Ending with therapist; I feel betrayed

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
It turns out my therapist cannot work with me.

In the years he's known me, I haven't really dealt with PTSD symptoms, but I think everyone should have a therapist and he has been helpful in the past. However, at the beginning of the year, he started fading in usefulness.

This all came to the forefront just recently. In passing, my therapist mentioned an interaction he had with a ten-year-old patient who was worried because his mom was worried. My therapist's response was to expect the child to explain details about the adult situation, and when the child couldn't, my therapist dropped the subject entirely. I was horrified when he told me this, but in my therapist's eyes, he was showing the child there was nothing to worry about.

I ran through the situation with my psychologist, and he was in a bit of disbelief, because "that kind of thing is Therapy 101." I was able to show a supporting message from my therapist that showed I wasn't twisting his words. This did not meet either of our standards 😕

I had tried to address his inattention a couple times earlier this year, and the first time he literally ignored it; the next, he essentially ignored it. One time when I brought up the distress that him ignoring my attempts to talk about a stressful life event, he basically said "oops." Now he has sent me a little message saying he can't seem to have "clients such as [myself]," and "unfortunately [I was] on the wrong end of this discovery." In that same message, he announced unprompted: "I will, however, not discuss why or what has caused this distraction or overall lack of interest in being..more verbose." And this raises all sorts of red flags. What the hell does he mean by clients such as myself? He did thank me for my patience up to this point 🤷‍♂️ but somehow has missed every opportunity to say the word "sorry."

It pisses me off that he knows why he was distracted and he frickin volunteers that he shall not explain. I recognize mental-health professionals don't need to share their personal lives with patients, but it would give a bit of understanding especially when it seems I have wasted significant time, money, and stress trying to talk to this guy.

This is one of my most stressful events of the year — if not the most — and somehow there was a lot of competition for the title this year.

I wonder why he is a therapist if he treats patients this way, and I feel downright despondent that it seems I'm not his only patient getting this treatment. I wish he came with a warning label.
It is possible he can't deal with transference between you.....or he's in trouble with another client.....or in the midst of a divorce and a bit aloof.....or someone he knows is dying.....at any rate....in the end, it doesn't mater why your T is screwing up.....time for you to start interviewing another!
 

ms spock

Sponsor
There needs to be more therapist accountability.

David Burns has a brief survey that a patient does before and after a session to check that his empathy was on point and that what happened in the session was helpful or not for the patient.

I think all therapists could do this and it would make them all much more accountable.


I have experienced negligent, abusive and retraumatising therapists. It took up decades of my life.

I feel for what you are going through.


It's great that you reached out and got support to find that you are not alone. That's really proactive.



Here's the podcast on Empathy. It would be most useful if they trained this skill in to professionals before unleashing them on us, the unsuspecting public.


If my psychiatrist had done this it would have let me give feedback about how damaging and hurtful the invalidation was.
 
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Well our 1-hour meeting just ended!

At first it went well, and he explained that the family stress of having an infant daughter is what was interfering with some but not all of his clients, and I said this was completely understandable and that his family should come first. I told him when he said he had identified the problem but refused to talk about it it made it sound like a bigger deal than it was.

He said he identified the situation early this year, and I questioned why he didn't disclose that to affected patient(s) such as myself. In turn he questioned why I allowed it to continue so long (I was hoping for improvement and I was requesting it), and I expressed that I didn't like having the responsibility being shifted onto me. He said he didn't want to get into a discussion about which one of us is more responsible, and I pointed out that I feel he had an obligation to notify patients, given that only one of us is a mental-health professional. He said "that's true" and had nothing more to say so we moved on LOL.

He remains confident that he handled situations with me and with his 10-year-old patient appropriately, and he went from "Yes I'm giving you the full picture of the situation with the kid" and me giving him opportunity to say there were aspects he didn't want to discuss. But as it escalated his position changed to "Well surely you understand why I can't give you the full detail of my conversations with another patient! But I have full confidence that I handled it well."

By the way the first two times he mentioned the 10-year-old patient to me it was a girl, and on subsequent times including today it was a boy. He looked exceptionally uncomfortable when I finally pointed that out today, and he refused to make eye contact for several seconds. I had to remind him to look me in the eye and later he pointed out my request for eye contact as hostility coming from me. I expressed disbelief that he would have trouble remembering the gender of his patient.

He also was offended that I asked other mental-health professionals about his interaction, and he said I'm his first patient who has ever suggested that he could be lying.

He also went from "I've been keeping regular records of our sessions" to "I haven't been keeping full records and/or it would not be legal for me to give them out."

I've definitely heard other mental-health firms say they have to check with legal before giving full records to the patient. I know that in general, medical patients have the right to their full records, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are exceptions for mental health. I can certainly imagine a situation or two where it would create problems if the patient could see their full mental-health records. Anyway, I requested him to either provide the records or cite the law preventing him from doing so, and he states he will follow up.

The contract we both signed said he will keep proper records, and at this point being the angry bitch I am, I expect him to either deliver on that or show me he his disregarded our contract.

