1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Therapist won’t bring up sexual orientation

Discussion in 'Sexual Orientation' started by jjusa, Nov 7, 2021.

  1. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I’m having trouble with my therapist. I went to see one because I’m confused about my sexuality, but she never brings it up in session. I brought this up to her via messaging and that I wanted to talk about it at the next session, but during the next session, she still didn’t bring it up. Instead, she asks me about my emotions and has been helping me process my emotions. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because I have childhood emotional neglect, but I wish that she would help me with the sexuality part too. She is an lgbt specialized therapist though so I don’t know what is going on. It’s really hard for me to bring this up in person. I don’t know what direction to take. Should I change therapists?
     
    Tightrope likes this.
  2. FireFox

    Full Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2021
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    55
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    A few people
    Personally I'd look for another therapist but ultimately that is your call.
     
    Tightrope, masterofnone and Rayland like this.
  3. Rayland

    Moderator Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2021
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    Estonia
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    I agree with @FireFox, because if it's hard to bring up your sexuality in person, then it shows that there is no trust there and I think trust between you and therapist is most important.
     
    Tightrope and FireFox like this.
  4. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    To give some context, I’ve only seen this therapist 3 times. It’s really hard to bring up my sexuality to anyone tbh. I feel like I can’t trust anyone to bring up my sexuality with....
     
  5. Rayland

    Moderator Full Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2021
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    160
    Location:
    Estonia
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Not out at all
    The thing about therapists is that they have to keep your secrets and they are professionals who you can tell about stuff like this without a worry.
     
  6. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    true... I have seen 3 other therapists and it’s the same outcome. I wonder if it’s just me and I’m too scared to even bring it up in person. I say that I’m questioning but that’s all the detail I can get into with someone. I’m ashamed to talk about it even with a therapist. However, deep down I wish they could tell that I really want to talk about it, and give me the push that I need. :confused:
     
  7. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,076
    Likes Received:
    3,945
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Ordinarily, I would say it's on you to bring it up in session. Most therapists, especially with clients that have only been with them a short time, are going to be pretty reserved about bringing things up that they think are likely uncomfortable for the client.

    However, in this case, I place the responsibility on the therapist. You messaged in advance to say this was an issue you wanted to bring up and she still didn't do so. So either she didn't get it together to remember what you'd messaged her about (which isn't great) or in spite of your request, didn't want to bring it up because she's uncomfortable with confrontation (sadly, an all-too-common thing.)

    If you are feeling like you have some sort of rapport developing, then it's worth sending one more text message and directly and unequivocally call her out... something like "Hey, I need to let you know that I'm upset that I texted about this last week prior to our session, told you it was difficult for me to bring up, and that I wanted you do to so, and you still didn't do so. This is an important issue for me, but it's incredibly difficult for me to bring up. I need for you to make this a discussion point early in our next session."

    A message like that is perfectly reasonable, polite and professional, and at the same time, sets a clear expectation on what you need from her. It is YOUR session that YOU (or your insurance) are paying for, and so you deserve to get the benefit out of it that you need.
     
  8. BiGemini87

    Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2019
    Messages:
    902
    Likes Received:
    704
    Location:
    Pembroke, ON
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    What @Chip said: whatever your therapist's reasons for neglecting to broach this topic, she has no excuse when you've made it clear you want and need to talk about this. She's a therapist; it's her job to help you through all of your psychological issues, not just those she deems important.

    If you follow Chip's recommendation and she still refuses to talk about it during your sessions, it might be time to search for another therapist. A therapist who specializes in LGBT shouldn't be blocking your progress, so hopefully you can find one who does their job properly.
     
    jjusa and Rayland like this.
  9. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Thank you all so much for your advice. I brought this up to my therapist and am giving her one more chance. After that, if she is uncomfortable talking about this (which is crazy to me), I am so done with her haha. I think all my therapists get the sense that it's a very hard topic for me to bring up, but they don't want to help me or can't. :disappointed:
     
  10. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,076
    Likes Received:
    3,945
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    What it boils down to is... too many therapists are completely uncomfortable with confrontation and conflict. Which...inherently makes them terrible therapists, because a lot of the best work that happens in therapy is when the therapist is gently and compassionately confronting the client and intentionally making him or her a bit uncomfortable. Because growth occurs when we're confronting the parts of our self that we're afraid of. And that never feels great... so we avoid it.

    Why some therapists don't get this is utterly beyond me.
     
    Tightrope, BiGemini87 and jjusa like this.
  11. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I didn’t believe that therapists could be uncomfortable with confrontation/conflict until I had this experience. Then I realized I had this experience with every therapist I have seen so far. It’s a shame, really. I don’t understand why you’d want to become a therapist if you don’t want to deal with the uncomfortable nature of the job.
     
