This is How You Fire Your Therapist
You hire his boss.
March 19, 2020
“Good morning Terry,
I imagine having to switch therapists so often has been very frustrating. The easiest thing for you to do would be to call our office at….”
I located this email in my ‘therapist’ folder. Too bad for everyone that deals with me in writing but I keep (nearly) everything. So I used this email from her to let her know that I needed a change. She’s my now ex therapist’s boss. Here’s where I clued her in.
Friday, Sept 19, 2020
“And now here we are 6 months later and I’m going to need to do a switch again. I’ve tried working with Roger (not his real name) but we’ve just never seemed to have synched up. There are subjects I won’t even talk to him about because of the stance he takes. He’s like a dog with a bone. For example my father. We don’t talk about him. Even if Roger asks I tell him everything is status quo whether it is or not. Why? Because Roger’s responses are always the same:
Well, he is from that era.
Well, he is of that age.
Well, it is his house.
None of that gives the old man an out when it comes to his mental and emotional abuse towards me. He acts like “dad” should get a pass because of where he is in life. What one thing has to do with the other I couldn’t tell you.
He doesn’t listen. Six months we’ve been at this and yet it never occurred to him to ask me first thing how I managed on 9/11. I was in the DC area and worked that disaster. 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months on end and Roger knows that. Not even a blip on the radar for him. Thankfully my PRP from Go-Getters checked in on me. When I brought that up he couldn’t even recall the type of work I did or the name of the agency I worked for. Uh, it’s always been the same! Which has been talked about. More than once. Yet nothing seems to have been retained.
He self soothes through every session. If he isn’t rocking his entire body it gets worse and he rocks his head. Reminds me of the bobblehead dog my great grandmother used to keep in the back window of her car. He doesn’t use a headset so with all of the ducking and weaving half the time I can’t hear him. Yes, I’ve told him and yes he still does it anyway. So he rocks and I tell him to repeat what he said. Fun times.
He knows nothing about the dream state and how that’s the mind’s way of processing at night whatever didn’t get processed during the day. So I have to Google my many dreams and discuss them with the PRP.
So now that’s two things I can’t talk to him about. Here comes number three. A bestie that retired in HI after literally spending his entire adult life in the active military. He runs a few businesses and does charity work so I don’t hear from him as much as I liked to. The last time Roger and I discussed him (George) he had forgotten all the things I had told him about George. So he starts in with a teehee and a grin with, ‘oh so he’s in paradise now and he’s just forgotten, everyone’. EXACTLY HOW DOES THAT HELP? This I’ve got to hear.
He asked me just this last session about my headaches and how long do they last. I told him that anymore it’s nothing to wake up with a headache and go to bed with the same headache later that night. He’s diagnosed me with having migraines. I had to check him on that. No, migraines for me are behind the left eye and include a lot of sensitivities and nausea. “Oh yeah that’s true” was his response. Excuse me but WTF? Does he just allow anything and everything to pop out of his mouth because if that’s the case he’s coming across like an idiot. You and I both know there are probably a dozen different types of headaches — sinus, stress, tension, TMJ induced, etc. Yet each time we discuss my headaches it’s the old migraine card. It’s exasperating.
Let’s not even mention how he asked me two weeks ago what my role was in the bad things that happened to me. When I asked for clarification his response was maybe I should have chosen better friends or maybe I shouldn’t have gone ‘to that party’. A coworker with who I was friends with the entire family asked me to a party. I figured since I worked with him and his sister and had met her, her husband, the kids, and the patriarch it would be safe to go. How was I supposed to know that this fiend and coworker was going to drug me and sell me for hours to whoever had the cash and wanted to rape me???
Want me to keep going or are you pissed off enough now? If you want more examples you can reach out to Kayla, my substitute therapist, at Go-Getters. She hears it all the next day anyway.
So if you’d be so kind as to find me someone who can (1) sit still (2) speak up (3) check their judgments at the door (3) pay attention (4) have some sort of ability to remember at least something after 24 visits (5) and some ability to work with dreams and the subconscious that would be great.
Ms. Terry L. Cooper”
Needless to say, I received a heartfelt apology and a new date and time to do a Zoom meeting with her. Naturally, after I had sent her the email I remembered a ton of other ‘helpful’ stuff Roger had to say.
Way back at the beginning he said I needed friends. Um based on what? The fact that I live in a cave and have zero interaction with society as a whole? Ah nah. There’s a pandemic going on in case you missed the newsflash. So socializing isn’t what it used to be. Right now everyone is busy just trying to learn new coping skills for every single aspect of their lives. We, all of my circle, know that if we need one another we’re there. We don’t need to grab a coffee at Starbucks to know this.
Recently he said that I need more friends than him and my PRP (advocate). Um, apparently you didn’t listen, understand, and/or retain the information I gave you months ago.
kind and pleasant — “they were friendly to me”
a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations
Hell, even I can see the difference. You can be nice to someone without being their friend. I’m friendly to the Food Lion cashier. It doesn’t mean I want to go out to lunch with her. Sheesh.
I’m sure that’s more than enough for you to get the picture. Your take away and call to action? Be your own advocate. You don’t work for them. THEY WORK FOR YOU. Whether you pay out of pocket for their services or your insurance company does, THEY WORK FOR YOU. Remember that. Treat yourself and your health as a business. Interview ‘your staff’ before you hire them. Google them. Where did they go to school? How long ago did they graduate? How long have they been in practice? What hospitals have they studied at? Have they published, what, where?
Now chop chop. Google awaits you with breath bated.
Originally published in Illumination