Believe it or not, I have a psychology degree. My initial intent was to go into counseling but I figured out pretty quickly that I have no emotional off switch. Empathy is an important part of being a therapist, but you need the ability to put it down sometimes. Apparently I'm not the only person who hasn't quite mastered that skill.
One Reddit user asked:
Therapists of reddit, how do you keep your emotions in check while attempting to counsel the most vile of your clients? Surely you have some sessions that just rock your core, or have you really "heard it all"?
Here are some of the more insightful answers...
Not My Time
Regardless of what the person in front of me has experienced, they survived and are seeking help in the here and now. I've found that, as a new therapist, nothing is about me when i'm interacting with a client. It's not my time, it's theirs, so even if I feel a strong reaction in the moment, I give myself permission to set it aside until i am able to take my own time to process. I've definitely cried in the bathroom after rough sessions though.
When I was a caseworker, I used to find it easier to observe professional boundaries and ensure I provided good counselling, etc., with clients I didn't like, compared to clients I did like.
In the case of the former, I always had the mindset of "OK, I don't like this person, so I need to be careful to ensure I conduct myself professionally at all times".
With people I liked, there was always a greater risk of slipping into interpersonal dynamics more akin to friendship, which can be harder to detect (as a degree of friendliness is generally required to provide good counselling and therapeutic support. Characteristics of appropriate conduct, in that respect, can be a much fuzzier line than the professional requirement to not rip into someone for being reprehensible twat).
Like A Wind Tunnel
Honestly, one of the ways I feel most differently from most people is in my level of empathy. I think I'm unusual in this regard, even compared to most other psychologists. I tend to think that if someone really wants to change, they deserve help in making that change. One of the things I find most frustrating about reddit is how quickly people will dismiss other humans as trash. Even those who do the most vile things are human, and they often (although admittedly not all) hate themselves as much, if not more, than others do for doing those things. It's a bit cliche, but people aren't vile, actions are.
Having said that, there are clients who manage to push my buttons, but in general they've not been therapy clients. People in therapy usually want change, and if they don't (for example, they're there because they're forced to be there), I won't continue therapy with them. It's a waste of time. Other clients who do bother me (that I'm evaluating), I try to be aware of my reaction and look at it objectively, in terms of having a job to do, to understand what it is about their behavior that's pushing my buttons because in almost all cases its the same thing that's pushing others' buttons as well. I think of myself as a social psychological testing equipment in that case, sort of like a wind tunnel or something.
Covered In Crap
I'm not a therapist yet, but it's what I want to do and I'm studying to become one. One of the things were taught is unconditional positive regard, and one of the "tricks" we were taught to help us with it is to think of every person being inherently a good person, with it being their experiences that shape who they have become. A good example is the fact that abusers have often been abused themselves.
I don't normally believe in souls, but I find it helps to conceptualize everyone as having a pure soul that gets covered in crap due to what happens in their life. But most of that crap isn't their fault, so you can try to look past it to the good soul underneath. Obviously this doesn't mean you excuse or condone the horrible things people do, it just lets you understand it, at least a little, which does a lot to look past the bad.
In all honesty I think this is probably the best thing I've learned in my entire degree, and I've tried to apply it to anyone in my life who annoys or irritates me. I have found that it increases my tolerance and patience for the little things when I look beyond the thing and think about why they might be doing it.
I sometimes think I must be close to having heard it all but after 20 years, yes, I still get surprises and hear new things from clients.
I can honestly say that there have been very, very few 'vile' clients. I love my work and have a lot of respect for people who are brave enough to come to therapy - its hard work to go through therapy. Its OK as a therapist to have emotional responses to our clients, in fact if you're not then I'd be a bit worried about the therapist. But its being able to recognise what emotions are about my 'stuff' and what emotions are about the clients 'stuff' and dealing with it appropriately. my 'stuff' get set aside for my own therapy & supervision sessions. you learn how and when to identify your own emotions and work with them or set them aside in your training.
