Powerful Therapy Hacks "They" Don't Want You To Know About.

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Mona Pereth
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22 Jan 2020, 11:36 am

Aspie1 wrote:
blazingstar wrote:
Sometimes people are forced into therapy by parents, the court, pressure from schools, etc.

The hacks shared here are particularly relevant if one finds oneself in such a position.

Sometimes there is no choice but to endure, mask and do what "they" want.
Yes, exactly. The most common example of such things are minors put into "family therapy" (quotes because the only "family" being helped are the parents), and husbands put into marriage counseling. In those cases, you have a patient/customer dichotomy: the patient is the child/teen or the husband, but the real customer is the parents or the wife. In other words, the therapist is working with the patient to help the customer. So, they don't care how YOU feel; what they care about is whether or not their real customer is satisfied with "your" progress.

I see your point regarding parents and minor children.

However, as for marriage counseling, doesn't the husband have as much say as the wife as to who the counselor is? The wife might more often be the one who seeks marriage counseling in the first place, but what stops the husband from seeking a different marriage counselor if he feels that the first one is siding too much with his wife?

To be effective, a good marriage counselor needs to be acceptable to both spouses/partners, and should take neither side, but instead should help both partners communicate better with each other.

Additionally, where one or both spouses/partners is autistic, an effective marriage counselor needs to be knowledgeable about autism -- which too many therapists still aren't, alas. (Of course, that issue was even more of a problem back in the day.)

I agree that it's important to be very careful with therapy that has been mandated by a court or a school.

Also, with ANY therapy, it's important to read the fine print on your intake paperwork. For example, for my current therapist:

Quote:
III. Uses and Disclosures with Neither Consent nor Authorization


I may use or disclose PHI without your consent or authorization in the following circumstances:

• Abuse: If I believe or suspect that you are abusing a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person I must file a report with a state agency. Alternatively, if a child I am treating discloses having experienced abuse, I am also required to report that information. To “abuse” means to neglect, hurt, or sexually molest another person.
• Serious Threat to Harm or Safety: If you threaten serious harm to another person, I am required to try to protect that person. If you seriously threaten or act in a way that is likely to harm yourself, I may need to disclose information to protect you. In an emergency where your life or health is in danger, and I cannot get your consent, I may give another professional some information to protect your life.
• Health Oversight: If there is an inquiry or complaint about my professional conduct to the New York State or Connecticut Board for Psychology, I must furnish to the New York or Connecticut Commissioner of Education, your confidential mental health records relevant to this inquiry. 

• Judicial or Administrative Proceedings: If you are involved in a proceeding and a request is made for information about the professional services that I've provided you and/or their records thereof, such information is privileged under state law, and I must not release this information without your written authorization, or a court order. This privilege does not apply when you are being evaluated for a third party or where the evaluation is court ordered. I must inform you in advance if this is the case. If you were sent to me for an evaluation by a worker’s compensation or Social Security disability, I will be sending my report to a representative of that agency and it can contain information regarding your psychological condition and treatment.

Given the wide scope of the mandatory reporter clauses, I agree with you that it's probably a bad idea, for example, to reveal any violent imagery that may happen to have popped into your head, even if you know you're never going to act it out.


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Aspie1
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22 Jan 2020, 10:57 pm

Mona Pereth wrote:
Given the wide scope of the mandatory reporter clauses, I agree with you that it's probably a bad idea, for example, to reveal any violent imagery that may happen to have popped into your head, even if you know you're never going to act it out.
So basically, people who could stand to benefit the most from therapy are the ones who are most likely to have their lives ruined by it. Unless they're smart, and only tell their therapist about magical unicorns and cuddly kittens. As well as memorize all the answers a therapist is looking for.

I guess that's America for you! :roll: No wonder we need all these therapy hacks.



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22 Jan 2020, 11:02 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
I guess that's America for you! :roll: No wonder we need all these therapy hacks.


