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Senior Contributor

Psychologist not getting the message

I have recently started seeing a new psychologist who took nearly 3 months to get into and if i had to find another one it would take the same amount of time and i just cant go 6 months on wating lists so finidng someone new is not an option plus there are only a few in the new place i am living anyway as it is a small town. anyway my psychologist is not taking the hints i am giving. last session she kept asking and asking about my goals "you must have a reason for being here" she kept saying and i told her my OLNY goals are to stay alive and out of hospital. thats it nothing else right now. she basically said that wasnt a good enough goal and that there had to be something else and that i have to think harder about what my other goals are. like there is literally nothing else and she was really annoying me and stressing me out and i tried to tell her that goal setting is not helpful for me and that it was just stressful and i tried changing the subject but she wouldnt give up. and then at the end she asked if i would tell her if she was doing anything that was not helpful! like um that was what i had been trying to do the WHOLE TIME!!!!! i dont want to be rude but she isnt getting the hint and is just stressing me out and upsetting me and i dont have the energy to explain to her that i cant take her doing these things over and over again. like she is not being helpful at all and i feel like she just keeps making things worse. like idk what to do i cant keep chasing after services i dont have the energy or the time. 


Re: Psychologist not getting the message

There is certainly nothing wrong with your goals @Eden1919 . I'm surprised that your psychologist isn't willing to work on those goals. She should be working on your strengths, ackowledging your ability to recognise those goals you have identified and supporting you in achieving these. 

I have similar goals but, as time with my psychologist has progressed, I have identified different goals (some short term, some long term) which have cropped up. 

I can feel your frustration Eden and would feel frustrated too if my psychologist wasn't willing to work on my goals which I myself have identified. 

Baby steps sometimes is the only way forward my friend. There is nothing wrong with that. 

Re: Psychologist not getting the message

Hi @Eden1919 


This has to be really rough for you - I feel you are doing more than giving her "hints" - staying alive is the most powerful goal anyone can have and I support you in this - and so is staying out of hospital. 


To me that seems a great place to start - I wonder what other goals a person can have that can be stronger than those two


Personally I believe we all have the right to our opinions and to express them to the professional people we deal with. You are right - you have waited 3 months to see this therapist and waiting another three months would be exhausting esp with the goals you do have - 


I know it's exhausting and takes energy you don't have but could you ask her what better goals you could have? If those goals are not reason enough for you to be seeing a therapist I am not at all sure what better goals there could be - but you do need to ask her - as hard as it is


My last therapist seemed to be picking at my mind at lot and wanting to discuss things I had left in the past - I did eventually leave fed up - sometimes we have to - we get a therapist on the toss of a coin at times  - mostly mine have been okay but the last one was not - for me anyway. 


And if direct questions don't help - maybe it's another wait but there are good therapists out there as well - I hope you can either settle with this one giving you the ideas she wants and see if that works or finding someone else.


Yes - you live in a small town and perhaps one of your choices is to travel to a bigger place with more services - tough I know 


But this one seems not to be listening - you don't need to be rude to tell her that - it's the way you feel and it's honest to tell her how you feel and say just that


"I don't want to be rude but I have told you my goals are staying alive and out of hospital. That's all I have to offer about goals right now and I feel you haven't heard that" 


I will be very interested to know how that goes - being honest with the therapist is part of the therapy



Re: Psychologist not getting the message

Waiting three months is definitely a long time @Eden1919, and we understand that you don't want to wait any longer to see someone else. Maybe the psychologist wanted you to expand on those two goals, and if that's the case, do you think next time you could ask her why it isn't a good enough goal and for help in expanding it so it's something that is your original goals but works with your psychologist too?

