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Monday, July 24, 2006

Another Rant

If you want Christian therapist - that is, one who has a strong Christian value system AND thinks it's appropriate to share information about that value system with clients (why wouldn't it be? Everything is better with the Lord!), please don't email me asking me if I work out of a "Christian framework," and if I don't, then what framework do I use. Because my approach is client-centered, and I don't disclose information about my spirituality (or my sexuality, or my politics...) to my clients precisely so that they can explore anything they need to explore (spirituality included). I work this way because I understand, even if "Christian therapists" do not, that knowledge of a therapist's belief system can act as a barrier to exploring things that need to be explored. Let's say a new client asks if I'm Christian, and I tell her I am. Does that mean I understand everything about whatever she is struggling with? Does it mean I know if she dances, she's going to Hell? Does it mean if she tells me she had an abortion when she was 15, I'll judge her, or automatically forgive her? Does it mean I think Heaven is a real or a metaphorical place? How many different kinds of Christian are there? And, let's say she gets to a place where her faith is changing, and she needs help dealing with that? How can she do that and feel safe about it if her understanding of my being Christian means what it once meant for her, which is that there is no doubt - only faith? It's the same reason I never answered the question about whether I'd used illegal drugs, when I was doing therapy with women in prostitution who had addictions. If I said yes, they could assume I understood their experiences without their needing to examine and work through them, and really not get what they needed. If I said no, maybe that meant I couldn't possibly understand, and then they'd not utilize my skills, and also not get what they needed. Screwed either way. Better not to have that knowledge.

So, if you are Christian (or whatever) and need a therapist who can help you with wherever you are, I can do that, and I would love to. If you are Christian and you need your therapist to be Christian and "out" about her Christianity, I don't think you're really looking for change. I don't need you to change your spiritual beliefs, whatever they are. But if you're Christian and your therapist has to be too, you're looking for answers that fit only into your belief system. Go talk to your pastor.

And...(what started this rant), if you're going to email me and ask me if I work out of a Christian framework, don't ask me the "if not, then what" part, because you aren't really interested. Just ask what you really want to know: will you help me solve my problem and confirm my way of thinking? Because I am learning that what will happen is that I will answer the question thoughtfully, and you will absolutely blow me off, and it will have been a waste of my time and energy. Again, go talk to your pastor, because that's what you want. I'm not even referring to the Christian counseling centers around anymore, because they scare me. Google it yourself. You don't need your heart surgeon to share your faith. Well, maybe you do, but if that's the case, good luck to you.

6 Comments:

Blogger Scooter said...

I'm looking for a Christian mistress. Can you tell me if you'd qualify? If not, what kind of mistress-ing framework would you, or do you, approach mistress-ing from. If you don't feel adequate, could you refer me to a (potential) mistress who does operate from a Christian framework?

August 03, 2006 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

Christian or not, I don't think she can be your mistress if you're married to her eh. Oh wait - that's what the referral bit is for! Clever!

August 03, 2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger ptw said...

Scooter, I thought you wanted a British mistress. Given the decreasing number of people in the UK who believe in God - or even attend church - won't it be difficult to find a mistress who is both British and a Christian of the Bible-banging variety?

August 04, 2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger She says said...

Can you bang a Bible? If so, maybe that's the answer to Scooter's quest!

August 04, 2006 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm... Fun to read after YOU asked me if I wanted a Christian counselor. I guess I answered correctly! : ) TCB

August 07, 2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger ptw said...

Well, you were wearing a heart/cross pendant, and this was before I had these experiences with potential clients. If I had it to do again, I'd ask if you had any requirements regarding a potential therapist. And if you said "Christian," I'd be more direct with you than with someone seeking therapy with me. But yeah, I'm glad you answered the way you did, because I suspect it means whatever change you are seeking has fewer restrictions around it than the two women I alluded to in my frustrated rant.

August 11, 2006 10:46 AM  

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