We don't all need them. I don't, and I've found therapy beneficial.



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22 Jan 2020, 11:08 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
We don't all need them. I don't, and I've found therapy beneficial.
I'm not refuting your experience. But possibly, whatever answers you gave your therapist happened to match the ones he/she wanted from you. You may not have realized you gave "right" answers, but you did. So he/she treated you well in return, causing you to benefit from the therapy.



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22 Jan 2020, 11:15 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
We don't all need them. I don't, and I've found therapy beneficial.
I'm not refuting your experience. But possibly, whatever answers you gave your therapist happened to match the ones he/she wanted from you. You may not have realized you were giving "right" answers, but you did. So he/she treated you well in return, causing you to benefit from the therapy.


Or maybe some therapists genuinely want to help people. They are human beings.



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22 Jan 2020, 11:32 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
Or maybe some therapists genuinely want to help people. They are human beings.
Yes, without a doubt, therapists are human beings. But because they're human, they're more likely to actually help a patient who gives them the answers they're looking for, as opposed to someone who always says "I don't know" when questioned about their feelings. Not unlike nurses being more likely to go the extra mile for a patient who treats them with respect and kindness, as opposed to a rude patient. Scarily, therapists often see respect and kindness as weakness, and often treat such patients worse.



Dear_one
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22 Jan 2020, 11:33 pm

[quote="Twilightprincess"

Or maybe some therapists genuinely want to help people. They are human beings.[/quote]

There are a few therapists who have been improved by education, but in general, it is their desire to help, combined with an openness about what "healthy" looks like that determines their success. Therapy might be a lot easier to understand if we called it remedial parenting, with the emphasis on better parenting to create an independent grown-up, not more coercion about conforming to some Procrustean measure.



Mona Pereth
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23 Jan 2020, 7:10 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Or maybe some therapists genuinely want to help people. They are human beings.
Yes, without a doubt, therapists are human beings. But because they're human, they're more likely to actually help a patient who gives them the answers they're looking for, as opposed to someone who always says "I don't know" when questioned about their feelings.

A therapist who can't help someone who always says "I don't know" when questioned about their feelings is a therapist who hasn't been trained in how to deal with alexithymia, which is common among autistic people. Hopefully more and more therapists in today's world are receiving such training, although there's probably still a shortage of such therapists I would guess.


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Mona Pereth
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23 Jan 2020, 7:12 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
Mona Pereth wrote:
Given the wide scope of the mandatory reporter clauses, I agree with you that it's probably a bad idea, for example, to reveal any violent imagery that may happen to have popped into your head, even if you know you're never going to act it out.
So basically, people who could stand to benefit the most from therapy are the ones who are most likely to have their lives ruined by it. Unless they're smart, and only tell their therapist about magical unicorns and cuddly kittens. As well as memorize all the answers a therapist is looking for.

I guess that's America for you! :roll: No wonder we need all these therapy hacks.

I am under the impression that this problem exists in many other countries too, ever since the 1990's or so. Today's mandatory reporter laws are one of several counterproductive, draconian, misguided attempts to protect children that arose in the wake of the worldwide (though starting in the U.S.A.) child sexual abuse panics of the 1980's and later.

Up to a point it was very good that child sexual abuse, and child abuse generally, were finally being taken much more seriously as problems than they had been in the past. Unfortunately, the resulting popular outrage resulted in the passage of various laws that didn't in fact do a whole lot to protect children, but did succeed in ruining the lives of a lot of adults, innocent as well as guilty.

Something akin to today's mandatory reporter laws was indeed needed, in my opinion, but the current laws/policies have resulted in way too many false accusations, as well as not solving the problem of true accusations still failing to be taken seriously enough in many cases.

But back to the main topic: I'm still curious about your thoughts on the following, which you did not answer:

Mona Pereth wrote:
I see your point regarding parents and minor children.

