50 minute slots


This therapy doesn’t work

I take an hour to get made up

so I do not look like the long toothed tiger

I feel inhabits my emotions and wishes

to roar and cry uncontrollably

while she sits thinking about

her recent vacation and what

she’ll have to eat for dinner

because after all this is just a job

she is just a human

who has a right to time off and a life outside

the pain she allots 50 minute slots

I am convinced

paying for therapy is a little like

paying for love

you get little of the real stuff

and a lot of compensation and emptiness

I feel alone in the room

hearing myself drone

I want to tell her everything

I want her to know how much I’m hurting

I want to express my fear and my loathing

but she is a stranger

who takes my insurance

maybe I should be thankful

but I’m bitter and repressed and tell her

what she wants to hear

after all, therapists want to believe you’re doing alright

even when you’re one step from the edge

after all, therapists need to sleep sound at night

just as I childishly wish she’d turn around and say

this isn’t a job, I care, I really care about YOU

let me in

and if she did I would, but that’s supposing

people aren’t who they are and they very much are

professional detatchment

closed-off, remote, shuffling from one hour to the next

waiting for the time they can walk out the door

not think about other people’s problems

there isn’t much empathy going around these days

we’re all so tired and I’m getting to the end

of wearing cracked masks

even when I need to break apart

which you can only do when someone

gives a shit

nobody pays for reality

and as much as it is known

‘therapy is a gift you give yourself’

and as much as it is claimed

‘if you do the work you’ll grow’

I don’t want to go through the motion

I want to be cared about

I want her to give a shit

I want things that are impossible

because she’s a job and I’m a client

but this way around it feels like

I’m the hooker and she’s the john

because I’m blowing hot air

and she’s sucking it up


34 thoughts on “50 minute slots

  1. I am struggling with anxiety myself and trying to read and research and figure it out on my own. I think my expectations are that a therapist would have that objective ear and help me make decisions without the emotions that clog up my brain. But I believe I would be disappointed if she felt cold and uncaring in the process… hmmm. I am sorry it’s been such a tough time my friend. 💜

  2. It’s so hard to talk to a therapist. I find it impossible to pour myself out to them. They are strangers. How can I trust them? And by the time I know them well enough to start really talking, we’re too close and they want to refer me to someone not emotionally invested.

    Hell, this is 90% of the reason for poetry. I guess this is why I end up talking with friends.

  3. Outstanding! I can’t count the number of therapists who unsettled me – far too many…
    Head to Head & ❤ to ❤

  4. Ohhh yes, yes!

    “I am convinced
    paying for therapy is a little like
    paying for love”

    It is! And then there are also baristas, hair-dressers, shamans and priests in the very same business, the only difference is how much they charge.

  5. I think I have always felt this way in regards to therapy….you are paying someone to listen , to “like you”, to understand…to be there… but it all just falls apart for me when I think of payment…. I would just think, “Oh yeah, she or he doesn’t really care…its a job, just their job …they would just want me to move on with my day til next time. But then I think … I force that perspective on myself … I should be there to find clarity in myself….not looking for a life long buddy to hang with… the therapist is really just like an oarsman or ferryman I carry a conversation with on the boat to help get me across a great divide that eventually will drop me off at that distant shore I have been emphatically pointing my finger at, not realizing I would get their much faster if I picked up the other set paddles laying in the boat and helped out…..

  6. Dear Em, thank you, I went into therapy for the anxiety that my illness had provoked although of course there are always other things that you can get fixed whilst you’re there for one thing. But the thing that unsettled me (and that’s the EXACT right word) was how false it felt. I had been a therapist myself once, I burned out because I cared about my clients so much I couldn’t have the boundaries and self care I needed to keep going. I realize now that is why my clients liked me, they knew I cared. I was close enough that I could empathize. It is hard because when you’re like that, you don’t last, but if you are cold and professional you may last but you’re … unsettling as you say. I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s disappointing because we all need people to talk to xo

