How to Mess with Your Shrink

Huh? Couldn’t resist. Someone found my blog plugging that into a search engine. Actually, messing with your therapist, fooling your therapist, has come up more than once these last few months. What’s that about? You ask, I answer. Well, perhaps not answer, but I’ll certainly take a stab at it.

First of all, the obvious question: Why in the world would anyone want to? You’re ostensibly seeing your therapist to learn about yourself, paying with your hard-earned money and your precious time. Why mess with the person you’re hoping will help you? What would a patient or client get out of that?

1. You mess with your therapist because you’re in court-ordered or spouse-requested or boss-demanded therapy, and you are scared, angry and have no intention of learning or changing at all.
2. You mess with your therapist’s head as a way to prove to her, to yourself, that you’re smart, in control, the powerful person in the room.
3. You mess with your therapist because it’s intellectually stimulating, exciting even, to have a real, in-depth badminton game between two sharp minds about those sharp minds.
4. You mess with your therapist to keep the relationship at a distance, because you’re afraid of becoming too dependent on her, or caring too much about her opinion of you.
5. You mess with your therapist so you don’t have to face whatever you’ve come to therapy to face. Understandable, since it can be difficult to face yourself.

How honest to be with your therapist? That’s the real question, isn’t it? No, actually. The real question is how honest to be with yourself in the presence of your therapist. And the answer depends on just how much you want to get out of the experience. Because even if you can fool some of the therapists some of the time, it doesn’t mean you have fooled yourself. It doesn’t mean that the ‘truths’ you may have convinced her of are your real deal. And it certainly doesn’t mean that winning at the messing-with-your-shrink’s-head game resolves the real issues you’ve come to therapy to deal with.

Copyright © 2009 Marlin S. Potash. All rights reserved.

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2 responses to “How to Mess with Your Shrink

  1. What about when a therapist you that you invest your time and trust into messes with the clients mind? How can they tell you to trust them and then the therapist just leaves and leaves you with a messed up mind to deal with by yourself???? Do therapist really take their jobs seriously…..they are trying to take control of people’s thoughts and feelings….is this occupation really necessary or is it a bunch of bull????????

  2. They give you a diagnosis because they don’t know what else to do.

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