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yurihands

My therapist doesn't get me

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I've been having a really hard time explaining my aromanticism to my therapist. I told him some months ago that I was questioning being on the aro spectrum and he thought I was over thinking it. He thinks this due to the intense romantic attraction I have for my current girlfriend. Then sometime recently, I looked a lot deeper into the demiromantic identity and it suddenly started making a lot of sense to me. I can also relate to being grey and cupio.

I wrote a coming out letter to him as demiromantic, he read it over the phone and seemed pretty supportive on that. However, on Friday I brought up being aromantic again and he went back to being skeptical. While I was talking, he interrupted me even to read out loud a google definition of what aromantic was. He asked me if I agreed with the definition at all and it honestly made me feel so awful. No matter how much I kept explaining that it was a spectrum, he still wasn't grasping at all what I was saying. I mentioned what he did during that session and told him I felt like he didn't believe me, he told me just because he isn't familiar at all with a term, doesn't mean he doesn't believe me. I'm not getting the impression that that response is really honest tho.

I've been thinking about this like, the entire weekend. It really messes me up that my own therapist isn't taking this seriously. I think he could be really confused that aros can range from being romance repulsed, indifferent, or even favorable. I feel like a romance favorable aro and that's where he lost me.

I'm really not monogamous though, so this is just me processing this as someone who's allosexual and arospec.

 

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Posted (edited)

Maybe this is a stupid question but have you thought about getting another therapist? If he doesn't take you seriously he can't help with your therapy!

Edited by Circe
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Sorry to hear that he reacted that way. I don't know if it was his intention, but if my therapist interrupted me to read a google definition after acting skeptical I would definitely read that as passive aggressive. I've never talked about aro stuff in therapy specifically because I'm afraid I'll get this kind of reaction. My therapist is familiar with the LGBT community and seems pretty accepting so I think she'd react okay? But I know most people don't know much about aros and I really wouldn't want to hear some ignorant shit in response.

You're not overthinking it. There's a reason labels like demi or gray aro are used, it can help people understand themselves and what they feel. Realizing I'm aro helped me understand a lot about myself, and it can be really confusing when you first start questioning so I get why you wanted to talk about it with him. I would bring it up at your next session and tell him that what he said made you feel awful and you don't believe that he's taking you seriously. If he really didn't mean to come across that way, then if he's a good therapist he'll apologize and use the feedback to change the way he's talking to you about this to avoid making you feel that way again.

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Just now, Circe said:

Maybe this is a stupid question but have you thought about getting another therapist?

I actually have to be honest. My therapist has helped me a lot, but whenever it comes to queer topics I feel super disconnected from him. I was actually assigned to this specific therapist BECAUSE he is also nonbinary. However, I can't relate to him on that either. I don't think it's wrong that he defaults to he/him pronouns or lacks dysphoria, but I feel alienated whenever I talk about issues or subjects he doesn't know anything about. It's also been a huge challenge asking him for transition help too, he's doing his best, but isn't experienced at all with this either.

Are there any therapists out there who are educated on aspec identities?

3 minutes ago, felinelicks said:

Sorry to hear that he reacted that way. I don't know if it was his intention, but if my therapist interrupted me to read a google definition after acting skeptical I would definitely read that as passive aggressive. I've never talked about aro stuff in therapy specifically because I'm afraid I'll get this kind of reaction. My therapist is familiar with the LGBT community and seems pretty accepting so I think she'd react okay? But I know most people don't know much about aros and I really wouldn't want to hear some ignorant shit in response.

You're not overthinking it. There's a reason labels like demi or gray aro are used, it can help people understand themselves and what they feel. Realizing I'm aro helped me understand a lot about myself, and it can be really confusing when you first start questioning so I get why you wanted to talk about it with him. I would bring it up at your next session and tell him that what he said made you feel awful and you don't believe that he's taking you seriously. If he really didn't mean to come across that way, then if he's a good therapist he'll apologize and use the feedback to change the way he's talking to you about this to avoid making you feel that way again.

aaa thanks!! I actually have brought it up within that same session, and he told me he did believe me. He was also explaining that it's fairly common for couples to have different sexualities and romanticisms in relationships. I'm not ace but my girlfriend is, so that's why I got that response.

I really legitimately don't feel that he was being honest though... idk, i'm worried he may be trying to cover up what he did? I think it's valid of you not to bring it up, I feel like a lot of therapists aren't particularly trained in those areas of orientation and it rather concerns me.

