Problems with dating a psychologist

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If their son ever needs therapy, he said, they won’t dare try to analyze him themselves: they’ll send him to a therapist.“We can’t not know the things we’ve learned about human behavior,” he said.“When I hear people start arguing in a really unproductive way, I always feel like I’m learning or relearning ‘Oh, you really don’t want to say that to your wife.’ Or, ‘What a reminder that I should be more kind, and don’t be sarcastic!” He said doing couples therapy really makes him aware that “you have a choice to be a jerk or not.”One couple, Mary and Parker Stacy, not only are married therapists but they practice Emotionally Focused couples therapy together as a unit in Connecticut.“But we rarely talk about it.”Other therapists might insist their marriages are like those of less self-aware civilians, but signs to the contrary creep in.“I think sometimes people who are not in the field have this fantasy that we must diagnose each other but really our day-to-day life and our family looks so normal you wouldn’t know that we’re therapists,” said Wendy E.“We have become much more aware of what our arguments are really about,” he said, adding that even the happiest couples (he described his wife as his “soulmate”) have “cycles.” “Most people argue about money, kids, the in-laws, those kinds of things, but underneath they’re really arguing for more closeness or the failure of feeling safety with each other.

“If you tell me that you don’t want to do something, and if I were to say, ‘You don’t really mean that,’ then you’d be like, ‘Shut the fuck up.’”Another therapist, who asked to remain anonymous, said that sometimes her husband suggests she’s reacting to him the way she does to her mother.“I’ll be aware of a client always leading with a negative with her husband,” said one therapist.“And I’m thinking, ‘I do that too.’”“Every time I work with couples I do get the feeling that I’m being taught lessons,” said Steve.Miller, a psychologist who gives workshops on sustaining sexual desire at the Women’s Therapy Centre Institute.She said, however, that her marriage does benefit from a shared world view that there is a deeper meaning to the actions and decisions of others. Miller explained, “it’s not just ‘Oh, he’s lazy.’ It’s ‘What’s going on? ’ But sometimes I just say, ‘Take out the garbage.’” (We did notice that therapist couples referred to what civilians might call “being annoying,” “miserable arguments” or “days-long nightmares of crippling emotional drama” as “cycles.”)Most of those interviewed agreed that being a therapist is generally a good thing for marriages: to be a therapist, one must go through a fair amount of therapy oneself, after all—years of it—which ideally would make husbands and wives who come into a marriage already aware of their personal shortcomings and prejudices.

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