Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 875522

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Attitudes and Judgements

Posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:13:06

I'm still surprised when I hear someone in a group of mental health professionals talk about a client in a way that sounds judgmental. Their attitude, when unguarded, suggests that they feel "most" people could be doing better "if only they wanted to." When called on it, they will back up - protesting that they believe that most people are doing the best they can, or they understand where it comes from, etc. etc. But I often wonder if we as humans are just programmed to believe this about each other, unless we have a personal experience that informs us otherwise. No matter how much formal education, I think we hold our beliefs about people pretty deeply.

And how long does it take for one to become jaded? I know for me, as a parent educator, I'm much more relaxed about kid behaviors, and I have to be careful that the parents I'm working with don't feel that their concerns are being minimized. But I find myself making judgements sometimes - especially if a parent is hard to like.

I suppose it doesn't matter much if the therapist keeps these attitudes out of the consulting room. I would guess that our professional persona is much better at this than our private one. But I came across an old thread where Tamar and I and Annie Rose were talking about our fear that in private our therapists were laughing at our feelings. Or worse, saying to their SO, "here we go again. Another patient thinking she loves me." Along the same line, how awful would it be if they said, "I wish Daisy would just xyz - she really gets in her own way." And the SO responds, "well, she must be getting something out of it, right?"

Secondary gains - I hate thinking about them.

I'm just musing here - thoughts or comments?


Re: Attitudes and Judgements DAisym

Posted by obsidian on January 22, 2009, at 21:35:17

In reply to Attitudes and Judgements, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:13:06

yeah, I think about the sort of thing you're talking about all the time.

Judgment in my opinion is often the easier course. I think things are very complicated.

secondary gains...hmmm an uncomfortable ring to that one?

well everybody wants something/someone, it's not so easy to tease it apart.
I am doing the best I can- as far as I know!!
If I knew how to do how to do it better AND it didn't involve a great deal of pain and terror, well then maybe I would do it "better".

there's a lot of situations that come to mind here though, too much for me to grasp at the moment.

Working with parents though, that's got to be something. I imagine that education about parenting has got to offer the opportunity to know something different, to make a choice.

good topic,


Re: Attitudes and Judgements DAisym

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 23:51:22

In reply to Attitudes and Judgements, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:13:06

I think maybe it would be hard for me to think about that. Because my first thought would be that therapists (and everyone else really) probably need to work hard at maintaining a stance of lovingkindness and generosity towards their clients. But I don't want to think of my therapist as having to work hard at that. :)

My therapist responds by saying that if he felt any of those things, I'd know it. And that's likely true.

As a matter of curiosity, do the professionals who say those things strike you as people you would like to have as therapists? Do they "feel" the same to you as your therapist?

I wonder if it serves some purpose, that attitude? That it provides a level of protection for the person thinking it that *they* will never be in that position, that that will never happen to *them*.

But on the other hand, I suppose some of it is frustration in what probably is a frustrating profession. And maybe some blowing off of steam in a "safe" environment?

Still, my least favorite part of In Session was the sessions where he talked about his patients. It's not something I like to think about.

(Although come to think of it, my therapist probably wouldn't enjoy seeing Babble either.)


Re: Attitudes and Judgements

Posted by antigua3 on January 23, 2009, at 10:25:10

In reply to Attitudes and Judgements, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:13:06

Oh, I think you've described my pdoc pretty well. I don't know if he talks about me, but I do feel his frustration (maybe projection) that if I just tried harder, I would be better. But he is a CBT guy.

It's very invalidating at times and I call him on it a lot, that he's assuming I'm someone I'm not, lumping me in some sort of imaginary group he thinks exists of those who need to "try" harder.

Maybe it's like my father--a B was never good enough; I had to have that A. Hmm, there's a projection for you, that I think my pdoc expects more of me than he actually might.

