My beloved therapist of seven or eight years lived over an hour away. She didn’t charge me for our sessions (I guess I was a charity case), so I felt guilty and didn’t call her unless it was an emergency.
My husband and I were having major problems in our marriage, so we decided to go to couple’s counseling. We got a name from a friend of a licensed clinical social worker, and went to a couple of sessions. Lori was her name, and she was okay. The sessions weren’t very helpful for our relationship, since looking back I can see that I was manic at that time. No one could convince me that he and I were supposed to be together. I remember the counselor giving us homework, and we were to list the things we liked about the other person. I literally could not come up with one thing. I can’t even imagine that now.
Anyway, one day at work I began to have some anxiety. It was early, and I had a book full of appointments for the rest of the day. Anxiety ballooned into panic, and I started to hyperventilate and freak out. The only thing I knew to do was call the new therapist who was close by for an emergency session. She agreed to see me, and I jetted over there.
I sat down in her office and unloaded. I cried and choked out the words to my tales of woe. I remember telling Lori how much pressure I felt from my marriage, and how it was affecting our son, and our families. I felt bad for the pain I was causing my husband. I had also gone in with two other girls and opened a salon, so I had all of these work pressures. I had so much guilt about everything.
When I got all the words out, I looked at Lori and her eyes were kind of wide and she seemed alarmed. I must’ve looked quite the mess. We talked a minute about what I told her, and she told me that I needed to go home and rest, that I was too upset to go back to work. What?! Go home? I explained to her that I had people counting on me at work. People had made appointments with me ahead of time, and they expected me to be there for their service. Not to mention, I needed the money. The thought of not going back to work was not even an option I would consider.
Lori didn’t let it go. She tried several times to convince me to cancel the rest of my day, and the more she pushed, the more adamant I felt about what I felt I needed to do.
I went back to work. As I was driving back to the salon, I remember thinking how pressured I felt from Lori. I got where she was coming from, but the way she kept pushing was too much in my opinion. One of the whole reasons I went to see her was because of all the pressure I felt from every direction, and then my therapist is in my face, almost bullying my to do something I told her adamantly I didn’t want to do.
The next week, I broke down and went to see my long-time therapist, Mary. I told her what happened, and she waved her hand dismissively, “You’re a venter, Sammy. As soon as you get it all out, you feel better, and then you can go about your day.” Wow! She was right! I am a venter! It’s like boiling water inside me, the bubbles get bigger and the water rolls violently until I take the top off and let the pressure escape! Then I can breathe again, I can function.
Lori didn’t know this about me, of course. We hadn’t been working together long enough. She had the best of intentions, but her persistent pressuring rubbed me the wrong way. I knew I wouldn’t go see her again for one on one counseling. She backed me into a corner and put me on the defensive. I didn’t like how that felt at all. She could’ve suggested that I cancel my day and go home. We could have briefly discussed it, and that should’ve been it.
I simply didn’t call her again for any more sessions. No hard feelings. Just business. It’s kind of like my business. If I don’t hear from someone again after doing their hair, I don’t get upset or mad. I figure we were just not a good fit, or their cousin just got out of beauty school, or they don’t have the money, or my hours don’t work with their schedule. A million things!
If I got my feelings hurt every time this happened, I’d have a lot of hurt feelings. It’s part of any service industry, and if the service provider is a professional, they understand how it works. If you run into a therapist or doctor that gives you grief or crap about switching to another provider, run far away! That’s not professional or ethical, and it’s just not good manners! That shows insecurity with their practice, and I don’t want anyone that’s insecure messing with my medication or my therapy. Who knows what else is going on with them.
You are not a prisoner to one particular doctor or therapist. You don’t owe them anything. If it’s not working for you, move on. Find someone who is a good fit. It might take several tries, but it’s important. It’s your life we’re talking about!