  12. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,076
    Likes Received:
    3,945
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    Pretty much everyone who seeks to become a therapist is, in a way, a wounded healer. MH professionals are, in part, seeking to fulfill or help others achieve things that they, themselves, lacked. This also means that almost every MH practitioner has trauma in their history, and one of the most common responses to trauma is to adapt to it by avoiding conflict, confrontation, or anything uncomfortable. So many therapists start school with these wounds, but a good psychotherapy training program will help the students confront that discomfort, as it limits both the student and how that student will show up when they start working with clients.

    However, many psychology/social work students will resist this work, because it's hard and scary (just as it is for clients.) And the way the current licensing system is set up, there really is no reliable failsafe that keeps shitty therapists from getting through the system, nor is there anything that requires therapists to do their own work. One common thing that good therapists say is "I'd never go to a therapist who doesn't have a therapist." And that's a reasonable question to ask... "Do you see a therapist? Do you get regular supervision?" These are two different things; therapy is for the therapist to do his or her own work. Supervision is to help a therapist better show up in their work with clients. But both are done in individual sessions with another therapist.

    The poor quality of therapists on the whole is one of my biggest pet peeves. It's really disappointing to see people spend time and take the risk of reaching out for help... and then not get it. I don't fault the therapists necessarily because they are doing the best they can with what they have... but at a certain point, I think a therapist ought to know when they aren't being effective and they should either quit, or take time off and do their self-work so they can better show up.
     
    BiGemini87 likes this.
  13. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Thank you @Chip for giving me so much clarity about my situation. I always thought that if you were a therapist, that means either you are working on yourself or have worked on yourself. I'm very disappointed in my therapist. I sent her a message telling her my concerns and disappointment, but all I get is radio silence. She's not even responsive. I hate that it's taking her so long to even message me back. Unresponsiveness is very triggering for me, because I have been emotionally neglected throughout my life, and I am getting a similar treatment from the one person who is supposed to be attuned to my emotions. I think I'm going to cancel my next session with her. I'm done.
     
    Parker22 and Tightrope like this.
  14. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,076
    Likes Received:
    3,945
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I'm sorry you're having this experience. It, unfortunately, is not uncommon to have multiple bad therapists. I wish I had advice to tell you for sure how to find a good one but I dno't have anything bulletproof.

    It does sound like this one is not a good fit, especially if you've shared your concerns, she knows your history about unresponsiveness and how it affects you, and she is still nonresponsive. My therapist that I saw for a number of years would always call or text back within 24 hours, and often even made herself available for emergencies when she was on vacation.

    I'm sure you can find someone who will be a good fit. Just take your time, talk to several, read about their style, approach, and theoretical orientation, and trust your gut.
     
  15. Tightrope

    Full Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2013
    Messages:
    5,102
    Likes Received:
    261
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    Some people
    I had to look up this thread. I had seen it and didn't have the time to write a proper response.

    I find it troubling that a therapist who went as far as mentioning human sexuality as an area of specialty to have trouble talking about it. They know that many clients will come in and have trouble talking about this. It's their job to make you more comfortable to talk about it, or let you take it as far as you can without coming unglued. The radio silence is not good.

    I am hoping the O.P. returns to let us know about the cancellation and what happened after that. I think that a new therapist might be needed.

    I have stopped seeing my therapist for a few months now. When I started up with this therapist, he asked me about my sexual history during the first session. I told him with broad strokes, which were honest. I have wanted to talk about it later, during other sessions. That would be in addition to talking about other things. He is a man of few words - too few words. He didn't have much to say when I wanted to explore , analyze, and intellectualize things about sexuality and relationships. Therapists are supposed to take courses in human sexuality in their schooling, keep up their continuing education, and I'd be hard pressed to find a therapist who hasn't had to deal with LGBT - sexual minority issues. How can it NOT come up if they've been doing this for a while?!? Looking back, I just think my therapist was nosy and then didn't want to do more work with it. He had only a few pet projects and areas where he wanted to dig in deeper. Another thing he was good at was criticizing my approach to any situation requiring interaction that I described to him.

    He e-mailed me not too long ago because the pause I have taken has lasted months and this upset my placid bubble I'm enjoying for now. That's because the pause feels right. I was polite enough to return his e-mail within a day and tell him that with the holidays and some other things going on, I don't have much to say in a therapeutic setting.

    LGBT - sexual minority life experiences are an important area and an area where therapy needs to be individualized. I applaud therapists when they try, are sensitive to where the client might be, and can work with different situations. I don't much care for it when there is a militant one-size-fits-all therapy style or when they choose to bury their heads in the sand and avoid it, act about as naive about it as kids playing doctor, or are not up to the task.