Sometimes it is very therapeutic for the client to see my emotional response. Getting sad about a clients abuse can help them to see that what happened to them was not OK when working with abuse clients. Many clients don't have a good connection to their emotions so they learn by seeing my reactions.
I've only had a few clients that might be considered 'vile' - I noticed my emotional response and then set it aside for later and get back to the clients responses. in these cases showing emotions would have been dangerous as they were both sex offenders. Afterwards, yes I did feel 'rocked to the core' and talked about it in supervision, did lots of self care.
There are some stories I've heard that give me nightmares. having a good supervisor/therapist is critical in doing lots of trauma/abuse work as is having done your own therapy, though this is less common these days.
Don't Get Involved
I was a therapist in a forensic facility. I treated serial killers, stalkers, arsonists, etc.
Some of my colleagues had to do a lot of self-care stuff, but honestly I never brought it home with me. Maybe I have a dark streak myself or maybe it's just that at the end of the day it's a job. You get used to the clients. I actually really enjoyed it.
People are people. I remember sitting in a transport bus with a mass shooter in the back in shackles just shooting the shit and cracking jokes. People aren't 100% the worst thing they ever did 100% of the time.
Also, in therapist school (usually a master's or PhD in social work, psychology, or counseling) they spend years teaching you how to treat people without getting personally involved. It's like a muscle you train. You can care about someone and have empathy for them without getting emotionally tangled up in their experience, it just takes practice and direction.
I'm trying to remember if I ever heard anything that "rocked me to my core". I heard stuff that was absolutely mind-bendingly crazy, but...idk...I never heard anything that kept me up at night.
Oooof there are people you come across that make your stomach turn (cue to a pretty serious personality disorder.) One tool I use to muster up empathy and positive regard is imagining what life would be like to be them. Picturing the world through their eyes and how people respond to them daily. Even though their response is different then my imagination it usually is sad, lonely and gives me motivation to help them. That's a simpler one. There are also tools we are trained to use to figure out what it is about someone that is bothersome and how to respond to them in a way that promotes growth. The thought here is that if it's bothersome to a therapist- it's bothersome and negatively impacted interpersonal relationships outside of the therapy session. Our job is to help a client learn and change these things to improve relationships (assuming they want that.)
Sense Of Community
I am mostly desensitized to it all. It doesn't mean I don't have emotions or don't care but my focus is to always validate and explore solutions rather than wallow in the trauma i am hearing. When you are in the mind set of helping the person in front of you, the context of what they are actually saying makes it manageable because you feel useful.
But of course, there are days where I hear a story and hits my heart and I can't shake it for days. During those times I have really practice self care. It's helpful to talk to others in the profession too. There's a sense of community there for sure.
Not a therapist, but I had a friend who was an LCSW (licensed social worker, aka a shrink ) for 30 years.
She would not accept narcissists for treatment.
She said they were incurable, as a group tended to like to play mind games with the therapist, and she had personal issues with narcissist relatives in her childhood.
I imagine other therapists simply do the same, they just don't accept clients who make them extremely uncomfortable.
Value Of Life
I honestly feel like I've heard it all. I'll acknowledge that my experience is atypical, as I work night shift in a level 1 trauma center ER downtown in a major US city. I do crisis counseling, psychiatric assessments, and brief clinical interventions to people experiencing their first psychiatric crisis. Our ER gets all kinds - murderers, child abusers, people with major personality disorders, etc. At the end of the day they are just as human as I am, and while their life experience is different from mine, they deserve the same empathy and respect that I deserve. Part of the reason why I became a counselor is that I have a deep respect for the dignity and value of life. Even if that life is calling me "f*cking ugly" or sh!tting into their own hand, rolling it into a ball, and using it like a bowling ball in our hallways...
You know what would be great?
If society could just stop with arbitrary dress codes. If you're not working with the public, why should you have to dress up so much? If you're a police officer, then it makes sense that you'd wear a uniform that identifies you as a police officer. If you're Ted from IT who sits in the backroom all day, I really don't see why you have to come in every day in a suit and tie.
