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Called my therapist a 'stupid motherf*cker' today...would you?

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by Stephernovas, Jul 13, 2018 at 10:38 PM.

  1. Stephernovas

    Stephernovas Well-Known Member

    I lost my sh*t in session today. Quite literally lost my mind. What happened you ask? Let me give you a bit of history..

    My therapist works out of an office where there are many therapists, so, they have a number of people at the front working reception. Now, I'm a rather personable individual (or I generally was before the accident) and truly enjoy interacting and making friends with people who are likely to be dismissed or neglected for all they do in booking appts, sending faxes, and making sure the well oiled machine of the office runs. First reason is, I like to put people first and respect everyone. Second, when you are personable with others they are more likely to say 'yes' to you in a time of need.

    So there are a few newer staff at the front, and the woman who I usually engage with has been off until today. In the past (during winter where sometimes it's so cold it's 40 below, I'm forced to wait outside my therapist's office building. My appointment is scheduled for 9a, but they do not open until 9a. I like to be a few minutes early for my sessions (especially when I was getting taxi there, as the taxi often messed up times so I'd rather be early than late). Sometimes when staff would arrive, I would slip in the door with them and hang out at the front (where I usually did - aside from when my anxiety was really bad for a few weeks, then I'm pace the halls and avoid populated areas aka. the front door area/waiting room) and wait for my appointment. Not to mention, my therapist would often be 10-15m late, so I didn't feel like waiting outside or around the bustle of others until whenever they decided to open the front door. The usually workers were fine with this, as they could attest to my character. However, one staff member (office manager's assistant) had a huge issue with it. One time I was pacing the halls and she asked if she could help me. I said 'no', and kept casually strolling the halls and calming myself down. I could tell she didn't like it as she scoffed and I walked near the front and heard her complaining to other workers about it - she had the office manager bring it up to me, but I told her my anxiety was high and I was uncomfortable. She understood and told me that she informed her assistant that due to my accident it hurt to sit so I couldn't wait in the waiting room and it was better for me to walk.

    There was also another morning when it was freezing out again, and there were staff (yes, the assistant was there) inside, but they kept the door locked. When another staff member arrived at the same time as me, another staff member opened the door for her colleague and I walked in behind her. Again, I went up to the front area and sat down as I normally did. On my way up I heard the assistant ask if I came in as well. I didn't say anything, but I was severely upset.

    I've had a general dislike of this woman since that day, but I just keep my distance. Well, until today. So, the other day workers comp sent me a huge list of things they stated I failed to submit (and thusly it was going to impact the deposit of my bi-weekly benefits) even though I'd sent it in about 4 times already in various formats - they were effectively bullying me. I already have an exceptionally hard time being on the phone or receiving phone calls from them, so upon receiving this, I thought it would be a good idea to attend my therapy office (in case I panicked or needed information from them). There were two new receptionists and one offered to help me read through the letter. I tried to explain what was going on, but I already started getting light headed and tearing up. An assessment coordinator who had been at the front desk for many years (who I chat with often) asked me if I'd like to go into a room for some privacy. I spun around and slipped into the office manager's office (I also chat with her before my appts sometimes). I did nothing but try to calm myself down, and when I felt a little better, I tried to make a few calls and figure out this worker's comp mess. The assessment coordinator came in to check on me, and ask if there was anything I needed. She stated she was going for lunch, and to take my time. Then she shut the door. I exited the room (after leaving all my stuff on the desk), and asked the receptionist if she could tell me what the document was asking, so I could make sure I was gathering it all for workers comp (again). There was a tax document I needed to print, so I asked if it was possible for them to print it for me. They agreed, but I had to sign in online, and was invited behind their desk to enter my username and password. Sure enough, the assistant office manager was watching this, and when I returned back to the office, I shut the door (following suit of the previous staff member). Personally I didn't care if it was open or closed, I was upset and thankful they were giving me a quiet space. A few minutes later, the assistant manager came in and said they just needed to leave the door open. I said, sure, whatever. A short while later, I calmed down enough to thank them for their help/support and left the office.