    I see that many of us like to avoid confrontation. I try to. In a way, I blame myself for not asking some tougher questions during the initial sessions. I'm also mad at the pandemic! It made it hard to look for and switch therapists.

    jjusa, let us know what has happened since we last heard from you.
     
  16. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Hi all,

    I decided to stop seeing this one therapist but have stopped therapy altogether. I don't have it in me to be completely honest with someone, let alone a stranger. The last four therapists I had were all disappointing too, especially the most recent one, who is supposed to specialize in LGBT issues. I'm no longer trusting of therapists and believing they can help me. Part of that is my fault though. I feel like I can only help myself and do this on my own. I'm hoping that the sexuality issues just resolve on their own as I move on in life. Or they don't and I just deal with the situation. I really appreciate the advice and support because it got me to stop seeing this incompetent therapist. Thank you, guys.
     
    Tightrope and Parker22 like this.
  17. Parker22

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2022
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Gender:
    Male (trans*)
    Gender Pronoun:
    They
    Sexual Orientation:
    Bisexual
    Out Status:
    A few people
    I really applaud you being able to let that therapist go. I know personally I've had therapists that just aren't it, whether being LGBT inclusive or just not working out in general. Thankfully I found one who is supportive and knows what she's doing, and I've been with her for almost 2 years! If you decide to try and find another one some day, I'll root for you in spirit! You might find one that is like a godsend, and it'll be very apparent. If not, I'll be again rooting for you in spirit! Only you know what you need, so stay true to yourself and don't let anyone else be in the way!
     
    jjusa likes this.
  18. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Thanks @Parker22! I'm happy you have found the best therapist for you and that it's working for you. I feel like I have to be my own therapist because others are just too incompetent, and I feel like no one understands what I am going through. Only I do. It's been a struggle for almost 4 years and I'm just tired of people failing me. It's time to put myself first.
     
    Parker22 likes this.
  19. Chip

    Board Member Admin Team Advisor Full Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    Messages:
    16,076
    Likes Received:
    3,945
    Location:
    northern CA
    Gender:
    Male
    Gender Pronoun:
    He
    Sexual Orientation:
    Gay
    Out Status:
    Out to everyone
    I'm so sorry this therapist (and the other three) didn't work out, and I completely understand why you'd feel like giving up after these experiences. It isn't all that easy to find a good therapist, and it's also not super easy to figure out who's competent. I don't think it's really possible to know unless one has had a couple of sessions *and* understands what to look for (which isn't as easy as "here's a list of things."

    The above said, I encourage you to not give up. You deserve good therapy and I am confident you can find it. What's your process for choosing who you see? Perhaps talking about that might be a step to help you further.
     
    Tightrope likes this.
  20. jjusa

    Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2021
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    USA
    Gender:
    Female
    Gender Pronoun:
    She
    Sexual Orientation:
    Other
    Out Status:
    Some people
    Hi @Chip. My process for choosing a therapist (and I think a lot of people in the US can probably relate), is that I choose a therapist who accepts the current health insurance I have. Now that in itself is limited because only a certain number of therapists would accept a specific health plan and then you have to find a therapist who at least has LGBT issues listed under their areas of expertise, which is a miniscule amount. So I select someone who specializes in that but also in anxiety and depression because I have those conditions as well. I'm probably just unlucky and have only been seeing therapists who say that they specialized in LGBT issues, but don't even bring it up or even challenge me to talk about myself in that aspect.

    I am constantly moving around from city to city and so I'm not keeping the same health insurance, which is part of my problem too. I've now settled somewhere permanently but I am even less inclined to want to seek help because I expect the same results. I feel like the therapist is afraid to really ask the questions that I want to respond to. I've tried CBT which I absolutely hate; I don't think it's a cognitive issue that I have related to my questioning (certainly it's my generalized and social anxiety that it's targeting), but the therapist never decides to go there with me. I'm not even sure what the point of having a therapist is except to help with mental health concerns, like depression, ADHD, etc. Yes, I would like to improve my anxiety and depression, but how the heck does a therapist help someone who is questioning their sexuality. I never had any helpful tools given to me to deal with this. Except, "Just go explore or experiment your sexuality." Like here is an action item rather than having an understanding. That doesn't sit right with me.

    As I mentioned, another part of the problem is that I'm not completely ready to talk about this issue. I beat around the bush and dance around the issue with my therapist. I'm afraid to ask the questions I want to ask but I try my best to bring up the face that I'm struggling. Perhaps I am just not ready to go back to therapy.
     
    Parker22 likes this.