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sunset

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Do you think your therapist really cares about you or is it just an interesting job? Do therapists have "favorite" parients? Or are we just another face among many to them? Are they trained to "pretend" to care so they can do their jobs better?

I am curious as to the response on this and I would love to hear from therapists themselves and others.
Thank You!
 

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Sunset,

I'm glad you asked! It's been on my mind ALOT lately as well.

I'll be interested to see the responses.
 

Retired

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Do you think your therapist really cares about you or is it just an interesting job

Why should it matter as long as the therapist is providing the therapeutic strategies one need to improve their condition?? ?Taking a different perspective, when you hire a plumber or visit the garage for your car, if the person's prefessional competence will correct the problem,? I feel that's what matters.

Is it possible that because the dialogue with a mental health therapist involves talking about personal issues, perhaps in the same way we might talk to a close trusted friend or relative, that we expect the same quality of relationship with a therapist as we would from a close personal acquaintance?

It seems to me that a mental health therapist or any health provider is a professional whom we consult for their diagnostic skills.? Would we not want our health professionals to remain objective, because if we become too close socially, would their judgement not become clouded?
 

sunset

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TSOW... It matters a great deal to me if they care or not. I dont want to pour out my heart and inner most thoughts that NO ONE ELSE knows about me, into an uncaring person. I understand about them being able to do their jobs and remain objective, but does that have to mean "not caring"?
I do think a person is capable of caring and not let it cloud their judgement.

I dont have this kind of relationship with a plumber or car mechanic so cant really compare these professionals to my therapist.
 

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I have to agree with you, Sunset. My plumber or mechanic isn't fixing my mind, emotions, mental health...they are fixing an object. I might *love* my car or drain pipe, but I don't care if my plumber/mechanic does!

This past week I got an email from my therapist in response to an email I sent him. I was quite upset by it. I wrote him back and told him that I felt like I could have told him I was dying of some horrible disease and he would have responded the same. I was rather hurt and truly felt like he didn't care. I started asking myself if I'm just a number; a Saturday morning inconvenience, etc. I guess I'll find out tomorrow if he cares or not.
 

foghlaim

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? I understand about them being able to do their jobs and remain objective, but does that have to mean "not caring"?
I do think a person is capable of caring and not let it cloud their judgement
i agree also..
in my mind these ppl are health care professionals.? a profession they chose because they care.? they are trained to remain objective and caring at the same time.


bg: you could look at his response this way as well maybe???? if he didn't care he may not have responded at all.? ?this is just a thought ok.

(i'm not taking anything away from how you felt about it) .
 

David Baxter

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I think to be an effective therapist requires two things:

(1) that you can empathize with and care about -- connect to -- your client... Adler's way of describing this was "To see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another"...

(2) that you can create sufficient emotional distance from the client that you can remain objective and avoid getting "drawn into" or "swallowed up" by the pain the client is feeling - without that, you can't help the client - all you can do is share the suffering.
 

comfortzone

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I agree with David. Beautifully said! My desire as a therapist is to create an emotionally corrective experience for my clients...this would not be possible if I did not care. I remember when I witnessed some of the "burnout" workers (at a local psychiatric hospital) not treat the patients like humans. What I mean by this is the workers would walk by without acknowledging the patients. I made sure that I greeted each person I met there. I did not want to be a part of what had happened to these people in their past. Sometimes compassion and empathy can come with one word, "Hello" I hope this helps you with your question.
 

Halo

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I am in the same boat as the others on here asking about whether I am just another face in the crowd. I actually had written that in a letter to my old doctor among other things and when she read it, she commented on most of the other things and not that. It was very disappointing and it hurt because I took it to mean that I was just another face in her day and appt. in her calendar and that she didn't really care at all. But...now that she is gone and I won't be seeing her anymore, I feel lost. I do have another doctor but instead of seeing her once a week (like the old one) I now see her once a month. Although it is nice that she has taken me on as a patient (because my old doctor asked her to), I don't really think that she has time for me or even wants to see me. I just think that she was doing it as a favour to her colleague.

Take Care
Nancy
 

David Baxter

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Just as when you meet a new friend, or start a new relationship, it takes time to build a therapeutic relationship too. And in many cases, you may be starting at a time when other clients/patients are finishing.

For example, after a while, I may only be seeing clients every two weeks or every month as followup to terminating therapy with them (because they don't need to be coming any more). During that phase, I may start to see a new client and, while I prefer to see new clients at least once per week, sometimes I need to explain that in the beginning I may not have sufficient time to do that until the previous client(s) don't need further appointments. Typically, this would not be for more than about a month - that allows me to do some crisis intervention rather than just leaving someone on a waiting list. It doesn't mean that the new client is less (or more) important than the older client - just a matter of logistics and a finite number of hours in the week.
 

