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BeckyKytty's avatar

Should a therapist get edgy and correct you if you use occasional expletives?

Asked by BeckyKytty (430points) May 21st, 2011
25 responses
“Great Question” (3points)

I am going to an individual therapist for BPD, PTSD, Gender Identity Disorder.

I am usually so politically correct, or even silent in the groups we have.

I am Sicilian/French from NY where I learned it is ok to show ones emotions. I am now in Minnesota, often referred to as a very Passive Aggressive State. Emotions freak people out here. But I do like it here and need someplace a little calmer (and less expensive to be. I also have many strong interpersonal ties here).

Remind you, I am in therapy, this is a therapist.

I was upset and feeling backed into a wall one day and used an expletive, “bi*ch, referring in retrospect to someone else who was, from my perspective, being one towards me.

My issue and pain was ignored with a “don’t use that type of language, I don’t like that” from the therapist.

Moments of extreme stress are why I am going there.
In retrospect, I expected the therapist was someone I could trust and be “real” with. Letting my hair down so to speak.
Expletives are used when we are at wits end and cant’ come up with a “nice” way of saying what is going on. I expected the therapist to remember I am not always upset, I am doing things differently, growing so to speak, but I was hurting.

Is it not to be expected that the therapist pick up on my pain, address my issue with me and be understanding. Helping me out of the my boiling point so to speak, and not to correct me for being politically incorrect because they are sensitive to a word?

And again, I am the paying patient am I not?
And again, I am usually so polite so as not to offend anyone anyway.


If I am such a bad person
Maybe my past suicidal ideas were right and I need to be off the planet. (I am being factious there) I am pretty much over that kind of thinking (suicidal).

Any feedback
Please, if you are from Minnesota, kindly don’t respond to this question. (lol)

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Short answer: No, a therapist should never react that way. That’s total crap, find someone else.

Slightly longer answer: Seriously, a therapist should make you feel like their office is a safe place, in which you can be yourself. If yourself happens to be someone who constantly urinates on everything, ok, maybe not then, but basically, you get to be yourself. They are also not your parent; it is not their job to turn you into a good person in the manner they see fit (like encouraging you to wait till marriage to have sex), but rather to help you work through your issues and promote mental health so you can be the best you you can be (holy crap that sounds like a PSA ad). The state really doesn’t matter. The therapist was wrong. Especially since (educated guess here) if you have BPD, you have issues with feeling like you can’t be yourself, that who you are inside isn’t valid, and you have to constantly be adapting a “more acceptable” personality.

rooeytoo's avatar

I would definitely hunt for a new therapist! Sounds like this one is in need of help themselves!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I would find a new therapist.

Kayak8's avatar

I took your story to imply that you were in group. I was going to ask if your use of the word b*tch was to describe someone else in the group (either present or not), in which case I understand where the therapist was coming from—he/she has to protect ALL members of the group. Just need more clarification . . .

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@Kayak8 Even in a group setting, cuss words are usually allowed unless there’s reason to believe it makes someone uncomfortable or cuss words are flying every which way.

Plucky's avatar

If you are in personal (one on one) counselling with this therapist, I’d find a new one.

If this is a group therapy, it depends on the type of group therapy. Some groups allow expletives. There are others that have strict rules against it. An example: My partner is a psychologist – she runs a men’s group therapy at least twice a week. This therapy is for men who are court ordered to attend (because of domestic violence). The men in the group are not allowed to use certain terms ..expletives being among those terms.

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Cruiser's avatar

There are a LOT of crummy therapists out there….find a new ASAP! One that doesn’t swear or do Sudoku on their clip board!

stardust's avatar

Completely unprofessional. I once had a therapist who told me I couldn’t use certain words becuase she didn’t like them. I left.

flutherother's avatar

Some therapists, quite a lot actually in my view, do more harm than good. This sounds like one of them. I think this is absurd behaviour from a professional who deals with human emotions. It sounds as if they can’t deal with emotions themselves. I am glad you were able to see that you were not at fault and hope you get on better with your next therapist, if you choose to get one.

creative1's avatar

I would go find a new therapist that is in sync with you, when you do this you will be so much happier and can work on your actual issues. I made this suggestion to a friend and she did and now she has been able to get better and lessen her visits from a couple times a week to once evey other month it helps having the right person that fits for you.

WasCy's avatar

The therapist is supposed to leave his or her own “case” outside the door. That’s one of the most fundamental things about therapy. What he or she “likes” or doesn’t like or is made uncomfortable by is of no interest or concern to anyone in the room.

You need a therapist who knows how to therap. That one needs some intensive training, or to become a kindergarten teacher.

Ajulutsikael's avatar

I would say like everyone else, time to go shopping for a new therapist.

