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Aibu to not believe therapist?

(101 Posts)
MyTeeZone Fri 11-Dec-15 23:16:08

I've been having some therapy lately and confided to my therapist about how low I was feeling regarding how I look. They (kindly!!) described me as "really attractive". I genuinely cannot see what else they could have said as they can hardly say I'm ugly can they. Also they were attempting to build me up (self-esteem wise). This is 100% not a stealth boast btw. I don't know what to believe, I'm really disinclined to trust them sad

I was an ugly teenager and have had a rough ride with things romantically but do put effort into my appearance (a lot). Still hate what I see in the mirror though

WorraLiberty Fri 11-Dec-15 23:25:57

I don't know much about therapists but I would have thought it strange for them to say that.

I would have expected them to concentrate more on why you feel low about your looks, and why they're so important to you.

You know, that sort of thing?

timelytess Fri 11-Dec-15 23:32:20

Therapists and counsellors come in all shapes and sizes, all levels of competence and a vast range of approaches. My last (lovely, valued, really helpful) counsellor, when I told her that I'd had a depression that lasted over eleven years said "Couldn't you snap out of it?" fgrin They don't all hit the mark all the time.
It might be that your counsellor does see you as 'really attractive' or that the moment wasn't right for getting into the deeper reasons for your insecurities.
The important thing would be, to me, to enjoy what the counsellor can offer and achieve, and not to worry too much about what they can't. No-one has all the answers.

IceBeing Fri 11-Dec-15 23:35:29

hmm...I had a bit of an issue regarding my intelligence (which is where all my self-esteem lies, possibly because I am properly ugly) and then I said something like 'God I am so stupid' my therapist said 'well I'm not going to say you haven't done stupid things...does that make you stupid?'

Made me think about whether its okay to screw up sometimes etc. etc.

So I think you got a knee jerk response, not a 'therapy' response.

I won't lose trust in therapist over this - just bear in mind they don't always get it right every time either...

CaspoFungin Fri 11-Dec-15 23:59:39

Well we don't know if the therapist meant it, they couldn't exactly say; "well yes I understand where all your issues lie as you ain't got no alibi, you ugly!"

CaspoFungin Sat 12-Dec-15 00:01:43

Meant to add just forget about it, it doesn't matter if your therapist finds you attractive.

EssentialHummus Sat 12-Dec-15 00:03:38

I'm not sure what kind of therapist yours is, but if you were seeing a psychodynamic or even Freudian type, you'd probably do well to discuss with him how you felt when he said that. Easier said than done.

MaisieDotes Sat 12-Dec-15 00:06:26

IME you can say some very self-loathing things to therapists and they will neither confirm nor deny them, they just ask you questions that bring you round to questioning your own self-judgement.

I think it's a bit of an odd thing for your therapist to say OP. For starters, it's dismissing your feelings.

Mmmmcake123 Sat 12-Dec-15 00:10:04

I thought therapists were supposed to help you work through your own thoughts and opinions rather than offer their own. I'm pretty sure they are not supposed to make a comment about whether you are attractive or not. IMO that is lazy. A professional would be helping you work through issues to the point where you realise that you are not unattractive, rather than just blurt out a statement. By doing this they are not fully understanding your issues.

Mmmmcake123 Sat 12-Dec-15 00:17:33

BTW in terms of whether you should believe your therapist, they are probably right and you probably are really attractive. I wouldn't instantly think they are lying to build up self-esteem, that's not how it works. The therapist is either tired and just said it as that is how they feel it, possibly dodgy (as in flirting with a vulnerable client) or just not very professional.
Would it be possible to be referred to someone else?

zzzzz Sat 12-Dec-15 00:23:15


You are obviously now thinking about it a lot.

Your feeling that you are unattractive is SO deeply rooted that it is more likely in your opinion your therapist is incompetent than you are attractive.

MyTeeZone Sat 12-Dec-15 00:35:18

I'm not suggesting they're incompetent, just wondering if there is a (therapy-based) reason which explains why they may be hiding the truth from me. I'm not that attractive, realistically, so curious as to whether they are saving my feelings or what.

zzzzz Sat 12-Dec-15 00:54:33

So it is more likely that they are lying than you are attractive?

Jux Sat 12-Dec-15 01:09:36

I have a relative who was not a pretty child, and as a teen and in her early 20s had a bit of a pug face and a sulky look (she wasn't sulky though). As a slightly older adult she became very glamourous and astonishingly arresting. Not quite beautiful and not exactly pretty, but stunning.

Out of all my (generally very pretty) female relatives, she is the one I would swap faces with.

No matter what you grew up with, it can change enormously in adulthood. It sounds much more like the view you have of yourself, whether accurate in your younger days or not, has become seriously out of date.

Believe your therapist.

BrokenGirl1 Sat 12-Dec-15 01:13:52

Inappropriate IMO.
As some pps said - not a therapy response, more like something a friend would say.
It is lazy.
Maybe just a bad day. Have they complimented you before? Is it possible they fancy you?