    THEN, today, in my session, at the end, my therapist brings up the fact that I should not be going behind the receptionist's desk for confidentiality reasons and etc. She continued to tell me that I should only be attending her office on days I have appointments (which, therapeutically to help me develop my own social support that was a fair comment). I f*cking lost my mind. I asked her who complained, and she said she had been told by a few ppl that I had stopped by (on days I didn't have appts - the only other time I 'stopped by' was when I was trying to do exposure therapy (since my trauma was a car crash), and instead of calling in to change and appt, I drove to the office and did it in person. I then informed her I have never gone behind or into anyone's desk/office without being invited. I felt like I was a child being scolded for something that wasn't my fault. All I did was follow the direction of their staff. And honestly, I don't know why it's so terrible that I accessed them as a support to help me decipher a worker's comp letter. I mean yes, I could ask a friend for help, but the majority of my friends don't know how to handle panic attacks and I really didn't feel like being isolated further by having them look at me funny. I am usually extremely independent and refuse to let anyone in. It got so bad this week that I contemplated taking a bottle of pills. That's the farthest I've ever planned to die. So, I thought it would be best to try different things and attend a place where I know I'd get support. Through all of this, I stopped talking and shut down hard. I was so livid that I burst into tears calling them all 'stupid motherf*ckers' as I tried to explain to her why I've even been around a bit more outside of my session lately. My breathing got funny as though I was going to panic, and my therapist tried talking to me to help me practice deep breathing but I yelled at her to stop talking. She didn't stop. I told her to stop f*cking talking. She kept talking. She told me we needed to do deep breathing and I said, "I CAN F*CKING DO IT". I told her I didn't want to see her face again. She informed me I could cancel my sessions if that's what I wanted to do, and I replied that I was really f*cking mad right now. To be honest I don't even know what I'm going to do now..

    Needless to say this was a beyond an extremely huge trigger for me, but I am also appalled at how she, and her office handled everything. It made me feel as though I was some delinquent causing trouble in their office, meanwhile I was simply doing my best to work on my recovery. Before my accident, I was a working professional as a social worker in the field and anyone who knows me (as another therapist does) has said before she can attest to my character (when I complained to her about the assistant manager bothering me about pacing the halls with my anxiety). I mean, I freaking know and respect confidentiality. There has never been an actual 'issue' aside from this assistant manager not liking me, apparently.

    Anyways, in saying all of this, I'm not sure what to do. I've shared this story with two friends who are urging me to bring this to the attention of management (owners of the practice) and complain about the assistant manger. I am open to hearing your thoughts on what you'd do if you were in my shoes. I mean, I really like my therapist, but I was truly off-put when she came at me with the whole confidentiality thing. Not cool. I clarified that I had been INVITED back there. I'd NEVER do that alone, or have done anything to suggest that I'd be likely to snoop or anything. I'm curious about what you all think about this. Would you complain to management about this? Or do you think there's validity in them bringing it up to me the way they did? Please be polite as this is a big trigger, but I want to make sure I am not responding irrationally (as my poor therapist got my emotionally charged response already today lol)
    hithere, Mach123, Missycat and 4 others like this.
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  3. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    If in the US?

    The office was wrong from start to finish.

    If you’re in social work, you should know this. They should NEVER have let you behind the desk, much less into a private office with patient & employee records accessible to you. You’ve signed no confidentiality agreements with the practice, and have absolutely zero right to even be in the same space with that information. They are at major risk of losing their accreditation, taxID & insurance contacts, being sued, and several people stand to be have their licenses under review/suspension. Every single act you were allowed to do was a major ethical and legal violation on their part. Someone should have stopped you a loooooong time ago, or if you were too distressed for them to feel they could handle you safely, staff should have yanked a doc out of session to determine whether you could be talked out, or if 911 should be called. If there were no medical staff on premises, you should never have been let into the office, as med admin cannot be expected to supervise patients unsupported.

    Outside the US I can’t speak to medicolegal practice, but inside the US, none of what happened in your office should have ever been allowed to occur. Clerical staff don’t have the training, nor ability, to be responsible for patient care.... & Patients should never be given staff access. Full stop.
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2018 at 11:08 PM
  4. Teamwork

    Teamwork Active Member

    So sorry this happened. Sounds like the therapist is caught in the middle. If you could email or just put it in writing like you did here, but more as a report, dates times, people who said you could do this. People who helped. Then in the future give notice in advance to the therapist if you will be practicing going there. A lot of this will blow over in a few days and once you get to the blow over part you will be able to concisely report what you did and how you will attend in the future. You wrote well to us, so you just need to write again with the professional flair that you already have.
    My psychologist is superb. He comes to the door to get me and walks me out. A lot of times he doesnt book before or after me but if he does he walks with me in or out. I have to sign a form every single time and he goes in to sign with me so that I’m never alone with the secretary as i too tend to panic and literally forget what i need to write on that sheet. He knows when the ride in has been anxiety provoking and he always is careful to wait for me to ground. I totally get everything you said here, but with that many people coming and going in the office as you describe, i can see how some dont get you at all and I’m glad they are not you t. Your t sounds like she came under fire from someone and tried to work it out with you to please someone else.
  5. Stephernovas

