Counseling wasn’t at all what I expected…..

Counseling wasn’t at all what I expected…..

203 26

I met with my new therapist yesterday hoping that she could help me work on developing skills to become more assertive when I find myself in compromising situations.  She was a much older, very religious woman with strong moral values. I told her my story (see my earlier “Was this rape?” posts) and she seemed very sympathetic, but also judgmental. I mentioned that we were in the doggy style position and she said most women like to see their partner’s eyes during sex because it is more intimate. She also said in order to prevent being victimized again, I should not be discussing sex while I am texting a guy and not have sex with the guy I am dating for 6 months to ensure that what we both are feeling is more than lust.  Honestly, I think she is way off base with this statement. It sounds like victim-blaming to me and it is a very unrealistic goal in today’s dating scene. I am interested to see what everyone’s thoughts are on this. 


Join the Conversation

26 comments

  1. mkyuellig

    Hi rosebud,

    I’m so sorry you had this experience. Unfortunately, like with everyone profession there are good therapists and therapists that aren’t so good. It sounds like this therapist lacks cultural competency. A good therapist should certainly not be shaming you for anything. I am glad that you were able recognize that a lot of the things she was saying were off base and that she was engaging in victim blaming. There is nothing wrong with talking about sex with someone, and discussing sex with someone does not imply consent. I strongly recommend that you look for another therapist, I recommend someone younger for sure. Most counseling and therapist programs really focus on cultural competency and empathy these days, so it sounds like this therapist may have gotten her education before the profession realized how vital those things are to the helping profession. Again, I’m so sorry that you had this experience. It’s so emotionally draining to meet with a therapist and share your story for the first time, and I’m sure it was very frustrating when she responded that way.

    Stay strong and be gentle with yourself,
    Keight

  2. Natalie M Day Captain

    Hello rosebud,

    Thank you for coming to share with us. I am sorry to hear that therapy was not what you were expecting. You should never feel judged for sharing your story, and I am sorry that you felt this way. What happened to you was NOT YOUR FAULT! That is the most important thing. You did nothing to deserve what happened to you. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find a therapist that works best for you and that is 100% okay! I hope things get better. Always remember to put you and your healing first, and we are here for you along the way! <3

    Sending hope and support,
    -Natalie

  3. Edjay Volunteer

    Hi rosebud,

    I agree with your assessment that her statement seemed way off base. It sounds frustrating to hear something like that from a person that you expect to help you. As others below have mentioned, it’s totally okay if you feel that you want to switch therapists, because it doesn’t sound like she’s supportive. We’re here for you.

  4. Megan Volunteer

    Hey rosebud,

    I agree with you. That’s totally off base. She shouldn’t be talking to you like that and I’m sorry that she did. You should do whatever you feel comfortable with in your relationships; it’s entirely up to you. If you are not getting along with your therapist, I would consider switching to a different one. The relationship you have with your therapist is super important to the healing process, so you want to have someone that you trust and get along with.

    Hopefully things look better soon,
    Megan

  5. Jess Volunteer

    I am so incredibly sorry that this happened to you. This therapist does not seem like a good fit. You went to her for help and she added to this trauma. Starting off on that kind of tone with therapy is incredibly difficult, and I’m so sorry that that happened. It shouldn’t have. Keep fighting to find the help that you need to heal. If that means seeking a different therapist, please do that. Don’t compromise your healing process.

    Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with. We are always here and we believe you. Stay strong and keep fighting. <3
    -Jess

  6. Bluebell13 Volunteer

    Dear rosebud,
    I am SO sorry to hear that this happened to you. You were going into therapy to get help from a professional on working through a traumatic event and she added to it. I hope that you are able to switch to a different therapist because she was out of line and is certainly not a good fit for your situation. Don’t take her comments to heart, she was coming from a sympathetic place and not an empathetic one (see Brene Brown’s empathy video on YouTube if you want to know the difference) and that was an error on her part. Keep seeking the help you need to heal. We are all here for you as well.
    Sending you love and strength,
    Roxie

  7. Samantha Harris Volunteer

    Hi rosebud,
    I’m sorry that you had to deal with this. It sounds like your therapist is definitely not a good fit for you. She shouldn’t be telling you what you should or shouldn’t do with your future partners. She also shouldn’t be placing her religious or moral values on you. You should never feel guilty about how you handle your relationships, or talking about sex with your partners. If you’re comfortable with when and how you’re talking about sex with your partner, then that’s all that matters. Therapy is meant to be a place where you can be open and honest, without judgement. If she’s making comments like this, or making you feel uncomfortable in any way, I would highly suggest finding a new therapist. Once you’re able to find a therapist you’re comfortable with and you can really communicate with them, it can be incredibly helpful. I hope can find a therapist that can properly help you, and that you can start to heal. We’re here for you.

  8. Zoe

    Hi, rosebud.

