Friday, February 15, 2013

Trusting My Gut

Sorry to go MIA for the past week, things have been insanely busy. I have four papers due next week, and am getting juuuust a smidge overwhelmed. At the same time, I've been dealing with the therapy situation. There's no way I can cover all the thoughts/conflicts I've had about this but here's the condensed version:

As you know, I first saw Candidate #1 last week, and she seemed great. Competent, intelligent, and ready to work with me. I was about ready to just commit to sticking with her, but decided that I should probably keep my consult with Candidate #2 anyway, just to be safe. So I saw #2 this past Tuesday, and she seemed great also. Very different from #1, but no less competent or intelligent. She was much cheerier, warmer, and very very sweet. AND she's had tons of ED experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings, which was a major plus to me. Still, I'd kind of already set my mind on sticking with #1, but decided to wait until after the next appointment to confirm.

So yesterday, I had my second appointment with #1. And let me tell you—my opinion totally changed. She was cold, challenging, and critical. I found myself on the verge of tears for the first time in a long time, ruminating about old fears that haven't been a problem in a long time.

Issue #1: She kept saying "Eating disorders are all about control. Eating disorders are all about control. What are you trying to control?" I'm not a psychologist, but I know this: my eating disorder is not all about control. It's about environmental pressures, sure, but it's also about my genetics, my personality, my brain chemistry, and a whole host of other factors that are way too intricate and nuanced to be contained in a lil old blog post by yours truly. Eating disorders are not "all about" anything, and anyone who claims they are has zero understanding of anorexia's complexity.

Issue #2: She wanted to hear about my childhood. Okay, fine. I'm not really into the psychoanalysis childhood-trama thing, but maybe there was stuff in my childhood that contributed to me developing the predisposition to anorexia. I started telling her about my parents, and how they rock and I have a great relationship with both of them. She asked what they do, so I told her about how my dad has always worked super hard and had long hours.

And her response: "Well, it doesn't sound like it's a very good relationship if he was never home."
Me: "Um...he had a family to support? And his work is very important to him."
Her: "Clearly his work was more important to him than his family."

I was speechless. How dare you talk about my dad like that? How dare you? I almost got up and walked out right then, but of course I'm a people-pleaser and figured I'd misinterpreted her message, so decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Issue #3: "Tell me about your mom."
Me: "She's great. We have a great relationship."
Her: "Then how has she let things get so bad for you?"
Me: "But I'm doing really well. And my mom has always been there for me—last semester, I would call her crying multiple times a day when I couldn't cope on my own."
Her: "If you were crying so much, it doesn't sound like she did much good."

So, suffice it to say that I'm done with Candidate #1. I'm too angry, too offended, and too disgusted with her assumptions about me, my illness, and family to even consider going back. I agonized about it for a little, since she does seem so confident and professional, but it's just not going to work. I need someone who makes me feel safe, not attacked. Gut instincts matter, I'm learning. Even if I need a therapist, I certainly don't need to settle.


  1. oh my gosh!!! That is sooooo off-putting!!! I'm glad you're going with Candidate # 2. And, yes, gut instincts matter a ton!

  2. If she's confident but is so off-base & wrong on so many levels, that's a huuuuge problem. I'm glad you kept the appt w/#2 and hope that appt #2 w/candidate #2 goes much better than this!

  3. Wow, I'm really surprised by her insistence on the "control" part, and how she was trying to blame your parents. Definitely go with your gut--Candidate #1 doesn't seem to be someone positive and helpful to work with. Really glad you also met with Candidate #2, and I hope she's able to work for you! Your emotional safety in a Therapist relationship is key. I love that you're standing up for yourself and pushing for the best treatment possible.