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Question
Posted by: G | 2010/09/15

Therapist/Friend

Hi Prof. I hope you are able to make sense of my question.
I have been seeing a therapist for 3yrs. It took a long time for me to let go and be myself in therapy. I don’ t see therapy as a “ therapy”  relationship, but as a “ friend”  relationship. Don’ t get me wrong, I don’ t want to see or talk to him outside the therapy hour, but I consider him a “ friend”  because I can only up to someone I really trust (which would be a close friend). Is it wrong to think of him as a “ friend,”  because if I think of him as only a therapist, I start doubting his sincerity. I think of him as a “ friend”  and not a therapist because friends confide in one another and trust one another and that is our relationship. However, as soon as I have one of my “ melting”  moments, it triggers old memories of me being backstabbed by so-called friends. Most people I innocently believed were friends and confided in, turned out to be users, liars or backstabbers. In my eyes a friend would not lie, but a therapist can lie because he is being paid to agree with me. I know he is not my friend but I can’ t think of him as a therapist and when things go wobbly, I take my anger &  frustrations out on him as I think he has just been lying to me and I am stupid for believing him. I respect him as a professional and I know it is wrong to think of him as a friend because sometimes I can overdo the sms’ s and emails and if he doesn’ t respond to them, I think he is a fake and I then become angry with him.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Some cynics describe these old-fashioned forms of psychotherapy as hardly therapeutic, but as a way to buy intelligent conversation and something that at least feels like friendship.
A therap[ist, whether or not they use valid and effective methods, is at least supposed to be amicable ( if not necessarily friendly ) trustworthy and confidential, which many "friends" don't manage to be.
You may be unfair to both of you in feeling that unless you see him as a friend, the relationship must somehow be phoney or inauthentic.
A therapist who considered himself as "paid to agree with you" would be a truly lousy therapist - indeed, one of his duties is not to necessarily or automatically agree with you, but to challenge you usefully. He should not lie, and, indeed as a good friend should do, should disagree and explain the disagreement when you are wrong about something.
IF you are flooding him with SMS and e-mail, you are putting an unfair pressure on him. You have your sessions in which any necessary and useful communication should occur. Other than changing appointments and other such business-like matters, there should be no need to send e-mails or other messages on other matters. Note them down and discuss them in your next session.
He's being a better professional and genuinely NOT a fake if he chooses not to respond to messages between sessions that don't deal with genuine emergencies or scheduling problems.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: ok | 2010/09/15

just re read your post and count how many times you typed the word " friend" 

you will find it comes up alot.....that seems to be your main thing...you need a friend....someone who has it within themselves to live up to the definition of what a friend is, if they can do that alone it should surpass whats in your own imagination of what you expect from a friend.

So you need friendship, question is are you brave enough to embark on the adventure of finding a true friend? are you willing to sacrifice and risk suffering pain again to find what you need?

I hope you are ready to give it a go, just remember that your psychologist/ shrink/therapist is NOT a friend, neither can they ever be a true friend, so look outside of that enviroment and trust abit.

Reply to ok
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/09/15

Some cynics describe these old-fashioned forms of psychotherapy as hardly therapeutic, but as a way to buy intelligent conversation and something that at least feels like friendship.
A therap[ist, whether or not they use valid and effective methods, is at least supposed to be amicable ( if not necessarily friendly ) trustworthy and confidential, which many "friends" don't manage to be.
You may be unfair to both of you in feeling that unless you see him as a friend, the relationship must somehow be phoney or inauthentic.
A therapist who considered himself as "paid to agree with you" would be a truly lousy therapist - indeed, one of his duties is not to necessarily or automatically agree with you, but to challenge you usefully. He should not lie, and, indeed as a good friend should do, should disagree and explain the disagreement when you are wrong about something.
IF you are flooding him with SMS and e-mail, you are putting an unfair pressure on him. You have your sessions in which any necessary and useful communication should occur. Other than changing appointments and other such business-like matters, there should be no need to send e-mails or other messages on other matters. Note them down and discuss them in your next session.
He's being a better professional and genuinely NOT a fake if he chooses not to respond to messages between sessions that don't deal with genuine emergencies or scheduling problems.

Reply to cybershrink

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