However, as for marriage counseling, doesn't the husband have as much say as the wife as to who the counselor is? The wife might more often be the one who seeks marriage counseling in the first place, but what stops the husband from seeking a different marriage counselor if he feels that the first one is siding too much with his wife?

To be effective, a good marriage counselor needs to be acceptable to both spouses/partners, and should take neither side, but instead should help both partners communicate better with each other.

Additionally, where one or both spouses/partners is autistic, an effective marriage counselor needs to be knowledgeable about autism -- which too many therapists still aren't, alas. (Of course, that issue was even more of a problem back in the day.)


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25 Jan 2020, 11:15 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
But back to the main topic: I'm still curious about your thoughts on the following, which you did not answer:
...
However, as for marriage counseling, doesn't the husband have as much say as the wife as to who the counselor is? The wife might more often be the one who seeks marriage counseling in the first place, but what stops the husband from seeking a different marriage counselor if he feels that the first one is siding too much with his wife?

Not usually. Just like family therapy is really meant to help the parents manage their children, marriage counseling is really meant to help the wife get the husband back in line. The therapist's loyalty isn't to the patient, but to the real customer. Although with marriage counseling, the problem is compounded by the fact that the patient and the real customer often both sit in the same room. The real customer gets the sympathy, and the patients get the blame.

The husband is usually powerless to find another counselor for two reasons: (1) It will get him labeled as "resistant" or "uncooperative", which will make him look even worse in the therapist's and his wife's eyes; and (2) Almost all marriage counselors side with the wife, so finding a different one is a waste of time and effort.

While my hacks apply mostly to family therapy, they can be used for any therapy/counseling where you're the patient but not the real customer. Including but not limited to marriage counseling.



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25 Jan 2020, 11:56 am

I learned early that if I argued with my wife, she'd call me a liar and never look at the facts. When we got to marriage counselling, the male counsellor took her accusations at face value, and never asked for my version.



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25 Jan 2020, 12:35 pm

More hacks.

18. AGREE AND AMPLIFY
You can use this hack when accused to being "resistant" or "uncooperative". I learned this tactic from a source that's pernona non grata here on WP. It teaches now to pick up women, but it can also be used with therapists. Let's say they accuse you of being "resistant" or "uncooperative". This is how the conversation should go.
Therapist: "Blah-blah-blah, resistant, uncooperative."
You: "I know, right? It's criminal! I should be mandatedly reported for this."
Logic behind it: Therapists expect you to verbally defend yourself against such accusations, so they can brush them off and further destabilize you, and keep you coming back to "process" :roll: your problems. By agreeing with them, you're deflating their accusation like a balloon with a needle. Also, you're bringing into the light the fact how trigger-happy therapists are with mandated reporting. ("Mandatedly" isn't a real word, but use it on your therapist anyway.)

19. CALLING THEIR BLUFF
This is similar to Hack #18, to use when accused to being "resistant" or "uncooperative". But instead of agreeing, you're aggressively pushing back. You're basically challenging them, to see what they will do. Most patients are too scared to push back against someone who can ruin their life and career with a single phone call. But you can do something like this.
Therapist: "Blah-blah-blah, resistant, uncooperative."
You: "What are you going to do about it? Retraumatize me? Go ahead!"
Logic behind it: Therapists often retraumatize their patients to keep their income flowing, but sometimes for a cheap thrill as well. They often entrap you by accusing you, to get you to inadvertently give them material. At the same time, they will NEVER admit it. By specifically challenging them to retraumatize you, and therefore admit they're doing it, you're thwarting their ability to do so. Plus, when you're mentally prepared for it, their tactics won't work.