    I’m so sorry you had this experience with your new therapist. From what you’ve said, she definitely doesn’t sound like a healthy therapist for you. I would strongly suggest requesting a different therapist, or finding one at a different organization. I’m not sure if you’re at a religious counseling center, but if not, her statements are very inappropriate. Therapists aren’t supposed to tell you what you “should” do, especially in regard to sex. The most important thing in counseling is that you feel comfortable and that you’re able to trust and be completely open with your therapist. Otherwise, it probably won’t be too helpful. So just do whatever is best for you.

    Thanks for reaching out to us and keeping us updated. I hope you’re able to find someone to talk to that will actually help you work through your trauma. Please know that we’re always here to support you!

    Zoe.

  9. Jay Volunteer

    Hi Rosebud, I definitely feel like if you’re immediately put off by your therapist, looking for someone you’re comfortable talking to is highly encouraged. I’ve been there. No one should make you feel like it’s your fault. Also, no one should make you feel bad for talking about sex. It’s a natural and beautiful thing when you find the right person, and talking about it with someone you care about and trust is definitely ok. I hope you find a therapist who understands you. It could be very beneficial to your healing. We are here for you anytime you need to reach out! Sending good vibes your way!

    -Jay

  10. Deanna Volunteer

    I had a similar experience with my very first therapist. Personally, I chose that it was best for me to find someone who was more sensitive to my needs. There’s no shame in asking for someone else if there are more therapists available. You need someone whom you feel you can open up to, if this woman isn’t it then hopefully the next person is a better fit.
    I think that your perception of what she said is on track. Especially in dating, you do what makes YOU feel comfortable in interactions. Perhaps your first task on your way to becoming more assertive could be letting this therapist know how her reactions made you feel.
    I’m sorry that you were made to feel this way about therapy, I hope it doesn’t hinder you from going back. You deserve someone who is nonjudgmental who listens so that you can heal. Stay strong.
    Deanna

  11. Amysue43 Volunteer

    I can see where you could interpret that statement as something other than helpful and more offensive. You could share your feelings about her statement in your next session and see if you could set some boundaries between what you’re comfortable with. The therapist’s suggestion to preventing an incident can also be interpreted as being cautious in the relationships you pursue to ensure you are not being pushed past your idea of the relationship. Again, your feelings towards her comments are true which is why I might suggest journaling your feelings regarding these statements she makes and share them with her to ensure these sessions are tailored to you. Perhaps writing down anything that comes to mind regarding the comments. There doesn’t need to be any particular order the first time around. Then, you could restructure your thoughts and create a script that you could read off to her that will lead to more of a conversation rather than an argument.

    I hope you have found reassurance in the comments to your post. We are here to support you!

    Stay strong!

  12. Julia Mandel Day Captain

    Thank you for reaching out to us. Therapists are supposed to be supportive and make us feel comfortable, so if she is doing the opposite she may not be the right person to go to. I am sorry you had that experience with her; being victimized was not in any way your fault. Please let us know what we can do to support you further; stay strong <3

  13. Ashley Day Captain

    rosebud,

    Thank you for coming back to provide us with an update about your therapy session.
    I apologize that it seemed like she was passing judgement. It’s not okay that she discouraged you from discussing/having sex because you have the right to make your own decisions about sexual activity. Ultimately, it’s not her place to tell you what you can and can’t do. I’m thinking that the first session felt discouraging, which is understandable. If she’s causing you to feel uncomfortable, please know that it’s okay to seek a different therapist.

  14. zoeyb

    Hi rosebud,

    I agree with you, what she said was not as supportive as it could have been. I’m sorry this new therapist made you feel worse instead of heard and supported. I hope that you’re able to continue searching for another therapist who might align better with your needs. It might take longer than expected, but from personal experience, finding a therapist who fits well with you and communicates effectively really does make all the difference. I hope you continue to let us know how things are going for you- we are always here for you!

    – Zoey

  15. Lizzi Volunteer

    Hi rosebud,
    I’m sorry that your new therapist wasn’t a good fit. In my experience, it can take meeting with a few therapists to find someone that I feel comfortable with and feel will be helpful for me. I’ve had some really awesome therapists, but I had to sit through some pretty awful first sessions with other therapists to get there. It’s okay that you didn’t click with this one… it sounds like there’s a lot of differences in beliefs that may not be helpful while working through this. It does sound like victim-blaming and very old school thinking from her, so I recommend trying another therapist and see how that goes. It can be a frustrating process but totally worth it in the end.

    Much hope,
    Lizzi

  16. music2799 Day Captain

    Hi rosebud,
    I’m really sorry you had such a weird experience. I find it strange that she didn’t ask you about how you felt/how you feel now, and it’s strange that she talked about her biases instead of helping you developing skills. I don’t agree with what she said either because it almost seems like she’s blaming you. I think you should do what you feel comfortable with, and this can be different for each person. I also think that healing may be more difficult if the people around you are judgmental of your experiences, and it might be helpful to find another therapist. Having someone who is nonjudgmental can help a lot.
    Thank you for the update. Please let us know if you need anything; we’ll always be here to support you without judgment.

