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frostboot

How do I get taken seriously by a therapist?

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frostboot

Hi! I currently don't go to therapy, but I did for many years and always found it difficult to get anywhere since there was such a big part of me that I never dared to share. During high school I told two separate therapists that I'm not interested in sex, nor particularly interested in romance, but since they were both pretty dismissive and entirely seemed to miss the point, I stopped doing so. Now, I am beginning to feel like I would really need to talk about these things with someone but I'm nervous about how to breach the subject in such a way that I won't get shut down or end up in a conversation about "who hurt you?". I want them to be able to understand that it's not from trauma, or a medical condition, or just me "not having a high sex drive".
Have any of you successfully convinced a therapist about being aro/ace and how did you do it?

Edited by frostboot

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Mihnea

Hello!

Nowadays many therapists are sex positive and acknowledge the existence of asexuality. But this may depend on where you are geographically.

If you want to convince a therapist, you can use this list of published literature on the topic of sexuality and asexuality: 

Also, DSM-5 states that asexuality is not a mental disorder.

Last but not least, my advice is the following: if you felt the need to talk to a therapist, it would be very helpful to do so. Keep in mind that your relationship with your therapist is one of the most important aspects of therapy. If you don't feel understood, or you feel that your relationship with your therapist is not strong enough, you should tell that to her/him, and if nothing changes go to see another professional.

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Catpaws

Many therapists will also list experience with LGBTQ+ issues on their credentials/skill sets pages. If you don't have a therapist and intend to go find one, I'd definitely suggest checking credentials to narrow it down to one that will likely be much more accepting of ace existence than your previous experiences.

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Memento1

I'm sorry you've felt so invalidated.  It's a tough road to find a therapist that you click with!

 

It's not very clear from your description whether your past therapists shut you down or just didn't go anywhere with that information.  Did they miss the point or deny the point?  You should let them know not just that you're asexual/aromantic, but what that means to you.  I'm studying to become a counselor and it's very difficult to figure out what information people want to go deeper into, especially when they're scared to share.  I am scared I might accidentally invalidate someone and they will not say anything and just stop coming.  Your job is not to convince a therapist that you're aro/ace, it's to talk about what that means to you and why you're bringing it up.  If you feel invalidated by their response, say so.  If they make no attempts to smooth things over, don't try to convince them, just find a new therapist.  Multiculturalism is required learning for therapists nowadays, but some who were trained under old-school methods didn't get that training and have not adequately kept up with current trends.

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frostboot
4 minutes ago, Memento1 said:

It's not very clear from your description whether your past therapists shut you down or just didn't go anywhere with that information.  Did they miss the point or deny the point? 

I'd say both. One therapist very bluntly asked if I had been abused and then when I explained that I had sex recently and it was a bad experience, she smiled widely and said that I had lost my virginity earlier than what's usual, as if she hadn't listened at all to what I was saying. With the other one I used the word "aromantic" and tried to explain to her what that meant to me, and she said "then I guess I'm that too!" and seemed unable/unwilling to understand that I was talking about romantic attraction, not just a disinterest in what's typically seen as romantic. 

This wasn't that many years ago so I don't know about the old-school training part! But thank you! I have spent a lot of time feeling like I need to convince my therapists of stuff, but I really shouldn't have to. 

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🚓💨💨

How do I get taken seriously by a therapist?

 

Set fire to their couch.

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Lunala

My advice: If a therapist doesn't take you seriously purely because of your sexuality, they're probably a crap therapist.

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Sally

If you are way past high school age (say 25 or older), it's more likely that you will be taken seriously, since you're past the age where therapists may feel that you'll grow into being sexual.  Don't let your previous situations keep you from investigating therapists now.  

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Philip027

I don't.  I pay a therapist to listen to and acknowledge me, not to have to "convince" them of... well, goddamn anything.

 

If I wanted to not be listened to, I can talk to a wall without having to pay anything.

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Janus DarkFox

I don’t know about the Swedish psychological therapy environment but as stated in the OP, third time lucky hopefully.

 

Being in therapy for a while over the years, the first one was woeful when almost down the childhood route.  The first one was only a college therapist which left me with the words ‘you’re autistic, seek professional help to make sure to your doctor.  A time later I eventually got a hold of a Clinical Councillor for 18 months.  I could tell them everything other than gender experiences, I wasn’t aware of my own discomfort and difference at the time.  
 

This councillor was perfect and never questioned it very far other than my own sexuality questions.  Due to that I was told to explore Homosexuality first.  Other then that the therapist was seriously curious as despite their 30 or so years of experience, have never had a patient without some level of sexual or relational issue and be content in having had no desires, attractions or sexual drive/libido but a rare childhood experiences with sexual medical abuse.

 

Eventually I had a lot of unexplained anxiety or depression to explore, there was no content behind it to explore topics associated with typical depression/anxiety, they’ve put my mind in a place that I was acutely aware of mindfulness and that of the mind against the body remained separate to what was going on around my environment.

 

Their curiosity also lead to finding out I have no level of social desires either, observed the way I talk/physically speak, social comprehension and that of the childhood around that.  They found a difference rarely seen and I was tested over 6 weeks for Autism by a Clinical Psychologist.  I scored very highly on all tests and moderate scores with language and cognition.  There was no help past that point, without a social drive there’s nothing more that can be done, group therapies and a social awareness course kind of introduced me to the social world and how far removed I am from it.  The therapist leas it at that after the 18 month time limit saying “that’s just who you are”

 

I was referred to Psychiatry and Neurology to make entirely sure there’s nothing physically wrong with the brain.  Without any physical differences I was diagnosed Clinically Depressed with Manic features with psych and Tourettes Syndrome with the Neurologist after various tests, along with a few other things.  I’m on mood stabilisers ever since which has lifted most of the melancholic and hyper elation/voices hallucinations and such. 4 years stable and counting :)

 

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AceMissBehaving

When I told my therapist about my asexuality, she asked a few questions which I had anticipated, such as, could it be because of a change in my meds etc. I assured her it’s been a constant before I was any current medications, during and after, and something that’s goes way back. I talked to her about my part relationships and how this had been a significant and reoccurring “problem” and after that she didn’t push me in it at all 

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