What do people think about therapists?

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What do people think about therapists?

What do people think about therapists? I am not one. A therapist that is. I am most certainly a people. I ask the question because I am curious for several reasons. One reason is that I am engaged to a therapist. The aforementioned therapist mentioned to me the other day that when people ask her what it is that she does for a living and she replies that she is a therapist, they take a step back. I mean a literal and physical step back. No metaphors here.

As soon as she told me this, I wanted to see it in action. Luckily I had the chance the following evening. As we were sat having cocktails (I know! How swanky are we?) the bartender asked us what we did for a living. Now, this question kinda sucks for me. I have to explain that I am trying to make a go of it as a writer and hope to one day make money from it. This is either preceded or followed by Gauri saying she is a therapist, which is a hard act to open for or close after. I have made my life somewhat easier in this respect by coming up with a way of saying what I do that doesn’t make me feel pretentious or pathetic. I now say ‘I am a non-profit writer.’

As Gauri was about to tell the bartender that she was a therapist, I entered hawk mode and watched him closely; very closely indeed. As sure as sunshine comes out after I come home after getting rained on, he did indeed move backwards. I don’t think he was even aware of doing it. Given the topic I am discussing, it makes sense that he did it subconsciously. He even laughed and said ‘A therapist eh? Are you going to read my mind?’ I love this reaction. Now, I know he was joking, but I have heard this response way more than once and it makes me think of the idea of ‘no smoke without fire.’ Even if it is a joke, why does it come out as that joke more often than not?

It is the logic behind it that I find interesting. Do people on some level think that therapists can read minds? Even Derren Brown, whose stage show is about supposedly reading minds admits that it is nothing more than suggestion, reading of body language and facial expressions and theatricality. So what is it that makes people think of it as a possibility? Is it a fear that a person, because they are a therapist, has a preternatural gift to see inside their very minds? How likely is this? I imagine that if a therapist could read minds it would make a therapy session much easier.

Client: I don’t know what I think about that.

Therapist: Yes you do. I can read your mind and you are repressing it.

Job done in a fraction of the time I think.

I also think that if a person could read my mind, I would just think some really messed up shit about them until they stopped. But that could just be the way my mind works.

A quick therapy joke to make another point about when people say to me ‘Your girlfriend  is a therapist? I hope she doesn’t therapise me.’

Q: How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: None. The lightbulb has to want to change.

Now, apart from the fact that I love this joke, it also makes a point about it being the client that has to make the effort in therapy if any real progress is to be achieved. I am fairly sure most therapists don’t go around giving away free therapy to all and sundry. Where is the business sense in that? I wouldn’t spend hours on a painting and then give it away for nothing. This is mainly because I am a terrible painter and people wouldn’t take my work, even if it were free, but I hope you see my point. Also, isn’t it similar to being a chef or a gynecologist? If you spend all day at work doing something, you are not necessarily going to want to do it in your spare time.

The final thing I have noticed is that people tend to talk to me about what Gauri does, rather than talk to her directly about what she does. I had two conversations yesterday about what she is doing for her thesis. I suggested they could ask her but i got the distinct feeling of ‘Oh no. I can’t ask her. What if she therapises me?’ I find it funny that people are happy to talk to me about what she does. It’s like I am a gateway drug to therapists. Yet, they have a strange fascination about the whole thing, similar to wanting to know what is under the bed but being too scared to actually look.

Now, I am not making any judgements on people’s perspective on therapists. Far from it. People are entitled to think what they think. I am simply curious about the way people think. So, over to you. What do you think about therapists? Are you a therapist that has had any entertaining experiences of telling people what you do?

I would love to hear from you.

Take care buddies,

David.

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About davidmbeecroft

Hello and welcome to my blog. Please feel free to have an explore. My name is David Beecroft. I am 38 years old. I co-founded and ran a small scale touring theatre company called Screwed & Clued in 1998. I went on to tour the Canadian Fringe Theatre Festival circuit over the following five years. I have written six original plays, the last ‘The Poe Show’ won a Best in Fest award at the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival. I worked in a social care setting for ten years and now work in a special needs school. I have sent my first novel off to agents and considering self-publishing if that does not work. I co-host a radio show on Surrey Hills Community Radio called Daves of the Week where we feature charities for a six week period. I live with my fiance and two pet Degus. I started this blog when suffering from depression and attending therapy, so a large part of this blog was about my experience and thoughts of that. Since then I am in a much better place and I write about life after depression and how I stay (or try to) ahead of it happening again. I also like to look at the happier sides of life and try to put a positive spin on serious subjects.

