View Full Version : Speaking Up
03-22-2006, 02:26 PM
I've hinted at some of my history in other posts. I make no secret about needing to seek the help of a counselor when I was experiencing an eating disorder because I refused to deal with my homosexual orientation. A few months ago I was feeling particularly stressed and I mishandled a few situations. I decided to seek some help so that I didn't fall into any old habits with the eating disorder. I really like my therapist; she has done so much to help me out. I remember finishing up with the therapy for the eating disorder about the time the "W" was re-elected. My therapist and I talked about it, and how upsetting it was for me, as a gay man. She (my therapist) was visibly flustered that I was complaining about it, and I could tell that she supported Bush.
Yesterday, in my session with her, I think I got her flustered again. I related my story of going to Harrisburg to protest the constitutional amendment that some in PA would like to have signed into law. My therapist suggested that a Civil Union would be "about the same" and asked me if that was acceptible. I spoke up and said "separate is not equal."
I was a bit amazed. Here is a person who has wonderful skills, excellent thoughts, is educated, has seen a wide variety of people in her practice, and yet she thought that civil unions should be acceptible. How is it that people do not see this as classifying us as second-class citizens?
03-22-2006, 03:21 PM
People see marriage as both a legal bond and a religious one. The civil union accomodates us on one hand, but they can't, or feel they don't have the right to okay it on the other. For myself, that is fine. I don't need them to tell me it's fine with God. Getting them to help make it right with W is all I can realistically hope for. I don't care if I'm considerred equal with the narrow minded as long a I've got the same rights.
03-22-2006, 08:42 PM
Good for you Keltic!!!!!!!! Whoa - did that just come out of your mouth just like that? I'll say it again. Good for you!
I used to be surprised also when highly educated people would hold discriminatory views about gays, but I've ceased to be. It can take a fair amount of mental cleverness to rationalize and justify viewing homosexuals as inferior. I have a friend (incidentally, also a masters degree in social work) who says the same sort of thing as your therapist, saying that homosexuals just have to realize they are not the same as everybody else and therefore can't have the same rights. And another once VERY close friend with a master's degree spouts off the rabid foam at the mouth kind of stuff - she even insisted I drop all my gay male friends because hanging around them put me at risk of "getting diseases." Yes, both have masters degrees. Those anti-gay lawyers at Alliance Defense Fund and similar have advanced degrees (phd's etc) and they use their cleverness to justify discrimination. Education doesn't automatically mean acceptance.
I once had a psychiatrist who I thought was some kind of expert on all matters human. Wrong. She was very anti-gay. I didn't see it for some time, since I was young and entangled in my own crisis. She said lesbians do not exist, they are sick straight women. And she said gay men really DO exist, but they are freaks of a "third sex" who deserve pity. I decided I could not continue seeing someone with views like that, and gain any kind of help or healing from it.
Bravo to you for speaking out as you did - I'm sure she's likely to think again about the matter, for having heard you speak so. You might have a chance to educate her. If she is open to it. . .and it sounds like she's not as closed-minded as the one I had so long ago! But I'm sure you see now why there are so many ads for gay-friendly therapists and counsellors in the gay media. A shame it's necessary to state so, but at the moment. . . .
03-23-2006, 09:19 AM
As a therapist, I have to say, Keltic, that I am glad that she has helped you through some of the struggles that you have had. But, even if a therapist feels differently about an issue, if that therapist expresses that alternate view to a client in a session as if expressing an opinion to a friend, I think that is a loss of objectivity, and it also can sound, and did sound to me, as extremely judgmental and not very understanding of your client (you, in this case). I know that the reality is is that we often view our therapists as a person much closer to us than just a helping professional (I have been a client in therapy in the past and I kinda fell for my therapist), but the bottom line is, the therapist is supposed to be the one to draw the boundaries, not the client. And, ultimately, you should feel total support and understanding from a therapist, because this is about your process, not her opinion or agenda.