Let's just toss them out, shall we?
People shared their thoughts with us after Redditor Levels2ThisBrush asked the online community,
"What should be socially acceptable but isn't?"
"Leaving the office..."
"Leaving the office whenever you've finished your tasks for the day."
This is why I'm so glad remote work is the new office.
"And yet, I get it!"
"Taking off sick from work, WITHOUT giving an invasive reason. I supervise a small team and so I see all the OOO emails, and for gods sake I want people to PLEASE not feel the need to explain in detail what kind of diarrhea is afflicting them, or how bad their period cramps are, or how much bad sushi they ate the night before. Just say “I’m under the weather, I won’t be online today.”"
"And yet, I get it! I do it too! I feel guilty or like I’ll be looked at with suspicion if my reason for taking off isn’t sufficiently debilitating enough!"
"But… we need to stop this. As a manager I don’t care, I don’t THINK the people above me who are also on these emails care… let’s just all agree to take sick days without any details from now on!"
I do not miss my retail days where I had to organise someone to cover me and beg on bended knee.
"Cashiers or workers who don’t need to be standing all day not having a stool or chair."
Another thing I do not miss from my retail days. Having to stand for hours and hours only to come home with my feet killing me was not fun.
"Prices on apartments..."
"Prices on apartments and their respectable reasons for such price directly on their websites or advertising without the need for a tour or any secrecy."
I always assume if I have to ask the price I probably can’t afford it.
"Being quiet/not wanting to engage in conversation all the time."
In Finland, if somebody tries to talk to you, they are probably a tourist.
"Choosing not to..."
"Choosing not to have toxic family members in your life."
It feels very liberating once you accept that you don't have to put up with it.
"Employees calling customers out in public for being a**holes."
Absolutely. Many customers get away with treating employees horribly because they know they can do it without any pushback... most of the time.
"The fact that I sometimes..."
"The fact that I sometimes need to take my insulin in public. No, Karen, I am not doing drugs, I need to live."
You’re getting that sweet sweet insulin high… the high of being not-dead.
"Afternoon naps. I’m on team nap. Give me 25 minutes to charge up and I’ll give you back 3 hours of high quality work. Everyone wins. Plus I go home with extra energy instead of dead tired."
Short naps don't work for me. I can't do a 25 min recharge. When I take a nap it needs to be like a solid 2 hours
"Salary transparency. For some reason, in the US, there’s a taboo or stigma around discussing one’s salary. This should be done openly and freely, with zero embarrassment or judgment. The only winners from avoiding these conversations are the corporations that are able to pay people differently for the same roles. Speak up!"
The "for some reason" you're referring to is simply propaganda on behalf of corporations.
It's evident that something's got to change around here, and we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore!
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us more in the comments below!
As much as many of us don't like to disrupt the status quo, there is only so much time a person can tolerate a miserable situation before things become so unbearable that they ultimately have to peace out.
For some people, it takes a while for them to reach a breaking point. Eventually, there comes a time when they realize their self-worth is more important than continuing to please others who don't appreciate them for the sake of keeping up with appearances.
Curious to hear from people whose patience ran thin and made a strong decision, Reddit Prestigious-Order-62 asked:
"What made you say 'f'k this sh*t im out?'"
The unwarranted reprimanding was something that was never mentioned in the initial job description.
"In the late 90’s."
"One time I got pulled into the Security office at a Department store I worked at. They accused me of constantly using the sales day coupons for people that didn’t present one (we always kept an extra copy at each register). I had watched my own department boss do it many times so I assumed it was okay. We didn’t even collect the coupons to be counted for the cash office, we just chucked them after use."
"They claimed I lost the store hundreds of dollars and had been watching me 'for months' do this awful, unforgivable crime for people spending 90 bucks on already bloated price designer jeans. I’m sure the occasional 10% discount was just devastating. 🙄""I got this huge lecture of how I was LITERALLY stealing from the store and they COULD call the police but would give me a chance to work off the damage. I couldn’t believe how criminal I was made to feel over it. The best part when they called my boss in who pretended to have never done it before to save her own a**."
