What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (2023)

How is your therapist?

that doesn't tell you

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (1)

A dozen consultants on what it's really like to sit in another armchair.

Weird Amy WangIllustration by Liana Finck

some things i just can't do
In your face

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (2)

“Sometimes I have to suppress my instincts and get out of 'my patterns. ...

...maybe from my own point of view, I said, 'Yes! Break up with that person! Run as fast as you can! But from a therapeutic point of view, I must enable them to make that decision. I only see one person for an hour a week and I probably don't understand everything, so I shouldn't make decisions for other people. That comes with practice. Honestly, sometimes you really just want to jump in and say, 'Don't do this. '"— T. Rochelle Tice, L.C.S.W.

“I pee badly.” Clients don't realize we have five minutes between sessions and sometimes we can't even go to the bathroom. "— Jessa White, L.M.H.C.A.

"A client once asked me to write an emotional support letter for her pet hedgehog. It was right in front of my taxi and I refused to do it. She was so depressed that she stopped going to therapy."-- Han Ren, Ph.D., South Carolina

"'What is her husband's name?' Try as I might, I can't remember the name."— Jen Hardy, Ph.D., Carolina do Sul

"I'm a terrible therapist now."— Shani Tran, L.P.C.C., L.P.C.

to arrivesimguys

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (3)

"I work with many Asian Americans who are looking for an Asian therapist. I feel - and other color therapists I know - that we share more of ourselves in the room. When a client says that when I feel ashamed or guilty because my parents they keep pushing them, I share what I can understand because my mother is strong too. I only share things that are true to me, not emotional things that can get in the way of a meeting.— Thien Pham, L.M.F.T.

your craziest confession is
They work from nine to five

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (4)

"I work with couples and I see a lot of truth bombs popping up. Once you've established a safe space with clients, you have a lot of super tense moments — people slap their partners or decide to be in a meeting in the middle of a breakup. , or having a tantrum and freaking out - and you just have to stick together. There were many times where someone would explode and I'd just sit there and think, 'What? Did they just say that? Well, we can't react, we can’t react. …”— T. Rochelle Tice, L.C.S.W.

therapeutic speech loss

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (5)

"Over the past five years, I've noticed that some of the vocabulary that comes up in therapy seems to be learned online. ...

...we regulated the detoxification and consumption of mental health content - Pop Psychology joined the chat! - But there are also disadvantages. Young people hear a lot about everything being "trauma". I think it's really dangerous. I am not in favor of expanding the clinical definition of trauma because it is possible to look for trauma where it might not exist. And I feel that people are also becoming more limited, moving into this culture of rejection. People sometimes think that cutting ties with others is self-care, and they're probably right. But sometimes you can try to build a stronger relationship by talking to someone and letting them know they upset you. I think people are missing those soft skills associated with breaking and fixing. "— Jacquelyn Tenaglia, L.M.H.C.

"A large group of teenagers emerged familiar with the therapy topics - but with a very new, broad and vague definition of them. I was impressed with the level of fluency of the terminology. It is really difficult when parents are away from their children dealing with, 'This is my son, fix them for me,' and the kid says, 'The narcissist hit me!'"— Kyle Standiford, Psy.D.

"I think most people are uncomfortable with the 'therapeutic language' that comes up, but I want to be humble about it. I think people come in and want to talk about their 'insecure attachment' or their 'avoidant personality disorder.' truth is kind of beautiful. I appreciate that it helps us to reduce the pecking order in our profession. So I say, let's be curious about them instead of thinking, 'They don't know what they're talking about because I'm the expert.'"—Elizabeth Cohen, Ph.D., Carolina do Sul

the intensity is inevitable

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (6)

"When I worked in Argentina 20 years ago, I served a group of middle-class clients who had jobs and health insurance. Then I came to the United States and started working in community mental health. Many of my clients were marginalized, they had problems language barriers, is constantly on the move or is fleeing violence You can't do psychotherapy if the person doesn't feel safe - that's not going to happen Sometimes you move on to being a social worker or a case manager do things like getting in your car and meeting someone who has just gotten out of an abusive relationship and is waiting for you in the parking lot with a bag of clothes and nowhere to go, or you are in a situation with an unaccompanied minor Distressing situation where they have just come through the U.S. Border Patrol from rural areas in Guatemala or El Salvador. Sometimes it's very rewarding and rewarding. But it's also frustrating because as a therapist you feel like you can't really provide what you signed up for."— Gabriela Sehinkman, Ph.D., L.I.S.W.-S.

They all see customers differently

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (7)

"The therapy itself is a bit like dancing - you want to see what the other person brings and dance with them. You can't evolve into hip-hop if they're waltzing, and sometimes people just don't want to dance. "—Peter Chan, Psy.D.

"Most therapists are trained and taught to be quiet and not reveal too much about themselves in the room. But I wanted to share a few things here and there just to make people feel like they're not alone and feel like they're not crazy. For me , therapy is a lot like dating, except, you know, obviously you don't want to date that person.— Thien Pham, L.M.F.T.

“I spend time on spaces like TikTok and Twitter, as well as gaming; understanding what's going on in gaming culture is really important to my young male clients and helps me connect with them.”— Kyle Standiford, Psy.D.

Covid changed everything

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (8)

"During Covid, I had an unusual experience where different people would say pretty much the same thing in meetings, sometimes literally, about their emotions week after week. People would come in with the same tone and tone of -- so it's almost like a emotional prediction where I can say to people, "Listen, don't be surprised if you're angry this week. I've heard it three times just today." This very intense depression, anger, numbness. It captured the way we relate to each other. It's hard for me personally to put myself in context, but for me, there's no denying these tendencies that I can see it. My belief is that, at its core, therapy is a way of understanding our emotional world and the way we struggle as individuals - but when I used to focus more on diagnosing symptoms and putting them into constellations of structures or disorders of personality, I now focus more on a narrow existential perspective, and I think that many of our problems stem from trying to find meaning and purpose in our lives. I now see how much of our emotions go unprocessed and we can't seem to recognize them . Since Covid, I have dedicated more time and resources to providing psychoeducation to a wider audience."— Lakeasha Sullivan, Ph.D., Carolina do Sul

What Your Therapist Isn't Telling You (9)

The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Amy X. Wang is the magazine's assistant editor in chief. She writes about the voyeuristic pleasures and pains of dog-watching for wealthy New Yorkers, and the general desire for expensive designer handbags that fuel a flood of cheap and surprisingly accurate fakes.


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