Fat Bias with a Mental Health Professional

Kelly writes:

I spent three hours reading and re-reading many of the stories posted on your blog and I felt compelled to share one of my own, but mine involves an MFT (marriage and family therapist).

Since early 2007, my husband and I have been coping with the fact that his ex-wife is engaged in parental alienation with their nine-year-old twin sons. Since March of 2008 he and I have been in court for eight ex parte hearings (all dismissed in our favor) as well as a multi-day civil misdemeanor trial against his ex-wife for violating a court order (the parenting agreement on file with the courts). We’re gearing up for a second trial later this year, and this time his ex is looking at felony charges.

One result of this nightmare is the fact that both my husband and I are emotionally, spiritually, and psychologically exhausted, and back in April of this year we decided we needed an MFT to help up navigate our experiences, keep what’s left of our sanity, and help his sons cope with their mother.

Because our situation is so very convoluted, the therapist we chose spent three sessions just doing an intake interview with us. We then spent another session outlining our goals and aspirations for therapy. And then, somewhere in the middle of our fifth session with this individual, our session took the following turn:

MFT (at me): Do you think your weight has anything to do with what you’re experiencing?

Me: No. I’ve been fat all my life and accepted my body years ago.

Husband (at MFT): She’s got the best body image of anyone I’ve ever met, which is one of the things I love about her.

MFT: How much to you weigh?

Me: I don’t know. I haven’t been on a scale in years, but I can tell you that clothes I’ve had since 1990 still fit the same, so my weight hasn’t changed much in 20 years.

MFT: Well, exercise and eating for fuel and not for comfort are so important in staying healthy. All of your excess weight (waving a hand in the general area of my abdomen) is so hard on your heart and joints, and just about every system in your body.

I shut up at this point, but my husband – bless him – tried to stay calm as he explained to her that I do exercise, I do eat well, that I don’t overeat. She listened, but I could tell from her body language that she really wasn’t buying it.

That was our last visit with that particular therapist, but I did learning something from this experience. Before our first appointment with our current therapist, I wrote a letter to him explaining that I’m fat, I know I’m fat, I’m not concerned about my fatness, and that my fatness has nothing to do with the stress and anxiety I’m currently under. I’m stressed because my husband’s ex-wife calls the police to our house on weekends we have visitation because she claims to hear us hitting and swearing at the boys when she calls them. I’m stressed because the boys panic when their mother calls them at our house and says she misses them so much that she thinks she’s going to die. I’m stressed because twice this year she’s told the boys that unless they tell her that they don’t love their father, she’s going to commit suicide. I’m stressed because we missed 21 days of visitation in 2009 because his ex-wife refused to deliver the boys. I’m stressed because we’ve spend nearly $50k of our retirement money in lawyers and court fees defending ourselves and trying to mitigate her pathology with the boys. In other words, I’m stressed for a lot of reasons, but *not* because I’m fat.

So far he seems to understand where I’m coming from because the only time I’ve been asked about my weight was when he asked both of us if either of us has experienced any dramatic weight loss or gain since all of this started during the intake interview. I’m hopefully cautious that this therapist might be a keeper.

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30 Comments

  1. FFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUU!!!

    I think I’d have torn her face, stressed as you are at this very moment.

    I hope the ex will get psychiatric help, and that this so-called therapist will get training about how to behave with patients and not confront them on stuff they are not paying you to explore. GRR!

    Reply
  2. Jodie

     /  June 29, 2010

    I’m curious why this would be bias. If we’re that uncomfortable with weight being brought up as a part of one therapeutic session (totally a legitimate area to at least explore), isn’t that sort of the definition of us NOT being okay with our weight? It sounds like your therapist could have been a bit more sensitive about it, but I’m not convinced that’s bias. That’s like if you had cancer or a disability and completely ignoring it and how it impacts your life. Ignoring it makes it the white elephant in the room and makes all of us overweight and obese people even more invisible. It may indeed have nothing to with your presenting problem, but a good therapist will at least explore (not necessarily dwell on) each fact of your life and it’s relationship with your presenting problem- your health, your economic status, your educational level, your career, your family of origin, your relationship history/sexual orientation, etc. You may have been looking for someone entirely solution-focused in a therapist, but what you’re describing doesn’t sound like bias; it sounds like an ineloquent attempt to address the white elephant in the room. Talk about it for one session, and those elephants usually go away.

