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Couples shrink #1 πŸ˜₯πŸ™ˆ

So I cancelled the first therapist. She called me back and won’t even listen to me over the phone or take an email. 

All I wanted was to let her know my trauma reactions before we met face to face so I could feel safe walking into that appointment. And she wouldn’t let me do that.  
I’m so angry right now and hurt and crying and it’s stupid because I don’t even know this lady. I feel so shutdown, not heard and not allowed to speak. And she just kept saying “good therapy is done face to face.” I feel like it was a slight against me. —–I’m posting this on my blog too. I’m just so sad right now. 

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31 thoughts on “Couples shrink #1 πŸ˜₯πŸ™ˆ

  1. I’m so sorry, Alice. It’s so hard to find the courage to advocate for yourself because you’ve never really had a voice before – it’s taken so much hard work to get to this point and it’s DEVASTATING when somebody just shuts you down. You were so brave, to try to open up to her. Sending you a hug, and sending that therapist a dirty look.

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  2. I think it says more about her than about you. she is rigid in her thinking and obviously does not understand trauma. it is good you found that out now actually before you ever had to waste money on an appointment with her. you were very brave trying to advocate for yourself. she was not reacting to you as a person. but from her own frame, which was insufficient and obviously unsuited to your needs, which were perfectly okay.

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  3. I am in the middle of writing about how to find a therapist that is right for you (so many people don’t realize finding A took me 10 years) and this is one of my main points on this subject: it is not your job to conform to the therapist or what *they* want. You have EVERY right as a patient who is paying them to conduct an interview or trial period in whatever way you see fit (within the boundaries of normal appropriate human interaction).

    This woman clearly has some beliefs that she feels very strongly about – but that is on her. She was not communicating properly with you and clearly has no real experience dealing with the needs you have – which, by the way, are perfectly normal needs.

    I know that you feel rejected and sad and upset but I think you dodged a bullet with her. You did nothing wrong by asserting your needs before meeting her – in fact I recommend doing that – and her reaction to that is on her, not you. She is unsuited to you. You will find someone who is suited. I hope that soon you can see this as you taking care of you – an act of brave self love – ensuring that before trusting her she could give you what you need. She can’t, and that is not a reflection of you but on the compatibility.

    I’m proud of you, by the way. None of that was easy.

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  4. Oh.my.god. That is so outrageous! You wanted to discuss the potential impact of therapy, you wanted to soothe your stats of anxiety – and she shut you down?! What type of cowboy nonsense is that. If she reacts like that to your concerns, then she’s clearly a bad therapist, I mean, it’s just rude. She could have said,’I don’t usually do this, but I’m happy to accomodate you on this occasion because it’s important you feel safe…’ But no, just immediate refusal. I hate her. You’re better off without this jumped up, ignorant excuse as a therapist. Grrrr! I’m angry for you! I’m so glad you didn’t end up going, I fear she’d do more harm than good xxx

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  5. I agree with everything said here. Making clear that she doesn’t do therapy by email or over the phone is one thing. Refusing to allow you to give her some background before meeting so that you feel safe enough to meet to completely rigid, though.

    I’m sorry that she wasn’t a good therapist for you, but glad that you discovered it before being stuck in a room with her. Which is part of the whole reason you were trying to give her the background, to see how she would react and make sure that she was safe, right? Well, she amply demonstrated that she has a need to work in a way that is a very bad fit for you. After all, there are ways of being very gentle about saying “no”, which therapists need to master is they are going to work with trauma survivors and issues around safety concerns.

    I have no idea if she’s a bad therapist over all, but clearly she is a bad therapist for you and that’s what you needed to know.

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    • Thank you for validating that it wasn’t insane to want to give background in order to feel safe enough to meet. It took so much for me to even be willing to call, and speak certain words– like giving her the short list of definite triggers Bea and I came up with. I had wanted Bea to talk to her so I didn’t have to say the triggering words, but that wasn’t going to happen because of shrink#1 feelings on that. So I worked so hard to make that call, to have the words to say. And she wouldn’t hear them. πŸ™ She was definitely not a good fit for me, that is true. Thank you. XxπŸ’Ÿ

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      • Not just not insane, but wise! It was a case of you knowing who you are and what you need. You have come so far in order to be able to pay attention to your needs and act on them!

        I really, really wish that this woman had been able to respond in a useful way to you. But so proud of you for finding out ahead of time that she would have been a bad therapist for you to be stuck in a room with! You did a great thing for yourself!!!