Re: Psychologist not getting the message

@Queenie @Dec @Ali11  Thanks everyone I had another session yesterday but it went terribly even worse than the ones before. This time I felt like I was being rude but I couldn’t get her to stop. She kept asking about specific conversations I had had with some friends who I saw over Easter. I kept trying to just give general answers and tried to switch topics and to end the topic any other person would have got the hint I didn’t want to talk about it. And not because anything went wrong with the friends but because it is none of her business what I discuss with my friends unless it is related to something I need to work on. But she wouldn’t stop and eventually I got annoyed and said something grumpy which I don’t remember exactly what and she was all “ I am not a mind reader you should have just said you didn’t want to talk about it” I freaking did say that. Then she started asking me to describe a certain feeling I have a lot and she kept asking again for details but this feeling I genuinely can’t explain and have been trying to find a way for my whole life and I told her I didn’t know if there were words to describe it and she kept going again and I got annoyed again. All of this taking up time and not working on the things I needed to. Then towards the end she was like “well I can see you are getting a bit frustrated (oh yeah only a little *rolls eyes to back of my head) and maybe we should leave it there.” And I honestly was so upset because not only had she been pestering me the whole time but she had been asking questions that related to trauma and at one point I physically couldn’t speak and I was starting to shake and fighting back tears. And I felt seriously not ok and she was like sure just finish their. Like sorry but you can just walk away and go about your day but you have just ruined mine. And I told her I wasn’t ok and then she was like well I am not a crisis service. Like fml I am not asking for that but if you make a huge mess in someone else’s house you should bleeping clean it up. Then I ended up just saying I needed to go and leaving. But on the way home I was so upset and I went through a red light and I have never done that in my life and I didn’t even realize until someone beeped at me and then for the rest of the day I was a mess and didn’t get any study done even though I had tests today which I didn’t go to because I still felt physically sick from yesterday and now I am super behind and also like I am still feeling awful and I don’t even know what to do anymore I am so tired and I don’t have the energy to deal with this. 

Re: Psychologist not getting the message

Oh @Eden1919, that does sound like a really distressing appointment. If you're not feeling heard in the conversation, would it maybe help to write out the things she's doing that bother you, and the things you hope to achieve with her, so that you can reduce any misunderstandings? Sometimes people can become complacent in their role if they've been practicing for a long time and assume they know what's best unless you're explicit in your expectations. Very sorry to hear they haven't been listening the past couple of times you've been there, and that comment about not being a crisis service sounds dismissive of how you were feeling Smiley Sad Have you managed to get some rest today?

Re: Psychologist not getting the message

Hi @Eden1919 


That sounds really rotten and I am sorry that happened - this is not the kind of thing we like to happen and it did yesterday and you have to pick up the pieces - what a mess that all must seem - must be - to you


To start - I have said this to other people before - it's a really good rule of thumb to never drive when angry or upset - this time shit didn't happen when you ran a red light and take this as a warning - I remember in a terrible moment in my life sitting and crying in my car for some time before I drove - it's better to let it all out - them drove


And now you know - so let that one pass and let's get onto the session that upset you so much. I actually read this last night and I thought I needed to think about my answer so - yes - it's nearly lunchtime but here I am - having thought about it a lot


This therapist doesn't seem to be the right one for you - she doesn't "take the hint" - she's not a mind-reader - alas - as she says - and not a crisis service but obviousy something went terribly wrong because you were badly upset. Maybe she had a plan for the session and you had a different one. This makes it hard for you so what do you do about it?


I had to look up what a hint is - just to make sure and actually it means an indirect indication or suggestion - perhaps she's the kind of person who needs to be told straight out - and actually you might have said things straight out - and thinking back to your last session you did tell her what you wanted to discuss - staying alive and out of hospital - plain enough - it might be a case of being very firm with her.


And it is my firm opinion that we are all entitled to our opinions and have the right to say them to the professional people we consult - firmly and politely - I suppose we need to write our plan down ahead of time - @Ali11  had some good suggestions. Your therapist is a person like the rest of us and goes home to her life and her family just as we do - she has good days and bad days too - this can be a puzzle I know but we are the client - we pay for the service and if it's not working out then it is a battle to deal with and it may be worth the effort to continue with this therapist or it may be better to go and find someone else - and I know you are tired - exhausted - and you live in a small town and finding someone else will be really hard. I hear you.