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  3. Really? They’re in there because of a prolonged, nasty custody battle, and you don’t think asking about her fat, or after she answered the question stating that the weight gain hadn’t come with stress, that her weight’s been the same for 20 years, that continuing to harp on it is a bias?

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  4. Jodie

     /  June 29, 2010

    geekgirlsrule, from what was posted here, it sounds like the conversation took all of 10 minutes of one appointment. Would you consider it bias if the OP had cancer, and the therapist asked questions like, “Do you feel your cancer has anything to do with the custody battle?” and “How are you taking care of yourself (in terms of cancer)?” Or, “Do you feel like you having a PhD has anything to do with the custody battle?” or any other simple facet about who we are? Any of those things DO have an impact on other people’s perceptions of us (which are an important part of a custody battle), so it’s not even like it was completely irrelevant. The fact that we are overweight or obese is part of who we are. Why should it be off limits? I’m not suggesting that the therapist should make it the focus of treatment, but all she did was bring it up in the fifth session. Wasn’t even the first thing out of her mouth…

    Reply
  5. Patsy Nevins

     /  June 29, 2010

    Sorry, but this is definitely weight bias & definitely inappropriate. The answer to that first question, when she replied that her weight is not an issue for her & has been stable for 20 years, should have put an end to that discussion. And being fat is NOT like having cancer, it is NOT a ‘health issue.’ It is a normal, natural, genetic variation in body size & shape. The therapist also owed her the respect & courtesy not to automatically dismiss statements that she exercised & ate normally. I too would have changed therapists to find one who was willing & able to deal with the problems for which I was seeking help, not trying to create problems which did not exist.

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  6. Sim

     /  June 29, 2010

    I think the problem wasn’t that she asked, it’s when the answer was no, it’s not a problem, the therapist kept going, implying that she was lying about her lifestyle. The question “how much do you weigh” was completely innapropriate! especially after being told, no, it’s not an issue from both the poster AND her husband.

    And to be lectured about the health issues, that may or may not be true, in a marriage councelling session with everything else that’s been going on, again, not neccesary in the slightest.

    and um, cancer is a little bit different to being overweight!!! If asked about the PHd, the answer would have been , no, not a problem, and the issue dropped, let’s face it.

    Reply
  7. Jae

     /  June 29, 2010

    Jodie, what your argument is either missing or ignoring though is the fact that she didn’t just ask if her weight had anything to do with the custody battle, but went on to make assumptions about the OP’s behavior and health.

    If the conversation had been:

    Therapist: Do you think your weight has anything to do with what you’re experiencing?

    OP: No. I’ve been fat all my life and accepted my body years ago.

    Therapist: Yes, but others often have a negative perception of those who are overweight. Do you think that has played a role?

    I doubt we would be reading this story here. After asking if the OP felt that her weight was an issue, and getting a negative response, it is not up to the therapist to insert her own views on the OP’s behavior and how the OP’s weight may impact her physical health. This was not an open discussion of the OP’s weight and how it may impact her life, it was the therapist airing her views on this woman (that she overeats, doesn’t exercise, and has a poor body image).

    As someone who is a few credits away from being a therapist, I can say that one question a therapist of any kind always has to ask themselves is: What interest of my client am I serving by pursuing this path? Therapists are human, and it is very easy to get judgmental and assume that the client doesn’t understand what their “real” problem is, but the truth is that if the therapist is not mindful, then a lot of their perceptions of the problem will be tainted by their own bias.

