I am sorry to say this but I expect people to break my trust. I am never surprised when it happens. I am not a “Doubting Thomas” or anything but history has proven a few things to me. I did not expect to have it broken by someone who should have held my trust gently with both hands.
I had this therapist for close to 2 years. (2011-2013) In French, the word “conne” means “idiot”, so I will call her Conne. Pronounce it how you wish. 😉
When I was sent to Conne I was exceptionally suicidal and had been for a very long time. I’d not reached out for much help but when I finally did, it took 3 years to get to see a psychiatrist and then Conne. A long, long wait. In all fairness, I was still putting all my attention on to my children and not really advocating for myself but truthfully I was incapable of doing it back then.
So I started going to Conne and from the very first day she made me uncomfortable. She questioned what I said, told me that she could not keep certain things to herself (not legal things which I would have accepted) because they were a team. I am all for teamwork but when building trust? Knowing that your therapist is going to talk about you when you are not there is really hard to swallow and she jammed it down my throat.
Following this came 2 years of unsuccessful therapy where I didn’t disclose anything because she did not create an environment where I felt safe, she got fed up with me and asked for me to be sent off to an 8 week in-patient program at Homewood. For me that was the best decision ever but I am rather certain she was looking forward to the 8 week break from me.
Throughout our 2 years together, she routinely cancelled our appointments. I can safely say at least 50% were cancelled on the day I was due to see her. This had 2 effects. One, I was disappointed but worse than that was I stopped getting ready to go so when the appointment did happen? I was totally unprepared to do any work.
I always sat in the waiting room awaiting my appointment while therapist after therapist, nurse after nurse, came out to get their next clients and I sat there waiting. The room would be empty as all appointments are on the hour and I would still be sitting there. She would be 5 minutes, 10, 15, occasionally even 20 minutes late and then rather than coming to get me as I saw every other worker do? She called the front desk and told me to come down to her office (on my own).
Her actually appointment would be wrapped up another 15-20 minutes early so my hour appointment was actually 20-30 minutes whenever she managed to actually show up. I am a person who takes awhile to warm up and start speaking so you can only imagine I never discussed much.
Several times I was VERY suicidal and told her so but she did nothing to ensure my safety. I even called her phone line directly telling her I was about to completely lose my will to live and she didn’t return my calls. Nor did she ask about it during our next session.
I asked her one time if she believed me and her reply was “I believe it is your truth”. That is all she would say. To be honest? I would never even ask the question IF I felt believed in the first place.
I felt judged unfairly, treated poorly and completely disrespected.
There was so much more but I am sure you get the point.
I recently found out through another professional that Conne is the most disliked therapist and she is the one that inspires the most use of the words f***ing b**ch when people refer to her. Wow…
Did I leave her though? No. I stuck it out. Why?
Well that is the reason for this post (other than to whine a bit). 😉
I stuck with Conne because I truly felt that I didn’t deserve any better than what she gave me. She made me feel unimportant which was fine with me back then because that is how I felt inside. She disrespected me, my time, my needs and I let her because I did not feel that I was worthy of better. My time was not as important as hers and my needs were too excessive. It was VERY easy for her to keep me for two years and treat me horribly because I believed all the messages she sent. A terrible lesson since these should have been the lessons she was helping me to unlearn.
Then I went to Homewood where I got respected for the first time in my life. I am not saying that no one ever respected me before but in a therapy setting? This was a first. They actually respected me so much that I began to think I was worthy of being respected. They treated my time as important and apologized if they were late. They didn’t need to tell me that they believed me, I just knew they did. That led to me opening up far more than I had ever opened up in my life. It was slow but it was steady and they got more of my story than anyone had ever managed before. Most people… actually all… had NO CLUE what was hidden behind my very well-played fake smile. Not even my husband or best of friends.
I know this will seem silly but I actually came home from Homewood and went back to Conne. I felt that I didn’t really have a choice. I am very rural and the choices are extremely limited. I did think though that she would now understand me far more and I would be able to tell her so much that I could not discuss before so things would be different between us.
Is that what happened? No.
Conne was extremely offended that I had disclosed things to Homewood that I had never disclosed to her. Rather than understanding that I really needed a safe (in-patient) and supportive place to do that, she just took it all as lies. If it was true? I would have told her beforehand. She made comments about how important it was that I not take on other people’s stories and how impressionable I was. I am rather sure if you have read more than 2 blogs of mine, you will know I have rather strong opinions and do not get swayed that easily. The people at Homewood asked that I return and Conne blocked that for 7 months because she assumed I would just go absorb more of other people’s lives and traumas. I was unaware of this but was exceptionally frustrated that the “paperwork” was taking so long!
Helper Julie finally took matters in to her hands and FREAKED OUT. I was back at Homewood 2 weeks later. Thank you Julie!!!!!
I can tell you now that my story was not like other folks at Homewood. They were all there for major traumas but there was no copycatting going on. I am sure it may occasionally happen but that was not my experience. Not at all. Even if 2 people share a trauma, they seem to rarely share their reaction to it as being the same. We are all individuals.
While I was at Homewood for my second 8 weeks and I took the improvements from the past year and added to them, I made amazing progress. I felt so good about myself and I knew at that point, I deserved so much better. I deserved to be heard, I deserved respect, and I deserved to be believed.
I came home and refused to go back to Conne. I asked for another therapist and recently found out that the 10 MONTHS that I waited for a new therapist were largely caused by Conne. She did not want to let me go as a client and threw every road block possible in to my path. So because of her? I left an 8 week very intensive in-patient program and came home to no support at all for another 10 months.
I will tell you though that after we finally got her out-of-the-way? I got a fantastic therapist and my psychiatrist really went to bat for me too. I am extremely grateful for them but I just wanted to share my story so others do not feel so alone when it happens to them. I know it happens far too often. 😦
You must first of all know that YOU DESERVE BETTER!
Secondly? You must not settle for less than a respectful and trusting relationship. Therapy is useless without it.
Please demand that and don’t settle for less. You are so worth it. You really are.
~~~ Just so you know… ~~~
I did make a formal complaint only a few weeks ago but I was taken very seriously and also told that this is an issue for others. I hope that my reporting it in a respectful and calm manner will have an affect and Conne will either be educated better, moved to another job, or fired. Whatever the other professionals feel must be done. I have made my peace with it and I hope telling the story here will help someone know they deserve better then go out and demand it for themselves. 🙂