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Author Topic: Therapy issue  (Read 10255 times)

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Offline CalvinC

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Therapy issue
« on: January 18, 2024, 11:15:40 pm »
Hi all

This is more for venting than anything, I suppose, though I'm somewhat confused.

Visited my therapist today, whom I've been seeing for about four months. We're settling in, getting past the "getting to know you" phases.

I was talking today (and I won't get into details, to spare y'all) about exclusion and dismissal, as a person with hiv and, moreover, a (now) older person. I had said that I thought that, regardless of being gay and hiv, that I felt this sense of dismissal for much of my life, though I thought that that could be just me being too sensitive etc.

He chimed in about oppressions experienced within queer communities (he uses queer, I use gay) and then, suddenly, he's onto a discussion about (white) privilege and cis-gendered bodies and so on. And I'm thinking, what? I think he was trying to establish, for me, my own position, in a manner of speaking, within the gay community in general. But then it seemed that this awareness merely highlighted my ostensible privilege as a white gay man.

I took the conversation around, well-versed as I am in DEI, and talked about how pro-active I am when it comes to matters of diversity and inclusion, though I'm not a fan of how institutions try to institute equity (but that's another story). It was as though I felt I had to defend myself. And I went on frame the politics of diversity within the gay community as one that is often made to be about disadvantage, and who is most oppressed. And so I said, well, as you know, I'm hiv positive, I'm an ageing man, and I have suffered greatly from OCD throughout my life. Where does that place me in the oppression sweepstakes? Well, I didn't say it exactly like that, but fairly close.

It was as though I felt I was being dismissed for my ostensible privileges (about which I'm aware, of course, but which I don't abuse). And while part of me says that that wasn't my therapist's aim, it is sort of how the session ended, with him suggesting that we pick this up next week.

I know that the right thing to do is to not run away and to go next week and discuss it. But I'm confused, if not offended at what I perceive to be a subtle (though likely unintentional) attack, from my therapist, of all people. What I want to do is send an email saying, I'm outta here and just move on. Sigh.

Thoughts?


Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2024, 11:41:33 pm »
You could stay and try to move the conversation forward or voice your concerns with them but personally speaking I find that life is too long to deal with clowns, I would be moving on and looking for a therapist with less issues.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2024, 11:46:59 pm by Jim Allen »
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Offline numbersguy82

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2024, 05:54:48 am »
Oh wow so basically you must have left therapy feeling more rattled than when you began. That is not a great sign. However I donít know where you are, but finding a psychiatrist in my neck of the woods (Boston) is impossible. So perhaps you could express your feelings about the last session on your next visit? Everyone can have a bad day and cross a professional line without intending to.

My experience with therapists have been that they listen. And if they speak they are asking me questions that I am replying to. Rarely am I preached at nor have my therapists gone on tangents about things while in my presence. I donít blame you for seeking some advice.

Keep us posted as Iím curious how things go if you do return and express yourself to them.

Ps- I also refer to myself as queer so itís donít necessarily believe itís a slur or has a negative connotation. If anything he may just not be comfortable saying gay (is he older)
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Offline Tonny2

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2024, 04:53:59 pm »

Mm.          ojo.         

Hello there!Ö I am sorry that you are treated this way. If I were you, I will look for a specialist that is going to make you feel comfortable with. I am sorry that you even had to see a therapist, please, keep us posted and I wish you the bestÖhugs

Offline CalvinC

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2024, 02:14:00 am »
Thanks for the responses. I would move on, but it's difficult investing time and lots of energy into establishing a new relationship with a therapist. (The one immediately before this lasted five sessions; and prior to that, I had been seeing a straight therapist on-line, whom I liked a lot, and we concluded that our work, mostly around OCD, was done. But I still wanted to work out some gay-related issues.)

I'm pretty sure I'm committed to seeing him and (gently) bringing this up and asking for clarification. I know that he has a queer community background and has done extensive training with LGBTQ+ people; and so his DEI knowledge isn't a surprise, in one sense; it's a surprise that it popped up in the session in the way that it did. I mean, he began the talk (that I mentioned, above) with the word "colonized"; and while I know exactly what that means (in that he was saying, I think, how oppressed peoples' lives are in a sense colonized by their oppressors), I was dismayed that we then moved into DEI languaging as a template for describing my life. I wasn't sure if he thought he was educating me or what. (He's in his early 30s, I think; and that he uses queer doesn't bother me, but I use gay for myself.)

I'm seeing him Thu and I'll post again then.

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2024, 03:57:37 am »
Quote
I'm pretty sure I'm committed to seeing him and (gently) bringing this up and asking for clarification.
Quote
I'm seeing him Thu and I'll post again then.

Well, good luck, and hopefully, bringing it up will result in some clarity for both sides. Hopefully, he did not mean to be dismissive of your experiences & challenges. If he did at least you will know for sure. Keep us posted.


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Offline CalvinC

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2024, 11:22:54 pm »
So I had my appointment this morning -- and it all went well, I'm glad to say.

But first, I contacted my last therapist (mentioned earlier) to get a second opinion. I thought, this is kinda crazy, talking to a therapist about other therapy. But then, well, people get second opinions from all sorts of doctors... Anyway, he was very helpful in clarifying the issues and how I might approach the matter with my present therapist.