GingerMinx's avatar

Nope. Find a new one. My therapist has no problem if I let out the occasional bad word. She does it herself sometimes lol

Kayak8's avatar

@MyNewtBoobs I don’t disagree with you. I was simply asking for context. If I were in a group therapy setting and someone called me a name, I would look to the therapist to weigh in on any inappropriate name-calling. This is different that me, one-on-one, talking to my therapist and saying I thought Ms. Smith from my job was a real b*tch. I was just seeking context as my answer would differ depending.

BeckyKytty's avatar

Wow People!
Thank You Ever So Much for caring enough to both read my post, think about it and to reply!

This is my first time on this site.
It is also the first time I have anyone outside of the group themselves to get feed back from.
I almost cried from all your care and feed back. I am not used to affirmation.

To answer a question or two you might have had in your minds:

As far as diagnosis: BPD, Gender Identity Disorder (I have a male body and feel I am a girl, and that as far back into my childhood as I can remember. This therapist is from the circle supposed to help me get acclimated to looking and being like a girl and eventually get my SRS {sexual reassignment surgery}), Depression and Bi-Polar OKA Manic Depressive.

Ugh, those that know me outside of my groups don’t think I need any of them.
The Psychiatrist keep giving me meds that mess me up one way or another, mood wise or some nasty physical reactions. I told my doctor I want none of them since I am going to a group for training in DBT (Dialectical Behavior Training) which helps me to retrain my own thinking about things so I am not too far into thinking too much and withdrawing or being too manic, and too “happy.”

This comment of hers happened outside of the group and it was not concerned with the group. It was concerning another therapist, relating to the DBT training, which I fired.
I will post more on that one.
In essence, I am getting shot at from two sides.
(If I expound on this, this post is going to look like a mini-book!)
Should I expound?

Since I was a very young child, I felt like a girl, played with the girls and all I wanted was to dress like and be a girl. Henceforth the Gender Identity “Disorder” diagnosis. I need that diagnosis I guess to get help getting my physical reassignment. All well and good.

Well, as luck will have it (I don’t really believe in luck, but it sounds good for the sentence :-) ) there was quite a bit of abuse to me in my life, reducing my self image which resulted a lot of societal non conformity (the nuns sure had a time with me in Catholic School {and I am sure there were a couple of priests that would have liked to “have a time with me”} LOL.
Anyway, I ended up using a lot of different drugs, the worse drug of all was alcohol.
I traveled the U.S. over the years, had a few relationships and couple of marriages and lived and learned a lot.

Four years ago, reaching 50, it seems I reached a plateau to look at where I’d been and where I’d want to go. I quit all mind altering substances, got therapy for BPD (and the other diagnoses) as well as seeking out the means to finally become a full woman, inside and out.
That = Two arenas of therapy I am in. 1.) For my “mental illnesses,” and 2.) for my Gender Identity.

I have been doing what they teach me, taking the drugs they give me, acting as I am “supposed to.” Some of their stuff fits me, some does not. I have been careful to not offend them least they throw me out of my programs and I have to do this all on my own again and possibly find myself alone, sliding down the Rabbit Hole again.

With my original post, that happened with program 2.) and was on the tail end of me firing my DBT therapist in arena 1.)
Oh, cripes this is confusing to me, it must be for you!

In essence, I have given up drugs, acknowledged my identity as a woman and am transferring my entire life and appearance to being a woman, admitting that being with a man is ok (me being a woman, howbeit a bisexual one), dealing with past abuse, changing my thinking through new ways of thinking, letting loose of unhealthy relationships and building newer healthier ones (a little slow on building new ones, I am a little weary), going through mid life crisis, dealing with my Mom’s aging and eccentricity, supporting my ex (girlfriend of 15 years with whom we shared a studio, broke up the intimacy 4 years ago).
I am juggling the medicines they give me. I quit all of them when two months ago, after a medicine change we made six months ago, my teeth started falling out. Now mind you, I have been going to the dentist regularly and for four years, I haven’t even had a cavity.
I had to get, oh, what is it, four teeth gone in lower front and I get four porcelain ones in the front, two crowns and two teeth in the back pulled.
The problem with the teeth was continuing so I quit all the meds.
Dentist and doctors didn’t know what medicine I was taking would do that all of a sudden.
We finally determined it was the stress I am going through and probably taking the meds with my female hormones (Estrogen, I now have a woman’s blood).
My Psychiatrist switched me to Tegretol to cap a lid on the mania and we agreed, against her “better thinking” I will handle the depression on my own with a good diet, exercise and using my new DBT skills.
The Tegretol makes me dizzy all the time, more depressed/sad and my left foot is swollen from water retention. I called last week about that, no response. Oh well, so I don’t get accused of “Therapy Interfering Behavior” I will keep taking this poison till she calls me.

In light of all that, I think I’m doing pretty darn good.
What do you think?

As far as taking care of myself, I am here with you all, looking for opinions outside of myself so I don’t just go nutz inside my own head LOL.

