Further extraction from the system — email to my very nice therapist

Dear Therapist,

I don’t want to pay for relationships anymore.

It seems to me it’s inherently unhealthy and unnatural, contrived and toxic to ones soul. (or my soul anyway…I won’t speak for others)

I like you a lot but it feels wrong.

Paying for intimacy. Seems to be a really messed up element of modern/capitalistic society. It’s not natural.

thanks for caring. I know you do. I simply can’t pay for it anymore.

be well.

18 thoughts on “Further extraction from the system — email to my very nice therapist

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    1. ah…how nice to get validation from a psychiatrist…they like to pretend it doesn’t exist in general, or better yet that they personally are above such nonsense…I was a good clinician and it’s so built into the system I know I WAS NOT above it. I would expect that you would get this though, of course, Doug!

  1. This is a good thread. I have to admit I had some inadequate counselors.
    The one I liked was scared I would sue my psychiatrist and would be involved. I let her go. I unleashed a lot of frustration about the wrong diagnoses and being stigmatized.
    I knew she wasn’t my friend-just a paid listener who came the extra mile.I appreciate that.
    In fact she never charged me even though I had very good insurance.

  2. Strange, indeed. That we are so estranged from ourselves, that we have to pay money for our most basic human needs to get acknowledged. An estrangement in itself.

  3. I am still going to therapy but can very much relate to this feeling. Still, there have been times a counselor had been my only lifeline, going through some pretty severe depressions, delusions, social anxiety and exposure anxiety. It does seem strange, our society is pretty strange.

    1. yes, I get that Oz…and I too have had periods in my life that I felt I needed someone who was there regardless…and for all I know I may need that again…I certainly don’t pretend to know I will never seek out a therapist again, though I find it unlikely.

  4. This post caught my eye … I, too, am a former therapist/social worker … I left the field after 18 years. For the last 1.5 years I’ve been in a most challenging depression and also have PTSD … I have no therapist; have thought about scoping one out … and then I realize that I’ve already done more than 12 years’ worth … I’ve had the best therapists (two were literally lifesavers), and one or two who just botched my mind (one wanted me to call her “Mom” … for $70 an hour …). Nowadays I find the best therapies are in authentic being … with my kin, with the natural elements and seasons … with reading, writing, and thinking … with my beloved cats … with friends who understand … and with those rarest of gems: my most intimate loves: my husband, a few sister-friends, and a couple of relatives who accept me regardless of the past injuries that one of our fellow relatives inflicted on me.

    Thank you xo

    1. yes, Jaliya,
      I very much share your view for myself.
      I totally don’t think therapy has to feel the way it does to me and I know many many people benefit in many ways.

      I’m glad you stopped by.

      I’m with you too Leah, I’ve not had a typical therapist in a long time…all radical in their own ways and anti-med…but still didn’t sit right…even though they were wonderful human beings and I have no doubt they help many people.

      naturalgal…I do very much hope your husband is able to find help.

  5. Hi,
    I understand this, but I think therapist can help us and the do need to make a living.

    I used to feel this way about someone I saw, so I do get it, but my husband also just started to see someone and I think this new person can help him much more than a friend.

  6. I totally get this – I tried all kinds of “alternative” therapists for a while, who don’t push meds, etc, and have holistic approaches, but it still didn’t work me. I think it may be all the things you mention, the weird commodified nature of it, plus the residual trauma for being “therapized” against my will.

    For this reason, I will probably not go back to therapy. I’ve cultivated a few friends whom I know are there for me in my darkest hours – and I find a 20 minute chat with them helps me get turned around in a more positive direction. I believe in reciprocal relationships. Therapy is just too one-sided for me.


  7. I can understand about the power differential. I guess…I’m always in the moment with the kids and I know even if I had a million dollars and didn’t have to work, I would still work with the kids. I just care so much. And the counselor I had in the past…she cared so much, so dang much and I owe her for that.

    But I understand, I’ve had problems with this as well. Do I think my current counselor cares as much, I don’t know. She cares somewhat I know, but she hasn’t gone above and beyond like my first one. Not that I expect them too…but I know the ones who are in it for the money and I know the ones that aren’t I suppose.

    I respect your decision, it’s a hard one. It’s a very…weird situation.

    1. yup…that is what it is, weird…

      I think working with the kids you work with is great.

      I always loved my clients…truly loved them…but I still won’t go back…and it was with adults…there was an infantilization process built into the system. I will only return to work with people if I am an equal. A true peer—but I’m creating my own systems from now on…I can’t deal with the powers that be…and that is not to say it is all bad and no one gets any good ever from people in the system…I don’t believe that.

      For me though I would have to sell my soul to partake either as client or clinician at this point. But we all have different roads…and I don’t think that what is right for me is right for another…hence my close friends who partake in all sorts of ways in the world in ways I personally wouldn’t

  8. Oh I just read the last few comments…you definitely did not have one of the good ones if she reminded you of the money. When my counselor and I finally parted ways, I know I owed her money, but to this day she has never mentioned it.

    1. yeah, I’m an ex-social worker and clinician as well…I got out of it and won’t go back because of the power differential involved…

      I don’t think this is for everyone. It’s my experience…thanks for sharing yours.

      she was perfectly fine…I know therapists…I was in the field forever

      granted it was lame asking for the money yes.

      I have several close friends who are therapists and social workers too…very close friends…

  9. I have a very unique take on this because I both receive therapy and i am a therapist. And I can tell you without a doubt that you can’t pay someone to care, you can’t pay someone to be intimate with you.

    Sure I paid my therapist, she had to make a living. But I didn’t pay her for all those nights she had to call me to keep me alive, or when she showed up on the wards to check on me or all the emails that were sent back and forth. I didn’t pay for her tears when I shared some horror from my path. She cried for me until I could cry for myself.

    And as a therapist, I don’t get paid to care. I get paid to do the therapy, but that doesn’t mean I have to care. And I don’t get paid for all of the hours i spend outside of the therapy session tweaking the kids programs, taking parents phone calls when they are in crisis, or taking the kids to a birthday present at laser tag and a restaurant for the first time. I don’t get paid to cry when my little M is hurting so much and can’t communicate. And I don’t get paid to give a kid Disneyland (therapist speak for the best thing in the whole world) when they finally say their first word. I could just say ‘good job.’ I don’t get paid to spend the the hours and hours and hours that I spend caring about these kids, every waking moment. I don’t get paid to have a blog for each of my kids so that I may share the successes with the parents since they aren’t always present.

    This has always been a conundrum to me. That I get paid to reach these kids. But I have to be able to eat and have a roof over my head and as such, my services cost money (thankfully however the state pays my fee not the parent). For me to be able to be intimate with these kids, to reach them, to bring them into this world, I have to get paid. As black and white as that sounds. I have to be able to feed and house myself so that I am available to devote all my time and energies to these kids.

    Does that make sense? The biggest thing is…there are people at my work that come to work, see the kids, go home, get paid. There is no love or caring. It’s all very sterile. But then there are people like me, who don’t do the job because they are paid but because they want to help the kids and that is me. And in the past I have done many kids pro bono because families couldn’t afford. I am not paid to care, as my dear Kiandra wasn’t paid to care either.

    I hope i have explained myself. Maybe your counselor isn’t very good? Maybe you haven’t had the experiences I’ve had? I don’t know. But these are my thoughts.


  10. hmmm…well she responded by telling me she respected my decision and then immediately reminding me I owed her $140…the check was put in the mail yesterday. I wrote this to her this morning.

    that stung.

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