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  8. Jodie

     /  June 30, 2010

    Jae, I am a licensed therapist (with a master’s in counseling and a master’s in psychiatric nursing), and I’m also obese. I agree that it wasn’t handled well, but question is, “is this really bias?” There are some horrific stories on this site about weight being blamed for everything under the sun when it isn’t at all the issue; here it’s brought up simply as a legitimate question that’s further explored. If we as therapists we take every answer at face value and drop it, we don’t get very far in helping people. This is what this particular therapist said in terms of interjecting her own values:

    “Well, exercise and eating for fuel and not for comfort are so important in staying healthy. All of your excess weight (waving a hand in the general area of my abdomen) is so hard on your heart and joints, and just about every system in your body.”

    It’s a fairly non-judgemental statement. It didn’t necessarily need to be said, but it’s a far cry from something to the effect of losing weight will make your problems go away. I get what you’re saying about it being part of the therapist’s agenda to make a statement about the impact of weight on health, but it’s incumbent upon us to take health into account. Try replacing “weight” in this conversation with “cancer.” Would it be wrong for a therapist to state the negative impact that a tumor has, in a general sense? Again, it probably isn’t necessary, but I don’t think anyone would see that as bias. I like your suggested alternative statement, and that’s likely along the lines of what I would have said, but I’m not seeing the bias in the therapist’s statement.

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  9. Regina T

     /  June 30, 2010

    Jodie….I think you’re missing the point. Referring back to the original post—the therapist was NOT just basically asking if her weight is a result of the current stress they are under from the ex-wife–as in “have you gained or lost weight during the time you have been dealing with this issue?”. The therapist asked her the question based solely on fat stereotypes and obesity panic. In fact, she asked her if her weight had anything to do with what she was experiencing…almost as if to blame her weight for the problems they are having, or at least implying that if she were average size, the problems would be to a lesser degree. She also ASSumed that this woman’s weight resulted in: low self-esteem, poor health, lack of exercise, comfort/emotional eating, poor conflict resolution skills, lack of self confidence, stress, etc. etc. etc. All the stereotypes us fatties have to combat on a daily basis.

    As a therapist, SHE SHOULD KNOW BETTER! This is someone who is TRAINED to look beyond the surface, beyond the stereotypes, and NEVER judge or ASSume anything about anyone while in therapy, regardless of how long therapy has been going on. Therapy should be a safe place where the patient is BELIEVED, respected, listened to, unjudged, accepted, and honored for their decision to work on their problems to enhance the quality of their life. The fact that this therapist made a value statement while waving her hand in the direction of the patient’s body did nothing to build a trusting and safe environment and relationship for them to work together in.

    As a deathfat fatty myself, I have to contend regularly with the stereotypes of others. I work hard to dispel those myths with people I am in relationships with, regardless of the level. I do not make excuses and apologies for my weight, and I do not believe that my weight should be a topic of discussion early on in any relationship unless and until both of us have established trust and mutual respect. Just as I would not ask a new friend or acquaintance about crossed eyes or their extra long toe the first few times I am with them, I would not allow or expect anyone to ask me about my weight unless I first bring it up in discussion. My weight is only one part of who I am as a person…..why does it ALWAYs have to be the source of all my problems, the bane of my existance, the thorn in my side and the totality of my persona? Because…it just isnt.

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  10. Jodie

     /  June 30, 2010

    Sim, I used the PhD example because it’s something that people generally see as positive, as well as to illustrate the complexity. The ex-wife may very well not like the current wife. if the current wife say had something positive that the ex did not, such as a PhD, it would absolutely be relevant if it’s a cause of jealousy. It’s also something that the current wife wouldn’t be able to do anything to change, but it’s worth acknowledging that there is something there- which is why I point this out. *ANYTHING* that’s a part of who we are can be relevant in how we relate to and and perceived by other people. In fact, if there were a huge educational disparity between two people and the one who has the higher education said “nope” to the question, that’s definitely an area I would continue to explore with someone.