I really don’t have people around me to support me much as they are friends and ex’s from a dysfunctional past and they now rely on me for support. (Geeze, talk about the blind leading the blind)

Two days ago I signed up on a dating site so I can have my first date with a man as a woman.
That is another whole ball of wax.

Just posting with you people is something I would never have done in the past.
“Nobody loves me, nobody cares” is crap and I want to hear what other travelers down this wacky road of life have to say.


Enough rambling, I am sure you fell asleep on your keyboard by now!

BeckyKytty's avatar

Hey @My New Boobs, your question is understandable and I so appreciate any feedback you may have!

P.S. I can’t wait till I have some of them “New Boobs” to which you refer and
Cute doggie picture, is she/he yours?

Thanx Again…


MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@BeckyKytty Lol It’s actually Newt, not New. Do I have a doggie picture? Hope things get better for you!

WasCy's avatar

Really – I second the wish expressed by @MyNewtBoobs. And with all due respect, you may want to schedule a visit to an opthamologist, too. But if you thought
«— Willow
was the cute dorgie, then your eyesight is okay, but you need to spend more time here seeing how avatars go with names.

You should probably spend more time here in any case.

Plucky's avatar

<——- It has to be MY cute doggie picture – his name is Gus and we’ve been together for almost 15 years.
P.S. ... I’m joking, Willow is cute too ..oh and that dog in Kayak8’s picture of course :)

Thank you for taking the time to post some of your story (and, no, I did not fall asleep) seem like you are heading in the direction that is right for you.

And, welcome to Fluther ..I’m positive you will find many of the people here helpful :)

BeckyKytty's avatar

Hi again all!
Thanx again for all your viewpoints people.

I just wanted to clarify that I did not do an in group name calling thing.
It was actually after another group I go to and I was having the discussion outside the group with the terrorapist… I mean therapist.

I look forward to getting to this site and you all better…


linguaphile's avatar

I understand where you’re coming from regarding Minnesota. First, no, you’re not mis-reading anything- YES, Minnesotans emotions are (to quote Minnesotan Kevin Kling) zipped up tighter than their parkas. I’m not from Minnesota but lived there long enough. You almost can see them turning into prim, pious and sour Victorian governesses when they’re scolding you for your emotions, can’ya?
This is a true story— one of my friends (from back East, living in Minn.) was in a job that she didn’t like and was struggling with a bully-boss. She decided to go to therapy to deal with the intimidation and humilation. One day, she decided she could no longer stay at the job and preserve her sanity. She also realized she had gotten to where she could afford to survive without the job, so she quit and decided to enroll in her dream master’s program. It was a well thought out and planned move, but when she came into her next session all excited and happy, her emotion-flat therapist diagnosed her with bipoIar disorder based on that one day of being ecstatic, refusing to take into account that her decision was not impulsive at all. She’s still struggling to get it removed from her medical records, even though she went to 3 other counselors to verify the diagnosis, and all 3 didn’t agree with the bipolar diagnosis. Culture DOES make a difference in therapy!
I agree with the above posters—find a different therapist. I believe you need one that understands and respects your cultural background and is able to help you work with your issues—separate—from your culture, not mix up your culture with your issues. You seem to understand your own cultural diversity—it would be ridiculous to work with someone who doesn’t.
Good luck and, by Odin, try not to let the zipped up parkas get to you. :)

BeckyKytty's avatar

Thanx all for your thoughts and feedback.
I in fact had an appointment with the self same terrorpist yesterday, and took a print out of these reply’s with me, though I didn’t have to actually show it, just mentioned it.

I had the support of you people in the back of my mind which helped unbelievably.

I did some things I learned in DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy/Treatment)

I wanted to fire all guns at her, fire her or whatever, after all, when I am right and have been shot at, I bring out the psychological “chopper” (slang for AK-47), prove I am right.

I wanted to exit the session feeling good about myself, trying something new, and keeping my mind open about yes, she failed me in one area, but will I be throwing the baby out with the bathwater so to speak, considering she has and does have potential to help.

Ugh, decisions & work

I did some “coping ahead” to prepare myself.
In a “DBT” group I go to, I remember the therapist asking rhetorically, “Do you want to be right, or get what you want/need?”
This I kept in mind.

I spent the first ¾ hour getting what I needed re: a trip to NY I am taking for 2 weeks to see Mom for her birthday.

Then I started a gentle intro. into how I felt about what she said, and we talked.

I used a bunch of the “Skills” and acronyms from DBT, which I will spare you at this time with the details but would be glad to answer question, and we ended up hugging before parting.

I would have been right to “fire” her.
Being armed with that, I was able to apply it to some wisdom and communication and got preferable results.

She will be mindful, she said to put her personal emotions and judgments aside as a professional, I won’t cut her down with my “chopper,” words.

Life goes on!

Thanx All, you really helped…


WasCy's avatar

Made my day so far, @BeckyKytty. Good for you. And us.

Plucky's avatar

@BeckyKytty I am happy for you :)

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