“leave the treatment up to the experts”

Ok, so I have heard that statement on more than one occasion from a therapist, doctor, or other “professional” I have just met, or (most recently) from my wife’s new therapist who has never met me, nor does she know my story…

It’s a phrase that really bothers me, because it invalidates any insight or experience I may have with any previous treatment. It invalidates my wife’s experiences with my past treatment, and it pretty much makes me feel like shit about myself. It’s based on snap judgements over incomplete information… The rational part of me knows that it’s based on prejudice and little knowledge of the individual. But then there’s that little kid in me who is terrified that I am as broken and hopeless as many make me out to be.

While I understand that I am seeking help from some of these “professionals”, I’ve also have had a great deal of time and experience with the treatments they are suggesting, and they have not worked for me. Why does a client’s self-assessment and prior experience count for nothing with some of these people? I’m educated in my treatment options, both personally and professionally. I have probably been in therapy longer than they have been practicing, and have tried SO MANY approaches, I have a decent idea of what works and what does not… I have a paper trail from previous providers 10 miles long of what works and what doesn’t. Why does that mean nothing to these people?!

Would a statement like that bother anyone else? Am I blowing it way out of proportion? When I encounter it, I am made to feel like I should bow to their superior knowledge and skill-set without question or opinion. It feels totally invalidating to me. And there’s never a discussion around why I feel that a particular method of treatment won’t work. It’s left at “I’m the expert and you need to do what I say”… UGH!

So far, I have switched from everyone that has said something like that to me. Therapy is supposed to be a team effort. If they can’t even listen to or respect what I have to say on treatment options, what’s to say they will do that with other things I tell them??

I have found a good number of professionals that are not like that, but the ones that are make me hesitate to reach out when I need to. They have me second-guessing myself and feeling like a hopeless wreck. I really don’t need any help in that department lately, thanks.

Sorry, guess I just needed to vent on that…


5 responses to ““leave the treatment up to the experts”

  • Ellen

    I’d find that statement patronizing, invalidating, infantilizing – and I’d run a mile from anyone who made it. Who needs this? Therapy is a two person effort, and a lot of the time, most of the effort is coming from the client, IMO. You are the expert on your own life and experience of therapy.

    • Samantha Jane

      yes! ty. I was feeling like I was over-reacting… I can’t well ask my wife to leave her T for that though (nor would I ant to). They seem to be doing good work together, but I will certainly never go to that woman.

  • Hope

    It’s not just you. I couldn’t work with someone who had that kind of paternalistic attitude. Sure. I didn’t do a post-doc psychology fellowship (or, you know, even graduate from college), but I’m not stupid. I may not know exactly what I need all the time, but I know a lot more about what does and doesn’t help me than someone outside my head does. A statement like that would be a HUGE red flag for me, probably a deal-breaker.

  • cheerythunder

    No you aren’t blowing it out of proportion..that isn’t a very good attitude of the doctors. People know how their own body feels and what its like…they need to be about equal partner in their own care team.

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