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Therapist turning me into DH’s emotional support human
103

JustTheOneForMeThanks · 06/08/2022 13:22

I won’t go into the details but my husband has a long-term diagnosed mental health condition. Over the years he’s had various treatment, therapy etc and generally handles it well but we’ve come to expect up and downs.

He lost a parent four months ago and hasn’t been in a great place mentally, completely understandably, and has been referred to a new therapist for two sessions a week which are done online.

We’ve both been through this enough times to know what only the person with the MH issue can fix the MH issue- he’s the one who had to do the medication, counseling, workshops etc and I’m here to support him, but I can’t fix the problem.

I’m very, very supportive of him and have always made sure he can access all the help he needs etc over the years so I’m very glad he’s gelling well with his new therapist.

He really likes her and is finding the sessions beneficial which is fantastic. I tend not to ask him too much about the sessions as I don’t want to pry, but do ask if he’s finding them good. Three weeks ago he mentioned that the therapist asked if I would be willing to watch a video around how to support someone with DH’s condition. I said yes and she sent the link to his email address.

I wanted the video- all good. Since then, she’s emailed 14 other videos to him, for my attention. She typically adds a note to the email saying “I thought these would be of benefit to MYNAME, can you ensure she watches them, please?”.

The videos range from 20-55mins long.

I don’t have time for this. DH is a fantastic person but he’s not well enough at the moment to work or do as much as usual at home. I’m picking up the slack and doing 99% of everything alone. That’s fine, I’ve done it before and I’m willing to keep doing it until he’s back on his feet fully.

Then I got a bit worried and was thinking that maybe DH thinks I’m not supportive, told his therapist this and she’s trying to get me into a more supportive space so I asked him, gently, if she enquired about how much support he’s getting at home. He said it came up and he told her I’m very encouraging and have always done everything to help him so I genuinely don’t think he’s given a view that’s contrary to what I think.

I did tell him that I was struggling to find the time to watch the videos and to ask his therapist to not send anymore. In their latest session she asked if I watched them, he said no and that I didn’t want any more, and then she said it was disappointing that I wasn’t willing to learn what I can do to support him and asked if he was concerned about why I said that.

I am furious.

I am literally keeping the show on the road. I do everything to make life easier for him when he’s not in a good state mentally. It’s really hard to get the balance between supporting him, and not cocooning him in a way that wouldn’t be helpful. I pick up his slack with the family, support him through work issues, pick up the financial slack, generally do everything- and more- that a good person does for someone they love.

My issue is that DH is doing really well with this therapist and likes her- he’s had therapists before that he hasn’t gelled with and so having someone he finds good and is comfortable with is a big win. I personally think she’s acted inappropriately but I don’t want to say anything that makes DH question whether he should keep working with her. He’s likely to continue seeing her for another few months.

I’ve told him that I didn’t appreciate her remark about me not watching the videos but he didn’t say much on it, just that he finds their sessions good.

So my questions-
1 If you were me, would you be annoyed?
2 Do think the therapist acted inappropriately?
3 What do you think I should do, if anything?

OP's posts:
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Knittedfairies · 06/08/2022 13:26

Yes, I'd be annoyed. Not necessarily inappropriate behaviour but definitely thoughtless. I'd be tempted to print your opening post and send it to her.

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Cheminaufaules · 06/08/2022 13:27

I would be annoyed. The therapist is acting inappropriately. I might consider talking to another psychotherapist about this issue.

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Timeforabiscuit · 06/08/2022 13:32

  1. I would be annoyed, but i would work out specifically why i was annoyed, am I feeling appreciated in my role as carer, do I feel frustrated at the lack of time I have, do I feel resentful that my dh had opportunities to grow and learn where I'm stuck with the drudge?

  2. Wouldn't think the therapist acted inappropriately, given the feedback is through a third party, they recommended some videos, but I'd probably have more time for them if they were targeted for carers of people with his condition, rather than just more information.

