going though if you feel benefit from the sessions, good luck.

Casmama Fri 07-Mar-14 20:01:38

I think you should be very direct with your friend and tell her that you feel uncomfortable with the situation and would rather not mention her therapy to you at all. I don't see why you would tell your therapist- it seems unlikely they would work it out and it is their job to be objective.

iamsoannoyed Fri 07-Mar-14 20:06:36

I don't see the problem myself, but as it is a problem for you then I'd suggest you explain to your friend that you'd rather not talk about counselling (hers or yours) as it's very raw and personal for you at the moment.

It only has to become a huge deal if you let it.

As others have said, therapists are professionals whose job is to remain objective and help you work through your problems, so I wouldn't worry about being judged or a breach of confidentiality.

iamsoannoyed Fri 07-Mar-14 20:11:55

I agree talking to your counsellor regarding your feelings, he/she should be able to help you with this situation.

A note of caution- I wouldn't necessarily anticipate him refusing to see your friend anymore as counsellors can see members of the same family (I know this has happened in my own family, with a reputable, qualified and registered therapist), so I'm not sure there is a conflict of interest or other reason for this person to cease treating your friend.

cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 20:14:14

Thanks again. I'm not really worried about it "tainting" my therapy experience per say, or hers for that matter. He is extremely professional. It's more of a weird boundary thing with my friend (two worlds colliding kind of thing). This is a silly example but the doctor rescheduled an appointment with me. And it was only via my friend, through an unrelated conversation (i.e. let's have lunch before my appt. on X) that I realized my appointment was directly after hers and we absolutely would have crossed paths (but I had to decline for other reasons). It's all just a bit "ugh" for me at the moment. Its part of the reason I'm posting here too so thank you all for your views.

cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 20:16:02

And I absolutely agree that it will only be as big a problem for me as I let it. Which is probably the answer to this whole thing!

monkeynuts123 Fri 07-Mar-14 20:33:22

I think you should tell her. It's inappropriate that she chose your therapist, what's wrong with her? sibling rivalry? I would tell her straight, that you are not comfortable with it.

Sovaysovay Fri 07-Mar-14 21:15:20

You should see what the therapist says. When I went, I pondered the idea of my husband seeing him as well, on a solo basis, but he said he wouldn't be able to treat my husband - conflict of interest. But he'd recommend a therapist for him.

cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 21:16:20

Monkey I confess that that was my gut reaction initially too but I think it honestly doesn't occur to her that this might bother me because she has also been to see another therapist that I had used in the past (for the break up of my first marriage). To be clear, I gave her the number of someone I hadn't seen in years so there wasn't an issue on that for me at the time. But although this is a little different for me because we are seeing the same person concurrently, I can understand that she might not see this could be an issue at all.

I will talk to her at some point. We talk about everything else normally. She is Auntie xx to my dd. She is so close to me normally that it is part of the reason this is weird for me I guess.

monkeynuts123 Fri 07-Mar-14 21:20:44

Well then you can explain it in that context, felt ok when you weren't seeing the therapist anymore but this time feels different to you and complex. The fact this is the second therapist of yours she has tried to snaffle see I would say she definitely has issues around this so expect a big reaction. Weird. In future keep your cards close to your chest.

MooMaid Fri 07-Mar-14 21:34:34

I can see where you're coming from. I know my counsellor would never break confidence and disclose things to anyone else but I tell her things because it's safe, and it's my 'zone'. I like that it's not associated to anything else at all and is seperate from my life.

That said its going to be difficult to explain that to your friend - I think you should talk it through with your therapist as I'm sure he'll help you work through it so no YANBU

Ziplex Fri 07-Mar-14 21:34:47

TBH I wouldn't let it worry you, every thing you say is in confidence and your therapist has no conflict of interest, nothing you or she says will be repeated and neither will be judged/whatever because of the other ( I'm a therapist and honestly hand on heart nothing ever goes further than between my client and I and my clinical supervisor, which every ethical/good therapist should have).
Say what you want to him just don't engage in that side of life with your friend.
I would say something to a friend who did chose the same along the lines of ... you should explore why you keep choosing the same therapist me!!

niddy Fri 07-Mar-14 21:40:42

Duel relationships are tricky. Sounds very important to you to have something just for you in life. You sound like a 'giver' in life and this is very needed for you. Do share your feelings with your therapist about this. It is okay to keep some things just for you and not to share, or be vague in the future should you have therapy. Good luck smile

cubiclejockey Fri 07-Mar-14 21:50:04

Thank you all so much for your comments and insight, really. This has all been extremely helpful.

My friend hasn't had the easiest of lives and she has had a tough year. It has impacted her mood and at times her behaviour (understandably). I am not proud of this but I think part of my feelings of discomfort around this stem from the fact that I have been irritated with her on more than one occasion and I am not used to that.

I will address it with the therapist, then, if need be, I'll probably talk with her too. I certainly don't want to allow this to hurt our relationship with each other.

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