"I asked if they were firing me. They said 'Yes and No. You will be let go, but you can choose to work off the damages so we don’t take you to court.' I told them I will just quit and asked for my last check. They said they will deduct what I owe from my last check. And I said 'Well then you need to show me all the footage and prove that I was stealing.' They wouldn’t produce footage, finally called the cops, and when the cops arrived, they were just as confused and called it an internal problem and advised them that this was overblown. I think they felt sorry for me. So finally upper management came in and just said 'just issue the last check, I will sign it here.' So much drama over so stupid a thing."
"It was sad because that actual day my Mom and daughter had come to the mall to meet me for lunch and I had to explain I just was forced to quit that job and was never allowed in that store again like I was some awful jerk."
"It was nice a few short years later, the entire chain bankrupted."
"A coworker waited until we were in front of a large group of people to start 'disciplining' me for something 'wrong' I did (I took my lunch 15 mins late to help another coworker) when she wasn’t even my supervisor. Applied for a job transfer the next day and couldn’t be happier where I am now."
"I had a piece of sh*t of a boss. He'd praise you in private but berate you in public. In front of coworkers and customers. Always about stuff that didn't matter."
"He'd also happily break company policy to side with customers after you spent an hour telling a customer you can't give them stuff for free, for example. Any time he was around, everything was miserable."
"My only regret is that I wasn't there to see him marched out by corporate when he got fired, because I had gone on to a better job by then."
Human Punching Bag
"I used to work in a Kitchen at a pub, it was grim work, but I had freinds there and had worked there for 3 years, So it wasn't too bad."
"One Christmas season we were being absolutely pumped, full out functions and busy services. My boss at the time was very stressed and fair enough, We were busy, We were all working overtime and full out. He used any excuse to completely blow up and absolutely scream at me for little to no reason, essentially him yelling at me was his stress relief. But fine, whatever, kitchens are rough places, no appolagies or anything, move on."
"I then go away for 3 weeks over the Christmas holidays and spend the time road tripping around the country having an amazing time."
"First shift back, not pleased being back, he makes a snarky comment."
"F'k this, Im out."
Even though these employees weren't chewed out in front of co-workers, the low salary without room for negotiation made them not wanting to stick around for much longer.
You Only Get One Job
"They cut my hours so I had to get a second job. 3 days before I was supposed to start said second job, my manager at the main job told me that I couldn't get this second job because I had main job first and I needed to make it my priority. That's when I said f'k you and left. I didn't even give a notice, I literally just sent an email saying I wouldn't be coming in the next day, grabbed my sh*t and went home."
"I used to work Retail and after 7 years at the company, I found out I was only making 50 cents more an hour than someone who just started yesterday. I understood if they couldn't pay me more and asked for a good schedule. 7-3 or 8-4 every day and the same two days off every week. I didn't even ask for weekends off."
"I was told that they couldn't give me a good schedule so I quit."
Situations weren't much different outside the work place. Social dilemmas prompted these Redditors to say, "nope."
"Went to a pub because a friend kept asking. When I got there, he was with a group of people I didn't know, so I introduced myself and got the next round. As I come back with the tray, I hear them saying something along the lines of 'why is that b*tch still here? I thought she was just supposed to drop off a bicycle?' 'Ya, we don't want her to come to <this other town with more pubs> and now she is drinking with us?' 'She's so dumb' *proceeds to imitate and ridicule me as I was actively listening and nodding when I was having a conversation with my friend."
"Gave the beer to random people and walked right out after saying good evening to my friend and briefly explaining I did not appreciate being tricked into being a bicycle taxi for people who hate me directly after meeting me."
A Shocking Incident
"I was on my boat fishing for bass. I casted out my line and watched the lure hit the water but the line just floated in the air. Lightning and thunder crashed and the line fell to the water. F'k this sh*t, I'm out."
"She lined my bed with broken glass put the blankets over it and I dove on in lol."
