I fired my therapist

shadeshaman's picture

I have lost count of how many therapists I have seen and fired over the years. By stark contrast, I have only had 4 auto mechanics. I've been going to the same one for 8 years, and one of the others I'd go to again, except that this current guy specializes in Hondas and bio-diesel cars.
I think that a (not "the") problem with therapists is that they are so intent on finding a diagnosis (and then treating it) that they do so in a hasty manner, and then try to cram parts of my story--or life or psyche or whatever--into the diagnosis, even if they don't fit, and also they tend to completely ignore parts that can't be crammed into the diagnosis, even if those parts are significant life events. This most recent 'pist tried to cram the "alcoholism" diagnosis onto me and, eventually, L-Dawg.
Just so we are all on the same page, here's a quick checklist of diagnostic criteria:
Craving -- A strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
Impaired control -- The inability to limit one's drinking on any given occasion.
Physical dependence -- Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety, when alcohol use is stopped after a period of heavy drinking.
Tolerance -- The need for increasing amounts of alcohol in order to feel its effects.

None of which I fit.

But, the funny thing about someone who's trying to diagnose meas an alcoholic, no matter what I say, they take that as a "sign". Do I drink? Yes. Do I get drunk? Sometimes. Do I sometimes not drink? Yes. Do I sometimes feel like I need a drink? Yes. Do I sometimes feel like I need to take a break from drinking? Yes. Do I spend time in bars? Yes. Do I have friends who are alcoholics? Yes. Must be a sign, right? If I do those things and yet assert that I am not an alcoholic, I must be in denial, right? What about if I take a year off of drinking, as I did a couple years ago? Must mean that I am a dry drunk....
Once this lady had decided I was an alkie, she kept trying to convince me that I should go to a 12-step program. No use in protesting that I am an atheist and I don't care for the "god" aspect of 12-step stuff, no use in saying that I don't need that kinda of a program, anyway (if I say I don't need it, it must mean that I am in denial). She had convinced herself that my problem was addiction. Oh, and anger. When she started getting judgmental about my anger--when I felt that I had to justify my feelings to my therapist--that's when I fired her. It took a couple weeks of not going, and realizing that I was scheduling cleaning clients right at the time when I was supposed to have therapy, and wondering why I was doing that to myself and acknowledging to myself that I didn't want to go back, and then actually getting angry and being okay with getting angry, and even realizing that I love my own anger--it is an urgent telegram from my subconscious that something ain't right--before I finally sent her an email telling her that I wasn't coming back, and why.
She....told me that she hoped I would get some help with setting boundaries.


mamanopajamas's picture


I say the thing is your therapist HAS to be smarter than you -- sometimes a bloody difficult thing to find.

 "Do not speak--unless it improves on silence." ~ buddhist saying (wow - my email on file was so old - it was from the old hipmama email!)

Bee's picture
Submitted by Bee on

It seems like firing someone is a really good example of setting boundaries.

Here in the UK there is no such thing as alcoholism. Or rather, the only people who are recognized as alcoholic are the folk who live on park benches. Everyone else is just having fun - and golly, fun means drinking. I have been truly shocked not just at the levels of consumption, but at the cultural values attached. It is just normal to get wasted. Socializing mostly happens in pubs, people get together to drink, and drink they do, ordering in rounds, consuming (by my estimate) 75% more than most Americans would dare in public. An ordinary night out includes at least 4 - 6 drinks, and if that is wine it means a 'large glass' which in turn is equivalent to 2 bottles. Per person, minimum. Way more is considered fine. At the weekend, this means my neighborhood is a vomitorium. Without fail, every weekend, I see at least three people passed out and requiring an ambulance. It is weird, but true. Every negative action, from insulting your best friend, to fucking your boss, to glassing a stranger, is excused by alcohol.

Rehab, 12 steps, all of the industry around addiction in the states? Doesn't really exist here. People who need help can't get it. People who should consider whether they are in trouble never hear the suggestions. It is perfectly normal for celebrities to say in interviews they drink a bottle or two of wine just to go to sleep at night.

This is one of the strange, through-the-looking-glass aspects of life here. In the states people who have a couple of drinks per week are routinely considered to have a "problem." Here, it would take a liver transplant before that conversation would happen.

I don't drink because it messes with my tummy, and that is considered deeply suspicious. People act like I've committed a crime when I order a sparkling water.

elienos's picture
Submitted by elienos on

I gave up on Therapists a long time ago. The only one that ever really helped me charged $140 an hour, and that was 10 years ago. She had a special rate for me, which she offered to only two clients at a time as her sort of way to "give back."

In a way she ruined it for me. No one could even come close to her. Fuck em anyway. No actually I would love to have someone to dump all my shit on. But really, once you have seen enough therapists and gotten smart enough, you probably know more about what you need and who you are than a third party even could.

Third party? Does that mean I am the first and second party?

elienos's picture
Submitted by elienos on

well back in the "old days" when water was dangerous, people in europe drank beer and wine to quench their thirst rather than water, so there may actually have been an improvement ;)

Do you think people are less violent there? I mean alcohol is used as an excuse to beat your family in the states, how about over there?