Problem with therapist misinterpreting me

Magnolia

Learning
I have been in therapy since August. A couple of times he has made an observation/assumption that has not been correct. Last week he made another that really shook me up.

I was talking about why the holidays are so hard for me. That Christmas is stressful because my anniversary is the 24th, my son's birthday is the 27th, and the year I separated from my husband began with him blowing every cent we had at a casino instead of buying the food and gifts I had sent him out for. I already had trust issues and "provider" issues, so this event added to my previous trauma.

I said I was always afraid of the next life altering upset. My therapist said, "I think you are addicted to it".

I thought about it rationally. I told him that I could see where he might think that, but I would need to think about that some more. However, after thinking about it, I believe my apprehensions, stresses, and fears are reasonable and to be expected in someone with my background. I don't believe addiction is a factor at all.

It really bothers me that my therapist would suggest an addiction to what, being nervous and upset about financial ruin around the holidays?

I find myself not wanting to go back to therapy. Not wanting to open up because someone who is supposed to be helping me, once again misinterprets my attempt to express myself. Therefore, I should leave before they hurt me more.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
It is so so so awful when these misunderstanding happen in therapy. Really painful.

It seems to me that he has said something in a very very clumsy way. And I am surprised a therapist would say it in that way. I wonder what made him say it and why he thought that was a good idea. But , that error aside, maybe there is something in what he is saying. Addiction seems a strong and inappropriate word to use.
.for me, my T will say something like "what do you get out of thinking/feeling like that?". Particularly if I am stuck in a cycle. She tries to point out that my thoughts and behaviours may have a pattern and currency to it. So whilst it causes me pain, I may also be getting something out of remaining in that head space. So not an addiction , but a 'thing' that needs me to move forward from it.

So, maybe your T was meaning something similar but said it in this misguided way?

When he said something that landed a similar way with you before, did you raise it with him? A good therapist should be able to hear how you find these comments and should change how he works .
A bad therapist won't.

You are both still getting to know each other as it's been a few months. So might be worth saying what you have said here and see how that helps?
If it doesn't make it better, and he still misjudges his interventions with you, is it possible to get another T?
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
so much of therapy is guesswork, trial and error that i don't take offense when someone proposes a possibility that i do not agree with. at the very least, considering the possibility helps me understand my inner workings a bit better. discussing the reasons i disagree helps me find the words for whatever ^it^ really is plaguing me.

for what it's worth
early into my therapy (80's) i was highly offended when a brother-in-healing called me, "a chaos junkie." i surely would have fired him on the spot, if i could have. i abhorred the chaos i was raised in and had worked hard to organize every aspect of my life. around the time i began to recognize my uber-organization (typically short-lived) as control freakitis, my brother-in-healing's words came back to me with a tad more clarity. i now consider myself a recovering chaos junkie. i still like my world well-organized, but these days it is more about comfort than control.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
My therapist said, "I think you are addicted to it".

This is a huge assumption to make about a person that you essentially do not know.

Whether or not there may be some truth to it? Is actually not relevant. A therapist saying this in the first place has a major problem. Therapy itself should be a realm where you put aside your own ego and your own worldview and you instead ask questions and remain curious - trust that your client will tell you what is important and don't speak over them.

Or railroad them into your own half-baked "theories." If it were me, I'd terminate, but I have almost zero tolerance for bullshit.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
If it were me, I'd terminate, but I have almost zero tolerance for bullshit.
Early on, that would have been my reaction too. I never did and I'm glad. But, there is a huge difference between a therapist saying something you disagree with, or saying something in a way that's not clear or seems tactless and one who's just bad at their job. Mine was actually pretty good at his job, we just miscommunicated sometimes. One of the best things I got out of therapy was the chance to learn that it can be both useful and safe to work through those miscommunications. So ,my suggestion would be to ask more questions and get him to elaborate on what he meant and how he meant it. THEN you can decide if it's BS.
 

Vin777

New Here
What troubles me is the comment trivializes both trauma AND addiction to the sloppy language of pop psychology. I agree with others that it's probably worth one more pointed conversation, but if he remains obtuse a therapist trained in trauma itself would be a better fit.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
So ,my suggestion would be to ask more questions and get him to elaborate on what he meant and how he meant it. THEN you can decide if it's BS.

I definitely used to be more like this but as I've aged, I've gotten far less tolerant of nonsense. I'm like, get it right the first time, or there's the door. I've spent 30 years being subject to incompetence and cruelty, ya know? I would just end up confrontational about it, so I don't even bother. "Upon what basis are you making that assumption?" would already cause a therapist's hackles to raise and if they're egotistical enough to make that comment in the first place, meh.

(And yah, I could ask it in a more tactful way, but why equivocate?) There's a lot of stuff I will let slide. My old therapist straight up started talking about how he believed in Satan and that Putin was being influenced by the devil and that there were evil people walking around the Earth. I was like right on man, cool. But he also was able to keep emotional composure and have a real back-and-forth with me. That's just like, his opinion, man. He can have his beliefs! He never projected onto me.

With shit like this, confidently asserting something so immense about my entire life and the basis on which I conduct myself? And of course the difference being that this is a brand new therapeutic relationship? It'd be far different if my therapist said this to me, after 1.5 years of working with me and establishing trust, versus some like, stranger telling me their psychoanalytical coke-fueled Freud fantasies, or whatever the f*ck is going on, here. 🤯

Point is, they're unlikely to backtrack, and I don't have time to be their therapist. Even if they meant something benign, the dynamic is already looking like I'll have to devote a significant amount of my time in session to interpreting their wildly off-base communication style. If I wanted to be a therapist I'd get my degree. I'm here to do the work, not babysit a newbie. And of course I'm self-aware enough to grasp that I'm pigeonholing and making assumptions of my own, but I just don't care, lol.

My sanity is the priority.

But yah, I am very intolerant, so I wouldn't put this as "advice," just as much as giving a perspective/example of how another person might handle the same situation and the reasons behind that, if it's at all helpful.
 
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C

Crisky

LOL. You know you have PTSD when…. !

Been there. Done that. >.<
This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^. find the funny when ya can with cptsd effects!

overall,
my shrink tells me the opposite: that I routinely still don’t plan ahead enough for life’s higher probability triggering situations! Like if there’s a dude getting drunk at a bar and railing on his girl or guy out to humiliate them or abuse them.. I need and should be more aware that this is a pretty common occurrence at bars late at night lol.
just an sample example! I tried 9 professionals before I found the right one For my issues and it’s your time to heal!
 
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