I actually had another therapist in the past do the same thing to me. She kept interrupting me by looking up google definitions because she didn't agree with the way I was describing my own gender. I feel really hurt that someone would actually do that to me again ; __ ;

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24 minutes ago, yurihands said:

I actually have to be honest. My therapist has helped me a lot, but whenever it comes to queer topics I feel super disconnected from him. I was actually assigned to this specific therapist BECAUSE he is also nonbinary. However, I can't relate to him on that either. I don't think it's wrong that he defaults to he/him pronouns or lacks dysphoria, but I feel alienated whenever I talk about issues or subjects he doesn't know anything about. It's also been a huge challenge asking him for transition help too, he's doing his best, but isn't experienced at all with this either.

Are there any therapists out there who are educated on aspec identities?

I'm sorry I can't help you finding therapists. I don't know if you are from the US (like I'm assuming) but I am not. He sounds like a good therapist according to you but you need to talk to him. Tell him that you're not feeling he is helping. That you're not comfortable with him not taking you seriously. That maybe he needs to educate himself more. I'm sorry this is happening to you. I think you should ask other users if they know other therapists if talking to him doesn't work. 

I'm sorry I can't help more

 

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20 minutes ago, yurihands said:

aaa thanks!! I actually have brought it up within that same session, and he told me he did believe me. He was also explaining that it's fairly common for couples to have different sexualities and romanticisms in relationships. I'm not ace but my girlfriend is, so that's why I got that response.

I really legitimately don't feel that he was being honest though... idk, i'm worried he may be trying to cover up what he did?

Tbh if I was you I would say that to him, that you feel like he's not being honest. I'm very conflict avoidant but I've found that when it comes to therapy it's best to get everything that's bothering you off your chest, even if (especially if) it's about your therapist. Maybe that sounds hypocritical since I just said I'm avoiding coming out as aro to my therapist lol, but like since this is about a conversation you already had with him where he did something to upset you I think it's important. My therapist has said shit that was so upsetting that I almost rage quit therapy, but when I worked up the nerve to bring it up her response completely reassured me and it ended up strengthening the relationship.

 

12 minutes ago, yurihands said:

I actually have to be honest. My therapist has helped me a lot, but whenever it comes to queer topics I feel super disconnected from him. I was actually assigned to this specific therapist BECAUSE he is also nonbinary. However, I can't relate to him on that either. I don't think it's wrong that he defaults to he/him pronouns or lacks dysphoria, but I feel alienated whenever I talk about issues or subjects he doesn't know anything about. It's also been a huge challenge asking him for transition help too, he's doing his best, but isn't experienced at all with this either.

13 minutes ago, yurihands said:

I actually had another therapist in the past do the same thing to me. She kept interrupting me by looking up google definitions because she didn't agree with the way I was describing my own gender. I feel really hurt that someone would actually do that to me again ; __ ;

It's so weird to me that a therapist would do that in general, let alone two of them. It sucks that that happened to you. It's especially weird to me that an nb person would say something like that, specifically because it's so similar to the way people talk about gender being on a spectrum, acting skeptical and saying you're overthinking it, etc. I'm surprised he wasn't able to empathize with that a little more. Does he know that your previous therapist did that? Might be something worth bringing up. Maybe he would understand more why his response upset you.

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, Circe said:

I'm sorry I can't help you finding therapists. I don't know if you are from the US (like I'm assuming) but I am not. He sounds like a good therapist according to you but you need to talk to him. Tell him that you're not feeling he is helping. That you're not comfortable with him not taking you seriously. That maybe he needs to educate himself more. I'm sorry this is happening to you. I think you should ask other users if they know other therapists if talking to him doesn't work. 

I'm sorry I can't help more

 

ahh sorry if it sounded like I was asking for recs!! I do live in the US, but I was asking more like... if it's a thing that exists or if it's rare?

I'm thinking about waiting for him to finish my top surgery letter. Once that's done, I was planning on searching for a new therapist that's hopefully better talking to about this.

10 minutes ago, felinelicks said:

It's so weird to me that a therapist would do that in general, let alone two of them. It sucks that that happened to you. It's especially weird to me that an nb person would say something like that, specifically because it's so similar to the way people talk about gender being on a spectrum, acting skeptical and saying you're overthinking it, etc. I'm surprised he wasn't able to empathize with that a little more. Does he know that your previous therapist did that? Might be something worth bringing up. Maybe he would understand more why his response upset you.

I've been thinking about this too. I don't know how my therapist exactly identifies with being nonbinary, he doesn't open up about that very much. He comes off really indifferent which is why he probably doesn't care about being defaulted as male. It's really confusing how he could just pull that on me x__X

I think maybe I should tbh... I just... idk that came off SO inappropriate to me? I get that he's not as connected to the LGBT+ community as I am, but he's supposedly been involved with the trans resource center here before and I really scratch my head at that.