Is it possible for them to keep these thoughts out of the room? I'm not sure. I just don't think so--so I don't think your T thinks that way about you Daisy, or Dinah, or anyone who feels unconditional positive regard from their T.


Re: Attitudes and Judgements

Posted by Phillipa on January 23, 2009, at 13:08:35

In reply to Re: Attitudes and Judgements, posted by antigua3 on January 23, 2009, at 10:25:10

Personal experience when working as nurse just thought the patients not taking meds when admitted and they said they were no pdoc ever talked of poopout untill I too walked in their shoes I didn't get it. I do now. I think the pdocs should take some of the meds and see how they feel. A little off subject just transfer to therapists and how mine would look at me and say but why are you scared. My answer was if I knew I wouldn't be here. Can you help me find out. No answer. Oh well. love Phillipa


Re: Attitudes and Judgements DAisym

Posted by raisinb on January 23, 2009, at 13:42:48

In reply to Attitudes and Judgements, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:13:06

I think it's very taxing for us, as humans, to experience others as subjects, not objects (to be open, not judgmental). There is so much difference between us that it creates a good deal of anxiety and frustration.

There are times I'm convinced my therapist would say judgmental things about me to her husband or friends. There are other times I feel her caring so intensely that I can't imagine she'd do that. But maybe it's not either-or--maybe letting off steam outside sessions enables the loving openness inside them.

Dinah--I have literally thrown expensive books about therapy in the trash when I was angry about something judgmental the author said. I remember vividly one book I read argued that it was essential for clients to have a "corrective emotional experience," and in the same breath mentioned that one of his clients was "pathetically isolated, narcissistic, and alone."

Of course, I read it several times before I chucked it. I think my therapist said something I perceived as judgmental, and at home alone late at night, when I couldn't yell at her, I substituted throwing the book in the trash and dumping leftovers on top of it. There are all kinds of transitional objects in the world!


Re: Attitudes and Judgements

Posted by Emily Elizabeth on January 23, 2009, at 18:03:50

In reply to Re: Attitudes and Judgements DAisym, posted by raisinb on January 23, 2009, at 13:42:48

This makes me think about how people like to blame the victim so they feel like they are safe from whatever happened to the victim. For example, if you hear someone got cancer, you ask questions like "Did he smoke? Did he eat right? Was he overweight?" That way you can feel safe because YOU don't smoke, etc. But the reality of the situation is that we are all human and suceptible to deadly diseases.

Thinking about this in terms of mental illness, it is scary as h*ll to think that anyone can be crippled by a debilitating bout of depression that doesn't respond to breif therapy or a single course of meds. So I think people (including MH professionals) tend to put some blame on the victim so that they can distance themselves from it. "I wouldn't be in that position because I would do such-and-such differently."

I hope that makes sense---it is so clear in my head!! :)



Re: Attitudes and Judgements Emily Elizabeth

Posted by wittgensteinz on January 24, 2009, at 7:12:24

In reply to Re: Attitudes and Judgements, posted by Emily Elizabeth on January 23, 2009, at 18:03:50

I was hesitant to reply - perhaps because the idea of my therapist or pdoc talking negatively about me behind my back is something that worries me.

EE, I found your reply very perceptive. I like to think my therapist is well analysed enough not to talk about his patients out of the therapeutic context. Sure he must get annoyed/irritated with me at times as it is a repetitive process and things like lack of trust are difficult to rectify. But I hope he knows enough about the nature of mental illness to understand why that is so, why he might feel whatever countertransference he does and why the therapy with any particular patient takes the course it does. I think it very much has to do with the person doing the gossiping, about their own insecurities and weaknesses. I know it because I have done it myself I'm afraid to say - for example, with people who become ill - we always ask those questions and look for blame.

I've read on forums elsewhere about those who are patients as well as therapists and who are shocked/upset to see the way their colleagues talk negatively or bitchily about their clients. I think this likely stems from ignorance or disillusionment on the part of the professional - or fear.


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