Halo

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I completely understand what you are saying and that makes total sense to me. I logically know that she probably wants to see me more than once a month but my feelings and overanalysing try to tell me otherwise. I start thinking of all the reasons she is putting me off etc. I know that I am lucky to have someone to see at all but right now I have basically been without any support (and I mean any, no familiy, friends etc) for about 4 months. I have only seen her twice. Is is possible to see her once a month and then see someone else in the interim between sessions?

Thanks Nancy
 

David Baxter

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I have no idea what her schedule ro workload is at the moment, Nancy. I think you'll have to asak her - perhaps let her know that you are struggling at the moment and that you really don't have any other support and ask if there's any way for her to see you more frequently.

I take it this doctor is a psychiatrist - is that correct? If so, you might also inquire about what the doctor thinks about the idea of giving you a recommendation to a social worker or psychologist as an adjunct between your sessions.
 

Halo

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Yes she is a psychiatrist and I should probably let her know that I am struggling with no support. I think that I will definitely let her know and will ask her about seeing a social worker or psychologist in between sessions with her if they are only going to be once a month.

Thank you again for your input. I will let you know how it turns out.
Nancy
 

JA

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sunset said:
Do you think your therapist really cares about you or is it just an interesting job?

As a therapist just starting out, I must say that I have yet to meet a client I do not like or care for. The action that I firmly believe will help the client may be a bit harsh, so, at times, it may seem like I don't care, but I always do. However, it's true that sometimes a little distance is necessary, both for the patient and therapist. I have a tendency to keep my clients in mind when I get home, wondering how they are and how I could help them. I know that doing that too much wouldn't be good for my own health, so I have to create a litte distance. Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think therapists, in general, really do care. It's not just a way to make money for them, there's a reason why they chose that career. It's true that sometimes a little distance has to be created, and limits have to be set, but I think both therapist and clients are better off that way.

sunset said:
Are they trained to "pretend" to care so they can do their jobs better?

Actually, in school, we were thought NOT to pretend to care. Genuiness, we studied, is an important trait for a therapist and it can have an impact on the success of therapy :) (I guess it's really comon sense anyways, but they did make a point to tell us)
 

David Baxter

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It's not just a way to make money for them, there's a reason why they chose that career.

That is definitely true in my case. There are other things I could be doing and I would be considerably more wealthy if I were doing those things... but they would not bring nearly as much meaning to my life.
 

sunset

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Thank you all for your responses!!? Good to know what therapists and patients think about this.

?
David Baxter said:
I think to be an effective therapist requires two things:

(1) that you can empathize with and care about -- connect to -- your client... Adler's way of describing this was "To see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another"...

(2) that you can create sufficient emotional distance from the client that you can remain objective and avoid getting "drawn into" or "swallowed up" by the pain the client is feeling - without that, you can't help the client - all you can do is share the suffering.

David, I love what you wrote here and this is what I was truly hoping was the case.

My Dr always says he can relate to me as he has gone through some of the same things in the past, so I know he is understanding me and can feel my pain so to speak.? I know he does care but being that I am soooo? needing him, I always have that doubt in my head, since I am used to being hurt and abandoned by people who mean a lot to me.? I guess its just nice to get assurance from time to time.

JA... Interesting that they teach you NOT to pretend to care. I would think they could only pretend for so long before the patient catches on anyway.

I have more to say, but need time to think about it...
 

comfortzone

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I started out in business administration. The psychology bug bit me and I have not turned back since. I have been told since I was a teenager I should be a therapist. I care what happens to others and I have a desire to provide emotional support to others...money is not the reward for me...it is seeing the success of each client reaching their goals.
 

David Baxter

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:) I started out in Commerce and computers - commerce bored me to tears - and i found a way to combine psychology and computers so it all worked out :)
 

Lana

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I'm in information technology and (finally) a psychology student...Reason? I care.
 

healthbound

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I believe all the therapists I've seen actually truly cared about me. However, it took a long time for me to build a therapist/client relationship with them. I also know my GP really does care about me too. Most of my therapists and definitely my GP have demonstrated that on numerous occasions by going beyond what's in their "job description".

But now that I think about it, I do sense my current therapist maybe getting frustrated or taking some things personally at times. That's led me to wonder if she accurately understands me and in the beginning of our sessions, I wondered if she really cared about me. But even though I seem to maybe "trigger" her, I believe she still cares about me.

In some ways I think it might be important for a therapist/Dr to care about the individual (rather than, "cares about all patients"), but I wonder if ensuring ethical effectiveness is more important. And I'm not sure a therapist/Dr has to actually "care" about a person he/she is treating in order to effectively and ethically treat them?
 

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