28 responses »

  1. I really enjoyed this post as I experience the same thing your wife goes through being a therapist myself. When I tell people what I do for a living I usually get a similar response. Really enjoyed this. I followed!

    Like

  2. Loved this post and the therapist jokes 🙂
    I’ve been to two therapists both male so I’ve never been to see a female. But anyways I’ve noticed they are very sneaky and pretty good at making you really think about what you are saying. I’ve admired them for their cleverness.
    I’ve actually wanted to be a psychologist, but I am struggling myself so I would have to get over that hump before even going for it. Overall they can be very helpful or very useless. I’ve had both a great therapist and a useless one. Psychiatrists on the other hand I’ve had a bad experience with…they tend to be pill pushers. Not all, but still.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I think there are many good therapists, but also unfortunately quite a number of poorly trained ones, or ones who are just not cut off to be good helpers for other people. In other words a very mixed bag.
    I have had the experience of meeting someone, learning they are a therapist, and taking a mental step back because I wonder if they analyze everyone they meet outside of their therapy practice too. So I understand what you are writing about here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ‘Oh no. I can’t ask her. What if she therapises me?’ – Ha that made me laugh. 😉

    I think that kind of step back, ‘oh no’ reaction basically comes from insecurity and fear. Most people don’t understand therapy and because they don’t understand it, they’re afraid of it.
    I think people tend to believe that therapists have an innate ability to sense things about them simply by observing them, that they’re reading into every mannerism and spoken word to try and analyse them. Essentially they’re worried about how they come across, that their inner demons and flaws might be spotted easily or that they might be seen to have a problem they don’t even know exists. (Hence the ‘mind reader’ jokes that come out to deflect and hide the insecurities!)
    Of course they’re not completely wrong I suppose – a therapist does observe their patients in an effort try and understand what their struggles are, from more than what they are ‘saying’ … but as you say, who wants to spend their down time trying to read other peoples minds?

    I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with therapy in my past – enough to know that therapists aren’t mind readers. I’ve tried not to let my bad experiences cloud my view of therapy as a practice and am determined to find someone who works for me. It’s a very personal relationship and client and therapist need to be the right fit for one another. I have a lot of respect for the amount of knowledge, empathy and tact it takes for a person to really do the job well. The science of the mind is inexact at best and it takes a lot of insight and an open mind to really try and understand what’s going on for most people, let alone attempt to correct it.

    I’m sure Gauri is very good at what she does and knows that people who would ‘avoid therapists like a leper’ 😉 probably don’t really know what it’s all about.

    Good post – thanks for putting my brain to work first thing this morning! lol

    🙂 Aimee

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Life in a Bind – BPD and me and commented:
    This post really made me giggle, and I’m reblogging it in the hope that it might do the same for others too! I love writing and reading about therapy and therapists, but so much of it is of a more ‘serious’ or ‘thoughtful’ nature, and it is great to read a light-hearted and amusing post about people’s reactions to therapists, from someone who knows one rather well. I particularly like the idea of being ‘therapised’ – if only it were that simple! Enjoy…..!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely LOVE this post – and it really made me giggle too 🙂 Would you be ok with me reblogging it at some point? As for my view on therapists – I guess I’m biased because I’m in therapy and my therapist is awesome! I have huge admiration and respect for therapists – they have qualities which I could never in a million years aspire to and do an immensely important but tough job….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have gone to three and all of them were wonderful listeners and offered helpful advice catered to me. The latest one I’m with practiced the “tough love” approach and it’s seemed to enhance my recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have never gone to see a therapist nor have I met a licensed therapist – or maybe I have in one hospital rotation – but anyway. I think therapists are really good listeners, has a patience the size of a mountain and an equally sized self control. Which makes me think I could never be a therapist which in turn makes me really impressed of therapists.

    Liked by 2 people

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