I have this idea about getting our money's worth. I had a friend who would rather sit through a bad movie than get up and leave because he wanted his money's worth and was annoyed that I did walk out of the theatre. Maybe this therapist just isn't for you and it's not working after two sessions - and it all sounds reallly tough


So I guess you have a choice of speaking up really firmly - taking in your plan for the session and showing her - it's not rude to speak up - and stick to it. You had things you wanted to discuss - right - and you didn't get to discuss them


Or find someone more understanding and sympathetic to your issues - and you are entitled to that - when you see someone new it takes time to find the level ground - 


So ask yourself if you have already had your money's worth here - or if it's worth finding someone else


I know it's hard - 


The last therapist I had wanted to discuss things I wanted to keep to myself - things I already knew I couldn't change - things I wanted to keep private - maybe she did me a service because I lost all desire to pay a lot of money to tell someone else my stuff - it was a good place to find


But you are not there yet - my suggestion is to use a crisis service and ring Life Line - I know there are other places that are cheaper and see people - 


It's not easy to find a therapist who is right for you - this I have learned - we get a referal - and we go and find out if this will work or not - 


And I think you have good reasons for going - you want to stay alive and keep out of hospital - really good goals - 


All the best Eden - I am sorry things went so badly - this is a steep learning curve



Re: Psychologist not getting the message


Stop beating around the bush, hinting.  Say it honestly.  Tell her what you are thinking. 

Psychologists are just people.  They don't read minds. 

Re: Psychologist not getting the message

@Ali11  I didnt get much rest at all. And i have tried telling her both straight out and indirectly but she just doesnt get it. I also dont feel like writing stuff down for her. it is hard i am not saying she is a bad person i just dot think we click and i dont think she is really listening. 


@Dec  yes I pulled over after i wouldnt drive normally if i was crying but i wasnt crying i was just REALLY spaced out but so much i didnt know how spaced out i was. i got lucky i guess. the moneys worth is a hard one but isnt my biggest issue. i am also aware that is isnt easy for either party she doesnt know me and i am very wary of health professionals because of what they have done to me in the past so some things could be made more difficult because of things i cant really talk to anyone about. but at the same time she doesnt have to be so pushy. idk I will go back one more time and decide and at least then i can either end it there or hopefully find a way through this.


@utopia  I already said that i tried to tell her both directly AND indirectly i also said that i know they are not mind readers. i feel like you are saying this is my fault and i am just being difficult which maybe i am reading it wrong but that is the feeling i get from your reply. and i respect your opinion whatever it is but please dont misunderstand what has happened. 

Re: Psychologist not getting the message

Hi again @Eden1919 


Giving the lady one more chance seems a good idea - and you can be direct - I think you really have been trying to but it doesn't work very well with her.


Write down ahead of time what you want to say - you don't have to show her or even read it to her but writing it down will plant it firmly in your mind


You can say 


  1. I have told you my goals and they are good ones - I want to talk about how to stay alive and out of hospital and beyond that I haven't been able to focus - let's talk about staying alive and out of hospital
  2. There are things I am not ready to open up about - I become very upset when I even think about them - we could talk about them if we are able to continue with these sessions
  3. I don't want to discuss what I talk about with my friends

So when you have written down what you want to talk about - what you know you need to but can't yet and what you don't want to talk about she will get the idea - I hope


Some people - myself included - get into people's "too-hard" basket. Maybe this is the case with you - or her - it's not at all rude to speak the truth politely - sometimes firmly 


As for your money's worth. I guess it's not an easy concept to grasp but once you do it will work over and over again. 


Recently I bought a new shampoo - I saw it advertised and thought "Good Brand - maybe it will help my hair" - and I tried it and twice I got snuffly and itchy - croaky throat - how disappointing - I'm pretty sure today that I am allergic to this product and despite the cost I am not using it again - I have had my money's worth


Getting your money's worth can apply to more than just cash we might feel is wasted - it can apply to time spent, maybe paying to do a course we work out is not interesting enough for ourselves - changing a career course when we have invested time and money - trying new products that don't match the marketing - only half-finishing our meal or a block of chocolate that is just not to our taste. It applies to anything that doesn't suit us and we have given it enough of our money and time. It can apply to new friendships that are not working - practically anything that is not working


I got a new fridge recently after my freezer wasn't working properly - emptied the whole lot into the bin - it seemed frozen but I was not sure - I had my money's worth


All the best Eden - I hope your next session goes better or if you have had your money's worth - your find someone who is better for you





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