To hate my new therapist? (Brief mention of abuse)(15 Posts)
Name changing but regular.
I had a severely abusive childhood resulting in PTSD, which I've been in therapy for a long time for. I've made massive progress over the years and I think I've done incredibly well, and am now at the point where I have a pretty good and emotionally healthy life, an excellent career, wonderful friends. I am still dealing with sex phobia and have yet to have a serious romantic relationship, and a recent indecent assault made me have a bit of a breakdown and prompted me to go back to therapy short-term. (I am very proactive in managing my MH.)
My GP and psychiatrist are both wonderful, but I really don't like my new therapist. I've had two 40-min sessions with her so far and I feel that she's made a lot of snap judgements about me and is very black and white in her thinking. She's less interested in letting me speak and spends most of the time making pronouncements about me. Some examples:
She told me about ten minutes after meeting that she thought I was autistic. I have professional experience with people on the autistic spectrum, I have a family member with autism, and have been properly tested for it in the past - I know that I don't have autism. I think it was because I was recounting my abuse in an unemotional 'just the facts' way, but that's because I've been in therapy for over a decade and have told my 'tale of woe' so many times.
I have a tricky relationship with my DM who has MH issues, she can sometimes be very loving and caring, and other times neglectful and self-absorbed. I was recounting an upsetting conversation where I was trying to tell DM about a work success and she was obsessing about something that had happened in a shop, and T interrupts with, "And your mother will NEVER tell you she's proud of you so you need to stop chasing her approval." But most of the time DM is very interested in my successes and fulsome in her praise and pride.
I said I'd ended up having a lot of messy tearful conversations with acquaintances in the immediate aftermath of the assault, she interrupts with, "well that's because you have no boundaries, so you don't know that it's inappropriate." Um, I'm perfectly aware that it's inappropriate to messy cry and spill all about being assaulted to a casual acquaintance and I'd never dream of doing it normally (I'm normally pretty reserved except with my oldest friends). I only did it because I'd just been assaulted and was having a breakdown!
She keeps saying things like, "You don't have any friends" or "you struggle a lot with friendships, don't you?" - genuinely not true. I have lots of friends, three very close friends, and one 'best' friend I've known for years and years. I think my friendships are very healthy and have healthy boundaries and it's not something I worry about at all. I keep telling her this but she seems absolutely wedded to this perception of me as a total mess with zero boundaries and no friends.
I made some flippant comment about "does anyone really have perfect boundaries, I don't think anyone in my industry does", and she interrupted "oh no that's because of you, you have such poor boundaries you only attract people who also have serious boundary issues." I wasn't talking about my friends or people I've chosen to have in my life (I don't think any of my friends have boundary issues, they're all pretty well-adjusted) but about basically my entire industry, which is infamous for boundary issues.
The person who assaulted me is a public figure and she demanded I tell her his name and one other relevant name. I don't know why she needed that info and it felt a odd. In our first session she told me what a big fan she is of the specific area both he and I work in (imagine we're both Olympic divers, her saying she follows diving ardently - it's not diving but something equally niche.)
In our first session, she told me I'm not allowed to try to date for a year because I'm too damaged. In our second that I should abandon any hope of ever having more than a casual 'small talk' relationship with my mother. I worked and trained in mental health before switching to my current career so I am pretty well-educated on the MH system and best practise. I know it's hard to be objective about yourself, and I know I have some problems, but it feels off. It concerns me that she's made such concrete inflexible black and white decisions about me, and I don't think it is the job of a therapist to lay down the law and make pronouncements about a patient, especially right after meeting. I know I do have boundary issues and other issues but I've been working hard on them for years. She's acting like it's my first time in therapy!
On the other hand, I'm used to people (including my GP, psychiatrist, past Ts) telling me how amazing and strong I am for overcoming my past and achieving everything I've achieved. Which is nice, but sometimes makes me feel hollow. I can't help but think maybe she has a point and her no pulling punches is 'better' for me and I'm upset at my ego being bruised.
So many therapists I've met seem to think they have a crystal ball.
They're supposed to let you talk and then when you have a break/pause, summarise what you've said and ask you (ie to make sure they've got it correct).
This sounds like a crystal ball shrink I'm afraid...
I've encountered more than one.
Um ok I'm new to therapy (had my first appointment this week) BUT. She sounds terrible and possibly damaging for you, can you see someone else?
