Maybe Even Your Therapist Finds Your Problems Boring

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Therapy in session
Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

The Wall Street Journal this week has an interview with psychotherapist Paul Hokemeyer, who sees patients at his offices in New York and Colorado in addition to those he Skypes with across the country. In the interview, Hokemeyer admits what you might’ve always feared about your own therapist: He is not always listening super carefully.

Hokemeyer tells WSJ writer Elizabeth Bernstein that his mind “frequently” wanders when seeing patients, most often “back to the session I had with the last patient and what I should have done differently,” he said. “It can also wander if the patient is avoiding connecting and filling the time with superfluous details. I’ll start to think about the dry cleaning or what I can have for dinner.”

Also: When he is listening, he is also judging. “I’m constantly judging. It is my job,” he said. “This notion of unconditional positive regard is a fantasy. Yes, I need to accept the patient for who they are, but to pretend that I won’t bring my humanness to the equation is unrealistic.” But then again, this is just one therapist — surely yours always listen and never judges you.