Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 309925

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My boss and therapy

Posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

My boss came up today to talk to me about therapy. He knows I go at least once a week, and may know about the second time. I honestly think he was trying to be sensitive.

He had seen one of those conquer your anxiety tapes on tv, and was asking me if I had tried them and if they helped, admitting that it was probably easier said than done. I neutrally mentioned that they were probably cognitive behavior therapy on tape, and that I hadn't tried them though I had done cognitive behavior therapy. Then he sort of hinted at asking me if my problem were anxiety. Mine is a small office and he's in charge of the medical stuff, so he's aware that I have in my file a "prescription" for therapy from my pdoc in which he says it's for a mood disorder with obsessive compulsive features.

He had been hanging around my office for a few minutes before this conversation, unusual for him, and acting uncomfortable. I know he meant to try to help.

Then he asked me if my therapist was actually helping me, or curing me or something. He's a diabetic, so I used that metaphor. That therapy (for me) was like insulin, not like a pancreas transplant. Then he was mercifully called away.

Nothing is a secret at my office, and I don't really mind him asking. I even appreciate his totally uncharacteristic desire to be sensitive. But I don't like to feel like I need to justify my therapy. :(

I'd halfway like to pull up my shirt to show him my very faint remaining scars and tell him that the secure bond with my therapist has replaced self injury as a coping mechanism. But I know rationally that his questions weren't actually a threat to my therapy and that I need to guard against being too defensive.

 

Re: My boss and therapy

Posted by tabitha on February 5, 2004, at 19:27:28

In reply to My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

So you're seeing therapy as ongoing sustenance, and he's asking basically 'are you fixed yet?'. I'd feel irritated too.

A wild idea.. maybe he's got anxiety and is considering therapy?

 

Re: My boss and therapy

Posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 19:34:23

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy, posted by tabitha on February 5, 2004, at 19:27:28

> A wild idea.. maybe he's got anxiety and is considering therapy?
>
>
That would be hilarious. lol. He genuinely hates therapy and thinks it's a crock. He worked once in a clinic or something, and the walls or doors were not thick, and he could hear everything that went on. He's always telling me what a crock it was, and how the therapists were just milking their clients for money. :( Did I ever mention that I mostly almost whisper in therapy? Thanks to this boss's stories I'm only too aware that confidentiality is only as solid as the walls.

He's really mellowed out lately, and I suspect he was genuinely trying to be nice. Maybe he thinks I'm looking better, or maybe he thinks I'm looking worse. I'm not sure.

But yes, sigh. Why aren't I fixed after all this time is all too common a reaction. Even from my husband. Not many people realize that it's either ongoing therapy or more meds for me, and I prefer the side effects from therapy. :(

 

Insulin and therapy Dinah

Posted by Racer on February 5, 2004, at 20:07:54

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 19:34:23

Not only is therapy very much like insulin injections, but anxiety and depression are often side effects from diabetes. Maybe he really is thinking about rethinking his attitude?

Or, here's an idea: maybe he was trying to open a path of communication, and you were reacting to a perceived threat of stigmatization because of mental illness? Could it be that he was honestly trying to learn?

Guess I'm trying to help you see other possibilities. Probably not the most helpful thing for you right now. For what it's worth, my husband and I talk about my depression as analogous to Type I diabetes. I think it's a good metaphor, and I think it probably did help your boss understand a little more.

 

Re: Insulin and therapy Racer

Posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 20:18:52

In reply to Insulin and therapy Dinah, posted by Racer on February 5, 2004, at 20:07:54

Oh no, it's very helpful to me. Because I really do think he was trying to understand. When he's not trying to understand his approach is much different.

I guess my knee jerk defensiveness comes partly from the fact that as administrator of the company medical reimbursement plan I had to jump through hoops to prove that my therapy was a reimburseable expense. He had come up with something he had read about it not being reimburseable unless it was for a medical condition (not for personal growth), hence the prescription from my doctor. And my therapist said "Of course it's not for personal growth!!!" with such enthusiasm that it was a bit insulting. But it was a bit scary there for a bit, and I had to disclose more than I really wanted to.

This time really does seem different, and it does help to hear the different takes on what he said, because it's hard to get past the past.

Still... I hope he's said what he wanted to say and doesn't want to continue discussing it.

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by DaisyM on February 5, 2004, at 20:34:05

In reply to My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

Dinah,

I can see being uncomfortable with that conversation at work. I like the insulin analogy -- though I'd rather think of mine as sugar for a reaction. I want to believe in the acute, not chronic.

People do change their minds about therapy, so he might be looking for "permission" to explore it. As in, "there is this gal at work and she has had a pretty good experience with therapy. Maybe you, my blessed {spouse, child, SO,} should try it. It might help you..." Or even for himself.

My husband is NOT a believer. He actually is rather noplussed that I'm going. (Yeah, a conversation we need to have again.) But, he is coming around a little tiny bit. Especially as he is in more and more pain (physically). And since it so helped our son.

Just keep your eyes open for clues. I think, at the right moment, a very sincere "I didn't get a chance to thank you for asking about me. I do think therapy has really helped me and continues to do so. Let me know if you need a referral or any information at some point. It is nice that someone cares." Then pivot, and walk away.