    Stephernovas Well-Known Member

    I am in Canada. My issue with the majority of this is that no one came to speak to me about an issue directly in the moment. For everything that occurred, I followed the guidance of the staff, and it's not like I took it upon myself to do something shady. Furthermore, if sitting in the waiting room created anxiety for me, why not find a solution for those clients who prefer to be away from the commotion of the waiting room? Or, even freaking open your practice early so I'm not waiting outside in the freezing cold for my appt that I am on time for..?
    DharmaGirl and EveHarrington like this.
  6. Ronin

    Ronin Dark Wings Premium Member

    (Not in the US, although I am assuming from the style etc US aimed advice is more spot on)

    I think you seriously overstepped a few lines there, both in the areas you went and the timing, and how you treated other people, involved in your care or not. It is not alright to call a therapist a stupid motherf*cker, differences in opinion can be solved differently and if they are being abusive (which I do not see in this case), quit appropriately, without verbal abuse. It is a different thing to have that phrasing of things privately, or in a joking matter if mutually understood it is not meant, and different in seriousness.

    (And, yes, I have joked with my therapist about calling him a stupid motherf*cker prior, about something that endangered my safety. But it was damned well understood I do not actually think those things, respect his good wishes and professional position, and was waaaay after I had a chance to calm down & dial my stress down, myself.)

    Edited to add: If waiting causes a distress for you, I see it as your responsibility to manage that stressor / trigger. Not of staff to accomodate you. They are not meant to handle everyones issues with waiting, and I doubt you are the only person having that issue. They cannot be making pacing places for the minority of clientelle.
  7. complex1

    complex1 Guest


    they are so wrong. can u explain to me again Why you like your therapist? i agree with the above responder. call the practice owners.

    i mean agree with moderator. shouldn't a PTSD therapist be able to handle all of this?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2018 at 12:08 AM
    Slushie likes this.
  8. Skywatcher

    Skywatcher Active Member

    I agree with @Friday, but I also want you to know that it was the office’s job to enforce these boundaries to begin with. It seems to me that the new person was the only person trying to do what is ethical and within the law.

    When it comes to entering the building before business hours... my T office allows you in when the office staff opens the door. Sometimes the therapists come before business hours and they leave the lobby part open for you to wait.

    I did find it odd that they scolded you on stopping by in person on a non-therapy day. I have done that to fill out paperwork before. I have also done that to set a doctor’s appointment with my medical doctor because his office staff is horrible about answering calls.
  9. Justmehere

    Justmehere Help support myPTSD - more info in Social forum Moderator Premium Member

    You did do as the staff allowed. And they should have never ever allowed it.

    They didn't hold very good boundaries. It's on them to know, it really is a big deal confidentiality issue to let you behind the desk and ect. Any of them could have gotten in serious trouble for allowing this to happen. It is fair for them to be clear that they can't provide office equipment use or crisis-like-paperwork completion support, and they should have held that boundary from the get go.

    I know you had no intention of snooping, and that this was not on your mind. The staff also probably didn't think you were there to snoop either. It doesn't mean it was ok for them to allow you back there. They could still get in a lot of trouble just for letting it happen. As a client, if I knew the staff was letting other patients use office computers, going behind the desk, using offices that potentially contain patient records without staff in the room, pacing the hall just outside my therapy session, etc... I'd be really concerned about my own privacy.
    On this issue, I'll push back a bit. It's a nice favor they did to open up the business early to you, especially when it is cold. It would stink to have to wait outside. It's also reasonable that they may not be able or willing to do this on a regular and reliable basis. For me, if I schedule right when the building opens, I find a coffee shop nearby. Then I can hang there, stay warm, and then walk over. If my therapist is late, she texts me when she arrives, and then I come over. Is there a possible alternative like this for you? Or can you schedule a session a little later in the day, when they are already open, so then there is no issue of waiting in the cold? Asking they pay for staff time to come early on a reliable basis to open the building early for you is not likely to be something they will be willing to do.

    I think it's reasonable to be upset, but being upset and triggered doesn't give you an excuse to call your therapist names.

