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  #11  
Old 12-16-2012, 12:23 AM
SJJ SJJ is offline
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I am new to Los Angeles and it has become clear to me that I need a therapist. However, I really want one that at the very least understands poly. I don't want to be letting somebody into my head and having them not understand why I don't just leave him because he has feelings for somebody else, etc.
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  #12  
Old 12-19-2012, 07:49 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Originally Posted by MeeraReed View Post
One more thought: if you do start seeing a therapist, and after a few sessions you feel that they are not very poly-friendly or are not giving very poly-friendly advice, don't be afraid to seek out a different therapist.
I wouldn't wait for a few sessions, I would find out before laying down a single dollar. You're within your rights to interview potential therapists before hiring them. If they refuse to interview, walk away. And during the interview, ask them specifically if they are polyamory-friendly. Use the word "polyamory." Whether they know the word will be the first test. Their reaction will be the second test. And a direct question whether they support it will be the final question.

Also, ask them about their general therapy process. For example, mine told me that she does not do long term therapy. She prefers to help people when they're going through a rough patch, and she provides coaching via phone afterwards, but she doesn't see people who need long term care.
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Old 12-19-2012, 06:19 PM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
I wouldn't wait for a few sessions, I would find out before laying down a single dollar. You're within your rights to interview potential therapists before hiring them. If they refuse to interview, walk away. And during the interview, ask them specifically if they are polyamory-friendly. Use the word "polyamory." Whether they know the word will be the first test. Their reaction will be the second test. And a direct question whether they support it will be the final question.
Agreed, but in my case, I liked the therapist initially and felt comfortable with her after having shopped around for a therapist for a while. Then, a few sessions into it, when we got deeper into my issues, I felt like she was saying unhelpful things and/or wasn't understanding my situation. But at that point, I felt too invested or too guilty to change therapists.

I was also concerned that it was my problem if my therapist wasn't telling me what I wanted to hear. I thought that I had to face uncomfortable truths or something.

I was also severely depressed/unstable at the time and could not have handled interviewing a whole lot of therapists.

Oh, and the biggest issue was, I didn't know I was poly and would not have been able to use or articulate the word "polyamorous" in my search for a therapist. I was indeed dealing with the fallout of a non-exclusive relationship, and I'd had non-exclusive relationships in the past, but part of my problem was that I had no idea why these relationships hadn't worked out or what was "wrong" with me.

This particular therapist kept agreeing that she, too, didn't know what was "wrong" with me, except that it seemed like I wasn't looking for a "real" relationship. (Which is exactly what my ex had told me that plunged me into a crisis in the first place--that he had never considered our [4-years' long] relationship "real" because I had wanted to be non-exclusive).

I finally stopped making appointments with her, but didn't seek out a new therapist until months later. By then, I had learned all about polyamory and had made a lot of strides on my own in making peace with myself and the break-up. For my next therapist, I was much better able to articulate what I was looking for in therapy, and I found a really open-minded therapist who told me right away that she has experience treating people in open relationships.

I didn't even realize how out of sync with me that previous therapist had been until, in retrospect, I realized how much more useful my current one is.

So that's all I mean--even if you like a therapist initially, you may figure out later that you don't click well, and it's not too late to find a new therapist then.
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  #14  
Old 12-20-2012, 06:49 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I was also concerned that it was my problem if my therapist wasn't telling me what I wanted to hear. I thought that I had to face uncomfortable truths or something.
Oooo that is such a good point, and such a Catch-22 of therapy for some people.

In a nutshell, any therapist will tell you some things you don't want to hear. I know mine does. But for that to be "good for you," they need to be the right therapist. How do you know if a therapist is right? Sometimes referrals help, but even then... they have to be good for you. Even a great therapist will be a poor fit for some people. A pair of custom-made Italian leather dress shoes can cost $500 and still be all wrong if you need steel-toed boots.

And to throw water on an oil fire, you need a certain level of mental health and self-awareness to determine whether it's the fit / counsellor who's bad, or just that you don't want to hear what you need to hear.

I remember a recent session I had... I was upset that my husband had started going back on some of his commitments (not major life things, just like... "I'll take your car in to get fixed" and then trying to get out of it). She said something along the lines of the reason I was upset wasn't that he wasn't keeping his commitments, but that I was reading more into his motivation for not keeping them. E.g. I was assuming that he thought his time was more valuable than mine. But that was my projection onto him, not his own words. So... I needed to change my expectations. Well HRMPPHH! I didn't want to change my expectations. I wanted to know how to get him to change his behaviour. But she was right. Next time it happened, I took the time to discuss his motivation. Turned out he had pretty good rationale, so we negotiated a compromise.
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Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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