Who I did approach, today. It was frustrating at first, as I stated that I was confused about what he said last without, without me now specifically referring to DEI or his seeming veneration of it. He kept asking questions until I said, finally, that I felt that the conversation was one-sided. Then he explained what he was attempting to illustrate last week, simply that power dynamics within communities, like the gay one I'm in, may mirror oppressions found in the world at large. I asked if he had been trying to impress upon me that, if it were because I'm a cis-gendered white guy that I might be unaware of my own propensities to oppress (and that is what I thought he was getting at, last session); and he said No, that he was simply referring to multitudes of oppression that may exist and that I have apparently been experiencing some of them, as an older, hiv-positive guy with mental health issues (my OCD).

That cleared the air, more or less, though I still have a niggling feeling that he knew that he had pushed an envelope, so to speak, in becoming, last week, so animated in our discussion about oppressions that he got caught up in it and engaged in DEI languaging and concepts -- and about which I became defensive because I thought he wanted me to explain myself in relation to those concepts. I didn't expect him to apologize or anything; but I thought he could have done more in seeing how he played a part in my becoming confused and agitated last week.

Anwyay, after those very uncomfortable 10 minutes -- wherein I thought I was going into walk-out-of-here territory -- things leveled out and we used this discussion to mirror other difficulties I'm experiencing, and that was helpful.

I got through it. Thanks all for your feedback.

Cal
« Last Edit: January 25, 2024, 11:28:39 pm by CalvinC »

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2024, 03:31:39 am »
Hiya, glad to hear things worked out.
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Offline CalvinC

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2024, 07:57:20 pm »
Perhaps I should start another thread. But anyway....

I am wondering if anyone here stopped their therapy and why and how they came to that decision.

I had seen a therapist for about nine years before we mutally called it quits, that we found that we had gone as far as we might. Then a couple of years later I wanted to dig deeper into my OCD, and I found a therapist (see above) and that was good. Now I am on another therapist to deal with matter of hiv and being gay and aging.

But in some ways, I'm wondering if maybe I just need to move on and live my life. Well, I DO live my life; and I find the therapy useful and my benefits cover it. (Note to American friends: Canadian health systems mostly cover just psychiatrists and not (psycho)therapists who are not thus accredited. So if you don't have insurance, you're outta luck. And getting in to see a psychiatrist, most of whom are interested only in applying psychophramacology, can take a couple of years.)

Last week's session still bothers me, in that I found/find that, as I mentioned, my therapist didn't seem to want to account for his share in the confusion that coloured the previous session. I feel almost as though there's a power dynamic at work, wherein I don't think that I'm at the same "level" as he is, almost as though he resents my calling him to account (which I did, in a way, as I needed clarification). So, I'm thinking, y'know, maybe it's time to call it a day. Enough with the therapy. Life will always have its messes, and I can live with them, I guess.

Offline harleymc

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2024, 03:51:59 am »
Why are you hanging on to the 'offence' that you felt?

Offline numbersguy82

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2024, 06:27:27 am »
I can only speak from my own experience, but having left my therapist and not seeing one for years, I feel like I was worse off. Here in the States itís not easy to just find a new therapist. Iíd implore you to consider seeking out a new therapist while continuing to see your existing one.

However you know your body and mind better than I do. I do believe therapy can work to help you through temporary challenging moments or events in our lives. I also know that should the need arise, it might not be easy to just pick up and begin with a new therapist quickly. Itís kind of like insurance, thereís peace of mind in knowing that you have it, whether youíre using itÖ or in this case getting a meaningful return from it.
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Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2024, 07:04:16 am »
Quote
I'm wondering if maybe I just need to move on and live my life. Well, I DO live my life; and I find the therapy useful and my benefits cover it.

At the end of the day, you have to decide whether you want to continue. However, if your benefits cover it and you find it useful, I don't see why you would stop.

Quote
almost as though he resents my calling him to account

Perhaps he does resent you, maybe you hurt his big-boy feelings, but if so, that's his issue to deal with.

So don't let it become your issue or concern; as long as the sessions have moved past this bump in the road and remain beneficial to you, and he is polite and professional, I don't think there is an issue.

Ultimately, I suppose it depends if you are still comfortable enough to try and continue; only you can answer that.

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Offline CalvinC

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Re: Therapy issue
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2024, 09:47:48 pm »
harleymc: "Why are you hanging on to the 'offence' that you felt?"

That's a good point. But would you suggest that I don't hang on to it, let it go, for whatever reason, unresolved? I'm actually afraid to bring it up, as the therapist might perceive it as an attack on him. Who wants to be told that they aren't, possibly, doing their job right? No one, not even therapists, I'm sure.

numbersguy82: Yes, staring yet again with a new therapist is very laborious. I don't want to consider it -- so this is why in part I've asked what others have done vis a vis ending therapy. For me, now, it's a choice between continuing and just calling it a day.

Jim, yes, I agree. As a professional, though, he should recognize that what I might say in regard to his conduct might call for some self-reflection. I'm not about to insult him and say "You aren't doing your job." But it's not as though this all arose in my own vacuum.


Thanks all for the feedback. Very helpful.

 


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