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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