Therapy fit

  • 11 Replies
  • 265 Views
*

WinterStar

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Therapy fit
« on: May 06, 2021, 02:29:20 PM »
I reached out to a therapist whose writing I admire, and the whole thing took a weird turn that's really triggering me.

First, we spoke over the phone, and I was having trouble coming up with recent concrete examples of times I was severely triggered. I wasn't expecting the questions asked, and I feel like I came off as not having a lot of insight even though I don't think that's accurate.

I asked about the typical time range that the therapist sees patients for, and I just got an answer back that it's not a good fit because I asked that question. Therapy is an individual process and the therapist doesn't work with clients who are seeking to know how long treatment will last.

I have two thoughts on this. First, that my question is legit and often recommended as a question to ask potential therapists. The answer could be, "I would need more data to tell you the answer to that" but it seems like it should be fine to ask it. Second, I would have preferred to just meet with him and see how it goes, but it's a big financial commitment, and I need to discuss it with my husband beforehand, and an indefinite financial investment is a hard sell.

I felt so unworthy reaching out in the first place, like I shouldn't be wasting this therapist's time, like I'm asking too many questions and am just too much trouble generally. But I fought through that and asked what I thought were reasonable questions. Then, that's cited as the reason the therapist doesn't want to take me on as a client. The worst part for me is that this is someone whose writing made me feel incredibly understood, and now I feel misunderstood and hurt. I feel so rejected.

Is it normal for a therapist to not work with someone who asks about a timeline? Or maybe part of the issue is that I seemed to lack insight? Is all of this just proof that it's not a good fit? I was so hopeful going into this...
« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 02:43:18 PM by WinterStar »
I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me. -Elizabeth Bennet

*

Hepatica

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 473
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2021, 03:37:51 PM »
WinterStar,
I think that was a dud therapist.  I wonder what their educational background is? And I'm sorry, because that's all we need, as we are trying to heal, someone rejecting us for asking too many questions. Shame on the therapist. I would not have liked being treated that way at all. I say go with your feelings of being put off by their rude behaviour and keep looking.

I was trained in therapy and the number one first step with a person was for us to create a feeling of safety for the client. That was our job and to maintain safety throughout, and perhaps challenging long after trust was established. Of course it's okay to ask how long the process might be. Some kinds of therapy are short-term focussed and others are long-term. It's a totally normal question. For the therapist you called to react badly to that question seems to me they are not very good with people and/or well trained in giving their client unconditional regard. You are reaching out for help and you should have been treated with respect and kindness. And if you had wanted short-term therapy only, or long-term, and that wasn't what he offered, a kind response would have been to ask you what you need and then refer you to someone who better matches your needs.

The therapist you called sounds not only selfish, but inflexible, impatient and rude. Keep looking and trust your gut. If you feel safe and listened to, that is a good sign.

Adding. To ask you very specific questions that made you give examples of personal things, before establishing trust and safety, was wrong. That therapist put you on the spot and no wonder you could not find any concrete examples. I would have floundered as well. You can't really relax over a phone call, or even a couple of phone calls. It takes time, and that is also something we, as survivors, need to work on. We should not open up with a stranger until we feel that this person is worthy of sharing personal things with.

I know how it feels to feel unworthy to ask questions. I have trouble with that as well and I am sure it comes from the trauma I've experienced, where I have to set myself below someone, esp. doctors or people in positions of power. So good for you for pushing through that and asking. You did nothing wrong at all. And I'm sorry the therapist triggered you by being so unprofessional and basically mean.

Keep trying. Don't give up and keep asking questions. The more you do it the easier it will become.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2021, 03:48:46 PM by Hepatica »
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

*

Poison Ivy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1173
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2021, 04:10:02 PM »
 :yeahthat:

*

Cat of the Canals

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 429
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2021, 05:56:53 PM »
I asked about the typical time range that the therapist sees patients for, and I just got an answer back that it's not a good fit because I asked that question. Therapy is an individual process and the therapist doesn't work with clients who are seeking to know how long treatment will last.