BrokenGirl1 Sat 12-Dec-15 01:20:43

Attractiveness is subjective. Even if you put a photo up on this thread (not suggesting you do!) some posters would think you are attractive, some wouldn't. Realistically most people are neither film star gorgeous or hideous.
A therapist should as pps said work with you on why you feel so unattractive, what that means to you etc. It should not be about their opinion. So no, I doubt they're lying, but they shouldn't have said it. They possibly meant well (trying to make you feel better) or maybe had more unprofessional motives. Or of course a bit of both. Transference and counter-transference are real.

Mmmmcake123 Sat 12-Dec-15 01:23:28

Zzzzzz OP did not suggest therapist was incompetent but stated that there were trust issues.

Interesting mmm (sorry blatantly ttp)

Surely a good therapist's first priority should be to act in a professional way in order to gain joint trust!

Stating what might be the obvious to someone accessing the therapy, e.g. you're just fine, don't worry, is terrible practice as it dismisses the concerns of the person accessing therapy.

Many people, not all, will have heard this from lay people, the whole point of therapy is to explore why the client has negative feelings, not to tell them they've got it wrong, that won't change a long-term held view

zzzzz Sat 12-Dec-15 01:37:17

I don't know what ttp is?

I think it IS incompetent to behave as a "friend" when you are acting as a therapist. OP doesn't think that though, what she thought is that the therapist was lying to her. What I think is interesting is that it is the bit of the session that jarred with her, that is having the biggest impact. If it was me, I would think that my feelings about this "jarring" part of the session where worth thinking about.

I'm a housewife though NOT a therapist, but I assume OP wasn't looking for on-line therapy, just what others would feel in the same situation.

Ludoole Sat 12-Dec-15 02:06:18

I thought therapists helped you work out your own solution to issues, not offer an opinion? Maybe im wrong..
Personally, i know people with ugly characters and personalities, but i wouldnt associate 'ugly' with physical characteristics.
I consider myself plain looking but my late husbands eyes lit up when he saw me and he always called me beautiful im certainly not but he made me feel stunning grin
Ive got some friends who look 'different' but each of them are beautiful in my eyes.

MyTeeZone Sat 12-Dec-15 11:33:43

Thank you all, interesting points here

Yes, I do like them and think they're good, but was a bit surprised to not have been given the opportunity to access my feelings deeper. I had thought that was where we would be going

I definitely don't think they have ulterior motives, just that they were trying to reassure me

Leaningtoweroflisa Sat 12-Dec-15 11:43:40

Therapists are not perfect - we like to project that image but we're humans as well. I think that's one of the things that makes therapy work - hopefully your therapist felt very bit as wrong saying that as you did hearing it and has gone off to think and reflect and maybe talk to a supervisor. It sounds like they're re-enacting something with you, that has happened to you before and this might be the first step to unpicking it and working through it.

In any case, tell them about your reaction. If you have that good relationship and they've been helping, they should work with you on how being reassured didn't help.

CastaDiva Sat 12-Dec-15 11:45:32

What type of therapist is this, My, and what qualifications does he/she have? I have to say that it sounds like an idiotic thing to say for a trained professional who is presumably supposed to be helping you to think through your issues with your self-esteem, inferiority complex about your looks, depression etc.

A good therapist should not be giving his or her own opinion on anything at all - it has no place in the consulting room, or the client/therapist relationship. Their job is only to be a sounding board, ask difficult questions, and to help you recognise patterns in your thought and behaviour etc etc. He or she should be helping you to think about why your looks matter so much to you, and why you are spending so much time thinking about an opinion about them.

No, they couldn't have said you were ugly, but equally they should not have said you were attractive - how you feel about your looks, why you are obsessed with what you feel is your own ugliness, why someone else's opinion matters so much are what is important here. Whereas in fact this comment has now sent you into a pointless tailspin of wondering whether or not the therapist was paying a sincere compliment.

CastaDiva Sat 12-Dec-15 11:47:16

And yes, tell him or her about your reaction next time, and let that lead into (hopefully) a productive analysis of your feelings about your appearance, and other people's opinion of you.

cailindana Sat 12-Dec-15 11:50:34

It was an inappropriate thing for him to say. I'm assuming it's a man as you have avoided stating a gender.

What he should have said was 'Why do you feel that way?' or 'Why is it important to you to feel attractive?'

Telling you you're 'really attractive' totally negates any discussion around the topic and makes you uncomfortable. Bad move on his part.

MyTeeZone Sat 12-Dec-15 11:52:18

I'm not really sure what qualifications they have. They are part of accredited boards but not sure how meaningful these quals are?

I do really like and respect them but as this is my first time accessing therapy, I don't know what to expect.

Yes a lot of the sessions seem to be based on them giving me advice/occasionally sharing anecdotes/offering up their opinion. There's a bit of psychoanalysis type info offered but not loads. I would liken the relationship to a friendly, wise, older family member if I had to (aunt/uncle)

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