  3. Get some time and space for yourself, it is really really important that you get supported too - if you're having obligations pile up, work to slimming these down, focus on things you enjoy and care about.
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FeelingwearyFeeelingsmall · 06/08/2022 13:32

I was a therapist and was often amazed by what my clients thought I had said. They would say "After you told me X last week..." and say something that had never ever crossed my lips. I think it's part of the internal processing after a session when clients would have new insights and just assume I had told them that new thing.

So I would take this with a pinch of salt. It's probably 2% the therapist and 98% your husbands internal thought processes. Even if she is saying those things (and it's a big if) her contract is with your husband and her only interest is him. She really doesn't have anything to do with you. She doesn't know you. Just step back and don't get involved. And don't watch the videos.

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MyCatIsNotFittingMyKitchen · 06/08/2022 13:33

I’d be really annoyed. Up to five hours a week watching videos about how to support him? I mean, even if you weren’t picking up all the slack, up an hour a weekday learning how to support him while also doing all of the actual supporting is not a realistic expectation in my opinion.

I’ll be honest, I’d be tempted to ask your DH for her email address and send her an email, copying him in, and setting out the contents of your post. Perhaps suggest a “joint session” to clear up any misunderstandings. That’ll set the cat among the pigeons.😉

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toffeechai · 06/08/2022 13:33

14 videos?!

Your husband is in therapy, not you. It’s not appropriate of your therapist to be doing this and it’s not helpful for your husband either.

Sadly I think he needs to change therapist even though he likes her.

What kind of therapy is it?

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MyCatIsNotFittingMyKitchen · 06/08/2022 13:34

(I’ll be honest, the most sensible thing is probably to say “Oh really?” and leave it there….but that is certainly how I would feel 😬)

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toffeechai · 06/08/2022 13:34

Especially bothered by “can you ensure she watches them”

That is completely inappropriate from a therapist. That’s not what therapy is for.

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toffeechai · 06/08/2022 13:35

Also sorry I wrote ‘your therapist’ it should have said ‘his therapist’

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Aquamarine1029 · 06/08/2022 13:37

I would be LIVID with this woman, and I would be calling her. What she is suggesting is totally inappropriate. After calling her, I would then report her.

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PunishmentRoundupWithJoon · 06/08/2022 13:38

Are you able to email the therapist directly and say pretty much what you've said here - that you are and have always been supportive of DH but you're working flat out as it is with all the life admin and don't have a load more free time to give to watching these videos?

It's inappropriate that she's expecting you to watch all these videos and she certainly has no right be be 'disappointed' that you haven't watched them! Her work is with your DH, not with you. You haven't agreed to any kind of contract with her, DH will have.

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Discovereads · 06/08/2022 13:48

1 If you were me, would you be annoyed? I’d be annoyed at the number of videos. I’d ask for a priority list of the most critical ones. And a list of which are “nice but optional” as your time is not endless.

2 Do think the therapist acted inappropriately? Yes. In fact you’re lucky to get off with videos. My DC and DH all had to attend face to face sessions regarding how to care for someone with my conditions. It’s useful info, and you can’t assume you know it all and are doing it all already. Some things you think you are doing that are supportive, may not actually be supportive?

3 What do you think I should do, if anything? Well,as above ask therapist for priority must see video list, and which are optional as 14 videos seems like she’s just gathered everything that might be useful. Then I’d slowly work my way through them. If you watch one a day, you’d be done in two weeks, and your DH has months of therapy ahead of him plus a lifetime of living with the condition. Setting aside an hour a day for 2 weeks isn’t too terrible a price to pay imho.

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Sparkletastic · 06/08/2022 13:53

I'd tell DH I want a 1:1 conversation with his therapist to discuss her expectations.

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Plumtreebob · 06/08/2022 13:55

I think this is really inappropriate, not just the videos but the whole idea that you are somehow responsible for his mental health and this woman can set you homework on it. It is one thing being a supportive partner, and you sound like your are doing everything you can, but the therapist should be focusing on what your DH can do to help himself. Sounds like she is starting to drive a wedge between you whether she is meaning to or not which won’t help at all.