I have two thoughts on this. First, that my question is legit and often recommended as a question to ask potential therapists. The answer could be, "I would need more data to tell you the answer to that" but it seems like it should be fine to ask it. Second, I would have preferred to just meet with him and see how it goes, but it's a big financial commitment, and I need to discuss it with my husband beforehand, and an indefinite financial investment is a hard sell.

I'm so sorry you had such a crappy experience! I agree with everything Hepatica said and wanted to add this: If he can't answer your question about time frames, then he could explain that. The fact that he also used this as a reason to not take you on as a client makes me think he's *only* interested in working with people who will agree to some sort of open-ended, potentially never-ending contract, i.e. people who are willing to open their checkbook and give him whatever he asks, for however long he asks.

I might be reading way too far into the subtext, but it just seems odd to balk at such a reasonable question. Because let's face it, therapy ain't cheap!

IMO, I think you dodged a bullet here.

*

DistanceNotDefense

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 286
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2021, 08:48:54 PM »
Why do I have a feeling that I know who this therapist is....and my guess is it is treatment for trauma/CPTSD?

Were you talking to him, or his assistant? This person sounds a little blasé.

I mean, I thought it was really basic Trauma/PTSD 101 that if you put trauma survivors on the spot asking what happened to them, they have a VERY hard time talking about it/verbalizing it. I know I do. I start stuttering, shutting down, crying with a knot in my throat.

Asking survivors about it takes them straight back to the event emotionally and immediately, and you need to listen and sit and help them verbalize memories that are not verbal but completely visceral.

If he doesn't know that, well he's failed at the first step of trauma treatment.

The fact that this therapist so quickly breezed through that makes me agree with Hepatica, and Cat, he is probably looking for indefinite income, and as good as his books are, he's a sell out now.

I think you dodged a bullet. Doesn't matter who you are....a basic talk therapist could handle this situation better!

*

WinterStar

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2021, 10:24:18 PM »
Thank you, Heptica. You gave great perspective that I really needed. I didn't feel safe at all during the conversation, which is a sure sign that this is the wrong path for me.

Thanks for the "ditto", Poison Ivy.

Cat, I think you may be right that this therapist wants a financial commitment I'm not in a position to make.

Distance, I think you mean Pete Walker, and I want to clarify that it isn't him. You're right about it seems obvious that putting a trauma survivor on the spot immediately is not the proper support. The therapist said something about whether or not I was ready for this therapy and that the work is intense and starts off running right away. And then something else about trauma recovery taking a really long time. Those things seem kinda at odds. I mean, it could take a long time, but if it was good, intensive, effective therapy, it wouldn't have to take forever.

This experience has been instructive. I already knew that I need to do a better job trusting my gut. And I felt myself wanting approval, which is a bad sign. I need to find a therapist who feels like a partner in my recovery. Thank you all so much.
(Edited at member request)
« Last Edit: May 07, 2021, 10:20:49 AM by moglow »
I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me. -Elizabeth Bennet

*

DistanceNotDefense

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 286
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2021, 12:45:54 AM »
Distance, I think you mean Pete Walker, and I want to clarify that it isn't him. You're right about it seems obvious that putting a trauma survivor on the spot immediately is not the proper support. The therapist said something about whether or not I was ready for this therapy and that the work is intense and starts off running right away. And then something else about trauma recovery taking a really long time. Those things seem kinda at odds. I mean, it could take a long time, but if it was good, intensive, effective therapy, it wouldn't have to take forever.

I'm relieved it isn't him. I respect his work!

Gotta hand it to your gut :applause: it always has the best messages. Hard to see a therapist trying to help you be in sync with your gut feelings, when they themselves make your gut go haywire!

*

1footouttadefog

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 2896
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2021, 04:39:19 PM »
A lot of people who write cookbooks are not great chefs and could not teach other to cook.

