Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 913629

Shown: posts 1 to 13 of 13. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by backseatdriver on August 23, 2009, at 11:21:57

Hey Babblers --

Is your T a conspicuous consumer? Would you care if he or she was? If you learned that your T was funneling money -- earned from sessions with patients, including you -- to a cause or organization that violates, for instance, human rights conventions, would you leave your T?

Thanks for your thoughts,
BSD

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money? backseatdriver

Posted by Dinah on August 23, 2009, at 11:26:50

In reply to Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by backseatdriver on August 23, 2009, at 11:21:57

> Hey Babblers --
>
> Is your T a conspicuous consumer? Would you care if he or she was?

Yes. I find it kind of endearing.

> If you learned that your T was funneling money -- earned from sessions with patients, including you -- to a cause or organization that violates, for instance, human rights conventions, would you leave your T?

I don't see how I'd find out, but no, it would never occur to me. I pay him to be my therapist. As long as he does his job, it's not my business how he spends his money, any more than it's my employer's business how I spend mine.

I'd like to hope I'd never be in a position to learn that, since it's my session and it ought not be concentrating on what causes he supports. If I found out that he supported a cause that I find distasteful, it might affect how I feel about him. But how much would not be a factor of whether or not he contributed money I paid him for services rendered.

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by pegasus on August 25, 2009, at 11:33:59

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money? backseatdriver, posted by Dinah on August 23, 2009, at 11:26:50

I don't know that I'd be able to separate the issues as well as Dinah does. It would bother me a lot. I don't think I'd leave the T immediately, as a matter of principle. But it would probably affect my ability to trust them. I would wonder if they would be able to have real empathy and understanding of my issues if their own values were so different than mine. Which could eventually lead to me concluding that I couldn't work with them.

And, it would bother me to think that his money came from me, and was going to a cause that I don't support. Because maybe if I didn't pay him, then he wouldn't give so much money to the bad cause. I don't buy certain products for similar reasons, and I might think I should do the same type of "speaking with my money" here. Except that the therapeutic relationship is not so simple as switching brands of soap or something. It's not like there is an exactly equivalent product that I could painlessly switch to, for the betterment of the world.

Tough situation. Let us know what you decide to do.

Peg

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money? pegasus

Posted by backseatdriver on August 25, 2009, at 16:23:25

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by pegasus on August 25, 2009, at 11:33:59

>It's not like there is an exactly equivalent product that
> I could painlessly switch to, for the betterment of the world.

Yep. That's what I'm thinking about.

How do consumerist or materialist values make a difference to one's practice of psychotherapy? Do they? I like to think people live their values -- that one's choices in the marketplace are consistent in some way with choices made elsewhere.

For instance I can't imagine that a person who would buy, say, a status-symbol car (the ones that cost $50K and up) would also *avoid* buying diamonds for a loved one, for instance, if he or she wanted them, even if doing so would support illegal arms trade or the forced conscription of children, as diamond purchases sometimes do.

Certainly, there's his fee, which is high. But they're all expensive. He's not pushing medications on me, which suggests he's not involved with drug companies, at least not directly. I don't have a shopping or spending problem, so we don't usually talk about material things and he doesn't advise me to spend more or less. He's openly left-wing and liberal -- there's an Obama poster in his office window -- but that's not too unusual for where I live.

I'm not feeling too coherent today - sorry to ramble. thoughts?

bsd

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by pegasus on August 26, 2009, at 8:40:15

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money? pegasus, posted by backseatdriver on August 25, 2009, at 16:23:25

My main thought right now is wondering exactly how you are feeling about it. You didn't mention where you stand on any of the issue you bring up, or how important opposing this cause that he supports is to you. Is it a "how can I possibly give money to someone who supports that" type of issue? Or more like "how annoying that he believes that" type of issue? Also, how do you feel about not seeing eye to eye with your T about different things? Is that something you can talk about in therapy with him?

peg

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by backseatdriver on August 26, 2009, at 14:38:53

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by pegasus on August 26, 2009, at 8:40:15

what I'm feeling is: that's my money you're spending, bucko.

it's funny -- freud himself indulged in a LOT of retail therapy. he had an enormous and very expensive collection of antiquities that he kept in his office.

i guess i'm feeling like, if he can spend the $$$ on a new car, maybe i'd feel better doing the same -- and NOT going to therapy!


 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money? backseatdriver

Posted by floatingbridge on August 27, 2009, at 15:55:14

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by backseatdriver on August 26, 2009, at 14:38:53

Hi BSD,

I think the decision is ultimately yours--it is a political one, as I see it. For myself, my button's were pushed when I saw my pdoc /T arrive in a new top of the line lexus. I finally told him that I was disappointed. I'd have hoped he would drive a prius or something. We had a good talk--and it was helpful for me. I'm sticking with him because the therapy is good. Also he has not revealed any private causes that I would object to--and there would be a number that would perhaps lead me to respect him less. (I also have some class issues, growing up poor on the East Coast.)

Every so often he reminds me not to focus on the differences that appear to me on the outside--something I tend to do.