Edited by yurihands
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17 minutes ago, yurihands said:

I've been thinking about this too. I don't know how my therapist exactly identifies with being nonbinary, he doesn't open up about that very much. He comes off really indifferent which is why he probably doesn't care about being defaulted as male. It's really confusing how he could just pull that on me x__X

I think maybe I should tbh... I just... idk that came off SO inappropriate to me? I get that he's not as connected to the LGBT+ community as I am, but he's supposedly been involved with the trans resource center here before and I really scratch my head at that.

Yeah I agree that it was inappropriate. I understand that not all LGBT people are super involved in the community, but you would think being queer himself would help him be more considerate when it comes to identities he's not familiar with. Especially if he's the one they usually refer queer people to, it's kind of important for him to educate himself on these things. If you're comfortable with it I'd bring it up, and if his response doesn't reassure you it might be time to look for a new therapist. Or after he writes your top surgery letter anyway (congrats on getting that btw! I'm jealous lol).

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5 minutes ago, felinelicks said:

Yeah I agree that it was inappropriate. I understand that not all LGBT people are super involved in the community, but you would think being queer himself would help him be more considerate when it comes to identities he's not familiar with. Especially if he's the one they usually refer queer people to, it's kind of important for him to educate himself on these things. If you're comfortable with it I'd bring it up, and if his response doesn't reassure you it might be time to look for a new therapist. Or after he writes your top surgery letter anyway (congrats on getting that btw! I'm jealous lol).

aaa thanks!! i guess i'll think more about how to approach him with this... this has been really helpful!!

AA thanks for congratulating me too!! it's been really hard due to the corona, i'm also hoping it'll get accepted by my insurance! I'm really sorry it's been difficult for you to gain access ; __ ;

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2 minutes ago, yurihands said:

aaa thanks!! i guess i'll think more about how to approach him with this... this has been really helpful!!

AA thanks for congratulating me too!! it's been really hard due to the corona, i'm also hoping it'll get accepted by my insurance! I'm really sorry it's been difficult for you to gain access ; __ ;

I'm glad! No problem. Ah well, the reason I can't get it yet is because I'm closeted so it's kind of my own doing 🤷‍♂️ But whatever, I'll get there. I hope everything goes smoothly, with your therapist and with top surgery :)

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When it comes to aromanticism people can dismiss how you feel, but it is even worse when you are in the grey area... (even in the aro community you can find people who'll think your experience is the same as alloromantic people, so outside the community... I can't even imagine)

About therapists, I don't know if it's rare but there must be some who can react better than that. I don't expect therapists to know everything on this subject, but when you don't know something but had to for your work, you have to make reasearches before judging.

I don't know how to feel about the fact they adress you to him because you are both NB? It seems they expected your experiences will automatically be the same, and that he will get you... Which is not always the case (and is not, from what you said).

 

Anyway, I think you should talk again about that : trust is the key in therapy, it can't work if you are not comfortable for talking about this kind of subject. Maybe it's just a misunderstanding. And if it's not, well, it is up to you to define if you want to keep this therapy or not.

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16 hours ago, nonmerci said:

When it comes to aromanticism people can dismiss how you feel, but it is even worse when you are in the grey area... (even in the aro community you can find people who'll think your experience is the same as alloromantic people, so outside the community... I can't even imagine)

About therapists, I don't know if it's rare but there must be some who can react better than that. I don't expect therapists to know everything on this subject, but when you don't know something but had to for your work, you have to make reasearches before judging.

I don't know how to feel about the fact they adress you to him because you are both NB? It seems they expected your experiences will automatically be the same, and that he will get you... Which is not always the case (and is not, from what you said).

 

Anyway, I think you should talk again about that : trust is the key in therapy, it can't work if you are not comfortable for talking about this kind of subject. Maybe it's just a misunderstanding. And if it's not, well, it is up to you to define if you want to keep this therapy or not.

It has honestly been pretty difficult coming to terms that I can be aromantic at all. A huge deal I've been making in therapy is having a better, stable relationship with my girlfriend. My spiritual practices and treatment with this therapist for about a year has helped a lot with that. However, most of the time I was crying in therapy because I wanted to feel sexually intimate with my girlfriend again. My girlfriend is asexual but had always initiated sex with me when we used to be in person, when we became long distance that ended up changing and was becoming less interested in sex. 

My girlfriend and I are doing a lot better. I actually showed her a few screenshots of some of your messages (felinelicks and nonmerci) and was really happy for me for getting the support I needed! We had a really good conversation about our orientations that left me feeling a lot better. I explained that even though I'm really romantically attracted to her, I started realizing that I had more of a sexual orientation than a romantic one. I wasn't feeling very proud of that and felt like I was objectifying her since those were the feelings she's often struggled with as an asexual person. She told me she knows how I truly feel however, what really matters is that we still love each other, despite our different orientations. 

