And the Search for a Therapist Continues
After our second session I fired my therapist. Two meetings are what it took for me to see we weren’t going to work out. And I’d really hoped we would.
But it still wasn’t easy to find someone. I have a few preferences that refine my choices. For example: gender matters. I feel more comfortable with female therapists. I also prefer that she be older than me. A degree on the wall is nice and assumed but I need her to have lived through some things to hopefully bring the wisdom and perspective I’m missing.
The ability to prescribe meds? Not important; at least not yet. So far, Bacardi and Netflix are sufficient to beat back the transitory demons; a Long Island iced tea if they look like they’re trying to get comfortable. But if it ever comes to that, I got a guy. (Ok, I don’t really got a guy; but I live in New York City. I’m reasonably confident I can get a guy.)
More important than pills is parking. I don’t need the added stress of traffic, searching for a parking spot, and being mindful of the meter while I’m pouring my heart out. If it comes down to it I’ll drive further to park easier.
So I found a therapist who fit these initial criteria and then came the real test: Do I like her? Does she get me? Do we click?
At dinner later that week with a close Friend, she said: “So, how’d it go?” I took a deep breath and said, “Well…” My BFF cut me off and said, “Let her go.”
I said, “What? Why?”
“Because she’s not the one.”
I said, “How do you know?”
She said, “How do you not know?”
“But we’ve only had one appointment.”
“How many more do you need?” she said.
Feeling slightly defensive but not sure why (I’ll work it out in therapy… someday) I said, “I made a second appointment just to be sure.” My Friend looked at me as if to say, ‘you already know but if you’ve got time and money to waste, you go right on ahead.’ And then we ordered another round and moved on to her drama. And that’s why she’s my Bestie. She knew that in the deep breath I took to answer her question I was trying for some reason to push aside my intuitive concerns and find something positive. Why? I don’t know. (Ergo Therapy.)
At that first appointment with the new therapist I’d shared a few of my problems, which she casually minimized. I think she thought she was empathizing, but it came off as dismissive. Strike one. At the mention of another problem she said, “That sounds like something you should put in your act.” Yeah, probably my fault for telling her I’m a stand-up comedian, but I didn’t find it funny. Strike two. So why did I bother going back? I’d found parking.
Strike three came at our second appointment, when I glanced over through teary eyes to see her picking at her fingernails. I thought: “Bitch, am I boring you?” I didn’t say that out loud to her because I’m hyper non-confrontational (another issue that needs sorting; Therapy. Stat.) but it was enough for me to know that I’d be taking my business and my baggage elsewhere.
Maybe my problems aren’t that interesting but I expect them to be more important than the dirt underneath a professional therapist’s fingernails. At $150 an hour – 45 minutes – muster it up. It’s not too much to ask that she do better than a bartender.
I mean let’s be real: for a fraction of the cost I could replace her apathetic ass with an app. That would permanently alleviate my parking problems and give her all the time she needs to tend to her in-office personal grooming.
And so, my list of what’s important in a therapist grows: gender, experience, parking, compatibility, compassionate concentration, and a freshly done manicure. That’s what I’ll be spending my co-pay money on until I find a new therapist. (Or a dog.)
Leighann Lord is a veteran stand-up comedian seen on HBO, Comedy Central, and The View. She is the author of Dict Jokes and Real Women Do it Standing Up; and is a co-host of StarTalk Radio, with Neil de Grasse Tyson. Follow her @LeighannLord | VeryFunnyLady.com. To join TeamLeighann: Text FunnyLady to 22828. Listen to the podcast of her blog on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.