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DelphiniumBlue · 06/08/2022 13:59

Dear Therapist,
You obviously know that DH is unable to do much if anything to contribute towards the life admin of our family at the moment, and that he is currently unable to work. You are aware that I am therefore working as hard as I can to keep the family afloat financially and am the sole breadwinner, as well as having 99% of the responsibiilty for the children and household. You know that I support and have always supported DH with his longterm mental health issues.
I am wondering why you think it appropriate for you to send 14 videos for me to watch , and when you think I will be able to watch them all?
Best
JTOFMT

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BigButtons · 06/08/2022 13:59

I agree with a PP you don’t know what she actually said to him and what he is filling in. I would be asking for her email.

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RiojaRose · 06/08/2022 14:01

Wow, 14 videos is a lot. I could imagine perhaps three would be reasonable.

Is your husband fully aware of how much you are doing already to support him? My DP is depressed at the moment. The other day he asked me why I hadn’t done something. I calmly listed the things I had done (which were more urgent). He hadn’t really noticed. It’s part of the depression. It sucks.

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Discovereads · 06/08/2022 14:02

Discovereads · 06/08/2022 13:48

1 If you were me, would you be annoyed? I’d be annoyed at the number of videos. I’d ask for a priority list of the most critical ones. And a list of which are “nice but optional” as your time is not endless.

2 Do think the therapist acted inappropriately? Yes. In fact you’re lucky to get off with videos. My DC and DH all had to attend face to face sessions regarding how to care for someone with my conditions. It’s useful info, and you can’t assume you know it all and are doing it all already. Some things you think you are doing that are supportive, may not actually be supportive?

3 What do you think I should do, if anything? Well,as above ask therapist for priority must see video list, and which are optional as 14 videos seems like she’s just gathered everything that might be useful. Then I’d slowly work my way through them. If you watch one a day, you’d be done in two weeks, and your DH has months of therapy ahead of him plus a lifetime of living with the condition. Setting aside an hour a day for 2 weeks isn’t too terrible a price to pay imho.

I missed a bit, yes the therapist acted inappropriately because she should have contacted you directly and not via your DH. Doing videos or meetings are not inappropriate per se, but she shouldn’t be having your DH be a messenger pigeon.

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ClocksGoingBackwards · 06/08/2022 14:03

1 Yes

2 Yes, what is she doing to help your DH be able to cope with himself?

3 I honestly don’t know, but I’d want to do something. Hopefully other clever people will have good advice.

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tara66 · 06/08/2022 14:04

Tell therapist you are not a therapist/ do not want to be one/ have no time to be one. Also she must be careful that you won't also be needing one yourself soon if situation carries on and will she send videos to DH - for him to help you then?! She has no idea what your mental state is and so is taking liberties with her videos to you.

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billy1966 · 06/08/2022 14:06

If that is what she said, yes I would be annoyed.

You sound like an absolute saint.
It sounds like you have been his carer for a lot of your marriage.

Everyone loses their parents at some point but have to get on with things.

Most don't have the luxury of abdicating responsibility for family life, yet again.

Who looks after you OP?
As you carry the whole load again?

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Plumtreebob · 06/08/2022 14:06

Where is the therapist finding the time to send on 14 videos to one patient not even for them but for their partner to watch?

I am also lost as to how 14 different videos are needed. OP is not training to be a health care professional?!

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Plumtreebob · 06/08/2022 14:07

@tara66 maybe that’s her business model, wear down client’s partner until they also need to pay for her services!!

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bellac11 · 06/08/2022 14:09

Only one post has really touched on the issue here, which is 'are you sure thats what she said to him'

It would be unusual, in that from the way you've written it, an awful lot of time goes on in session talking about you. Why would they?

I wonder if your partner has misinterpreted or misunderstood what he though she said

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Dalaidramailama · 06/08/2022 14:10

Is she registered? You don’t need to watch these videos.

Having worked in close proximity to many mental health professionals over the years I’ve come to my own conclusion they’re completely fucked up themselves often bringing their own issues into therapy.

I know they have to have counselling prior to accreditation but that only touches the surface. Some therapists SERIOUSLY need therapy themselves. Literally barking fucking mad most of them are.

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