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    • I’m glad I found out too. It would have hurt worse and been more difficult if she had refused to listen in person or something. I don’t know. She just didn’t seem very nice. I couldn’t see her dealing with my frozen states very well at all….xxπŸ’Ÿ

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    • Thank you for this. I didn’t really even think of how this would translate to couples therapy. It is a good point, and I really need someone who can meet me and hubby where we each are at—separately and in our marriage. Bea is so good at that, I think it is shocking when a therapist isn’t good at it. Thank you for validating that all I was trying to do was keep myself safe. It sounds so, normal, and okay, the way you wrote that. So thank you. XxπŸ’Ÿ

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      • I’ve been following your story as you’ve worked your way to couple’s therapy, but I’ve been a bit reluctant to comment in case I say something negative or hurtful based on my own experiences. I can understand a couple’s therapist being a little bit hesitant about talking to one partner ahead of the couple, because sometimes one partner will try to manipulate the therapy process or get a therapist ‘on side’ in the same way an abusive parent does. But in that setting they also try to keep it secret or to discredit the other partner, which is not at all what you have been doing, so this therapist just comes across as being too inflexible rather than careful and cautious. It could be that she’s been burned in the past. I hope you have a better experience with the other one.

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      • I just replied to another comment similar, so this might be a repeat…..
        First though, it’s okay to post comments I might not agree with. I’ve had people post things I don’t agree with before, and we’ve talked about it. It’s always stayed kind and respectful, and I’m okay with that. Besides, I’m supposed to get used to conflict or disagreements and not having them be a “thing.” πŸ™‚

        I can see why a therapist seeing couples would not want to talk to one before the other, but she didn’t seem to have an issue talking to me. It was just that she would not speak over the phone or read an email. I tried to make it clear I needed her to be aware of my reactions and triggers before we met, so I could feel okay meeting, and that it was going to be hard to read her the list because it’s triggering in and of itself, which is why I had wanted my therapist to speak to her, and that I didn’t need her to have a therapy session with me, that it would take me maybe 3 minutes to read the list and then I just needed to know she understood and could deal with that– like I needed her to know the S word triggers me.

        I truly wasn’t trying to discredit hubby. It wasn’t really anything to do with him. Thank you for saying you know that. Maybe she has been burned before. And if so, I’m sorry her kindness was taken advantage of. I hope the other one is better too. I’m really afraid to call her now. πŸ™

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  6. Spacey Tracey says:

    Hi alice, you know me from another place. I have an MSW and have worked in the field however I work with kids but I just want to say in all fairness that I agree with what Bea mentioned in that it probably has to do with wanting to be objective in the first session with both sides. Honestly I really do believe that. When couples go in and marriages are on the verge both couples want to get the therapist on their sides so that she can testify as to custody yada yada yada so it very much often is important that therapist goes into the first session being very objective. I have a feeling that’s what this is about. I’m not trying to be insensitive to your needs but you might need to explain them to her in front of your husband. That might be the only way show she will listen. I have known couples therapists who refused to talk to either party on the side and that they only do the work with both couples present in order to remain objective. And it kind of makes sense when you look at it from the view of trying to be a Fair mediator between couples.

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    • I can understand that, and if that had been the problem, I’d still say it wasn’t okay, because I needed her to understand things my hubby isn’t fully aware of, and to help make it a safe space where i can be vulnerable with my husband. However, that wasn’t even her problem with it all, it was that she does not believe therapy is done over the phone and wouldn’t allow me to tell her the few things I needed to in order to make it feel safe enough to walk into her office. She told me I could come to Wednesday’s appointment without hubby and we could talk about my reactions and triggers then. Except that wasn’t ever going to work because discussing my trauma reactions and triggers makes me frozen and unable to access my words– which was one of the main things I needed her to know– and she wouldn’t be even allow me to tell her that much over the phone, so I was afraid I’d end up frozen and unable to talk face to face. Which puts it right back to the issue of why I needed to tell get those few things prior to any meeting, because whether individual or couples, I just need to make sure the therapist understands my reactions, and won’t view me as non compliant or whatever just because I am too frozen and dissociated and can’t find my words. I really didn’t have anything to tell her about hubby, except that relationships and vulnerability scare me and are a trigger to send me far away. I know she didn’t know that but I just feel like this was more about her belief that it wasn’t okay to hear anything I had to say over the phone than about wanting to go into the first session being objective. She didn’t mention that at all, but she did mention that good therapy is not done over the phone, and that maybe I wasn’t as ready for therapy as I thought, or had healed as much as I thought I had.

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  7. Lemonbella says:

    What she should have said is that “good therapy is not done over the phone. BY HER “. She might not be able to do it, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t. This is all on her. She has absolutely no right to say that maybe you weren’t ready for therapy or that you hadn’t healed as much as you thought. You and only you get to say when you’re ready for therapy and to judge how much you have healed – That’s a fundamental principle of therapy. Also, she doesn’t just not have the right, she doesn’t have *any* information on which to base that judgement. Sucky situation but lucky escape.

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    • I just really love this. Thank you for these distinctions– BY HER. πŸ™‚

      I’m really far behind, I need to write about Wednesday’s session with Bea but she was ticked. Like, so mad she had to call a time out and take a breath, that this therapist acted like that. Bea has never needed a time out to take a breath before.

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