Friday, June 24, 2011

When the Professionals are Duped

Just found this post on The Huffington Post: Behind Closed Doors by Amy Wallen. I think I want to print this out and send it to every couple's therapist this side of the Mississippi. Ok, to every couple's therapist on EVERY side of the Mississippi. 

So this woman's husband had an affair with the couple's therapist, but never mind the "sleeping with" part. He was a sex addict, probably narcissistic, and he was completely fooling a professional while the wife was twisting herself into a pretzel trying to do all the right things and being told he was being sincere while she wasn't trying hard enough. And it makes my blood boil. Obviously not all couple's therapists are so drastically unethical, but I've heard too many stories of therapists who continually tell the wives of sex addicts that they are not being open enough, sexy enough, or whatever enough -- that their husband's behavior is their fault.

Wallen opens the story with the couple's therapist asking her to look into her husband's eyes. When asked what she sees there, she replies, "nothing". The therapist admonishes her for not seeing the pain in her husband's eyes and that reminded me of something that happened during our couple's therapy.

During our second session our couple's therapist made Roi apologize to me for one thing. Just one. I think she was trying to soften us up a little. I'm sure it was a tried and true practice -- get them to let some guard down and then move in with some transformative moves. She made us face each other. I looked in his eyes while he apologized for not having been able to commit to the relationship fully and for all the pain that had caused through various actions. Or something like that. 

When he was finished she asked me if I could take that in. Could I accept his apology. 

"I can't", I said. "I just can't." 

She frowned ever so slightly. Her plan hadn't worked and I sensed her disapproval. Clearly I was of the kind who was unable to forgive.

I didn't care. I've been with this man for 5 years. I know his apologies are empty.

I hadn't thought about this before, but it was in that moment that I knew that this was not going to work.


  1. Good for you, Briar!!! Brava times TWO!!! :)

    I hate this couple's therapist. (well duhhhh... I didn't know that Lexie) ;)

    I really do and I wasn't going to say this before, butttttt it did dawn on me that she might be sleeping with Roi. Oh, and as unthinkable as it is, its not as uncommon as one might think. In my dating days, I was told by more than one man that he had slept with his shrink. wtf???

    How does losing one's license to "practice" (what, exactly, I don't know) and a prison term sound?

    Its just that your couple's therapist's comments or rather lack of them and consistent appropriate follow through for his OBVIOUSLY icky behavior do not make sense in any other context. If she's not actually sleeping with him, she's sleeping with him metaphorically, and screwing you over by not calling him on his shit and defending your right to not be abused.

    Predator's partner (and no they are not actually married either because as he put it, "we don't need a piece of paper") is VERY sexy and cute-- a former broadway dancer, and yet...

    His addicted compulsions have absolutely nothing to do with his her or any supposed lack of sexiness. That theory just doesn't hold any water. Most addicts partners are VERY attractive, from what I've seen.

    That therapist in the article is one fucked up sick cookie. Scary stuff. courageous author.

  2. Lexie, I'm sure that Roi is not sleeping with our couple's therapist. We've only had 4 sessions with her. And she did call him out on stuff, several times. She has also said that she doesn't think it's best for her to work with us if we wanted to commit to longer term therapy because she's not trained to deal with addiction and she feels strongly that we should see someone who is better equipped to handle things.

    I'm really not even remotely concerned that he's sleeping with her, or that she's even sleeping with him metaphorically. Roi's addiction has less to do with sleeping with women anyway. But that's all too complex for a comment box. And I've made my own sense of what happened in that last session.

    I'm speaking more to the problem that Roi, and others like him, throw a huge wrench into the workings of therapy (which is such an inexact science as it is). The therapists assume they are dealing with "normal" problems. They approach from, "if I do X, then the patient will respond with Y". And people like Roi respond appropriately enough of the time that it fools people.

    When the therapist asked him to apologize, she was operating under the assumption that he's an addict, but still capable of genuine emotion. I now operate under the assumption that Roi does not experience emotion at all the way most people do. Yet even knowing that, I can still be fooled by him, so why would I expect a therapist who's only just met him to not be fooled?

    The therapist in the article was seriously messed up, that is clear. I don't put the therapist we saw in that same category.

  3. bingo!

    But I don't think that she was necessarily operating under the assumption that he's capable of real emotion. Yes, he needed to apologize to you, but...

    I believe that she knows that she's in waaaaay over her head and that is why she has referred you to someone else who won't be able to help (him) either. :(

    Actually, her inability to continue to call him on his shit, makes me believe that she's just "marking time" (or needs to pay her rent), cause she just has to understand what she's dealing with here and that would explain her lack of follow-through when he continuously behaves so poorly, in her very presence, no less. She knows that it won't make any difference. (to him) The evidence to his obvious personality disorder has been presented to her, as clear as can be. Still, it is further damaging to you, and that is not right. I'm really sorry that you are having to go through all of this.

    I hope that you can find some peace for yourself this beautiful weekend Briar.



  4. That article was a disgusting example of how human therapists can be and how manipulative addicts can be.

  5. ....sorry....I don't know that her husband was an addict....

  6. Kelly, she does say that her husband was a sex addict. Of course, sex addiction is still debated. When I think of Roi, I see him as personality disordered, whatever the label of the day might be.