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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/What do you make of this therapist and her comments

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Question
Therapists comments and texts I (age59) dont know what to make of it


THE TEXT MESSAGES
THEN YESTERDAY at 4:55PM I got a text message from the therapist that insulted me:

FROM HER: I am feeling very badly that I hurt you with an insensitive statement, please accept my apology”

I REPLIED AT 4:56pm: “WERE U SAYING THAT U THINK I SHOULD NOT DRESS THE WAY I DRESS”

SHE REPLIED: NO HOW U DRESS IS ACCORDING TO UR OWN LIKING”

I REPLIED: “BUT I FELT AS IF U WERE PUTTING ME DOWN ABOUT HOW I DRESS WHEN U ASKED ME THAT”

SHE REPLIED: “WHAT I FEEL BAD ABOUT IS HURTING YOU, NO HOW YOU DRESS IS ACCORDING TO UR OWN LIES, NOT MINE OR ANYONE ELSE”

MY REPLY: “I WANT TO KNOW WHEN IT WASN’T A TOPIC I CAME 2 TALK TO YOU ABOUT Y IN GODS NAME WOULD U FEEL IT WAS UR PLACE 2 SAY WHAT U SAID. ALSO ANSWER THIS WERE U SAYING U DON’T APPROVE OF THE WAY I DRESS”

She replied later on: I didnt ask the question because I had opinion regarding ur dress, I was leading to another discussion, I didnt want to offend u but it seems that u accuse me of that, it was not said to offend or hurt ur feelings, I have repeated this but u can either accept this or not, i dont judge ur clothing.

I replied this morning (havent heard from her yet: UR original comment in ur office was and I quote :I have been meaning to ask u y r ur clothes big on u” EXPLAIN how that isn’t insulting the way I dress. How is the way I dress leading 2 another discussion. Ur comment in the office and this comment I feel is an attack on the way I dress. It is saying u dont approve. Were u attacking the way I dress and saying u dont approve.

==================

ORIGINAL STORY FOR YOU TO READ: My second visit to the female therapist was on July 15, 2014 to deal with family issues and at the end of the 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. The blouses and sweaters are not tight on me at all. 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. All of a sudden I felt very insecure about the way I dress. 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

Answer
Hi, debbie, thanks for your question. You asked, "dont know what to make of it."

Well, I am not a mind reader, of course, so I have no way of knowing what another person might have meant or not meant - especially since I wasn't there.

However, you did state that your reason for seeking help was "to deal with family issues", and it seems to me that stopping therapy because of a single comment from a therapist has little to do with your reason for seeking help.

I also think that stopping therapy after 2 sessions is too soon to know if the therapy is working or not. You and the therapist have not had time to get to know each other, or possibly even to figure out exactly what your goals are.

I think a comment like that is a relatively minor, benign comment, that could mean anything. For example, she could have been making small talk, in an effort to make you feel comfortable.

I think you, and most people, can tell the difference between that and a really hurtful comment. An example of a hurtful comment is name calling - such as 'you're really stupid.' That might be an example of when it's time to leave your therapist.

In any event, I think it is the responsibility of the patient to ask the therapist what he/she means, when one has an emotional reaction to a therapist's comments. that's your job as a patient. The reason I say this is that (and you likely already know this, but's it's worth repeating) therapy is not a place where you get comments. The purpose of therapy is to learn about yourself, about how you react to things, how you think, how you behave. You learn to question the things that you thought you knew, and learn new things about yourself and others.

So, you may typically react with hurtful withdrawal when someone says something you think is hurtful. But now, you are in a safe place, with a person (therapist) who is going to place your needs ahead of theirs, and who will try to help you through these automatic reactions, if you let them.

You just have not yet had time to learn that it's a safe place, so you do what you always do.

I cannot guarantee that the therapist is good, of course, nor that they are the one for you. But, generally, this is how therapy works, and it's a place for you to work on your issues. You can't do that if you run away at the first thing that seems bad. Question your beliefs, ask questions, think new thoughts, learn new ways of reacting to the world. This is therapy.  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Bruce Borkosky, Psy.D.

Expertise

any related to psychology, especially related to forensic psychology

Experience

15 years as a licensed psychologist, 15 years in private practice. My practice began primarily doing individual and group psychotherapy, is now devoted to assessments, but I occasionally do take on clients in therapy.

Organizations
American Psychological Association

Education/Credentials
B.A. psychology, B.A., music, Ohio Wesleyan U., 1978 MCS, computer science, University of Dayton, 1984 MA, psychology, Miami Inst. of Psychology, 1991 Psy.D., psychology, Miami Inst. of Psychology, 1993 post doctoral training in Neuropsychology, Fielding Institute, 1995-1997

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