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Counsellor saying inappropriate things ( eating disorder)(16 Posts)
Hello, I just wondered what people's thoughts are on this
I have had years of eating disorders and started relapsing about 3 months ago with food restriction and over exercise. I've been lucky enough to start seeing a low cost counsellor but after our last session I don't think I will go back.
I restrict food, and I was telling my counsellor that one night last week I'd eaten some popcorn and crisps and that I felt horrendous about it and as a result I ate very little and over exercised the following day.
My counsellor acknowledged this a bit then she said that if she eats food like chocolate and crisps she also feels a bit cross with herself!
I was a bit For starters I think she completely minimised what I had said and dismissed it. I know that most people don't feel great about themselves if they eat too much of something that they shouldn't, but the difference is that someone with an eating disorder will feel panicked and anxious and then will over compensate the following day by restricting and exercise. I don't think my counsellor gets it at all.
I was also telling her about my body dysmorphia and how horrendous I feel when I look in the mirror. My counsellor said she also doesn't like what she sees in the mirror too
I'm not sure if she should be counselling people to be honest. She's a trainee counsellor. I'm not going back!
She's trying to empathise. Somewhat clumsily, but as you've said, she's a trainee.
Seeing a counsellor can be tricky as they aim to get you to address the root causes behind your unhappiness. Give her another go, and if it's not right, find someone else.
Thanks soontobe for replying. Yes I agree she is trying to empathise. I am probably being too over sensitive!
I'm not sure you should give her another go, just because she's still new and training. This is your mental health we are talking about.
Eating disorder counsellors are trained not to talk in these sorts of ways. I know this from some past experience of this. If she is training, surely she should be supervised at all times during these sessions until she is fully qualified?
I get this, although I don't go to counselling for eating disorders. The counselling I've had has been similarly clumsy. amateurish and basically as helpful as talking to anyone. I long for the time a counsellor / therapist etc says something that I haven't heard of or thought of before. I would love to go to an actual psychiatrist (one of the expensive ones) just to find out if they're any better.. Someone somewhere out there must have valuable insights into how the brain works, but at the moment it's up to the afflicted to be lucky enough to find them!
Right now before a session, I deliberately fix my brain into a positive - this girl is trying to help me - mindset as much as I can to get my defences down and take only the best bits from the session with me.. And it helps (a little).
Good luck to you Scrumpy (great name btw)
Just because this woman is a trainee doesn’t mean she should be disclosing in this way - this is one of the most basic things you are taught in your training. It’s irrelevant and unhelpful to hear how she feels. Don’t stick with her because she’s cheap, you may end up doing more damage than having no counselling at all. Can you afford to see someone with a bit more experience?
She does not sound useful for your ED. So bloody what if she feels bad when she eat chocolate or if she doesn't like what she sees in the mirror, I think you are fully aware that most people w/o EDs have a degree of these feelings.
You are there to talk about YOUR feelings and issues and she is there to help you work through them.
Have they not tried helping look into the causes about the issues you have with food and body image? She sounds a bit hopeless.
Yeah, it can be helpful to know many people feel that way and the different ways other people cope with those emotions without destructive behaviours as it can help to feel less alone and see and have things to test out, it's quite another for her to be just using herself in the way she is. Is there anyone above her you can talk to about this or another low-cost counselor that you can see?
That’s not how you empathise. This woman needs to receive feedback and her supervisor needs to be aware.
Betty don’t ever think because a counsellor charged lots that they are any good. I paid £6.5K (yes that’s thousand) to a private eating disorder clinic for my daughter and it didn’t help her at all.
Counsellor self disclosure is a tricky one, used wisely and sparingly it can be great but in this case has obviously not had the intended effect.
As a trainee she definitely won't have experience in eating disorders.
Who provides the counselling? If it is an agency/ charity I would go to her manager and ask to be set up with someone else. I would also tell her directly how unhelpful her words have been directly if you can.
She really shouldn’t be disclosing info another herself and I wonder if this is a sign she herself is feeling a little out of her depth with you as a client.
I would be totally honest with her and say that her sharing her experiences with you isn’t helpful for you but you appreciate she is trying to help. Tell her what will help you- her listening? Her accepting you as you are? Her exploring why you feel as you do? If she sticks to her basic principles she doesn’t need to be experienced to help you- but I suspect she doesn’t have the confidence yet.
If you go back you need to be able to give her the feedback on how you felt after the session. This could be really useful for both of you but obviously if she can't cope with the feedback, don't go back. You could say:
"Can I talk to you about last session? I'm feeling defensive because every time I talked about my feelings you said you felt the same. I felt like you didn't understand me. I'm worried that you won't be able to deal with my eating disorder, I'm not sure if this is a safe environment. "
Then hopefully she can help you use these feelings to help...But if not then, maybe she isn't the right person.
I used to be a counsellor and I would not have tried to treat someone with an eating disorder as this is quite specialised.
I think if you have an ED, you need to see somebody who specialises in eating disorders. I have found regular counsellors helpful for the concurrent depression and anxiety, but only ED specialists have ever helped with the anorexia.
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