  7. Stupidly I hadn’t thought of that until recently, I suppose because when I was a therapist I used to care so much (that’s why I burned out) and also because I thought if someone wanted to be a therapist it meant they cared but I didn’t realize just because that may be true, doesn’t mean someone can survive 24/7 being a therapist and not close off and become professional and detatched in order to cope – so I get why they are that way but it does seem FALSE and talking to them can be so lonely and I agree I felt the same way, that I could use then as a reflection and do the work myself but that just makes you feel more lonely. Anyway thank you for reading my friend

  8. I’ve always felt as if I were going to obtain therapy, I would have to have someone who makes me feel comfortable enough to share and feel vulnerable. If not, I would have to move on. Reading this saddens me:
    “I am convinced
    paying for therapy is a little like
    paying for love
    you get little of the real stuff
    and a lot of compensation and emptiness
    I feel alone in the room
    hearing myself drone
    I want to tell her everything
    I want her to know how much I’m hurting”
    A great deal… but, that you wrote it out and shared it here with us, it’s no longer in. Your words… create awareness and promotes advocacy. They help.

  9. Seems like the most important things in life are often rare finds. *shrugs* I emailed you because, well… it seemed appropriate to do so. *nods*

  10. I’m feeling pissed off at that therapist. I want to tell her, “Hey! Get real in there. You can handle a few, or even many, sleepless nights and distracted dinners. I know, I’ve been there, and still, retired for twelve years, I can loose sleep over clients I haven’t seen in that long or twice as long. Dare to let your heart be broken. Dare to let it be healed too.”

  11. When I looked up and saw my therapist crying, I didn’t feel like a whore that time, I didn’t feel so alone in that room.

  12. Being alone, I find myself feeling: ” What I need is a lover, not a therapist!”

    But perhaps there are also people in therapy because of their lovers…

  13. I have never been to therapy. Though I have believed at different points in my life that I should have.

    Thank you for sharing this with me, Brave Warrior. All my love. ❤

  14. I think it’s a really good thing for most people and I hope the poem would not put anyone off going because everyone’s experiences are different and the idea and construct of therapy is a really sound one, it’s just that sometimes humans are humans 🙂

  15. Ah that’s so true I can relate to both sides. I think people seek someone to listen to them, sometimes that is a lover, sometimes that is just a companion, sometimes a therapist. Being alone one may think a lover would fix everything and it may, sometimes as you say, that kind of intense love can turn you to therapy! Well said. Thank you for reading my work

  16. She’s a really nice person. But she’s doing the bare minimum. It’s not because she isn’t a good person I’m not sure what it is, probably burn out. I went to see her when I got sick and needed someone to bounce ideas off, I have done that, I will probably stop soon, either way I was glad for her but it did bring up the idea of how one can feel alone when you are paying for therapy if it feels ingenious or just like going through the rote. I agree with you Bob – dare your heart be broken, dare to let it be healed too.

  17. I think there are many people in the field like her. We are drawn into the work often by empathy and managing the balance between empathetic joining and distance can be tricky. Burnout is real too, even in the course of a work day when there aren’t enough breaks and sessions are intense. I worked in community mental health clinic settings were that was often the case.

  18. Yes that’s true. i worked in the field for quite a while mostly at rape crisis centers and I burned out because I wasn’t able to shut it off at all – there’s a delicate balance for sure. I admire anyone who has done it for a long time as it takes its toll though it can be a beautiful thing also. I do think they should make people work less in this country, in europe you cannot work those hours, here it’s common for interns to not be paid and expected to work ten hours a day back to back clients. It doesn’t work

  19. At one clinic where I worked (funded by Medicaid) the “break even” productivity measure was 80% of a 40 hour week billed to direct services. That left just enough time for staff and team meetings and trainings. The Psychiatrists had to see three patients per hour. That is burnout city. In my next job, I worked crisis, which was hard, but there was down time. Rape crisis has to be particularly intense. but so needed. Thank you for doing that as long as you could.

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