    (Of course, that was a random example; I was just trying to put this in perspective and have no idea the educational status of the OP).

    Reply
  11. These kind of stories make my blood boil. To the OP, I am glad that you found a therapist who could be sensitive and respectful of your actual needs and desires for therapy rather than trying to put their own agenda on you.

    Jodie, I too am a psychotherapist and I am shocked that you aren’t acknowledging how insensitive and judgmental the therapist was being. Even the term “excess weight” itself is a judgment. “Excess” implies a value statement–too much. (This is why I also don’t like the term “overweight” … OVER what weight, exactly?).

    You can’t replace weight with cancer in this case because the two aren’t analogous. Weight could be replaced with height here. Or perhaps hair color or left-handedness. But not a disease. Weight is in some cases correlated with disease (NOT the same thing as a cause) but it also is often not at all. Perfectly healthy people can be fat, and fat people who are sick are not necessarily sick BECAUSE of their fat, may have no real power over whether their body will successfully lose weight, and most importantly, their fatness is not a disease.

    If you don’t see how problematic your attitude is, you are very likely doing real damage to clients who you perceive to have “excess weight.” I would highly recommend doing some more research about Health at Every Size and Fat Acceptance before doing any more psychological damage to your clients. I am available if you wish to speak with me off this site; my contact info is in my website, linked to this comment.

    Reply
  12. Jodie

     /  June 30, 2010

    Regina T, this was the fifth session, not something that was pursued in the initial assessment. Weight and health are absolutely part of how we experience the world. It’s not something that a therapist should only ask in terms of if there was a weight gain or loss due to mental illness; it’s a part of who we are. It’s no different than discussing race or sexual orientation in terms of how people view themselves or are viewed by others.

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  13. Jodie

     /  June 30, 2010

    Patsy Nevins, the OP didn’t say that the therapist dismissed her husband telling the therapist that the OP does eat and exercise regularly; in fact, she didn’t specify if the therapist made any verbal response to that at all. We’re assuming that the therapist didn’t believe her, when we have no idea how the exchange was resolved (other than the OP not going back). The therapist didn’t even make a further question after the OP stated that her weight had been stable for 20 years; she simply made a non-judgemental statement about the complications of weight and according to what the OP has written here, the therapists didn’t make any further questions or comments about it.

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  14. Regina T

     /  June 30, 2010

    Jodie–absolutely weight is part of how we experience the world, as is race, sexual orientation, economic status, and a whole host of other very important, very influential aspects of our being. But as you said…it is only part of who we are. According to the OP, the biggest and most difficult factor in the decision to seek therapy had nothing to do with her weight that she has maintained for 20 years–and everything to do with how they can better respond and deal with a very difficult person in their lives. She was seeking coping skills, support, and a safe place to express how this situation made her feel.
    I do not object to the therapist asking about her weight and how she feels about it. This is valuable information for a therapist to evaluate the confidence and self esteem of the individual. I do object to the value statements and judgemental stereotyping and sheer speculation on the part of the therapist that she must be emotional/comfort eating to cope and can’t possibly be happy with her current weight….because asking a client how much she weighs (even if it is being done to evaluate how in touch one is with their reality) has little bearing on the god-awful nightmare the ex-wife is to live with. The therapist was out of line making broad ASSumptions that this woman was not healthy, active, and was damaging her body. To quote the OP: “MFT: Well, exercise and eating for fuel and not for comfort are so important in staying healthy. All of your excess weight (waving a hand in the general area of my abdomen) is so hard on your heart and joints, and just about every system in your body.”

    No matter how you slice it….THAT IS BIAS.

    Reply
  15. in fact, she didn’t specify if the therapist made any verbal response to that at all. We’re assuming that the therapist didn’t believe her, when we have no idea how the exchange was resolved (other than the OP not going back).

    The OP said that the therapist’s body language conveyed disbelief, and any therapist worth her salt knows that body language is as important, if not moreso, than what words we use. After body language indicating disbelief to the client, the therapist then went on to make assumptions about the OP’s health based solely on her weight.