I came out of the conversation feeling significantly better than I expected to. I expected it to be a lose-lose situation but I think I saw enough evidence of his bullshit that I felt vindicated.

This was definitely a learning experience for him, but at this point my gut instinct is I've taught him to be a better liar. I feel even more of an obligation than before to do what I can to warn other patients, and how he handled this conversation has strengthened my resolve to escalate if he can't convince me he sees the seriousness of the situation and will seek guidance, and after this conversation it will be more difficult for him to convince me of that.

Thank you all again for your kindness and support. This forum was literally a life-saver for me, and I owe you all my gratitude, especially to some of the moderators who helped me deal with a particularly sticky situation and showed me more patience than perhaps I deserved.

💙💛
 

woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
Well our 1-hour meeting just ended!

At first it went well, and he explained that the family stress of having an infant daughter is what was interfering with some but not all of his clients, and I said this was completely understandable and that his family should come first. I told him when he said he had identified the problem but refused to talk about it it made it sound like a bigger deal than it was.

He said he identified the situation early this year, and I questioned why he didn't disclose that to affected patient(s) such as myself. In turn he questioned why I allowed it to continue so long (I was hoping for improvement and I was requesting it), and I expressed that I didn't like having the responsibility being shifted onto me. He said he didn't want to get into a discussion about which one of us is more responsible, and I pointed out that I feel he had an obligation to notify patients, given that only one of us is a mental-health professional. He said "that's true" and had nothing more to say so we moved on LOL.

He remains confident that he handled situations with me and with his 10-year-old patient appropriately, and he went from "Yes I'm giving you the full picture of the situation with the kid" and me giving him opportunity to say there were aspects he didn't want to discuss. But as it escalated his position changed to "Well surely you understand why I can't give you the full detail of my conversations with another patient! But I have full confidence that I handled it well."

By the way the first two times he mentioned the 10-year-old patient to me it was a girl, and on subsequent times including today it was a boy. He looked exceptionally uncomfortable when I finally pointed that out today, and he refused to make eye contact for several seconds. I had to remind him to look me in the eye and later he pointed out my request for eye contact as hostility coming from me. I expressed disbelief that he would have trouble remembering the gender of his patient.

He also was offended that I asked other mental-health professionals about his interaction, and he said I'm his first patient who has ever suggested that he could be lying.

He also went from "I've been keeping regular records of our sessions" to "I haven't been keeping full records and/or it would not be legal for me to give them out."

I've definitely heard other mental-health firms say they have to check with legal before giving full records to the patient. I know that in general, medical patients have the right to their full records, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are exceptions for mental health. I can certainly imagine a situation or two where it would create problems if the patient could see their full mental-health records. Anyway, I requested him to either provide the records or cite the law preventing him from doing so, and he states he will follow up.

The contract we both signed said he will keep proper records, and at this point being the angry bitch I am, I expect him to either deliver on that or show me he his disregarded our contract.

I came out of the conversation feeling significantly better than I expected to. I expected it to be a lose-lose situation but I think I saw enough evidence of his bullshit that I felt vindicated.

This was definitely a learning experience for him, but at this point my gut instinct is I've taught him to be a better liar. I feel even more of an obligation than before to do what I can to warn other patients, and how he handled this conversation has strengthened my resolve to escalate if he can't convince me he sees the seriousness of the situation and will seek guidance, and after this conversation it will be more difficult for him to convince me of that.

Thank you all again for your kindness and support. This forum was literally a life-saver for me, and I owe you all my gratitude, especially to some of the moderators who helped me deal with a particularly sticky situation and showed me more patience than perhaps I deserved.

💙💛
I'm glad you came through this to a satisfying resolution. From the little I know of the situation, it sounds like this therapist has yet much to learn. Or maybe he would do better in another line of work.

Anyhow, happy that it's working out for you.

Woodsy1
 
Holy crap, he followed up with a written (mild) apology:

Him: And of course ultimately I do apologize for not appearing to care about your situation or words. I suppose I didn't ever say that. I most likely won't comment further on this though.

Me: Thank you [name redacted], you're right, that is the first time.

David Burns has a brief survey
I sent him the link to podcast #2 and his reply was "Thank you".

Thank you, Ms Spock! I'm also enjoying his thanks because it's the first time he's thanked me for something in a while :p but the credit should go to you. I did tell him a contact passed it along as something that might be useful.
 

ms spock

Sponsor
I sent him the link to podcast #2 and his reply was "Thank you".

Thank you, Ms Spock! I'm also enjoying his thanks because it's the first time he's thanked me for something in a while :p but the credit should go to you. I did tell him a contact passed it along as something that might be useful.
All credit goes to you! You identified a problem, sought support and advice about it and opened yourself up to interactions with others and gleaned support and suggestions.

I would never have stood my ground as well as you did! I take my hat off to you! Well Done!

Empathy - the third one is well worth a listen to hear how empathy needs to be taught to therapists.
 
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