Dear Close Friend’s Therapist,
You and I don’t know each other, but I’ve been meaning to reach out for some time to tell you that you suck. A lot.
I hope you know, it’s not easy for me to say something like that to someone I don’t know. (Actually, it’d be even harder if I did know you, I’m pathologically conflict-averse.) But I hear the kind of advice you give my close friend, and pee-yew does it stink.
You might be wondering how much weight you should give this critique. Is it coming from a person with equal or more training than you yourself have? A peer, or a superior, perhaps? No and certainly not. But that doesn’t mean I lack better-than-average powers of insight. I have many mutually satisfying relationships under my belt, many of them spanning decades. My EQ is through the roof. So even if I don’t “have” a degree in psychology or whatnot, I kind of do.
So yeah, you should give this critique a shit-ton of weight.
I don’t want to bog this letter down with specifics. You obviously know who you are and who I’m talking about. And I think we can both agree it’s a miracle that my close friend sought help in the first place, given all their hang-ups. (And that mother of theirs didn’t help, am I right?) Every time I hear that my close friend’s choices have been vetted—and in some case prescribed!—by you, I think to myself: Why did it have to be your office my close friend stumbled into? Why couldn’t they have found someone good?
In general, I try not to diagnose people who I don’t know personally. But as I listen to my close friend proudly paraphrase advice you’ve given them, I’m guessing you’re relating a little too closely to my close friend’s relationship issues. Since I have no formal training, I don’t know the exact terminology, but it seems like an open and shut case of projection or identification—projection-identification, maybe? Is that a thing? You clearly have unresolved issues that you’re transferring to my close friend’s life. Wait, is that what transference means? Whatever, you get the point.
Bottom line is, I don’t think you’re a monster. I believe you care about your patients or clients—my close friend hasn’t told me which term you prefer, and I’d rather not dwell on semantics. I’m just hoping this letter forces you to take a closer look at yourself and your practice, and ask yourself: Am I helping this person, or fucking up their life even more?
If you’d like to speak with me at greater length about my close friend—or really anything at all—please feel free to reach out. My rates are COVID-reasonable and the initial consultation is free. ❏