judged in therapy?

I saw a therapist yesterday. She’s trained in EMDR. She was doing the background work I guess. I’d seen her once before with my husband. Her office is in the city. It’s large, filled with pretentious art and expensive looking ornaments. She liked my husband, he in his expensive suit. Calm and assured. She glanced approvingly over her Manila file at him. I sat beside him with a top on that had three quarter length sleeves so part of my tattoos were exposed. I wear a few necklaces, a few bracelets. My blonde hair had residual pink highlights in it. I was wearing sandals with bright pink toenails. She looked less enthused at me. But I’m used to that, especially in the city. And it amuses me that people are surprised at how different my husband and I look together. As though we just bumped into each other on the street and started walking together.

The next time I missed my appointment because my anxiety was too much. I couldn’t get a park, I got stuck in the one way system, I became distressed so I left.

When I saw her yesterday I decided to dress more smartly but of course still within my style. So black trousers, a teal top and a material version of a biker jacket (as opposed to my leather one). As I sat in the waiting room I saw her eyes study the silver Alice band in my hair (forgot that one!) and then in her room her eyes drifted to my feet. Flip flops, with glittery purple toes. She didn’t look like the sort of lady to compliment my polish! 

She asked how I had been in a tone that was rehearsed and disingenuous. Regardless I found myself releasing like a tyre being deflated. I spoke non stop for 40 minutes. Frankly I didn’t care what she thought about me. She was the first person that would be forced to listen for the next hour. All of my jumbled thoughts, my fears, my failings. The stress, the juggling act, the feeling of being conflicted because I can appreciate how lucky I am. The guilt, the shame, the anger, the exhaustion. Feeling lost, adrift. Alone. Needing direction, needing answers, needing space. My kids, my fears for my kids, trying to be a good parent, trying to deal with all these emotions, my mental health, my nightmares, the tears came and I cried while I spoke. I talked until the feelings became so overwhelming I could feel myself shutting down at last.

The therapist nodded her head. Then she said she could give me an idea for panic attacks. A breathing exercise. We tried it and I asked her if she used it if she panicked, she looked at me incredulously and said, I don’t panic. I then asked asked her if she had any tips for crying in public. She suggested heading into a public toilet. Not entirely helpful.

I thanked her for her time, she gave me the bill and I left.

Honestly it could have been someone waiting for a bus that asked me how I was that day, I guess I was fit to burst.

Needless to say, I won’t be going back, even if she’s really good at the EMDR bit. Although I let go, I didn’t feel right there and her looks weren’t exactly welcoming.

I feel good for the download though. It’s amazing how much I carry around with me. I could do with finding some solutions though.

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7 thoughts on “judged in therapy?

  1. That. Absolutely. Sucks.
    I am so sorry. Nothing like a pretentious therapist! God forbid she act as though she’d ever had an issue. That really pisses me off FOR you. But I’m glad you unloaded on her for your own sake. I’m sorry that you didn’t get anything worth crap for suggestions… Guess she’s not THAT good. I could have given better suggestions than she did. Damn. (Insert Severe Eye roll here!)
    I’m hoping you’ll find someone worth their weight in salt soon. Sending you good thoughts & peace…
    Hope

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  2. This is why I believe lived experience is so important. If she’s never come even close to having a panic attack, wtf does she know?!

    For me personally though, deep breathing exercises do help me, especially as if I can catch myself getting triggered and hence pre-empting before the panic builds to too high a level.

    Though if I’m panicking already, I forget all the coping skills I learned. Sometimes I can buy a moment to breathe by imagining a big red STOP! sign in my head, then I go into a deep breathing exercise and focus on “grounding” myself by being aware of my feet on the floor etc.

    Panic attacks are awful. Sending you well wishes. 🙂

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  3. What a horrible experience, especially having the courage to even see a therapist in the first place. It’s almost as if she was saying “well it’s your hour, say whatever you want I’ll just sit here and watch”. Don’t base all therapists on her, she is a flake, and anyone who says they don’t panic, really? Did she mean panic attacks maybe?

    Too bad you had to pay for the session, as I think she made up her mind about you right off the bat. I’m sorry you had to go through this, but stay strong. I’ve had some dillies in my life, one said I drink too much dairy (sounds like a Seinfeld episode) so that could ease my depression? Huh?

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  4. You are a good writer. Even though not funny, I couldn’t help chuckle at your great descriptions of you and her and where you ranged on her scale of impressive people. As for me, I like purple toenails and flip-flops.So funny. You have a good grip on people and who they are without them even having to say a word.
    I went to someone just like that once. A big hot shot, on the radio with all her great wisdom. Her house, large, new and yes, pretentious. I poured out my heart, and at one point her toddler knocking on the door.After an hour and half she made no apologies except saying she had no clock then charged me for the extra half hour.
    You have the good sense not to go back. My one brother, who at the time was only father replacement I had, had to talk me out of going back. I had even gone out to buy a watch so I wouldn’t run over again. (no insurance either)

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  5. What a nightmare. .it’s my biggest nightmare to have a therapist do that to me actually my last psychotherapist was very intimadating and I’m so relieved to have finally left.
    Iv never had emdr..before and was gonna ask you about it as my new therapist wants to try I’m petrified literally of the change but does it work? Or is it very undermining?

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