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On Writing Therapists 2

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Jan. 18, 2020
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Therapists are the type of character whose occupation can easily seep into their ‘off the clock’ life. It's not something that can often be helped. Psychologists don't ‘turn off’ their perception of behavioral patterns and personality analyses, the same way you can't ‘unsee’ the rabbits after you spot them:



What they do is they simply choose to look at the giraffes, rather than the rabbits, when they're off the clock. That said:

Psychologists are NOT CLAIRVOYANT.


Seriously, stop asking us to tell you what we think you got, or what you're thinking right now. PLEASE.

The only thing the psychologist does is just notice patterns. The good ones among us don't actually make interpretations without information we know better than to ask of you. And to diagnose you about anything we need tests, and a lot of other things. So …yeah. Just stop.

Well, that was a tangent- but I'm hoping it'll be a useful insight.

So! Back to OCs:

When you design the character, a big part of his or her personality should be expressed through two things:

A. How he/she handles clients (or participants, or colleagues, or consultees, or patients)

B. How he/she handles non-clients (family, friends, acquaintances, enemies, etc)

When it comes to clients, psychologists are bound by a code of ethics to do or not do certain things within their session (regardless of their school of thought) under pain of disciplinary action by their associations and even the regular court. Here is the current code of ethics for you to see!

That said, here are a few things that you should be aware of in a nutshell:


1. Clients are NEVER friends or family

It is not considered ethical or even safe for a psychology to treat, consult or counsel their friends or relatives. There are many reasons for this, the biggest one of which being that the therapist must be an impartial third party, distanced from whatever it is they are listening and helping with. That's the only way they can be able to see the full picture, and be free of the biases that the clients will naturally have. In this way the therapist is in a position to give the best, most well rounded and objective care, consultation or counseling.

But… not every therapist can easily do it. Especially if they are inexperienced, it's highly possible that they will get involved (emotionally speaking) with the client. That DOESN'T MEAN SEX. It simply means that the therapist without experience is running a high risk of taking sides, vicariously living and experiencing the problems, emotions, and perspectives of the client. If this happens, the therapist won't be able to pick out (or want to pick out) the flaws, problems and other inaccuracies and issues that the client has/ is doing/ is experiencing. They become a friend, rather than a therapist.

It's even worse for the therapeutic process if this happens with couples therapy, and the therapist takes sides with one of the two clients coming in.



2. The vast majority of therapists don't touch, hug, or stroke their clients.

This can vary a little bit, especially with regards to age, gender and prior agreements. If the client needs a hug for reassurance or encouragement, then the therapist might agree to give one within a context.



3. Therapists don't get angry when in session.

On the surface. We don't get angry or frustrated on the surface. The session is the client's hour. They are the ones that are supposed to emote and let go. They are the ones that should have the leeway to be difficult, throw tantrums, and generally not be in any way inhibited in this process. That's why therapists are trained to remain calm and attentive. The therapist provides the sense of safety. We don't get to be angry. We get to give the objective feedback when there is time, in specific ways.

BUT therapists aren't perfect. Or maybe they hear something that strikes a particularly raw nerve unexpectedly. Or they are inexperienced, or burnt out, or just not responsible enough, and they might lash out, or reply in snide, unprofessional ways, and so on.



When it comes to non-clients, none of the above necessarily holds. Usually, it doesn't, because we're off the clock, we're with our friends and family and thus emotionally involved, biased, or firmly on the side of someone in ways we would never advise.

It's up to your character's personality whether they behave in a manner that's constructive or destructive.

However, it's only a matter of experience and affinity that a good psychologist (barring any special circumstances) will be a constructive force in his/her environment… UNLESS they are a bastard and prefer to use their insights and capacities to make everyone purposefully miserable. That does happen, but it's rare and the therapist will be very likely be in denial- refusing to see they're manipulating people.

But that is for next time, when we look at the eeeeevil therapists!




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comment

anonymous?

Banes at 9:25AM, Jan. 19, 2020

Very interesting series! I too am looking forward to the chapter on evil therapists!

Kou the Mad at 1:35AM, Jan. 19, 2020

I liked the one from 2 and a Half Men, she was always snarky but overall friendly to Charlie.

usedbooks at 10:28AM, Jan. 18, 2020

Tbh, evil anythings are more entertaining than their counterparts.

Tantz_Aerine at 10:17AM, Jan. 18, 2020

They are more fun to write than the regular folk for sure ;P

usedbooks at 8:33AM, Jan. 18, 2020

Kinda looking forward to evil therapists.

ozoneocean at 2:58AM, Jan. 18, 2020

That's a really interesting insight Tantz!


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