So yeah, I am still a bit hurt that he did that, but I'm hoping him bringing up about couple's experiencing different sexualities and romanticisms were genuinely true. I wonder if me talking about this will help him understand a little better!

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On 5/25/2020 at 1:50 AM, yurihands said:

I actually have to be honest. My therapist has helped me a lot, but whenever it comes to queer topics I feel super disconnected from him.

I can relate. I had similar issues with my current therapist. At first I tried to educate her...did not really work. I just stopped bringing my aromantic identity during the sessions as it was the least of my problems. I consider getting another therapist if I want to discuss relationships again.

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1 minute ago, Ch0c0 said:

I can relate. I had similar issues with my current therapist. At first I tried to educate her...did not really work. I just stopped bringing my aromantic identity during the sessions as it was the least of my problems. I consider getting another therapist if I want to discuss relationships again.

i'm really sorry about this!! i thought maybe more therapists would know about this by now (especially within relationship counseling) but i guess it's gonna take a lot more work seeking the right one and asking their knowledge about it beforehand!

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1 minute ago, yurihands said:

asking their knowledge about it beforehand

This seems wise 🤔. After all we pay them so I figured that I would not spend any more of their expensive time discussing these topics. You can go see different people for different reasons as well.

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Just now, Ch0c0 said:

This seems wise 🤔. After all we pay them so I figured that I would not spend any more of their expensive time discussing these topics. You can go see different people for different reasons as well.

yeah! I've had really bad experiences with therapists. Like the transphobic cis lady I mentioned about earlier, I TRIED to find out what her views on nonbinary people were sooner and I kept being told that I couldn't do that with therapists. I needed to come in first and see how I liked them but I don't really agree with this sort of approach. I do have insurance, but some therapists that I needed to see didn't accept my kind of insurance so I'd often have to deal with sliding scales or paying for the whole thing x___X thankfully tho, I haven't been paying in cash for this current one I've been seeing

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that sucks.  it happens to me a lot because basically in therapy it'll come up some way or another.  if i don't bring it up, they'll ask my orientation (i've even had a general practitioner ask that), or whether i'm in a relationship, and when i say i haven't been since i was 17 that'll raise further questions.  and, you know, you don't want to feel like you have to lie or hide stuff from your therapist, but every time i'm about to say the word 'aromantic,' i'm thinking, here we go.  i talked about a particularly bad experience here a while ago.  even the best therapist i've had didn't get it and it seemed like she wanted to find some reason for it, but since it has nothing to with what i was seeing her about, i didn't talk about it much and she just let it go.  but i agree, in a way you want to get it out of the way right away so you can assess their response and decide whether you want to keep seeing them.  i hope you find the right solution, if it comes to telling your current therapist that if he can't accept what he knows about you already, you don't feel comfortable confiding in him any more, whether he accepts it or you find someone else.

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5 hours ago, aro_elise said:

i talked about a particularly bad experience here a while ago. 

aaa is it ok if you post the link to that thread? I'd like to see more people's experiences with that! Especially if the therapists were supposed to be "inclusive"

also god i'm really sorry about that T__T I really hope you'll be able to find a good accepting therapist too!

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On 5/31/2020 at 10:36 AM, yurihands said:

aaa is it ok if you post the link to that thread? I'd like to see more people's experiences with that! Especially if the therapists were supposed to be "inclusive"

also god i'm really sorry about that T__T I really hope you'll be able to find a good accepting therapist too!

thanks, i did some group therapy, where no one's orientation came up, but at some point i'm sure i'll be looking for individual so yeah good luck to all of us who are.

 

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12 hours ago, aro_elise said:

thanks, i did some group therapy, where no one's orientation came up, but at some point i'm sure i'll be looking for individual so yeah good luck to all of us who are.

 

Thank you so much for sharing! I think it be a good idea setting boundaries with whatever medical provider you see that you're not comfortable disclosing that information. Your confidentiality is important and if you don't feel safe coming out as aro and how much that impacts your life, then you have the right to keep that information with yourself. It's also best if you share it with someone that you trust and know they wouldn't do that to you!

BTW GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!!!! 

I finally had session today and it seems like there were some misunderstandings. I talked about my feelings in depth with my therapist and he surprisingly took it very well?  He told me the reason why he told me I'm probably overthinking it is because I asked for that advice. When I was talking about it with him, he got the impression that it was affecting my relationship still, he thought that things were going really healthy between me and my girlfriend. He didn't realize it did have a huge impact on me however which is why I wanted to keep talking about it. The reason why he interrupted me on the phone was because he wanted to know what I had meant by being aromantic. He had no intention of invalidating or hurting my feelings. I got to explain more in depth with him about it and I'm really glad that the communication got a lot better... so thank you all so much for telling me to keep trying my best! I was honestly really scared about all this ; __ ;

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Good news indeed! 

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