    Therapists are supposed to be the ones to create and hold the safe space. This OP did not feel safe in her therapist’s office because of the therapist acting in biased ways. This is not the OP’s fault, the therapist is the one in the wrong.

    Again, please, for the sake of your clients, consider revising your approach to this topic.

    Reply
  16. Norma

     /  June 30, 2010

    Wow – This sounds horrible. From what you described, this therapist definitely let her/his own personal bias be interjected into your therapy session. It sounds like this therapist is poorly trained or requires more training/experience. This experience is especially horrible considering it can take some people a really long time to get to therapy. Its great that it didn’t discourage you from seeking a different therapist.

    I would argue that this therapist has had personal experience with weight being a problem in a relationship. It sounds like the therapist was very quick to assume that was the issue. Its obvious that discussing your weight in couples therapy was not appropriate. It only served to alienate you and your husband from pursuing therapy with this therapist.

    Thank you for sharing this experience! Too often poor experiences with mental health professionals are not shared and then that therapist goes on to harm more and more people.

    Reply
  17. Sarah

     /  June 30, 2010

    “It’s a fairly non-judgmental statement.”

    You’re kidding me, right? How is making unsubstantiated statements about a person’s weight “non-judgmental?”

    “MFT: Well, exercise and eating for fuel and not for comfort are so important in staying healthy. All of your excess weight (waving a hand in the general area of my abdomen) is so hard on your heart and joints, and just about every system in your body.”

    None of this is God’s (or scientific) truth, and it was wrong of the therapist to make such statements. Sometimes, eating for comfort IS healthy. And have excess fat doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem going on inside the body.

    The fact that you find this “non-judgmental” says a lot more about your personal attitude towards fat people than anything else.

    A therapist isn’t a doctor, and she had no right to make these comments with physically evaluating and testing Kelly for these so-called problems caused by being fat.

    Reply
  18. sannanina

     /  June 30, 2010

    Jodie – I can see how asking about weight can be appropriate for a therapist in certain situations. But asking a client how much he or she weighs is not, and making assumptions about exercise and eating habits because of body size which this therapist clearly did in her last statement most certainly isn’t. Saying that the situation described above is not an example of clear fat bias although the therapist expressed negative stereotypes of fat people (namely that they eat for emotional reasons and don’t exercise) is a form of denying the writers experience – something that is incredibly harmful. I am sure the therapist meant well. But unfortunately that just isn’t good enough.

    Reply
  19. I agree with Sarah, Jodie–if you honestly see that statement as non-judgmental, then I’m not sure how much common ground you are going to find with the other commenters here. Really, by the time your patient explained to you that her weight had been stable for 20 years and she had only recently begun experiencing stress and anxiety due to the issues with her husband’s ex–the rest of that time she had been fine–as well as that she didn’t have issues with eating disorders or concerns about her diet or eating behavior, wouldn’t you drop it? I would certainly hope so.

    I also find it appalling that you think their choosing another therapist reflects badly on the OP’s perception of her own weight. This attitude smacks of “the therapist is always right.” I wouldn’t feel so strongly about this if so many of us hadn’t had similar experiences with therapists. As a child I was sent to a couple of different therapists with anxiety, depression, stress due to being picked on at school, etc. I cried all the time and got frequent bad stomachaches due to the stress. I projected all of this onto my weight and would go into these therapists’ offices crying about how if I could just get thin, everything would be fine. In both cases, they encouraged me in my efforts to diet and lose weight rather than addressing the underlying reasons as to why I was so upset all the time, which was almost certainly the wrong answer. I am back in therapy (and finally making significant progress) for similar issues at the age of 33.

