what the actual heck?
I had a therapist once who always said that "both are true." Like, if I told her I really wanted something and also weirdly hated it, she'd be like "well, both are true." I told my friend about this once and that little asshat took it and built a sprawling billion-dollar multimedia empire.
Yes, my therapist thinks I’m special. She’s genuinely clairvoyant and she thinks I am, too.
But, after 13 years of more intimate conversations than you’d have with your dog, she fired herself.
If she did see it coming, she never shared that she would eventually fall in love with my brother (a good guy but a patriarchal jerk-face to me for most of our lives) and move in to his house in a matter of weeks where she now lives and where I can only talk with him while on speaker phone.
Right? Good lord.
She threw a lot of mea culpas my way (I’m not Catholic or even particularly religious so I’m not sure where these references are coming from) and tried in her own way to make things better.
But I finally had to ask her — point blank on several occasions — to stop describing how great the sex was with my brother. I mean eeeww. She wasn’t being tone deaf, she was being territorial.
If I am clairvoyant I certainly didn’t see that whole thing coming. Jeez. Red flags. Did I miss some? Hot, flaming, red flags? The kind, you know, that are going to make you light on fire as well if you can’t see them waving in your face.
To be fair, she’s never described herself as a "counselor" or "therapist." She prefers the term "spiritual healer." She’s not licensed so no legal/ethical ramifications there.
Unless you count the family camping trip that I invited her on last fall, the one where we had to double up in campsites because of the wildfires (red flags?) and me with my event coordinator skills putting them both in the same campsite. Yup, I did that.
So now, I’ve pretty much lost both of them, but at the same time I’m genuinely happy that they found each other.
Hey Alex, perfect example of both are true, right?
Both Are True.
My therapist hasn’t told me that I’m special, but she has told me I’m very strong. I’d rather be strong vs. special.
Last week, she rocked my world by saying that in the same way we’re working to prevent a relapse into drinking (I’m 5 months alcohol-free today! Yay, me!!! Slainte Muah! 🥂 👈those are mocktails) we need to put the same effort into preventing a relapse of depression.
With her guidance, I’m changing my life into the joy~filled life I’ve always dreamed of.
(We all know you’re special.) ☘️🦋
One of my old therapists told me, "People basically only have four problems," and it's haunted my dreams for years, I'm so sorry I'm passing this along to others but it's too late now, I'm clicking post.
Off topic, I know, but did you get a parking ticket or not? Inquiring minds want to know.
i’ve had a lot of therapists who just listen and kick me out. hell of a price tag to talk to a brick wall with credentials.
the most helpful thing a therapist ever told me was: When we come in with struggles with our mental health, western medicine often only treats from the neck up.
it really got me thinking. and now i’m in year three of seeing her weekly with a bevvy of complex stuff. and i do think she’s on to something because it has made a difference in this pesky animal body I drag around all day. who knew, all the human carcass baggage below my neck was going through a hard time too.
with the naked (undressed) eye, I can see that you are very special
Hey there, as a therapist, I found this whole piece really insightful and brave.
You're definitely special. 👍🏻
As a female therapist, I've often indulged in telling my clients that they are unique, wonderful, surprising, hilarious, brave, as well as... neurotic as hell.
Because they are.
It takes a freaking ton of courage to come to therapy, spill your shit, and be willing to sort through it without gloves on.
The first therapist sounds kind of old-school, one of those "blank slate" professionals. I am not that type, I am much more active, and I would probably have made an observation about your anxiety and phone app and made a joke of it.
Your interpretation of the interaction as a power game was fascinating to me.
I would've missed that or interpreted it differently.
In any case, I appreciate this...I love reading therapy stories! Especially now that I'm not "practicing" full time anymore, and I write instead. 😊
And, the quote you said, about the effectiveness of therapy being about the bond between the therapist and client, is absolutely true. It is the number one predictor of success.
When my therapist started calling me at work to chat, I knew I was special but I wasn’t paying him to be THAT KIND OF SPECIAL!
So I led off the next session with - do you want to be my friend or my therapist? You can’t be both you know.
And then I said...and what is the counter transference you’re having?
When he said his sister i said I don t need another friend I have enough and if one of them dies, I’ll let you know.
I’m paying you to be my therapist and you’re calling me at work so I’m done. And I listened to him try to argue with me and then I walked out.
It seems to me like 'going to therapy' is a whole distinct phenomenon in the US than it is anywhere else...
Maybe you need to pay her more?
My favorite therapist would always look very indignant when I told her how hard I was working at my stupid magazine job. “But!” she would huff, “you are an ARTIST!”
Now THAT was a great therapist!
You have to like your counsellor, definitely (I've always preferred "counsellor" to "therapist"... I'm not sure why). I've had counselling on and off for almost forty years, as needed. I also meditate, see a somatic practitioner, exercise, take walks, write in a journal, get acupuncture etc, as needed. My counsellor has been extremely helpful at times, and not particularly helpful at other times. One of the most helpful things I was ever told (and not by her) was: you can't believe everything your brain tells you. That didn't sink in at first, but now it's like a guiding light. Your beliefs about yourself (or anything else) are *not* THE TRUTH.
My therapist told me I was "pretty impressive for my age", which I took to mean special, really fucking special. She had finally admitted it. This tortured artist had been freed from his life of suffering. This was what I was looking for the whole time. I tuned out the next 50 minutes and the- as you put it- less important part about "healing" or "self-work".
so technically it’s not whether you like them, it’s whether you have what is called a strong “therapeutic alliance”—you like them in a way that feels secure enough that you believe that the two of you together can work some stuff out. sorry, I’ve just been in therapy a long time (22 years!!!!)
"I’m at the elevator, descending fast into the depths of my own self loathing."
🤣 Dude, that was soooo Murakami!
PS you really are special Alex. And I don’t mean that in an “everyone is special” sort of way.