How Not to Date a Shrink

Judy McGuire of DateGirl.Net has just released a new book, “How Not to Date.” Working under the colossally bad assumption that I know a lot about dating, she interviewed me for this book in a special section entitled “How Not to Date a Shrink.” Here is the interview and definitely check out her book if you get a chance.

Okay, so you’re out having drinks with friends and it turns out the guy you’ve got your eye on is a therapist. What’s the exact wrong thing to say to him/her?

Oh where to start? “Are you going to analyze me?…ha ha!,” “I should have been a shrink, but I’m just too crazy…ha ha!,” “Oh, could I tell you some stories about my family…ha ha!,” and “Aren’t all shrinks messed up themselves?… Ha ha!” have all been said time and time again. Unfortunately, they weren’t funny the first time.

My shrink is really hot–should I go for it?

Unless you thoroughly enjoy rejection, under no circumstances should you “go for it.” 99.9% of shrinks will decline such advances (for reasons discussed below). In fact, if you have a good working relationship with your shrink it is likely to be damaged because it’s very hard to go back to keeping it professional once you’ve made an attempt at seduction. If you do decide to take your chances, be prepared for many sessions to discuss your “conscious and subconscious motivations” for doing so. And if you happen to find that .1% without ethics, ask yourself: what else isn’t he ethical about?

That being said, if you truly have feelings for your therapist that go beyond him being simply hot, I would never discourage anyone from talking about it. Many patients put their therapist on a pedestal and treat him as perfect, which is far from the case (just read ShrinkTalk.Net and you’ll know what I mean). Talking about what you’re feeling can sometimes help you to see that your shrink is just a regular person, with strengths and flaws. This will help keep the relationship a therapeutic one.

I’m ignoring the fact that you’re probably going to say dating my shrink is a bad idea and that no ethical therapist would go there–how do I get him to bend those pesky rules? (Not that YOU’D ever do that, but theoretically speaking.)

In the therapist’s world, one is guilty until proven innocent. That means that if the state’s licensing board discovered a dual relationship, it would assume that psychological damage to the patient has occurred and will reprimand the professional accordingly. This usually means revoking that therapist’s license, sometimes permanently. Therefore, if you want to get your therapist to date you, convince him that you mean more to him than the 5 + years of graduate school he trudged through, as well as his livelihood.

Do you think most therapists prefer their dates in therapy or already sane?

This is a trick question, as it implies that someone in therapy is not sane. Some of the most psychologically healthy people I know are currently in therapy, and good therapists know that psychotherapy can be a great outlet for personal growth. I would imagine that most therapists are attracted to people who have at least been in therapy at some point in their lives, as they usually have some great insights into themselves. Plus, it’s great to come home to someone who knows what your day might have been like.

What about meds? How long do you wait before revealing your SSRI Rx?

Sadly, there still exists a stigma around seeking help for psychiatric problems. Many still erroneously see medication as only for the “crazy” or “weak.” Also, many medications are written “off-label,” meaning that they are prescribed for something other than their originally intended use. As a psychologist, I don’t write scripts myself, but I have many patients, for example, who take antipsychotics for sleep or extreme anxiety, even if they aren’t psychotic. However, many men will balk at hearing “wow, my Haldol is mixing with this wine nicely!” on a first encounter. In other words, you might want to find out what your date knows about psychiatric medicine before throwing back a Valium in front of him.

I imagine when new people–even attractive people you’re thinking of dating–find out what you do, they sometimes make inappropriate disclosures. What’s the worst you’ve heard?

Sometimes I’m confused with a psychic, and have been told that I can read minds. I’ve been asked, “if I say ‘hi’, what does that mean? You know, deep down? If anyone would know, it’s you.” The topper was in graduate school, when I was introduced to a woman at a party. Upon hearing what I was studying, she assumed that I could send subliminal messages from my brain to her genitals which would force her to have sex with me. She stumbled away, drunk and angry, referring to me as a “Mental Rapist.”

Is it wrong to ask your shrink/date for a freebie session?

Assuming you’re on a date with a therapist who isn’t YOUR therapist, if he has ethics he will always say no, but if you bat your eyelashes and imply that you’ll make it worth his while, it’s a great way to flirt.

What’s more impressive and why–a potential date with years of Freudian analysis under her belt or someone who’s never considered therapy and thinks it’s for “crazies?”

Without a doubt, the woman in therapy (in clinical circles “the analyzed”) is more desirable. Although some people who have done years of true analysis, which is traditionally at least three times per week, can be very self-absorbed (do you need to talk about yourself THAT much?) anyone with knowledge about the process and outcome of therapy will score major points over the ignoramus.

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9 Responses to “How Not to Date a Shrink”

  1. Amber says:

    Wow. That was a great story first thing in the morning! (okay I know it’s 9:30 but I didn’t get home until really early this morning!)
    I think some of the questions asked were kind of asinine but helped round out the interview anyway, it was interesting and made me laugh.
    I hope you NEVER stop blogging Dr. Rob! I’d be so sad without a semi weekly dose of your wit!

  2. attached2Shrink says:

    Hey Rob,
    My gf is a therapist to be (getting her doctorate soon I hope), and we have a dispute I want you to settle.
    She says, “I don’t analyze the people in my life w/out them asking, and so I’ve never analyzed you.”
    I say, “With all of your knowledge and training, how can you NOT have some kind of ongoing analysis in your head of the people that you know well.”
    Knowing someone’s background and all, wouldn’t a psychologist have to have some kind of opinion about why someone behaves the way they do?
    Dr. Rob Edit: Attached, contact me directly if you want the short and sweet answer, but this could be a good Question of the Week. Feel free to remind me if I don’t get to it in a reasonable amount of time.

  3. Wayland says:

    You’re just getting all kinds of attention huh Rob? You know you love it. Be careful man, the next thing you get is stalkers.

  4. Flora says:

    Nice article! I especially liked the worst things to say to a therapist part. 🙂

  5. Julene says:

    I’ve known many female friends of mine over the years that have fallen for their therapists because, and I quote, “he really listens to me!” They don’t seem interested in the fact that it is his job to listen, and offer feedback in a way that will help their life.
    Of course, once they’ve been told their shrink is not interested in a date/intercourse/friendly meetings outside of their office, they tend to move on to another out of embarrassment. I suppose this is one of the occupational hazards of doing your job well.

  6. Anonymous says:

    boring…
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  7. I tend to avoid talking about what I do (outside of mentioning my other work), and this tends to avoid the, “Why did my dad leave us when I was 8?” / “Are you psycho analyzing me?” (Yes).

  8. Seviah says:

    There’s transference of course. Another of my family’s luminary’s espoused this practice as par for that course. He lost his license, even then, the 60s.

  9. Seviah says:

    I’m not interested, but in these areas I don’t believe in rules. I probably should.

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