    These are really minor examples of a therapist bringing his or her own anti-fat bias into the relationship, but enough to make me not want to set foot into a therapist’s office for many years afterward. And I am 100% positive that the same anti-fat bias was at play in the situation the OP described. Asking about it, fine. Making assumptions about someone’s “lifestyle” and refusing to let go of the belief that fat isn’t at the root of all of their problems, big red flag. I get enough distorted crap about my body from my own society-influenced brain… the last thing I need is someone I’m supposed to be able to trust adding to the pile-on. Therapists are people, not god, and not everything they say or assume comes from a good or impartial place.

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  20. Jodie is clearly a troll and is derailing the discussion. Perhaps we should stop feeding the troll?

    Reply
  21. Jodie

     /  July 1, 2010

    spacedcowgirl, I haven’t said anything about the OP choosing another therapist. (and to other commentors) I’ve also acknowledged multiple times that I think the therapist in question didn’t say the right thing; I disagree that in the context it was entirely biased- though I do see the point of what others have said. Therapists are health care providers, despite what several commenters here think; it’s not their job to be offering nutritional or exercise advice, but it is absolutely within their scope of practice to acknowledge the issue from a mental health perspective, which this therapist didn’t do a great job of doing. (Side note: if the OP is using health insurance benefits to pay for therapy, the therapist has to put down all health issues as part of the diagnosis, and to health insurance companies, overweight and obesity fall into that category. Often the full diagnosis is due after session six, and the OP has stated this was session five, so there may have been an assessment point there- I usually get that info from the primary health care provider (and the client’s report), but not every therapist has that luxury). My point is that if weight can’t be discussed at all, and ignoring it isn’t necessarily helpful.

    I thought about using another non-modifiable psychosocial factor for comparison instead of cancer, but I was thinking that comparing it to a health issue would make more sense. How about if it were compared like this: “Do you think being of a different race is a factor in this problem?” followed up with questions about how the stress of being a minority race effects health? Would the subtext be seen as the therapist having a bias against people of different races? (That is a relevant topic in psychotherapy and health care in general right now, and there are those out there that support and encourage making that a part of therapy, like Beverly Tatum Daniel). A comparative statement in the context of what the therapist in question said would be “Being black makes you more prone to stress,” which would not be a particularly helpful thing to say, but I don’t think it would lend itself to the subtext of “… so stop being black.” Would others consider that bias?

    I’m sure that now there will be continued assertions that I’m a troll from others because now I’ve brought race into it… which is why I went with a comparative health issue in the first place. I heard Bill Clinton speak recently- he said something about the biggest prejudice we have as Americans these days is that we only want to be around people who think the same way that we do. I’m trying to be respectful in this discussion, but I do have a different opinion. This being the internet, and a privately owned website (I assume), certainly the moderator/owner would be well within his or her rights to delete my comments and ban me from posting. However, I’ve acknowledged that the therapist should not have said what she said the way she said it (multiple times), and others here have acknowledged that it should be okay at least in some limited way to discuss weight in the context of being a part of a person’s experience in the world, so there is some common ground here. Perhaps the conversation can continue with that common ground?

    Reply
  22. vesta44

     /  July 1, 2010

    Jodie – As one of the moderators of this site, I have let your comments stand, but your last comment is just that: your last comment on this topic. Any other comments you make will be deleted by me.
    You just don’t get it, and I don’t think you want to get it. What that therapist did was biased and had no place in that therapy session. Once she was told that Kelly’s weight had been stable for 20 years and that she had a good body image, the therapist had no right to go on and ASSUME that Kelly was not healthy or that she was eating for comfort or that her weight was “hard on her heart and joints, and just about every system in her body”. Without doing a complete physical, that therapist had no idea of Kelly’s PHYSICAL health and had no right to ASSUME she knew what Kelly’s health was just by looking at her. Those kinds of ASSUMPTIONS are what fat people deal with on a daily basis and they don’t need to deal with that shit from their therapists too, especially when the therapist has been told that weight is NOT an issue.

    Reply
  23. given that I’ve already said everything I think I can, and given the moderator’s most recent comment, I only want to reply to one thing Jodie said:

    if the OP is using health insurance benefits to pay for therapy, the therapist has to put down all health issues as part of the diagnosis, and to health insurance companies, overweight and obesity fall into that category.