20. CALLING THEM OUT FOR PEEING ON YOU AND TELLING YOU IT'S RAIN
This is similar to Hack #19, used in slightly different situations. You can use when a therapist is clearly lying to you or abusing you, as to make you feel worse or to serve their actual customer, but obviously won't admit it to you.
Therapist (T): <Whatever it is they're saying to you, it doesn't matter.>
You (U): <Put on a confused look, look up, hold out your hand palm up, make a dramatic pause, sniff your hand, and make a disgusted face. Do not say anything. Keep the suspense.>
T: <Looking at you with confusion.> OR "What are you doing?"
U: "Is that rain, or is someone peeing on me again? It can't be rain, because we're indoors, so... (dramatic cutoff)."
T: "Don't be resistant with me!" <or an equivalent>
U: [Hack #18 or Hack #19.]
Explanation: You're using a real-life pun here. You're deliberately mixing up actual rain with metaphorical rain, to thwart your therapist from pretending to be your friend while betraying you. This will make them pick a side.

21. SPECIALISTS
When dealing with serious problems like losing a loved one, getting mugged at a subway station, or having your home burglarized, talk about them ONLY with therapists that specialize in grief and/or trauma. NEVER discuss these topics with a garden-variety therapist. More likely than not, they will make you feel worse by forcing you to share your feelings about it (see Hack #2) or simply mock you. This explains why I never told my therapist that my grandfather was very sick and almost died from it. (I told her later, after he was well again, and all she said was "aww" in a cooing tone. :evil:) A specialized therapist, on the other hand, will at least know how to put up a front of helping you, if not actually help you. Their field teaches them what to say and what not to say to patients. At the bare minimum, they won't pee on you and tell you it's rain.



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25 Jan 2020, 8:34 pm

Aspie1 wrote:
Just like family therapy is really meant to help the parents manage their children, marriage counseling is really meant to help the wife get the husband back in line.

That's not what marriage counseling is supposed to be, of course.

So I'm wondering to what extent what you've experienced is really a male-vs.-female thing vs. to what extent it's an Aspie-vs.-NT thing, with a therapist who doesn't know much if anything about ASD.

Also, if I recall correctly and if I don't have you mixed up with someone else here, you've written before about your use of drugs and alcohol. If that was one of the bones of contention in your marriage, then I would indeed expect the therapist to side (at least to some extent) with whichever spouse is trying to get the other one's drug/alcohol use back in line.

As for the wife being the "real customer," I can see why that might be true if the wife is the only one paying for the therapy, but not if the therapist is being paid out of a joint account, or being paid in equal halves out of separate accounts.


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25 Jan 2020, 9:21 pm

When life has been mostly adversarial relationships, it takes something akin to a miracle to open the window to a co-operative, supportive one, even if it is available. My ex couldn't go three days without picking a fight, because she would get the feeling that someone else must be sneaking up on her, and she'd lash out just to feel strong and look formidable.



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26 Jan 2020, 2:23 am

Mona Pereth wrote:
Also, if I recall correctly and if I don't have you mixed up with someone else here, you've written before about your use of drugs and alcohol. If that was one of the bones of contention in your marriage, then I would indeed expect the therapist to side (at least to some extent) with whichever spouse is trying to get the other one's drug/alcohol use back in line.
I talked about alcohol, not drugs. Specifically about how I took up drinking just to cope with the abusive therapy I was getting. And it really worked: one shot of whiskey helped me more than many months of therapy. Of course, I never told my therapist; I feared she'd rat me out to my parents. I was 12, so marriage wouldn't even be on the radar. So while my issue was the same as that of actual adults, I'm pretty sure you have me mixed up with someone else.



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26 Jan 2020, 3:48 am

Dear_one wrote:
I learned early that if I argued with my wife, she'd call me a liar and never look at the facts. When we got to marriage counselling, the male counsellor took her accusations at face value, and never asked for my version.

A competent psychotherapist shouldn't do that, of course. There is a well-established concept of the "identified patient" who is regarded by other members of a family as the source of the family's problems, when in fact the family as a whole is dysfunctional.

Alas, asking the kinds of questions that would determine the actual facts is a challenge. Perhaps many therapists just aren't sufficiently well-trained in how to do that?


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Last edited by Mona Pereth on 26 Jan 2020, 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.