I'm another against conspicuous consumption, yet like Dinah, I can find it endearing--I think people want comfort and well....we all have ways to find it.

best,

fb

any more thoughts on this?

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by emilyp on August 27, 2009, at 16:13:57

In reply to Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by backseatdriver on August 23, 2009, at 11:21:57

I think that it is important to consider that by leaving a therapist that did something that you disagreed with (e.g. spent money, supported a cause) is a rather harsh judgment. And I cannot imagine that any of us would want to be judged so harshly. We go to therapy to be accepted and feel safe - something we do not always get on the outside. And isn't part of therapy learning to accept the strengths and weaknesses of both yourself and others?

More broadly, everyone has different values, especially as it pertains to money. I don't care about a fancy car. But I like my home a lot and others may think it is too big for a single person. Another friend of mine takes very fancy vacations - I don't feel comfortable doing so. But I care for her just the same.

Unless a therapist participated in some awful cause (e.g Ku Klux Klan or some other bigoted organization) or was really ostentatious about how he/she spent money, I would focus almost exclusively on whether that person was helping.

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by backseatdriver on August 28, 2009, at 14:21:56

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by emilyp on August 27, 2009, at 16:13:57

I think the big problems for me are, in order, irresponsible consumption (which means one thing to me and possibly, even inevitably, something else to others), and ostentation, defined as the purchase and display of big-ticket high-end consumer goods (this is the lexus-in-the-parking-lot thing).

Ostentation is a subclass of irresponsible consumption in my book. bell hooks writes eloquently about this in "Class Matters" but my less elegant take on it is that ostentatious consumption adds to the general level of envy and is socially divisive for that reason. To that, I'd also add the existential critique (a la the novelist Walker Percy) that consumer goods are advertised as objects whose purchase will make you feel like Somebody, and this is misleading, because it is only other people who can assuage the pain of feeling like Nobody and Anybody (endemic to our society).

BSD

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by moonshadow on August 28, 2009, at 16:54:45

In reply to Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by backseatdriver on August 23, 2009, at 11:21:57

This is really interesting. Normally I would think "no, I don't care that much", but I realized that when I happened to see where my T lived (a small house in an older neighborhood) it made me feel good, like I could relate to her more. She's a pdoc, and I'm sure earns or could earn $$$$. It made me judge her as more down-to-earth, or that she spends her money carefully. Which may totally not be the case at all.

Her clothes are all from the 80's anyway, which both horrifies me and cracks me up. I've only seen her probably 6 times, and each time I come home and tell dh about her crazy outfit.

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money? backseatdriver

Posted by Dinah on August 28, 2009, at 21:03:52

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by backseatdriver on August 28, 2009, at 14:21:56

Well, I know any number of wealthy individuals who might well have a Lexxus in their parking lots. Some of them are very nice people, some not so nice.... sort of like everyone else.

You know, they aren't all that much different than anyone else. Most of the ones I know don't buy that lexxus because they are trying to feel like they are somebody. They just decide to buy a car, and go to the lexxus dealer because they like the way they look. Or they've heard they have nice safety records or are reliable. And really why are they at fault if other people feel envious? Others may be envious of beauty too. Does that mean that beautiful people should try to play down their looks? Others may be envious of intelligence and charm. Ought the class brain pretend to be dumb? Or the charming and urbane pretend to be socially awkward?

I can't afford a Lexxus, but I don't feel any particular envy of those who can. I envy the humongous houses maybe, but that's just life. There are those who don't have as much as I do, and there are those who have far more than I ever will. I don't feel any animosity for those who live a lifestyle I can't afford, and I hope the people who can't afford a middle class lifestyle feel no animosity towards me.

Class may matter, but people matter more. Good people come in every class. Bad people come in any class. I try to judge people by other factors than what car they drive, or what clothes they wear. I don't consider that it is any different to judge someone based on their old clunker than it is to judge them on their new lexxus.

I try to judge people by their kindness, their generosity of spirit, their honor, their integrity. I even feel sort of bad when I slip into judging people on their intelligence or sense of humor....

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by backseatdriver on August 29, 2009, at 20:03:59

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money? backseatdriver, posted by Dinah on August 28, 2009, at 21:03:52

> And really why are they at fault if other people feel envious?

They aren't. If other people feel envious, that is their problem. *However*, for me anyway, when I am making choices that may stir up other people's envy, I do stop and think.

 

Re: Do you care how your T spends money?

Posted by Nadezda on September 1, 2009, at 18:00:49

In reply to Re: Do you care how your T spends money?, posted by backseatdriver on August 29, 2009, at 20:03:59

Everyone has weaknesses and foibles. One person may be conscious of stirring up envy and another person may be conscious of not being judgmental about other people's foibles. There are just so many different ways of going "right" and going "wrong" that unless the issue is one of great moral weight to me, I dont' think I would hold it against someone, particularly someone who had shown empathy or caring towards me or others.

I really agree with Dinah that integrity, kindness, and other matters are what most important, and spending, or enjoying pursuits that I don't particularly identify with or value are not something I like to think I'm so quick to judge.

Nadezda


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