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Counseling/I dont understand why a therapist would insult especially on a topic that was never discussed by me to her


QUESTION: How do I not care what this therapist said when she insulted me  

Today was my second visit and she fell asleep both times. In addition she insulted me today. I came to her office to deal with family issues and at the end of todays session she says 'I been meaning to ask you, why are your clothes big on you'. I was stunned especially since my issues had nothing to do with my clothes. Also almost every day I get complimented on what I am wearing. I dress very chic and elegant, I do not dress slutty.

I asked her why she said this and she said 'I want to know if you have body issues'. Again I was stunned. I told her that the way I dress is none of her business and I always get compliment on how I dress and the issues I came to discuss had nothing to do with my body or clothes.

I told her I will never come back to see her again and she had no right to put down the way I dress. When I got to my car I called my best friend and she was stunned as well.

Because of this psychologists remarks the rest of the day I felt very insecure about the way I dress.  I was feeling really good about myself until this therapists remarks

ANSWER: Dear Deb,
Thank you for your letter and for sharing this experience. I agree with your reaction and that you stop seeing her.
The truth is that many people get into counseling because they themselves have unresolved emotional issues.
Every counselor is different. I once knew a woman in the city where I used to live who was a friend of a friend. She had a serious verbal abuse problem. She could go from neutral to a scary yelling voice in sixty seconds, yet she had a Ph.D. and was a clinical psychologist. I felt really sorry for her clients and would never want to see someone like her as a counselor.
In my lifetime (58 years), I have been to a lot of counselors. Most recently, in 2009, I found a great LCSW counselor who has helped me the most. Plus, for several years my health insurance covered it with a small co-pay. Now I still see her but less often, because I changed my insurance and need to pay out of pocket now.
Anyways, the moral of the story is to keep looking for help. You will eventually find someone who is competent.
Write back if you want to discuss further.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: How do I not care. I was really upset.  Do you have any idea as to why she asked me this and made me feel that the way I dress is not right.  When I went to my eye doctor a month ago I was wearing an oversized sleeveless blouse with a long sleeve blouse underneath that and the nurse loved it, and when I went out to lunch later on that day someone at the restaurant loved what I wore.

Yesterday a neighbor loved what I was wearing.  I dont wear tight clothes.

How do I put what she said out of my mind.

ANSWER: Hi Deb, it is hard to say what the counselor's motivation was. Maybe she was trying to tell you something in an indirect, passive-aggressive way. But since her words were negative and hurtful, I would guess that she was unconsciously telling you something about her own story (not yours).
As far as dress codes, I am a real estate teacher. Recently I did my real estate instructor renewal continuing education. The teacher showed us a movie, and one of the scenarios was how to dress at work. First the movie showed a shapely woman with a short skirt and low cut blouse. Then it showed a woman in a longer skirt and more modest blouse. After the movie, the teacher said that in the professional world today, it is not acceptable to show cleavage and thigh. I would be tempted to do it myself if I had anything to show off, so I am no authority. But I would say it is fine around friends and in casual situations. However, in a professional setting, such as work, or even maybe a counseling appointment (??), professional dress code is more appropriate.
Anyways, I am not one to talk, because I dress like a hippy from the 1960s, but I can clean up pretty well for formal events. I put on a nice dress, no tie-dye, get my hair to be less frizzy, wear make-up, etc. Or sometimes I might dress up including tie-dye, it just depends on the event. I love wearing lots of colors.
But overall, I want you to give yourself a hug and tell yourself that you love you. No counselor can take that away. What you feel and what you think is your decision. Just let that stupid counselor's words roll off your back.
Write back if you want to discuss further,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I am still upset at the comment and I dont know how to put it out of mind.  I called her last night to tell her off and she says to me that she wasnt putting down my clothes that as a therapist she has a right to know if I have body issues because I dont wear tight clothes.  I told her it is the same thing and that it wasnt her business because I didnt come there to talk about that and it was inapprorpiate.  She then tells me that she wasnt telling me that  it wasnt right or wrong to wear my clothes the way I do becauseshe doesnt care. But I still cannot get her comments out of my head.

I am trying to let if roll of my back.

Well, in your desperate need for revenge, and inability to act like an adult and forget about it, you have made yourself an ass.

"I called her last night to tell her off"

That just shows how immature you are, emotionally. Mature adults never call people up to tell them off. Expressions of anger just make you more angry, but do nothing to resolve a situation. It is okay to be angry, but figure out what is causing the anger, get in a better mood, then pursue a rational strategy to resolve your anger. The most rational thing in this case is to walk away.

Perhaps the counselor tapped into one of your really sensitive areas unknowingly. Try to understand what made you mad about it. But the anger is in you, so you have to resolve it. Yelling at people does nothing to help, and could even make things worse. Now you have to carry the guilt of lashing out at someone.

My advice is to let the whole thing go and put it in the past. I still sometimes yell at people, but it always makes me feel bad about myself, and sorry for the person I yelled at.

The golden rule applies here:
Is that how you would want to be treated?


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Nori Muster


Art therapy, positive thinking, and abuse recovery.


I have been an expert at since 2000. Before that, during college and graduate school, I put in approximately three hundred volunteer hours working at juvenile halls. I also worked in drug and alcohol counseling agencies. In addition, I have done art and writing therapy with young people who grew up in abusive religious groups.

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), helps families, people who grew up in cults, and people leaving cults.

Books by Nori:
Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World, a history of positive thinking and how to practice it in the post-9/11 world.
Child of the Cult, a collection of stories about children who grew up in restrictive religious groups.
Cult Survivor's Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life, a recovery handbook for people who had a bad experience in a group.

For a summary of all writing, see

Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (psychology, counseling, and criminal justice), Western Oregon University, 1991.

Awards and Honors
Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement won an award from for best selling book in its category.

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