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Therapists advise - how much would you follow?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Last night I had a friend of mine call up crying.

She has been depressed for a few months and finally got around to seeing a therapist. Last night was her first appointment.

Basically the therapist (on first appointment) rooted her depression with her boyfriend. He's been an overall nice guy in front of me, but I have seen moments were he has been a real jerk to her.

The therapist basically told her, after her first appointment, to dump the boyfriend. The therapist said that based on what my friend had told her, the boyfriend is lazy, manipulative and isn't going to change.

I found out that she does do a lot for this guy...for example she has a class that she takes on Monday nights. If he's had a bad day at work, he will WAIT for her to get home at 9:30 pm for her to cook dinner for him (or order dinner). And she does it.

She also mentioned that for meantime (until she can realise that this relationship is bad for her and accept it), she should stop doing this. I.e. she should stop on her way home to pick up food, eat it, then say "Oh I've already eaten" when she gets home....and NOT cook dinner for him.

Would you follow this therapist advice after one session? I was just kind of shocked that the therapist was that bold with her and well, I guess I know a little bit more of her relationship than I thought it was, but still. If a therapist told that to me about B...I don't know how that would go..."Umm..hi yes, I had therapy tonight and at the recommendation of my therapist, I need to break up with you"

(PS I'm not discounting the therapist, I'm just thinking that she should wait a couple sessions...)
post #2 of 18
I think I would wait too. I mean that is kind of a big step and assumption for the therapist to make so quickly.
post #3 of 18
well if she wants a fast break up yea. then follow it.
what he shouldl have told her , is tell him on mondays it would be nice for you to start dinner for us. after all i am hungery when i get home. if he refused to do that. then tell him i will be stopping to get something on the way home.

no relationship if prefect and there has to be some give and take.
post #4 of 18
Most likely, the therapist offered these as options or things to consider, as a result of you friend complaining about then boyfriend being unappreciative. I doubt the therapist came out and said well you should do "this". It is what your freind heard, and she knew all that stuff herself anyway. It is just hard to come to the realization that the guys a jerk and most likely will remain so.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lunasmom View Post
Last night I had a friend of mine call up crying.

She has been depressed for a few months and finally got around to seeing a therapist. Last night was her first appointment.

Basically the therapist (on first appointment) rooted her depression with her boyfriend. He's been an overall nice guy in front of me, but I have seen moments were he has been a real jerk to her.

The therapist basically told her, after her first appointment, to dump the boyfriend. The therapist said that based on what my friend had told her, the boyfriend is lazy, manipulative and isn't going to change.

I found out that she does do a lot for this guy...for example she has a class that she takes on Monday nights. If he's had a bad day at work, he will WAIT for her to get home at 9:30 pm for her to cook dinner for him (or order dinner). And she does it.

She also mentioned that for meantime (until she can realise that this relationship is bad for her and accept it), she should stop doing this. I.e. she should stop on her way home to pick up food, eat it, then say "Oh I've already eaten" when she gets home....and NOT cook dinner for him.

Would you follow this therapist advice after one session? I was just kind of shocked that the therapist was that bold with her and well, I guess I know a little bit more of her relationship than I thought it was, but still. If a therapist told that to me about B...I don't know how that would go..."Umm..hi yes, I had therapy tonight and at the recommendation of my therapist, I need to break up with you"

(PS I'm not discounting the therapist, I'm just thinking that she should wait a couple sessions...)
Hi. I'm new. I guess my first post is going to be a big opinion.

This scenario scares me because it reeks of emotional abuse. I'm guessing the therapist tossed out a huge, bold circumstance - dump the dude - because the therapy session was largely focused on this boyfriend. At least the seed got planted. People can be undeniably stupid in abusive relationships. I know because I was one of them. It took along time to reckognise it, accept it, and gather the courage to get out...and this is with two kids in tow. Just a crazy time.

Your friend probably doesn't truly see how damaging this man is, or this relationship is, or she has her rosy glasses on...but I loooove him. This is a guess on my part...obviously I don't know all the dynamics here.

I think the therapist is right about refusing to follow certain commands that the boyfriend dishes. Your friend needs to learn to say "no," basically. She should not be expected to drop her life because boyfriend had a bad day. He's a big boy. I'm sure he can use a microwave. My kids can. My youngest is 7 and has been using a microwave for a year now. He also knows how to make a sandwich and pour a bowl of cereal. I'm fairly certain he could go buy food at the store too, but I don't let him go that far by himself on a bike with traffic...so I really don't know.

It's about babysteps, and if she is going to say "no", she should work within her comfort zone as she rebuilds her independence and strength. She should also be very cautious because sometimes these guys get physical. Mine did when I started calling him on his behavior.

You drop your life for friends and family in times of need, but not consistently and constantly to where your job suffers, your education, finances, and mental health suffer. This is an issue of manipulation and control.

Your friend does not have to act on anything now. She might not even blend with this therapist well and have to find a new one...so yea, waiting through a few sessions is good advice...but I do think this therapist is dead on with her advice.
post #6 of 18
A therapist should never tell a client what to do, a client may do it & be disapointed, blame the therapist and this will ruin the client therapist relationship. Also, the client will become dependant on the therapist and will never learn to make decisions on thier own or take responsibility for their actions. Also, there are ways to help a client make difficult decisions.

