One week after the first, I found myself looking forward to going back for the second time. We had to take care of a few more formalities, which meant more questions about my life. I don’t remember these word for word, as it was over a month ago. Yet, the idea behind these questions will stay in my mind forever.
The first one, pretty normal, do I consider myself part of an organized religion? The answer to this question and the one that I gave to my therapist is, yes. Then, what denomination? The answer to that, which I gave is United Methodist. The follow up question was one I was not prepared for. Something to the effect of, do I have to do anything for you to show you that I accept your answer?
What? I am sorry, but what? What does that mean? And now, why is my therapist the only person in my life who has asked me this question. When Paul found out the I was Methodist, never once did I think and now you should do XYZ to show me that you accept that. What would that look like? Come with me to church, accept Christ as your savior, read the bible with me in session?
Now, in theory I get it because if it seems as if they don’t accept it, then they may be judging you. Then, they may not be able to give you the quality care and support that you need. But, how is ANYONE truly supposed to let you know they accept your religious choice?
Second crazy intake question, with a very similar path was about my sexuality. Now, I can’t remember if she asked me if I identified as the gender that I had marked on my intake form, but it was something like that. To which I answered yes, a female. And then again with the, is there anything I need to do to let you know that I accept that?
Now, I was born a female, am a female and as far as I can foresee, will always be female. I completely understand that this isn’t the case for everyone. I am very accepting of that. Still, I can’t imagine what that would look like. How is your therapist supposed to do something to show you they accept your gender identification? Other than just nodding along to your answer?
What could you possibly need somebody to do to prove that to you? That seems like it would be a lifelong, day in/day out project. Male, female, gay, straight, Jewish or Muslim I am pretty sure you give me an indication that you don’t “accept” it, you just probably won’t be my therapist anymore.
I understand that somewhere along the line, someone decided that these were important questions to ask. I am sure for someone, somewhere the fact these questions were asked made them happy and more comfortable. That is great and that makes perfect sense to me. What I am still left wondering, what would you come up with as the “anything” your therapist could do to let you know that they accept your answer?