I can't see any way she is going to help you if she won't let you talk and makes you feel judged and like your defending yourself.
I'm a psychotherapist in the NHS and in private practice and what you describe doesn't sound like the collaborative process it should be. In my experience there is much more value in belting up, listening, assuming the expert on the client is the client themselves and adopting a Socratic style, very rarely didactic. Short answer - change your therapist. Therapy can be challenging but in order to get the most out of it the therapeutic alliance needs to be strong and the same challenging approach in different hands might work well. What is the therapeutic approach being used?
Yes, the defensiveness thing is bang on. There are certain professional situations I'm not certain on (because I do have boundary issues and I do work in an industry that's terrible for that) and I'd love to ask a therapist for their take, but I just know she's going to instantly say "yep massive boundary issue because you have no boundaries at all and thus anyone you meet will also have no boundaries."
But I don't think anything is ever black and white?
I disagree, she's not treating you like it's your first time in therapy - from your description, her behaviour isn't suitable for first time or thirtiest timers!
I could feel my own hackles raising just reading your post, so I can imagine how awful it would be going through it in reality.
I'd ask for an alternative therapist, citing a lack of fit, or making a complaint if you're feeling brave!
Sounds like she's making you feel undermined, and rejecting your own interpretations of situations,that you have a perfect right to have!
I find its insecure or just not very good therapists that dont stop to listen and weigh the whole situation and the journey you've been on.
The way she seems to label you, and these big assertions she's making are not at all constructive. It actually feels as if she's deliberately wanting to claim ownership somehow, like she's not comfortable with you already having insight into your life and past events?
I wonder if she's got any experience of clients with previous therapy / counselling? (Or any experience of clients who are thinking human beings - ahem, sorry!)
She sounds like she's wanting to impose her own authority on you/ the session, and she seems to be reacting to you disagreeing, or adding more detail/ voicing your thoughts as some kind of challenge to her authority?
All of which says very inexperienced, or just not very good.
Either way, don't put up with it. It sounds like it's not helpful and not likely to resolve itself into a productive relationship.
Just thinking about YouOKhuns post, and wanted to agree... Challenging is very different from undermining.
And asserting opinion as fact isn't the mark of a good therapist... In fact it sounds like this particular therapist seems to believe her words ARE fact due to her status, and yours are fundamentally untrue and dismiss-able due to your status in the session... Which isn't true, either way.
I'd change therapists. You need to feel comfortable. You can just say that you didn't think you clicked if you feel uncomfortable giving reasons.
You've given quite a list of incidents here and you've only had two sessions.
Try a different therapist. I think it's important that you feel respect for a therapist, trust their judgement, know that you can tell them anything - from the incidents listed I wouldn't trust this one either.
Things are rarely black and white. Maybe she is the perfect therapist for someone else. But it's her job to help you, not just piss you off.
I know that bruised-ego feeling and it can be valuable learning - but the things she is saying to you are factually incorrect. Time to change, as they say.
Or, ask yourself, why do you need to ask permission to change therapist from a bunch of Internet strangers? Really? How does that make you feel? Why do you think that might be? Are you worried about telling the therapist you want to change? What do you think might happen? Etc etc
It actually sounds like she's quite threatened by you and is seeking to regain power in the relationship.
Dear op. Firstly you should be so proud of yourself for coming out on the other side of an abusive past. For you. secondly. I found your post very frustrating to read. Other posters will be more articulate than me but I just want to say it wound me up reading the stuff she said to you. Thank god she wasn't your first experience of therapy and you are in a good enough place to know she is going to be no good for you. You sound like you know absolutely what you need and don't need now in life. You don't need her as your therapist
You absolutely have to feel comfortable with your therapist. I've seen a few, but the one I really clicked with changed my life.
Keep looking, there will be one who gets it.
She sounds awful. Can you change to another therapist? Not sure sticking with her will do you any favours.
Bloody hell. She's meant to be there to help you. Seems like she's adding to the problems. I'd find another.
She 'diagnosed' you with autism after ten minutes???
She is a terrible therapist and should be reported to her professional body - it is NOT acceptable to make pronouncements of this kind without proper testing by a qualified individual.
for you, I'm so sorry you've been through so much, ditch your crap therapist and get a new one pronto.
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