Secular therapy
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26-08-2015, 08:05 AM
Secular therapy
I've decided I need professional help in dealing with my father's death. I can't sleep, I can't think straight, I'm even more forgetful than I normally am.

So I went to see a therapist last night. It went well. We discussed what happened to my dad, we talked about the grieving process, etc. Then the topic of religion came up and the tone changed subtly. He was still very professional and respectful, but after he found out I am an atheist, he became less engaged and seemed to be struggling to find a way to talk about death without religion to fall back on. A few times he even said something about a soul or the afterlife, but quickly corrected himself with something like "or, you know, whatever might be out there. Who knows."

Does anyone know of any resources for finding secular therapy? The guy I'm seeing seems to be a good therapist, but if his method is to use religion to cope, he's not a good fit for me.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

"Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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26-08-2015, 08:09 AM
RE: Secular therapy
Recovering From Religion has their Secular Therapy Project https://www.seculartherapy.org/ You might also check with any local freethought groups, maybe they can recommend someone specifically in your area?
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26-08-2015, 08:18 AM
RE: Secular therapy
(26-08-2015 08:09 AM)gnarlynewt Wrote:  Recovering From Religion has their Secular Therapy Project https://www.seculartherapy.org/ You might also check with any local freethought groups, maybe they can recommend someone specifically in your area?

Thanks, I checked them, but they don't have anyone in my area. I'll see if I can find any local secular groups.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

"Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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26-08-2015, 08:29 AM
RE: Secular therapy
(26-08-2015 08:18 AM)itsnotmeitsyou Wrote:  Thanks, I checked them, but they don't have anyone in my area. I'll see if I can find any local secular groups.

It's pretty difficult to find someone openly secular in some areas. There's also the Grief Beyond Belief http://www.griefbeyondbelief.org , it's an online group but they might have more resources? I hope you can find someone, it's awful that it's so difficult to find decent help when you need it.
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26-08-2015, 09:15 AM
RE: Secular therapy
(26-08-2015 08:29 AM)gnarlynewt Wrote:  
(26-08-2015 08:18 AM)itsnotmeitsyou Wrote:  Thanks, I checked them, but they don't have anyone in my area. I'll see if I can find any local secular groups.

It's pretty difficult to find someone openly secular in some areas. There's also the Grief Beyond Belief http://www.griefbeyondbelief.org , it's an online group but they might have more resources? I hope you can find someone, it's awful that it's so difficult to find decent help when you need it.

Thanks, they link back to the secular therapy project for therapists, but I'm signing up for griefbeyondbelief to see if I can find anyone in my area that know any good therapists.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

"Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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26-08-2015, 09:20 AM
RE: Secular therapy
Do you know a psychiatrist in your area or know someone who knows a psychiatrist? The psychiatrist could provably recommend someone who would be a better fit for you. My wife is a physician and she knows physicians on other areas that she respects, so I always take her advice on who to see. I realize, you may not have this luxury, which is why I am suggesting going through a psychiatrist that would know the therapists in your area. You may also try your primary care physician. Sorry you are going through this.
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26-08-2015, 09:23 AM
RE: Secular therapy
(26-08-2015 09:20 AM)Iñigo Wrote:  Do you know a psychiatrist in your area or know someone who knows a psychiatrist? The psychiatrist could provably recommend someone who would be a better fit for you. My wife is a physician and she knows physicians on other areas that she respects, so I always take her advice on who to see. I realize, you may not have this luxury, which is why I am suggesting going through a psychiatrist that would know the therapists in your area. You may also try your primary care physician. Sorry you are going through this.

The only people I know in the mental health field are religious and wouldn't help me find secular counseling. They'd insist I need Jesus. Thank you for your recommendation, though.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

"Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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26-08-2015, 09:31 AM
RE: Secular therapy
You could ask the psychiatrist to leave religion out of it since you are an atheist. The therapeutic part of therapy is being able to talk about the things you are struggling with--to get them out. That said, it is not really professional for the therapist to use *their* religion to help *you* cope with loss (even if you weren't an atheist, you could be a Jew or Hindu etc.). If you are already uneasy about this therapist--then I would definitely find another one. You could call a couple and tell them you are looking for some grief counseling that does not involve a religious-base. There are many out there. I work in the health care field and I do not bring my non-religion to work with me. Many professionals are out there who operate like that as well (despite their personal beliefs).
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26-08-2015, 09:42 AM
RE: Secular therapy
(26-08-2015 09:31 AM)jennybee Wrote:  You could ask the psychiatrist to leave religion out of it since you are an atheist. The therapeutic part of therapy is being able to talk about the things you are struggling with--to get them out. That said, it is not really professional for the therapist to use *their* religion to help *you* cope with loss (even if you weren't an atheist, you could be a Jew or Hindu etc.). If you are already uneasy about this therapist--then I would definitely find another one. You could call a couple and tell them you are looking for some grief counseling that does not involve a religious-base. There are many out there. I work in the health care field and I do not bring my non-religion to work with me. Many professionals are out there who operate like that as well (despite their personal beliefs).

I don't get the sense that he's trying to force religion on me or anything like that. It's more that he's so used to dealing with religious patients that his methods seem to revolve around that. He's jewish and was struggling to talk about things they do in the jewish faith to deal with grief, but put it in secular terms. He was mostly successful, but I could see him struggling so as not to offend me. I appreciate his effort, but I think I would be better served by someone that deals with non-religious patients more often.

Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense. You're just not keeping up.

"Let me give you some advice, bastard: never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." - Tyrion Lannister
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26-08-2015, 02:36 PM
RE: Secular therapy
(26-08-2015 09:42 AM)itsnotmeitsyou Wrote:  
(26-08-2015 09:31 AM)jennybee Wrote:  You could ask the psychiatrist to leave religion out of it since you are an atheist. You could call a couple and tell them you are looking for some grief counseling that does not involve a religious-base. There are many out there. I work in the health care field and I do not bring my non-religion to work with me. Many professionals are out there who operate like that as well (despite their personal beliefs).

I don't get the sense that he's trying to force religion on me or anything like that. It's more that he's so used to dealing with religious patients that his methods seem to revolve around that. He's jewish and was struggling to talk about things they do in the jewish faith to deal with grief, but put it in secular terms. He was mostly successful, but I could see him struggling so as not to offend me. I appreciate his effort, but I think I would be better served by someone that deals with non-religious patients more often.

I'm very sorry for your loss. If you aren't comfortable with the therapist, I do hope you can find another one. Sounds like that might be a challenge though. If things were going well prior to him finding out you are an atheist, maybe he is a good therapist who was just a little thrown off by the unexpected. Therapists are human too! Maybe he's researching the topic and asking for advice from colleagues on how best to help an atheist patient. If you are willing to give this one another chance, I'd start the session out by saying you felt things were going well, but were worried that the fact you are an atheist changed the tone of the session. Ask if he feels he will be able to help you without bringing up religion, and if not could he recommend someone who would.
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