Even in spite of your past struggles, and your temptation at times to use old, ineffective behaviors that can be harmful to you, think about how far you have come and stay as strong as you can. Focus on your beauty and sense of resolve, and that you are finally able to safely say who it is that you really are. Don't do any damage to that, embrace it. I know I do. I really appreciate that you are here. Please find your peaceful place today and always. Vanessa
03-29-2006, 10:42 PM
Ditto to Vanessa.
The first rule of ethics as a therapist is "first, do no harm." It doesn't sound like she had that in mind, and I hope you asked for a 10% refund for the time she spend expressing her opinions, which did not add to the therapeutic process in any way, at the expense of the alliance with you.
03-30-2006, 07:34 AM
This thread is sooo disturbing to me :confused: I can't fathom how someone could consider him/herself professional while knowingly misguiding vulnerable people. But, I know it happens way too often, as it did with you guys.
I am reminded of how blessed I was to have wonderful, accepting and loving counselors in college a couple years ago (I got help for social anxiety disorder, which led to also seeing a super counselor who helps students with sexuality-related issues). I've always felt, and will always feel, that without them, I could very well be emotionally dead by now. They were critical in keeping me on the path toward resolving my social anxiety right down to the deepest root of it, my sexuality.
I say "keeping me on the path" because that's different from leading me. There was no influence either positive or negative from any of my counselors, about my anxiety or my being gay. They were just 100% open-minded, and regardless of what my problems were, they just stuck with one basic idea, not allowing me to backslide. Or, to "do no harm." I hope deeply that you and anyone else who seeks counseling will find people--or angels--like the ones who helped me. :pray:
03-30-2006, 08:23 AM
The difference between leading and encouraging/keeping a person on his or her own path is key. Really, although I don't want to diminish what we as counselors provide, are there to reflect back to those we work with what is already inside of them. It is allowing them permission to see the beauty and uniqueness of who they really are. When I first started as a counselor, I had some of those moments with those I was working with when I showed my shock at what they were telling me, I guess from the position of shock of that person having to deal with something so difficult. However, I learned, from being on the client end for a time myself, that coming from someone that you come to admire, that feels like judgment and negativity. We all need to see our worth as humans, especially gay persons who have been told in so many circumstances that we are unworthy, sick, or need to be repaired.
I am so grateful that we are all here at this point in our lives, together. It gets me through many a weary day!!!!!:pray: :love: :love: :love:
03-30-2006, 09:04 AM
Keltic I am sorry that happened to you but glad you found your voice in the process.
I want to say I think it is so important to check out a therapist before contracting & investing with them. I know here in GA there is a certain pastoral center that claims to be gay-affirming, and it may be on paper, but the majority of the therapists are incompetent. I also know a lot of people go for pastoral counseling with pastors who know nothing at all about gay culture and our identity issues. I know one pastor who gets gay clients for counseling but has utterly no understanding of transexual issues and even makes fun of them publicly.
Why do we put up with this?
I for one would like to see the market regulated a bit more. I wish there was an endorsement process for therapists who are gifted and knowledgable in helping gay clients. Maybe a certificate of training or something that gay clients could ask to see, I don't know. In any case, I think this thread points out we should be cautious in selecting a counselor/therapists. Why add to our pain and confusion? :o
03-30-2006, 09:36 AM
I think there is something I need to clear up. I'm not questioning my therapist's skills or ethics. She has helped me tremendously, and continues to do so. She didn't misguide me. She asked an innocent, and in her mind, reasonable question. "Wouldn't Civil Unions provide the same benefits as marriage?" It was my response that seemed to rattle her because of the clear civil rights/supreme court language that I used in the response. My surprise came in the fact that this was something she hadn't yet considered. I'm certain that she will be thinking about it, and if she ever comes across it again in her practice, she will respond appropriately, even if her personal belief differs.
03-30-2006, 09:43 AM
:p I get it now kel...I think I spun off in another direction. Always the advocate, that's me!
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.