That the man is a good writer does not guarantee he is a good therapist.  Written word does not happen in real time  Its edited to sound just right. 

What you gai Ed from reading should not be diminished, and at the same time this writer is not a match for you.  Feel greatful for what his books taught you as well as for what the phone call taught you.

I hope you find a match elsewhere. I agree it was award and untimely for him to put you on the spot.  Your question could have been better managed even if he felt it should not have been asked. 

Good luck, keep trying. 

*

frogjumpsout

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 77
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2021, 08:56:16 PM »
WinterStar, I had almost the exact same experience!! I do wonder whether we spoke to the same guy. Anyway, I liked someone's writing, reached out, and found him rude and impatient (especially with my financial limitations -- I could pay for sessions, but not indefinitely.) It was a really alienating experience.

I agree with all the good advice and comments above.

*

WinterStar

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2021, 10:53:39 PM »
Oh man, I felt alright the evening I posted, and then yesterday was just a shame fest. The whole incident really triggered my Ndad's rejection. He went to jail for possession of child pornography. I knew it was an outside chance, but I thought that maybe the whole thing would be a wakeup call. Long story short, it wasn't, and he played the "It's everybody else's fault" game. I told him I'd plan a visit if he was getting help, and he just stopped interacting with me. Then, under the heavy influence of my brother, I offered to see my dad with just my husband and myself without the kids even though he wasn't getting help. My dad refused. He wouldn't visit with me if I was "keeping his grandkids away from him". My brother sided with him, which was more rejection. I had offered to visit with my dad even though I knew exactly who he is and had no desire to. I tried to "compromise". And still, somehow, my brother sided with him. Ugh!

frogsjumpout, I think, probably, there's more than one impatient therapist! Haha. I've been purposefully cagey in order to make it impossible to identify this therapist. Most of us can't pay for sessions indefinitely, no? And I want some kind of plan this time around. I've had a couple of indefinite therapy experiences, and I'd like to find someone who can get me a couple of goals we can work toward. I'm sorry you had a similar experience, and thank you for sharing it with me. It makes me feel less alienated.

Thanks, 1footouttadefog, for encouraging me to still be grateful for the writing. It's a real challenge for me to not allow this experience to color the help I've received. This is super important work for me, and may be the most valuable thing I gain from the whole experience. Plus, I'm working through the dad rejection feelings. And I've gotten a lot of clarity about what I want for therapy. And I didn't spend any $ on a therapist who wouldn't have worked out anyway.

I sent the therapist a quick note with thanks for the writing that has helped me so much and a brief word about the fact that asking questions is hard for me, so having that be a problem was difficult for me. I ended with well wishes. And I meant it. I thought about not responding, both because I didn't want to risk a bad reaction and because I don't feel like I should take up any more time. But I decided that I deserve to respond briefly, that the feedback could be helpful and that any bad reaction wouldn't be about me.
I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me. -Elizabeth Bennet

*

Spring Butterfly

  • Spring Butterfly
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • 17089
  • Individuation = our key to emotional freedom
    • One Key to Better Boundaries
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2021, 01:03:07 PM »
All the above plus honestly YOU can say “nope not a good fit” because you want someone who welcomes questions and welcomes interaction. This person can hold a ”one way conversation” as an author and talk at people to share knowledge but obviously not skilled at a 2 way interaction. You really don’t need someone to recite textbook answers while you take notes. Personal therapy requires ... well ... personal interaction. I’m feeling a bit angry on your behalf. Nope not a good fit for you and definitely dodged a bullet. I hope you can get beyond the disappointment to a place of relief and comfort in having saved time and money.
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
Empowered  Growth blog

*

MamaDryad

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 150
Re: Therapy fit
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2021, 03:56:55 PM »
This seems very off to me on the therapist's part. As you correctly point out, even if it's not a question he can answer, it should be all right to ask. I would call that a red flag for sure.