What's up with my counselor?

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What's up with my counselor?

Post by eselle28 on Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:58 pm

I'm currently halfway through a group counseling program, and I really don't care for the counselor. I'm more or less stuck with her. Although it's not going to be a legal necessity, as I originally thought it would be, my insurance has already paid for it and I'd prefer to finish rather than quit or start over elsewhere. The program is pretty useless, but I'm also treating the same issue in two other waysthat have been very effective. I can provide more detail if needed, but I'm mostly wondering if I'm having an unreasonable therapy tantrum, if my counselor has done some pretty weird shit, or if this is just a really bad match that would have been avoided if I could have shopped around. These are my main objections:

- She's involved in a lawsuit, not related to the counseling, and she talks about it constantly. I know way more about her problems than any of the group members'.
- She's decided that I should be friends with her daughter. That seemed okay enough initially. She and I work in the same field, and my first thought was that we could grab some coffee after I was fininshed with the counseling program. Then it came up again, and again. It's come up six times total, plus an in person introduction. For whatever it's worth, I didn't pick up anything from the daughter beyond basic politeness.
- She has strong feelings about my new job, despite the fact that it's a huge step up from my prior one and that I didn't exactly have a bunch of competing offers to choose from. This isn't one of those things where she thinks it's likely to cause psychological problems, and while I have a lot of generalized career angst, this seems to have more to do with personal feelings about various people in my field who work in our town.
- She passed on a pretty unflattering piece of gossip about a coworker being unkind to someone else. I wouldn't be surprised if it's true, but it's not at all work related, and I'd rather not have heard it.

So, verdict? I'll totally accept whatever it is, even if the conclusion is that I'm the weird one. Loopy
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eselle28
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by Werel on Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:53 pm

Yeah, your counselor sounds way out of line, it's not you being weird. And not just in a "bad match" way, but in a "thoroughly unprofessional" way. She should not be pushing you to be friends with her daughter (what the fuck??), or telling you about her problems, or ragging on your career choices (unless you are choosing to do crimes or hurt people? But I highly doubt that is your job?), or spreading unflattering gossip (is this coworker her patient?? It's already unprofessional, but that'd be grounds for reporting her to someone).

I'm really sorry you're stuck with her, she sounds like a totally counterproductive pain in the ass. Glad you have other outlets that are actually helping. I think that if this person has a supervisor of any kind, or there is any sort of feedback process for this counseling, you'd be well within reasonability to mention some of this super weird, entirely inappropriate behavior after you're done with the program.
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by Enail on Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:37 pm

Agreed, she sounds suuuper-unprofessional and quite odd. Being that pushy about being friends with her daughter is especially weird and I'd be quite uncomfortable with it if I were in that situaiton. Especially since I've generally gotten the impression that counsellors typically emphasize privacy and respect for the line between sessions and the rest of life.

Here's hoping you get through the rest of it without any further weird inappropriateness!
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by eselle28 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:28 pm

Enail wrote:Agreed, she sounds suuuper-unprofessional and quite odd. Being that pushy about being friends with her daughter is especially weird and I'd be quite uncomfortable with it if I were in that situaiton. Especially since I've generally gotten the impression that counsellors typically emphasize privacy and respect for the line between sessions and the rest of life.

So much awkward, so much. Doubly so because I can't tell if the daughter is herself even interested in making new friends, or if I'm some random person (possibly one in a long line of them?) being shoved at her by her mother.

Werel wrote:She should not be...ragging on your career choices (unless you are choosing to do crimes or hurt people? But I highly doubt that is your job?)


Well, I am a lawyer. But, no, this is a perfectly ordinary small law firm that does things like estate planning and business litigation. It's not like I've taken a position with Trump, Manafort & Bannon, LLP. It's a small town, so my counselor knows some of these people and has opinions about them. I probably would be open to hearing a degree of career advice, because that's an area where I'm not very decisive, but she's not been helpful - especially since I also knew all these people beforehand and was working with more or less the same information she was.

Werel wrote:or spreading unflattering gossip (is this coworker her patient?? It's already unprofessional, but that'd be grounds for reporting her to someone).

No, my coworker is not her patient. Coworker supposedly said something mean about a third party, it got back to that person, and that person told others. Did I mention it's a small town?

Werel wrote:I think that if this person has a supervisor of any kind, or there is any sort of feedback process for this counseling, you'd be well within reasonability to mention some of this super weird, entirely inappropriate behavior after you're done with the program.

Unfortunately, that's a nope!

Werel wrote:I'm really sorry you're stuck with her, she sounds like a totally counterproductive pain in the ass. Glad you have other outlets that are actually helping.

Enail wrote:Here's hoping you get through the rest of it without any further weird inappropriateness!

Well, tonight's session was me and six men, and the topic drifted to dating. Slut shaming and double standards galore! On the other hand, it did actually resemble a therapeutic session, which has not always been the case. It did improve matters to know that my perceptions aren't just withdrawal thinking and that there's some merit to being dissatisfied with the program. It makes it easier to get through with it and go to my other things. Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by Enail on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:32 pm

Euuugghghhhhhhh, that sounds awful. So, so sorry you're stuck with that counselor and that group!
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by eselle28 on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:41 pm

Enail wrote:Euuugghghhhhhhh, that sounds awful. So, so sorry you're stuck with that counselor and that group!

They're mostly fine, or at least as fine as a group of people with varying substance abuse problems can be (one of the more interesting things I've learned this year is that people who use methamphetamine/opioids are as varied as any other group and include some cool people). The stuff that was expressed wasn't anything you wouldn't hear most other 28ish-year-old guys say. I just wish that topic had gotten pushed to a night when I wasn't there, or to a night when some of the other women were. I'm guessing some of them did too, because I kind of made the face I make at home when I read certain comments on Doctor Nerdlove - sort of a Twitch Hypnotized  Smash against wall Ewwww!  Popcorn  combo.
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by Enail on Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:53 pm

Well, glad it's not as bad as it sounded.  That still doesn't sound like a very pleasant session, though. Wink
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by jcorozza on Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:05 pm

Yikes times like 1000. Is she...the only counselor in the program? Or are there just only other counselors at the same level? That is some waaaaay over the top self-disclosure, especially in a group. And I'm guessing it didn't come up in any way relating to what the group was talking about. It kinda sounds like she's using the group *for her own therapy*.
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Re: What's up with my counselor?

Post by DoubtfulGuest on Sat Sep 02, 2017 2:25 pm

jcorozza wrote:It kinda sounds like she's using the group *for her own therapy*.  

Yeah, I think that's definitely a "thing" with some counselors, and it's usually completely accidental. I've worked in the human services field off and on for years, and am continually surprised by the amount of iffy personal stuff some coworkers have been willing to disclose. I talk about surface level stuff with clients-like what I did over the weekend, stuff about my education or where I've lived, movies I've seen recently, what I'm reading, etc.-but that's about it. This seems to work for me-some people can disclose a little more and it seems to work out fine for them, but there's definitely an art to it (it almost always depends on the situation and the client).

Therapists are human, too, but setting boundaries is crucial, because they need to maintain focus on the people they're helping, not their own stuff-it's a professional relationship, which, admittedly, can be challenging, because you don't want to come across as an uncaring machine, either.
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