Confessions of a Charlotte therapist

Confessions of a Charlotte therapist
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Note: Love confessions? Here’s the entire confessions series collection. If you’d like to participate, please email hi@charlotteagenda.com. We promise to keep you anonymous.


I love therapy. My therapist is forced to listen to me for a full hour and, unlike my mom, she can’t pretend she has to “go walk the dog” when I blabber on too long. Here are one local therapist’s confessions about having favorites and clients who try to become friends.

What’s the best part about your job? The worst?

The best part is walking alongside others as they navigate life’s biggest challenges.

The worst part is that it really does affect you personally. Compassion fatigue is a real thing, and while it does get easier the longer you practice, I still notice that my threshold for drama and high emotions in my private life is extremely low. I need more alone time than I ever did before I became a therapist.

Do you secretly diagnose everyone you meet?

This is the question I’m always asked!

No, oddly, I don’t. It happens from time to time with people I’m around often, but never strangers.

Do you ever make fun of your clients after they leave? (I constantly worry about this.)

No, never. People come into my office looking for help, and it’s an incredibly vulnerable position to be in. I have heard other therapists s***-talk their clients from time to time which is usually a sign that they’re burnt-out and need a break.

What’s the most annoying thing your clients do?

Texting me outside of session unless it’s an emergency is frustrating and inappropriate. It’s unreal how often this happens. I tell clients this upfront and try to avoid giving out my private number, but sometimes if I’m running late or need to reschedule, I’ll shoot them a text. This doesn’t mean I’m available to give you advice or calm you down 24/7.

If it’s a true emergency, I don’t mind talking to a client after hours, but if you abuse the system it’s hard to tell what’s an actual emergency and you’re less likely to get an immediate response when you really need one.

Do you have favorite clients?

Absolutely.

Just like in life, you just click with some people more than others. I always look forward to sessions with my favorites and our hour together usually flies by. My favorites tend to be really committed to change which makes my job easier.

Tougher clients are normally really resistant and combative, which is a normal defense mechanism, but it slows down our work and makes the session drag. Of course, I’d never tell anyone that they are (or aren’t) my favorite.

Has a client ever tried to date you?

I’ve had a few clients make jokes about that, but no one has ever actually asked me out.

I have had clients ask if we can be friends, and that’s a little tougher to navigate because you don’t want to hurt them. I think the thing clients forget is that, while I’m their one and only therapist, I see 30 clients a week. I treat them all with the same compassion that I treat you with. Occasionally, some people think our relationship is more significant than it is, and I completely understand, but it’s my job to put that into perspective.

Is it awkward to see clients in public?

It can be! I normally tell clients that if we see each other in public I won’t acknowledge them as a means of protecting their confidentiality. But I tell them they’re welcome to say hi to me if they like, and they almost always do.

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What are the most common issues your clients are struggling with? Anything you’ve noticed specifically in Charlotte?

Anxiety and depression continue to be the most common—the good news is both are very treatable.

I see a lot of young adults, and many of them come to me and are struggling with self-worth and confidence.

Recently I’ve seen a big increase in people looking to address anger issues, as well as people who come in without a particular “problem” to address but wanting a safe space to talk about their lives with a neutral outside party.

Have you ever had to fire a client?

Yes, a few times.

It’s a difficult thing to do, and it’s usually only if I’m concerned for my safety or if the client can’t behave appropriately.

I had one client who was really creepy with me and would always pry into my private life and would ask about my religion, my relationship, where I hung out after work, etc. It’s always a red flag when the client is more interested in talking about me than themselves. Every time I would deflect and return the focus to him, he would get more aggressive. I ended up having to refer him out.


Note: Love confessions? Here’s the entire confessions series collection. If you’d like to participate, please email hi@charlotteagenda.com. We promise to keep you anonymous.

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