    In light of how triggering this subject is for you, I'd consider a well worded letter to the practice owners. I'd also consider apologizing to your therapist for the verbal meltdown.
  10. Stephernovas

    Stephernovas Well-Known Member

    To clarify, my therapist and I have a wonderful working relationship. I have an exceptionally hard time with trusting and I have warned her numerous times that I fear of becoming so triggered that I wouldn't be able to control how upset/mean I'd get. She has repeatedly told me it's okay and she does not take it personally. We have chatted again and again about how much I respect her as a person, but when she does therapy things, it's not always pretty. But thank you for your valid point. It's been a very huge concern of my and a barrier to opening up. Today when those words spilled out, I can tell you I had no control. Honestly, if she would've kept talking when I asked her to stop, I envisioned myself getting violent. Obviously this needs to be explored further, but when I'm thinking rationally, speaking this way is absolutely absurd.

    Also, about the waiting part. I agree with using skills to cope while it causes distress, but at the same time I do have a back injury where being in a seated position is more painful than anything. I am not the only client with anxiety. So I actually beg to differ with your comment regarding the idea of making accommodations. That is what society is big on now, and what mental health is all about. We are not able to fit in boxes. We need individualized care. That's like telling a child who cannot focus during a test that it's just too bad and if he can't figure out a skill to help him calm down and focus he should just fail the test.
    whiteraven and Slushie like this.
  11. Stephernovas

    Stephernovas Well-Known Member

    1) I wish we could do the texting thing
    2) the winters here are SO bleeping cold that most days even walking a block could freeze your lungs off, and since I was not driving at the time, this was not an option.
    3) Now I rarely do 9a appointments. My therapist actually made a point in asking if it was because she was late all the time. I told her it was what they scheduled me at the front, but I did tell her I did not enjoy being made to wait outside.

    Personally, if you have a practice like this you need to be accommodating to the people you serve. Overall I do not appreciate being treated as a farm animal being corralled to the waiting room. I thought it was weird she was letting me behind the desk, but I am not going to question them, as I was not in a rational state of mind. If I was able to calmly figure this stuff out, I would be at home getting the paperwork together, and advocating for myself. Sadly, this was not the case.

    I am more than happy to take accountability for my behaviours, but to be honest I do not believe I stepped out of line here (minus in session when I freaked out, but again, my therapist and I have already discussed this. In fact it appeared she was delighted to see me so triggered as she tried to get me to think about where it was coming from in relation to my past). She has struggled to get me to open up, so in her eyes, I think she saw this as progress...oddly enough...
    EveHarrington, Swift and Justmehere like this.
  12. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

    Yep. Exactly why I prefaced it he way I did. Laws change country to country.
    Even if everything they did was entirely legal, and unlike down here they did nothing wrong... it still makes sense that if there is a problem (whether a big problem, or a series of small ones that aren’t an issue in and of themselves, but collectively need to stop) that your individual therapist would be the first point of contact, right?

    After all... Just look at what happened: You had a panic attack & started becoming violent.

    By leaving discussing problems with patients to their therapists you got to completely freak out on someone trained to expect & deal with freak outs... instead of someone who’s only reasonable recourse would have been to have security throw you out (and then have you banned from the business property), or the police & have you arrested.

    Win/Win. You get to keep going to therapy & working with a therapist you really like, and they get the office functioning as they need it. Drama & dire consequences kept to a minimum, by having your T be the one to talk with you, and handle any fallout.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2018 at 12:15 AM
  13. Swift

    Swift I'm a VIP


    In Aus we call it a "Wayne rule." Like, sure, you're okay, you didn't do anything wrong, but the rule needs to be that patients can't have access to confidential stuff or spaces because otherwise someone like Wayne might misuse that. (Wayne is a hypothetical, trouble-causing douchebag.)

    It sounds like the staff need more training regarding these sorts of things.
    Also, I'd generally ask before I followed a staff member in through an open door as to whether I was allowed to be in there. Once again, a Wayne rule. You know you're not there to cause trouble, but someone like Wayne might in the same scenario.

    And... the staff sound so poorly trained that leaving it to your therapist to handle the chat with you was probably a good idea.

    I'm sorry you felt so triggered. And like you were being scolded for something that wasn't your fault - because you were, effectively, being scolded for something that wasn't your fault.

    I don't see anything good about complaining to the management. I do think it's worth another conversation with your therapist about going forward and their office rules, though.
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