I don't agree with how you friends BF behaves, but I also think the first session is too quick to make that kind judgment call about someone. Your friend needs make her own decisions because only she can know what is best for her life.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
Most likely, the therapist offered these as options or things to consider, as a result of you friend complaining about then boyfriend being unappreciative. I doubt the therapist came out and said well you should do "this". It is what your freind heard, and she knew all that stuff herself anyway. It is just hard to come to the realization that the guys a jerk and most likely will remain so.
I agree with this.
post #8 of 18
I too think that the therapist probably ment that as an example of how to be more independent or assertive or whatever. Any therapist would know that people have to make there own decisions.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yea, that was my reaction, just really surprised that the therapist summed this all up in one session. It may have been what you said Gail where she gave options and "S" (my friend) took it as absolute.

I didn't want to pry too much too, as I understand that the whole session was confidential...so I let her say what she was willing to share. There may be more going on, there may not be...I don't know. Its hard to say one way or another without knowing the full story (or being a fly on the wall at their house).

From the sounds of it however, the therapist worked with her on stopping all errands, cooking on Monday nights, really anything for him. IMO, thats like what you said Bruce ...just another way to break up the relationship. So from the start, the therapist is ending the relationship, whether she says it or by her actions/behaviour.
post #10 of 18
As a therapist myself, I think the advice was ill advised and way too early. The proper role of a therapist is to help someone gain insight and then act wisely. It's not giving out advice like a lovelorn columnist.
post #11 of 18
not for relationships anyway. We are going to do what we want anyway and this proves it. Your girlfriend is already second guessing what the therapist told her after only one session. I think she should do what she things best. From what I've read here, I would sit down with the boyfriend and have a heart to heart and if that doesn't work, maybe they should call it quits for awhile. Maybe they do need a break but then as I said, women will do what they want to do, don't waste your time and money on therapists, only my opinion.
post #12 of 18
I think it's wrong for a therapist to come right out and tell someone what to do. (This is of course assuming that's what happened in your friend's situation. What the therapist said/what your friend heard could be very different things.) The best therapist I ever had would let me express myself and ask questions to help me clarify my thoughts and feelings. This would then allow me to determine my own opinions and decide on what the best course of action would be in my life. Sometimes it would have been easier for her to just tell me what to do, but then I would never have learned for myself and she would have taken over responsibility for my life, not allowed me to take control of my actions.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pekoe & Nigel View Post
I think it's wrong for a therapist to come right out and tell someone what to do. (This is of course assuming that's what happened in your friend's situation. What the therapist said/what your friend heard could be very different things.) The best therapist I ever had would let me express myself and ask questions to help me clarify my thoughts and feelings. This would then allow me to determine my own opinions and decide on what the best course of action would be in my life. Sometimes it would have been easier for her to just tell me what to do, but then I would never have learned for myself and she would have taken over responsibility for my life, not allowed me to take control of my actions.
post #14 of 18
Did the therapist ACTUALLY tell her she should break up with him? Or just give your friend that impression/ your friend interpreted that from their comments? If the former, then I agree it is too soon for a therapist to reach that conclusion. But I have to wonder what your friend told this therapist that made them "attack" the boyfriend as such. Perhaps your friend confided in something MAJOR, like a "one time" slap, or a "name" he calls her when upset, or god forbid, a date rape type situation, and the therapist was doing their best to help your friend, who so in love with the man that is harming her, had to see less pure motives....
In any case, when Dave moves in here and I get home at 9:30, he better have dinner waiting for me!
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
As a therapist myself, I think the advice was ill advised and way too early. The proper role of a therapist is to help someone gain insight and then act wisely. It's not giving out advice like a lovelorn columnist.
My 18 year old Grandson has always been interested in Psychology and he told me the difference in Psychology is that they try to help people figure out how to deal for themselves, I assume that is what you are saying also Diana. He has for a long time been thinking that is what he wants to do. He also Loves Creative writing. I know they don't go hand and hand He is in Collage now getting basics out of the way. He is a very Bright Kid and I hope he makes up his mind and it's the right choice for him. I feel he do Good at whatever he chooses. I just told him you can have whatever you want it just takes hard work and dedication..
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by halfpint View Post
My 18 year old Grandson

NO WAY on earth you have an almost grown grandson !!! and I think you are giving great advice. If I had a client for years I might make a strong suggestion that the consider a course of action but I would never be obnoxious enough to tell someone what to do... unless it was sewing or cooking advice ...
BTW I made great glazed salmon last night.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rang_27 View Post
A therapist should never tell a client what to do, a client may do it & be disapointed, blame the therapist and this will ruin the client therapist relationship. Also, the client will become dependant on the therapist and will never learn to make decisions on thier own or take responsibility for their actions. Also, there are ways to help a client make difficult decisions.

I don't agree with how you friends BF behaves, but I also think the first session is too quick to make that kind judgment call about someone. Your friend needs make her own decisions because only she can know what is best for her life.
I totally agree with this. It seems like the friend should start setting some boundaries in her relationship first, and see how that pans out before making any rash decisions. If things fall apart after the boundaries are set, then it will be the friend's call entirely.

No therapist should take such an approach...I find it unprofessional, hasty, and rather controlling.
post #18 of 18
If it happened word for word as was told you, the therapist was probably right. But that would be a therapist I personally would not return to, because the therapist was being terribly presumptuous in stating all that on the first visit. Could the therapist have allowed time for your friend to realize just what BF's behaviors do to her and learn personal strengths and coping skills healthier than simply doing whatever he says when he says, your friend could learn that she, too, is a person and deserves to be treated as such.

In fact, the likes of that is why I won't go to therapy.
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