    Different insurance companies have different policies, but generally speaking, no one ever *HAS* to put down “overweight” or “obese” and often medical professionals (and probably psychotherapists) put them down without actually getting the height/weight of the patient so it is often extremely subjective, based on whether the health care provider “thinks” that the person is fat. A friend of mine recently talked about finding out that a doctor put “obese” as one of her medical codes when she had never been weighed at that doctor’s office!

    But the point is, no health care provider ever HAS to put down EVERY POSSIBLE diagnosis that is correct for you. They put down the ones that are relevant to the treatment you are receiving, and that is enough.

    Reply
  24. Orora

     /  July 4, 2010

    Here’s what gets me: Even if the therapist felt that Kelly was in denial about her fatty fat fatness and her obviously low self-esteem, she didn’t listen to what her clients were telling her: mainly that this wasn’t the issue they were there to deal with, and they weren’t going to deal with it. In my experience as a client, a good therapist doesn’t push you too far in places you’re not willing to go. Some pushing, yes. But if a client doesn’t want to explore something (whether the therapist thinks it’s an issue or not) the therapist has to work around it and come back to the issue if/when the client is ready. The therapist does not get confrontational in the first intake interview!

    In this case, it just sounds like the therapist wasn’t listening at all. Neither client wanted to talk about it, and there were PLENTY of other issues to deal with. Kelly’s weight was not what caused her husband’s ex to be a raging loony.

    Reply
  25. wriggles

     /  July 13, 2010

    “Being black makes you more prone to stress,”

    Er, no, it makes you more likely to be subject to stress, not quite the same thing.

    As you’ve done with Jodie, I’d just make a general point that whether or not s/he is or isn’t a troll, s/he is in keeping with a meme that has gone beyond getting on my nerves-policing fat people to standards so low that they are incompatible with and unconducive to proper self esteem.

    It makes sense that fat people take control of their self esteem, for instance, not calling themselves “over” some imaginery weight level that they may or may not have been in a parallel existence that they are not living.

    We are the one’s that have to answer for our self esteem from amongst others therapists who apparently reserve the right to ask us how our self esteem is impacting on the events of our lives.

    Reply
  26. This is a very good post; one that I believe all could benefit from reading.

    Reply
  27. Jackie

     /  July 21, 2010

    I’m not sure if this would be generalizing, but my psychatrist is fat, so he understands all the stigma and discrimination that comes with being fat. I’m not saying that having a fat therapist would be better for fat people, but I’m saying perhaps it might make things easier when you’re both coming from the experience of being fat in a fat hating world.

    Reply
  28. Hi Original Poster, I had to skip some of the commentary discussion because I am low on Spoons, but I must say it is fantastic that you and your husband are supporting one another. This sort of stress does damage to relationships, and it’s great that you see the effects for you, him, and the kids. It is my hope the issues resolve soon and that you, he, and the kids find a really good therapist.

    Reply
  29. Giulia

     /  August 1, 2012

    Hello,

    The way that therapist handled the weight problem looks heck.
    A therapist does not have to give medical advice like he did : “weight putting pressure on joints and abdomen” is medical advice, and OP’s PCP could had handled it if needed.
    It was not therapist’s job, IMO.

    The thing is that in custody battles, weight has been more and more put on the table in order to eval parental fitness. Judges consider more and more that weight is part of eval parental fitness.

    So, if therapist wanted to put the problem on the table, he could had asked to OP something like : “Do you think that your h’s ex have put your weight in the middle ground to question your custody ?”, or, more simply : “Do you think that your h’s ex has considered a fight for custody due to your weight ?”
    THAT would had been related to the therapist’s job and to OP’s issue.
    Because it happens.

    But his “weight puts pressure on abdomen and joints” is off topic for what OP wants with the MFT.

    I am not sure I totally got it though.

    Reply
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