"Edit: She was violent/crazy and on drugs, was like the 20th attack I took and that made me really think lol."– MyLifeForAuir1
Ally For The Ex
"I found nudes of his ex (from ten years ago) that I’d previously asked him twice to get rid of tucked in a pair of MY socks. Our couples counselor asked why he’d kept them and he said, 'You know. In case I ever needed to blackmail her.' He said it like it was a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to plan to do. The therapist and I locked eyes and I noped the f'k out of there and moved out."
Most of these Redditors realized leaving their situation was better than dealing with the consequences of sticking around.
The latter is never a good option. Why remain in a scenario you know is already going to consume your soul?
The lesson for today is–Don't be miserable. Your sanity is worth saving.Besides, you would never know that something better awaits if you just don't get the F out.
As we enter into the summer months, people now have to decide whether or not they want their morning coffee to be hot or iced.
Lucky for them, it's delicious either way.
One could make an argument that foods that are equally delicious hot or cold are perhaps the best, or at least the most reliable.
And this can include foods which are not customarily sold both hot and cold (cold pizza anyone?).
Redditor NectarineOther4989 was curious to hear which foods people enjoy either hot or cold, leading them to ask:
"What is something that tastes good both hot and cold?"
Fresh out of the oven, or the next day!
Chocolate withstands all temperatrues
"Chocolate."Chocolate Satisfying GIF by HuffPostGiphy
Can't go wrong with fruit and pastry
"Apple pie."- Hak_Saw5000
This doesn't only apply to food
"Revenge."- pushthestartbuttonkarine vanasse revenge GIF by HULUGiphy
Let the flavor develop
"2 totally different flavors depending on warm vs cold from fridge."- nonkowledge
So many to choose from!
A matter of textural preference
"Cheese, ya fools."- eat_dontpray_loveCloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Eating GIFGiphy
Under a hot greek sun, or during a cold winter's eve.
While there's no better smell than a batch of chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, those eating them the next day likely aren't missing out either.
Those who are truly superstitious have trouble shaking off customs which others might find somewhat silly.
These include holding your breath when passing a cemetery, throwing salt over your shoulder after spilling it, or not stepping on cracks for fear of breaking their mother's backs.
But even though it has been irrefutably proven that there is absolutely no validity to these superstitions, these same people will likely never stop performing these customs.
Nor will some others ever stop believing myths and hoaxes which have likewise proven to be one-hundred percent false.
Redditor Jimbo_Jigs was curious to learn the things people will never stop believing, despite ample evidence to the contrary, leading them to ask:
"What is proven to be a hoax but people still believe it to be true?"
"That cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis."- SnooCompliments9257
Though, it's still wise to avoid doing this...
"If you pull out a grey hair three more grow in its place, my sister still believes this one."- oopySpaff
Something to seriously think about.
"We only use 10% or our brain."- wiggywithitbrain GIFGiphy
Though they might still not be please you'r touching their child!
"Touching a baby bird will make its parents reject it."
"Any baby animal."
"When in doubt, reach out to your local wildlife rehabilitation network/individual."- JustMeerkats
I can sleep with my mouth open? Who knew!
"That you swallow 8 spiders a year in your sleep."- rentinghappiness
Never pay others to be an entrepreneur.
"MLMs, Boss babes, 'be your own boss' scams."
"I'm not sure how many documentaries need to be put on YouTube before people will stop buying into these companies and wasting their money."- ImAGhostOooooooo
It's literally quite the opposite
"Shaving making hair grow in thicker."- offbrandbarbie
Though a balanced diet doesn't hurt...
"The food pyramid."- sd2528
Best to stay out of the mouths of others regardless
"That dogs mouths are cleaner than humans!"- Mental_Investigator3Giphy
Just makes you more visible.
"It’s illegal to keep the light on in the car while driving."- rerhodes770
It seems that there is no amount of convincing that will ever lead these people to realize that they've been duped.
And one can't help but wonder what people do with the false information that a dog's mouth is cleaner than a humans?