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My therapist laughed at me


cb2

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About ten minutes into my first session with a new therapist she asked about some of my issues and I guess I went on for a while talking and when I finished she said "wow, I'm tired" She said it was a joke and laughed. She said she was joking twice, so I think she knew she should not have said it, but she did. It really caught me off guard so I didn't say anything about it, but as the session continued it's all I could think about and couldn't believe she would make a joke at her client's expense. In my mind I was trying to decide whether to confront her about the joke or just to let it go, but it's hard to let something go when it's all you can think about. I left without saying anything, but in retrospect I should have told her my feelings, although, I don't know what good it would have done since even if she apologized or explained that it wasn't meant to hurt me, I still would not go back to her.

I've seen 4 different therapists in the last three years and this is the very first time anything like this has happened. I'm supposed to meet with her every Thursday at noon, but right now I'm conflicted about going to the appointment next week to discuss this incident with her or contact the clinic to cancel and let them know what happened. I know the clinic probably won't do anything to her, but I just want them to know why I won't be a patient there anymore. Do you have any advice on how I should proceed?

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Man, that's a tough one. I am not sure what I would do. I think I would confront her because, hey, that's what she's there for.. to help you sort through your emotions and how you process them. If something like that happened again, I'd definitely complain to her bosses and stop seeing her. It could be a good learning lesson for both of you - for you to know how to process when something like that happens, and for her to know to be more sensitive -especially when others are in crisis mode. 

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cb2,

As a therapist on sabbatical due to severe depression and anxiety, I think it would be a great idea to talk to her about the joking aspect and especially at your expense and exactly how it made you feel. I would not let it go until it's resolved either because therapist can be sly and switching the subject. If you can get this resolved I think you'll have a great therapeutic relationship and she'll be way more attentive to your needs. If she becomes defensive I would state you can no longer be a part of of therapy relationship where your are no being treated with respect and dignity and promptly leave (also ask for your money back and that you would like to talk this though with the therapist's supervisor). If that isn't how you would like to do things you could notify her you are not coming back or ask that no more appointments be scheduled. Hopefully this helps.  I know I screwed up and did the same thing when I was practicing and the client approached me about it and I felt terrible and sought to reconcile the situation. 

Best of Luck

Edited by Mdizel80
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I went through something similar.. my therapist said something and I took offense.. I didn't say anything until the next session.. we talked about and it was all a misunderstanding.. I took what he was saying in the wrong way.. no harm was meant.. so I definitely suggest going back and telling her how you felt..

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Yes I would have told her my feelings if I felt how you do. Thats whats shes there for afterall, maybe bring it up in your next session. Its pretty unprofessional in my opinion though I doubt she meant to offend you, least I hope not.

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Thank you for your replies. They made me feel a lot better.

One thing that I just remembered that she said when she was going over all of the forms and stuff was that a client didn't have to keep seeing her if they didn't feel it was working and she wouldn't be offended, but then she said that she could stop seeing the client if she wanted to and that part was weird to me because I've heard therapists say I didn't have to come back if I didn't want to, but the part about she could stop seeing a client if she wanted to was strange, I've never heard a therapist say that. Why would she even say that? Has anyone ever been told by a therapist that they can stop seeing you if they want? I know they have the right but why say that in the first session, what's the point if at any moment they drop you and you have to start all over again with a new therapist. I know if the client does something bad to them, I understand, but I felt it almost as a threat.

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1 hour ago, cb2 said:

Thank you for your replies. They made me feel a lot better.

One thing that I just remembered that she said when she was going over all of the forms and stuff was that a client didn't have to keep seeing her if they didn't feel it was working and she wouldn't be offended, but then she said that she could stop seeing the client if she wanted to and that part was weird to me because I've heard therapists say I didn't have to come back if I didn't want to, but the part about she could stop seeing a client if she wanted to was strange, I've never heard a therapist say that. Why would she even say that? Has anyone ever been told by a therapist that they can stop seeing you if they want? I know they have the right but why say that in the first session, what's the point if at any moment they drop you and you have to start all over again with a new therapist. I know if the client does something bad to them, I understand, but I felt it almost as a threat.

To me, it sounds really 'off' for her to put that in there. It really sounds like someone trying to maintain control, and that doesn't sound right to me, coming from a therapist. Definitely mention the 'joking' incident, and how it made you feel.  I would definitely put serious thought into finding another therapist if that is an option for you.  The joking incident sounds like good grounds to do that. 

I had to change therapists once when mine criticized my choice to have spiritual beliefs.  I wound up telling her how important my spiritual beliefs had been to me thus far, and let her know I wouldn't be back. I know this is hard and confusing, but don't be afraid to stick up for yourself.

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I've decided I'm not going back to see her because I just know every time I see her it will just open up this wound, also I would be nervous the entire time during our session that she may make another joke to upset me. Although, I would like to see her one more time and get an explanation, but most likely she will just say she didn't mean any harm and apologize, so I don't see a need to give her my money again. I've come to terms with this situation and know that she didn't mean to upset me and I guess she thought it was a funny thing to say. I think we all have made jokes that we wish we could take back, so I don't hold a grudge with her, but when dealing with people who are depressed and suicidal maybe joking about their condition isn't the best idea.

When I contact the clinic to cancel my appointments I am going to mention the incident just so the therapist is aware why I stopped seeing her and she should be more careful when making jokes with a patient.

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1 hour ago, cb2 said:

I've decided I'm not going back to see her because I just know every time I see her it will just open up this wound, also I would be nervous the entire time during our session that she may make another joke to upset me. Although, I would like to see her one more time and get an explanation, but most likely she will just say she didn't mean any harm and apologize, so I don't see a need to give her my money again. I've come to terms with this situation and know that she didn't mean to upset me and I guess she thought it was a funny thing to say. I think we all have made jokes that we wish we could take back, so I don't hold a grudge with her, but when dealing with people who are depressed and suicidal maybe joking about their condition isn't the best idea.

When I contact the clinic to cancel my appointments I am going to mention the incident just so the therapist is aware why I stopped seeing her and she should be more careful when making jokes with a patient.

Good for you, cb2, for sticking up for yourself. I know there are few things more confusing than knowing you need therapy, and trying to figure out if your therapist is showing inappropriate behavior.  :console:

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I've been to many therapists/counsellors/psychologists before I found one I liked. They're not all created equal and I think it's important to have some kind of dynamic to work together. Truthfully I also never really gave a lot of them a chance I just wasn't really ready to do the work of being in counselling-it's hard and exhausting !That being said my biggest complaint of therapists have been the robotic textbook spewing ones that tell me to "take a hot bath and relax"  and the fact that yours tried to crack a joke suggests to me she's willing to be a human in this counselling relationship, even if her joke was not the right thing to say. I'd talk to her about it and she what she says. Chances are she has been fretting about it since she said it ! As for her mentioning she could terminate the sessions if she wanted, the truth is all therapists have that right at any time too so at least she told u.  I think it's a way of her saying she has boundaries too and if she was uncomfortable she has the right to stop.  

 

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