You know that scene in the romantic comedy where the girl is looking for a guy and goes on date after date with the loser, the geek, the wierdo who can’t make eye contact, the person who cries over dinner, and the girl ends up thinking she is better off alone?
That is what my search for a therapist has been like.
About a year and a half ago, it became evident that I needed a new therapist (long story, I’ll save that for another day). We ended on very good terms, but he moved to another city.
I was in a behavioral health program at that time, and asked for a referral for someone else. They referred me to “Jennifer.” After a short time, it became evident that “Jennifer” and I were not a good match. She was just too much of a case manager, wanting to discuss the logistics of my day. Then, when it came time for my favorite to come to a session, she wanted to be in control, and ended up yelling at me. Loudly. Our meeting ended with me saying that I have problems with emotional regulation and need to see a therapist with more emotional regulation than I have. My fave was at the meeting and declared her “ridiculous and immature.”
Then I solicited names and recommendations from others. Some therapists were not taking new patients. Some were only seeing people at a certain complex.
I bonded with Mary right away, and after our second session, got a phone call that she was taking a long medical leave. (I later found out she had breast cancer.)
Back to the list.
There was the woman who told me she “didn’t believe in the Bi-Polar diagnosis” five minutes after meeting me.
The woman who said, “are you sure you weren’t abused?” “Have you ever thought maybe you were abused?” “Have you ever had a suspicion you were abused?” (Set yourself up for a lawsuit much?)
There was the woman who saw me twice, and during the second meeting she said she had several out-of-town trips planned for the next few months and really wasn’t taking any new patients. (You didn’t know that on the phone?)
Then, the woman who answered her cell phone during our meeting. Twice.
The man who wanted to know what my favorite color was and what that symbolized to me. The man who wanted to describe a scene, and have me fill in details. How is imagery going to help here? What would I say to my five year old self? Avoid wack-a-doo therapists.
The woman who wanted me to draw a picture of what the “scary feelings” looked like. It’s not a monster, and I’m not 5. They are feelings. I’m not drawing them.
I start to think there aren’t any regular therapists out there. I become paranoid that it’s me. I am grateful friends and family tell me it’s not. And grateful some of them witnessed some of this craziness.
So, I finally meet Deb. She seems normal-ish. Combination of Eastern and Western approaches. Believes in meditation and the meaning in things, but grounded enough in the real world to know what works. Always thought she talks a lot for a therapist, but I talk a lot, too, so that’s okay.
And, then I go in for my appointment. To talk about me and the issues weighing on my mind, how they are affecting my life. Instead, I hear that she is divorcing her husband, living with her daughter, on H St–one block over from you!, what kind of dog her daughter has, that her daughter doesn’t take the dog out and he goes to the bathroom in the house, that her husband was having an affair for 11 years (You want to ever give me advice about my marriage?!? I don’t think so, honey.), that she knew about the affair, that her husband wouldn’t get counseling…. It got to a point where I couldn’t respond like a patient anymore because that boundary was so gone. I could only respond like a friend and say “NO!” “Then what?” “What did you do?” Ridiculous.
And I found out–she had lunch with the mistress’s husband. They exchanged paperwork. She found out about the B*LOW JO*B her husband got at the train station on Christmas Eve. Yes, I know about my therapist’s husband’s Christmas present from his mistress.
How can I go back and what do I say?
Oh, my life the movie.