  17. Alyssa Day Captain

    Hi rosebud,
    I’m so sorry this happened. Sometimes it takes time to find the right therapist. It sounds like what she was saying to you might not be the best advice that you need to hear. I would consider reaching out to a different therapist. If you need help you can go to our find help tab at the top right of this page. Thank you for updating us.
    -Alyssa

  18. candyappleb Volunteer

    Hi Rosebud,

    I’m so sorry that your therapist said those things to you. I would definitely try to find another therapist if you’re able to. Maybe check under our resources tab to see if there is a good place to start. We’re always here for you, no judgement.

    All the best,
    Becca

  19. Northlane1991 Volunteer

    Hey Rosebud

    I am sorry your therapist have said those things. Your therpist should be an area where you can express yourself and be yourself where judgement is not warranted. I think you might need to look into other therapists. I know that might be difficult but sometimes it best to find alternatives. Let us know if we can help you in any way. We are here for you!

  20. Erin O'Callaghan Day Captain

    She is definitely off-base, and being victim blaming. I have no clue where she got the data on her statements on sex, and no one deserves to be assaulted. It is not your job to prevent yourself from being assaulted. Is it possible to switch to another therapist? I’ve done that before when I didn’t match up value-wise or personality-wise with a therapist-it seems like that might be a good idea, which I know can be frustrating, but sometimes switching is the best thing you can do for yourself and your recovery. Let us know how else we can help-we are here for you.

    Erin

  21. colton95 Volunteer

    In my opinion, a therapist should mostly just listen and not say things like that right away and in a nicer tone. If you feel like you need to see a different therapist, definitely do so. I hope you are doing well and staying strong!

  22. rkr18 Volunteer

    Rosebud, thank you for sharing. In my opinion, if you are not comfortable with what she said, you should seek another therapist. Thank you for keeping us updated and please continue to do do. if need anything please let us know.
    -Marie

  23. Solongago

    Well, where did you find your therapist. If she lists herself as a Christian or Catholic Therapist, then yeah, I am not surprised as some protestant and some Catholic therapists probably will have this sort of ideology, while others will be much different. If there was nothing in her listing that touted some religious affiliation, then I am very surprised. There’s a difference between a therapist who is a Christian Counselor or Therapist, and a therapist who is a Christian. The one takes a religious viewpoint on the counseling and expects that is what you want. The other is working as a secular therapist, and will only discuss Christian issues and values if you specifically discuss them with her, and then they are careful not to try to press their beliefs onto you.

    There are spiritual aspects to sexual abuse and to heal from it, you have to deal with spirituality as well.

    But if this lady was a secular counsellor, maybe it is time for her to retire.

    Now as someone who is not a therapist, what I think about your situation: well, there is a fine line between blaming the victim and helping people be safer. Many sexual abuse victims are often re-victimized, and some of that IS a behavior that they engage in where they reenact the abuse, or put themselves into dangerous situations as a form of reckless behavior. Are the men who victimize them still to blame? YES, no one is holding a gun to their heads and saying “Assault this woman or else!” But, can we make ourselves safer by avoiding places, and behaviors, and by holding ourselves different, walking with a purpose, and so much more? Yes, again.

    From a Christian viewpoint, it is certainly possible to live a chaste life and to date guys, without having casual sex. That is a choice some Christians make. And a lot of others have sex prior to marriage, live together, have multiple partners, and so on.

    One does not need to be religious to hold women to blame for what happens to them on dates and such. It was not so long ago that women/girls were blamed for being where they were, wearing short skirts, flirting, or drinking alcohol, and therefore, what happened to them was their own fault. But that is pretty much outdated. There are some cultures who pretty much blame the woman for whatever happens, and if this therapist is one of those…

    I think you got a dudd in the way of a therapist. She will tell you exactly what she thinks. How she thinks is not lining up with the current thought in America today when it comes to romantic relationships. You might want to try and find someone else.

    1. rosebud

      She was one of 7 therapists listed in my insurance network, came highly rated on healthgrades, nothing about religion or faith mentioned.

      1. Solongago

        I think you need to find someone else. If she is working out of a network, I wonder if you could lodge a complaint. She’s out of bounds.

  24. Marissa Day Captain

    Hi again rosebud,

    Thanks for updating us. I’m sorry you had such a… strange experience. Considering what therapists do in their daily life at their job, it seems like an odd and unfitting career choice for a judgmental person. Regardless, I agree that her statements are completely off base. Honestly, they seem kind of inappropriate and definitely sound like victim-blaming. Who cares how long you’ve been dating? If you’re comfortable enough to have sex with someone, do it! What you do doesn’t affect anyone else, so whatever! While I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily unrealistic, it’s completely subjective to however the people in the relationship are feeling and what they’re comfortable with.

    Honestly, that doesn’t sound like a very good environment for someone to be in while they’re trying to heal, and I suggest seeking out a different therapist if you can. Maybe someone younger that can better understand how you’re feeling? Please let us know what you decide to do. Your mental health is the most important thing right now!!

    Stay strong,
    Marissa