Parents wrote a letter to my therapist - I am 26

by Steve
(Albany, OR)

I am currently in therapy. I have been depressed and have been relying on alcohol as a coping mechanism. I spoke to a friend who has gone through almost the same set of circumstances and recommended i go through my insurance to get someone to talk to. It's going well but I mentioned to my parents I was in therapy and they asked questions about who the therapist was, how I was paying for it, and if they could send a letter. I said ok, feeling awkward about it, but having never gone through this I didn't know what to say. The therapist was surprised and had never received such a letter for an ... independent adult of my age. She asked if I wanted to read it, and again, not knowing any better, I did. The letter touched on all the things I was there specifically to discuss. But it was like they were telling my therapist things they thought I would hide. It's been a week since that session and my therapist is traveling abroad for 2 more weeks before we can meet again. This is just not sitting well with me at all. I feel violated that my parents would say these things to someone without discussing the specifics with me first, and also that my therapist let me read it. And now that I've had time to think about it all, the fact they felt compelled to insert themselves in the situation at all is not sitting right. Should I feel this way? Does this happen often? What should I do for the next two weeks to keep from having this eat me up? It's weighting me down.

Ben's reply:

While I'm sure your parents had good intentions for sending a letter, I agree that it is
inappropriate and intrusive to do so. I think it puts a therapist in a bit of a bind as well, as their obligation is to you, not your parents, and obviously it can be upsetting to read such a letter. The real issue is with your parents and I would suggest that you confront them about the fact that you felt this was a violation and not respectful to you as an adult. I'm sure if your therapist were there, they would help you work these feelings out and come up with a plan for how to have that conversation with your parents in the best way. You're not wrong for feeling this way. And this is not all that uncommon.

Take Care,

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