It was hard to make a phone call on my own.  The former therapist thought it best that I make the appointment myself.  I’m not sure what her reason for this was.  Never the less I was very nervous about it.  I didn’t know what to expect.  It took me a few days to work up the nerve.  The intake counsellor asked me a few questions and then put me on a waiting list. She said the waiting period would be about a month.

The initial appointment was the intake interview with the counsellor.  Unfortunately I was in a bad place at the time.  I was still very angry and hurt over the recent termination of therapy.  On top of that I had a month to ruminate over it. I think the whole situation was unfair to the counsellor who was interviewing me.  I was having a hard time controlling my emotions which is very unusual for me. I didn’t show much emotion outwardly but it sure was rolling around on the inside.

Anyway the counsellor asked me a whole lot of questions about my past, family and a pile of other questions that I don’t remember.  One of the questions asked was about self harm.  I told her yes.  It has been something I have done for much of my life and never gave much thought to it.  It was something I just did.  I actually didn’t know anything about it until fairly recently.  I just took it for granted. As I got older I was quite bothered about it but I’m not sure why I was so ignorant about it.  Anyway it is a very private thing with me and now when the counsellor wants to discuss it I am very reluctant to and will try to divert her away from the subject.

And then she asked me about suicide and that’s when my anger came out. It came out in what I thought was a controlled way and certainly not physically.  But really I lost control of my words. I told her of my thoughts and my plan.  She asked about the plan but I wouldn’t disclose it. I told her that it was none of her business nor her concern.  It was my life to do with what I wanted to do. Anyway I’m sure you get the picture.  Well, this proved to be my undoing.

It ended up I had two appointments for the interview.  Even through all the crap I was feeling I felt a connection with this counsellor.  I felt that maybe I could work with her.  I had another appointment so she could discuss the assessment with me.  Well I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. She said that I couldn’t see her for therapy. She said that I needed more supports in my life.  She presented me with a letter to myself outlining what I should do.  She also gave me a letter to give to my doctor, who was leaving in a few days. In this letter was concerns and recommendations.

Wow another blow. I was stunned. I thought that I was trying to get more support. One thing that really bothered me is that if I was so suicidal in her eyes why would she just cut me lose with just a letter?

In all fairness she really didn’t know me as I laid all this out before her. In hindsight I think I was testing her to see if she could handle my stuff. Apparently not.

It didn’t seem that I was having much luck.

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8 Responses to Unfair

  1. Whaaaaaat! That is terrible! I can’t believe it. So sorry this happened to you. 😦

  2. lostinamaze says:

    Yes, it was not a good scene at all, but I was persistent. Once started on my healing journey I wanted to continue, even with all the discouraging things going on.

  3. WillSpirit says:

    As someone who has experienced several therapy horror stories, this does not surprise me. But it does add to my anger. Therapists are human, so of course they will make frequent wrecks of things. Unfortunately, they are in positions where their actions can cause suffering people to feel much worse about themselves and their lives.

    As a former surgeon, I have been in the position of making mistakes with major negative consequences for another person. So I know it to be unrealistic to expect that errors won’t be made. What gets me about therapists, however, is that they can screw up and hurt clients, and yet tell themselves they are helping. If you mess up in a surgical procedure, which hopefully happens rarely, you don’t (unless you are pathologically arrogant) come away thinking you somehow did the patient a favor. But therapists seem to have a large capacity for persuading themselves they are being ‘therapeutic’ or ‘assisting’ when they are just reacting to their own inner conflicts, and how those get stimulated by a particular client.

    She feels uncomfortable with you, and tells you the problem is on your side. Wrong. The problem is her inability to not have total control, get you to answer every question, and go along with her agenda. It sounds like she lacks the ability to be flexible and accept that you may be conflicted about opening up right away.

    I am a difficult client for therapists. I’ve had one or two that were able to really work well with me, and get me to make progress. But there have been many others who threw up their hands. The end result is usually the dreaded ‘personality disorder’ diagnosis.

    If I wasn’t a troubled person, with conflicts and uncertainty and ambiguous goals, I wouldn’t seek out therapy.

    I hope you will be able to deflect what this therapist has done. Try really, really hard to recognize that she is a limited and probably rather judgmental clinician. You are you. Valuable. Unique. You have a right to better treatment.

    Sometimes I think that because I was raised with so much abuse I have a natural talent for eliciting more abuse now that I am an adult. But I am finally recognizing that, even so, I don’t have to accept the mistreatment, internalize it, or use it as a weapon to make myself feel worse.

    I wish you good luck in your continued search for answers and support.

    • lostinamaze says:

      Thanks Will, I have moved on and learned a lot in the process. To be cut loose in this manner when a person is suicidal is beyond me. I think that I just freaked her out. This happened about two years ago and there will be a twist when I get to that part of the story. I tend to be a stubborn and persistent person which is why I believe that I continued to seek help through all obstacles that seemed to be thrown in my way. I found out that there are quite a few pitfalls when it comes to finding help for mental health. I have first hand experience on how people can fall through the cracks.

      • WillSpirit says:

        Needless to say, I’m a little embarrassed at having gone into full-on rescue mode for something that happened two years ago. I take it your blog is a memoir-in-progress? I will look around it some more when I get a chance.

        My own blog will probably morph into a book project. At present I’m not even sure what type of book I’d produce. All I’ve developed so far remains a vague cluster of ideas. I’m using the site to explore different directions, see if I can develop some themes, and watch for anything that looks like it’s of special appeal to others.

        Anyway, my heart was in the right place, even if my input came a bit late…

        • lostinamaze says:

          You certainly don’t need to be embarrassed. This is still very relevant to me today as it was then. Your comments and others only validate how I felt and still do. Another reason I appreciate what you have to say is that I walk this journey alone as I have not told anyone about it. That puts me in a place where I have no one to bounce how I think about certain situations off of.

          I probably need to make where I’m at in my post more clear. I have just recently started the blog and am trying to figure things out.

          I think a book project is a great idea. You have a great deal of information and insight to offer both from a personal view and a professional view.

          Anyway I just want to thank you for your heart.

  4. Harriet says:

    I’m so sorry this happened. It sucks. I had a bad experience with a therapist, and I know there are bad ones out there.

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