Insensitive email from therapist before DH's cancer surgery

posted 1 year ago in Wellness
Post # 46
3208 posts
Sugar bee

Hello, your husband has CANCER. I think your therapist was extremely cold. If that slot is so desired, he or she could easily have filled it with the advance notice you provided. I would feel like the therapist didn’t care about me too, and I’d also be looking for another therapist.

Post # 47
1683 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

rusticchic212 :  Firstly, sending you and your Darling Husband good thoughts for the surgery.  I can’t imagine how difficult this must be.

I disagree with most PP.  I think under other circumstances the email would have been appropriate (for example after cancelling to pack) however OP’s husband has been diagnosed with Cancer for goodness sake!  She shouldn’t be made to feel obligated to go to therapy right now or guilted for not attending.  It’s not like she no-showed, she’s provided adequate notice so they can still fill that slot.  

If they really felt an email was necessary, the wording could have been far better, and actually shown even an ounce of concern for OP and her Darling Husband.  

If your therapist is a good fit OP, I would just politely reply confirming the next appointment you can attend and suggest continuing with them as it’s difficult to get a good fit, however I think your anger about this email is justified. 

Post # 48
1482 posts
Bumble bee

You’ve got a prime slot – regular evening slots are nearly impossible to find.  And, you’ve canceled multiple times for non-emergent reasons.  She’s not just your therapist – she has lots of other patients.  This is a craptastic time for you, but it could also be a craptastic time for someone else who can come in and use that time on a regular basis.

Post # 50
745 posts
Busy bee

bywater :  Agreed. 

I would give up this therapist or at least that timeslot if you cannot make it. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through but unfortunately, she is not just your therapist. Others really need her as well. 

Post # 53
1480 posts
Bumble bee

Wow, I would also have been very offended by the email. She does not sound invested in your mental health if she’s more concerned with peppering you with arrogant comments and insensitivity masquarading as professionalism for the sake of her bottom line. I understand her wanting to keep the lights on, but she is way, way off on timing here. Shame on her. I would be looking for a new therapist tbh.

Post # 56
394 posts
Helper bee

Personally I find that response very inappropriate and unprofessional given the circumstances and I would not want to continue working with this person. I think that the e-mail shows very little actual concern for, or emotional understanding of, your situation and circumstances. All the best to you and your husband xx

ETA: the tone actually reminds me of a teacher chiding a tardy pupil, not a professional advising an adult client!


Post # 57
255 posts
Helper bee

This year, as my anxiety disorders have gotten worse, my long-term psychiatrist encouraged me to start seeing a psychologist in addition to the medication/talk therapy provided by him. As part of this process, I rang every single psychologist that was within a half hour walk from where I live, where I work, as well as quite a few near transit points in my commute. 

Out of the few who were able to treat people with my background comfortably, all but one had time slots that were impossible for me to make – despite being willing to come into work slightly late or leave slightly early. All but one. This ultimately met that my decision was made for me, by virtue of the fact that the desirable slots were already taken for most clinicians. 

In my case, it turned out well because the psychologist is the best I’ve had. But lack of available slots does restrict patient access to care. It is actually extremely important. 

I do feel for the OP because I don’t know what I would do if my partner had cancer. It must be dreadful. Beyond dreadful. However, many people come to counselling in times of crisis. From my group of friends, multiple did after losing parents young, after sexual assault, in the wake of suicide attempts. And then there are people like me who aren’t necessarily currently deeply at risk of harm, but who have disruptive issues day to day. When I went in, I was having big trouble going to work, couldn’t drive, couldn’t walk down certain streets or stay still in public transport, couldn’t use stairs at home, major sleep issues, ambulances coming over in the middle of the night… just not doing well at all.  

At the end of the day, therapists have overheads to pay and other patients who really need their help. I agree that the wording was a little harsh, but I don’t necessarily think that the OP’s situation is enough reason to not bring up this issue. The reality is that therapists are in the business of working with people who are at some of their lowest points in life, and if they were to make exceptions for people who were in terrible situations, they’d have to make exceptions for everyone. 

Post # 58
7865 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

amongclouds :  I agree with you that the therapist has a point. The problem is the tone and wording of the email. If this email came from an accountant or a lawyer that would be one thing, but it’s the OP’s therapist, the person she’s paying to provide emotional support and help her with her mental health. The very nature of the role of a therapist, to me, demands a more sensitive approach to these things than you’d expect from other service providers. I think the therapist should have brought this up in person or via a phone call where she’d be more able to convey compassion while also getting the underlying point across.

Post # 59
896 posts
Busy bee

Ok, that email was bs.  It was insensitive and unprofessional. So far, you have cancelled in accordance with her policies. Just like she has cancelled on you several times. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? I think the email shows a pettiness and coldness and all around lack of tact that would bother me so much that I would consider finding a new therapist. 

I get the point she made, and I understand she felt the need to make that point eventually, but there is a time and place. 

When I was in high school, I served on the student body as the treasurer, and we had weekly early morning meetings. If you didn’t come to meetings you could get kicked off student body. One day, my uncle died unexpectedly and I had to miss a student body meeting. I will never forget the president of the student body (another student one year older than me) giving me a hard time about my attendance issue: she said something like “obviously this is a special circumstance, but don’t let it happen again”….don’t miss a meeting again. This was over the phone but if she had said that to me in person, I may have punched her in the face. It was petty, cold, insensitive, etc. Bottom line, is there is a time and place to make your points. 

Post # 60
896 posts
Busy bee

Actually,come to think of it, I had something similar happen to me with a law school professor, when I was dealing with my moms breast cancer diagnosis that came out of the blue and her multiple surgeries. This professor said something like, “you’re not the first student to have a family member with a health problem.”  So yeah. I just think I’m these situations, anyone who stoops that low and acts that petty and insensitive is just not a person you want to deal with. I cut off people like that. 

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