 

Re: My boss and therapy

Posted by Speaker on February 5, 2004, at 20:48:37

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy Dinah, posted by DaisyM on February 5, 2004, at 20:34:05

Dinah,

I'm glad your boss was trying to show concern. I think the next time you are alone with him you might remind him the way he learned everything he did at the clinic was due to thin walls...he might want to remember that the next time he talks about personal things. I'm like you in that I would be ambivolant thinking he was trying to be nice and then what's it to him :). I would like to know how you got around the insurance stuff as my ins. only pays 30 visits a year at 50 percent and at twice a week thats not much. My Dr. would write anything he needed to if it would help. Maybe tomorrow you should go back and tell him you got the tapes tonight and listened to them all and your CURED!!!!! LOL

 

Re: My boss and therapy DaisyM

Posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 20:51:15

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy Dinah, posted by DaisyM on February 5, 2004, at 20:34:05

Whooo, I'm trying to imagine saying that to him, unsuccessfully. :) I used to have enough trouble telling him when he was obviously having a diabetic reaction and needed sugar. I used to go get the secretary and tell her to tell him.

Hmmm... It's not that I'm scared of him. If I think I'm right and he's wrong at work, I've been known to errrrrrr... raise my voice. And we have very spirited discussions over work matters. Maybe it's because I've known him since I was little. I tend to be "young" at work. :(

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on February 5, 2004, at 21:04:35

In reply to My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

Dinah, it sounds to me like he is having problems with anxiety and considering therapy. Do you think this could be true?

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by Racer on February 5, 2004, at 21:21:28

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy DaisyM, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 20:51:15

Hmmm... Here's another thought for ya:

Even if he does bring it up, you don't *have* to talk about it. In fact, you could use the analogy of his sugar reactions: "Gee, Mr Boss, you know how I have trouble telling you that you're having a sugar reaction? Well, this is kinda similar..."

BTW, having been on both sides of sugar stuff, I'd be pretty hesitant, too.

Good luck!

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by Poet on February 5, 2004, at 21:21:31

In reply to My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

Hi Dinah,

For someone who was trying to be sensitive, he sure missed the mark. I hope the insulin analogy got through to him, but if he asks again, I'd ask him if he's ever thought of stopping insulin and controlling his diabetes through diet only?

Some diabetics can control it through diet, others can't. If he's insulin dependent that's something he should understand, then again...

Poet

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by Karen_kay on February 5, 2004, at 21:22:40

In reply to My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

Well, coming from the extreme optimist here, I think he was genuinely showing that he thought maybe the tapes would help you in some way. I don't think that he was pressuring you to quit therapy or anything like that. Maybe he was saying, "Hey, maybe you could try these tapes as well? I saw something that might help you out." I know that if I have a friend who is interested in cooking and I see a new cookbook, I tell her about it. It isn't to suggest she is a bad cook, it's to say, "Maybe there are some new recipes you could explore." I think that's what he was trying to say.... Maybe you could look at it that way, even if in fact that wasn't his intention at all... Maybe it's all about how you interpret things, even if it isn't a person's motivations.... Hey, maybe this positive self talk crap is really working? Or maybe I really need to call my Pdoc :(

And I'm SO proud that therapy has helped replace your old coping mechanisms! That's so wonderful.

 

Re: My boss and therapy

Posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 21:31:42

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy, posted by Speaker on February 5, 2004, at 20:48:37

lol.

I wish I had some advice for you, but this isn't the formal insurance policy, it's the supplemental stuff. My therapist isn't on my insurance company list, thank heavens.

Dinah

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on February 5, 2004, at 21:55:13

In reply to My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 18:59:03

I think that you handled the conversation wonderfully. It's nice that he is concerned, or sees you as someone who could help him to learn about mental illness - either one is nice.

You said a lot to him, and if it comes up again you don't have to say anymore unless you want to. "I'd rather not discuss it anymore. Sorry." should suffice.

Good for you for seeing that he was being helpful/friendly.

 

Re: Gosh you guys.....

Posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 22:07:30

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy Dinah, posted by fallsfall on February 5, 2004, at 21:55:13

I wish I could talk to a bona fide grown up that way. :(

Hmmmm, I suppose this could be an area that I should approach in therapy.

Racer, I haven't been on the other side of the low sugar yet. And I hope never to be. It must be really scary. It always amazed me that he would be so completely out of it, and yet if someone told him firmly enough that he needed to take a sugar pill, he'd calmly comply. Even after years of living with a diabetic mother, I wasn't prepared for coping with that. She always knew ahead of time that she needed sugar.

 

Re: Gosh you guys..... Dinah

Posted by DaisyM on February 6, 2004, at 0:08:36

In reply to Re: Gosh you guys....., posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 22:07:30

Completely unrelated to your message, but...

sugar lows are about the scariest thing I'd seen until we started having to deal with breathing stuff. My son had a low of 14* once and had a seizure. Ah, the joys of diabetes...

And people wonder *WHY* I'm in therapy?!!

 

Re: My boss and therapy Dinah

Posted by noa on February 6, 2004, at 11:08:02

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy, posted by Dinah on February 5, 2004, at 19:34:23

Dinah, I wonder it this may have been about him considering therapy either for himself or someone in his personal life?

 

Re: oops--Misshoney already said that! :)

Posted by noa on February 6, 2004, at 11:09:52

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy Dinah, posted by noa on February 6, 2004, at 11:08:02

I should have read the whole thread before posting. Well, Miss Honey, I agree it might be a possibility!

 

Re: My boss and therapy noa

Posted by Dinah on February 6, 2004, at 11:10:58

In reply to Re: My boss and therapy Dinah, posted by noa on February 6, 2004, at 11:08:02

I've known him for thirty plus years, and known him through a few upheavals in his personal life, and my gut says, no he's not.

I heard him talking to someone about how he's perceived the other day, although it was just as I was passing by and I didn't hear any particulars. I think this may have been his way of trying to be sensitive, and he might well have just been reminded of me by the commercial and wanted to reach out.

If he keeps it up, I'll listen closely to see if I hear any hints of that.


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