Therapists: You should be able to tell them anything in good confidence, right?



I had a client once who was less than 8 years old, and had once taken a snack from the fridge without permission. Her mother responded by locking the fridge, cabinets, and all the rooms that were not this child's bedroom. Had quite a time explaining why that wasn't really a reasonable reaction.



A client was going to probate court and thought he'd dress up by putting a non slip sock on his collar as a tie. Trying to be supportive I told him, "Nice tie." To which he replied, "It's not a tie it's a sock stupid."



One client of mine bites and eats his fingernails. Gross, but not unheard of. Then I learn he stores his fingernails in a box in his room to save them for a snack later. A little grosser, but he's about 9 so I'm hoping he will grow out of it. What finally made me want to vomit was learning that when anyone in his family clips their nails, FINGERS OR TOES, they give him the clippings to add to his box. So when he's eating nails from the box they could belong to his mother, father, or siblings. Yes, I've addressed the parents about enabling this behavior, but it is still happening.



One that sticks out in my mind was a mother that brought in her 5-year-old for therapy because she was into Disney princesses, which are clearly sexual and since a 5-year-old is nonsexual, this must clearly mean she's being sexually abused by a close family member.

I've also worked with countless couples who have come to counseling for adultery wherein adultery = porn. One client even became suicidal because she caught her husband jerking off after not having sex with him for months. I know everyone has different values, but c'mon, y'all.



have a client who is a daily methadone doser. During our last session he complained of sleep issues. Delving into this new issue he described his solution to me: he saves his spit in a jar to drink at night when he is unable to sleep. SAVES HIS SPIT IN A JAR TO DRINK LATER.



I'm a speech therapist (that counts, right?) and I see this little kindergartener who also has massive behavior issues. We are working on language and pragmatics because he enjoys calling people "stupid f***ing bitches" and "little dirty wh**es" and "goddamn disgraces," most likely for attention. He will walk around the room calling me a stupid b*tch, a smelly c*nt, and repeating the word "f**k" until he runs out of breath just to see if he can get a reaction from me. I would work on articulation with him because he doesn't actually say those words correctly, but I figured best to work on that later after I've got the swearing and name calling down to a minimum.



Have a master's in clinical psychology and currently working towards my doctorate. I laughed reading this question because I feel like I have at least one of those moments per day at my clinic rotations, regardless of type of setting.

One that stood out the most was when I was working a camp for children with various psychological disorders, most with some sort of behavioral concerns. The girl I was paired with had a history of aggressive and violent tendencies. We went the whole day without any problems. That was until we were doing some group physical activity to wind down and focus before leaving for the day.

She didn't like that this meant no longer playing with a certain toy, so she took off her shoe and threw it the little boy in front of her. He had autism and immediately started crying and screaming. While someone helped him, I turned to the girl to explain to her what she did was wrong. As I turned towards her, she punched me square in the face, then grabbed a hold of my hair. Managed to pull out a good chunk. I'm about 5'1, and this girl was maybe one or two inches shorter than me and had about 20 pounds on me, despite being 9 years old. Trying to get a safe physical restraint was difficult and comical to say the least. Finally got some help from other staff and we were able to calm her down after about 15 minutes.

The kicker was when we told her mom what happened, she basically dismissed the entire thing and laughed about it- SO frustrating because you just know this kind of thing is reinforced at home as there is no punishment. The girl then starts hitting her mom, who grabs and holds down her arms. The little girl laughs, looks at me and the other staff member, and says, "ugh a little help over here?! Are you going to let her do this to me? She's hurting my arm."

I went home and did this weird laugh/cry for a few hours. Luckily you learn pretty quickly not to take things personally and move on, so things were back to normal the next day. I do occasionally look back at that day just baffled at how quickly that whole situation escalated. Most of the other moments that come to mind involve poop in some capacity.



My client told me his family didn't appreciate his interest in guns, to which he proceeded to tell me he is always carrying. He then places his gun on the table in front of me and asked if it made me nervous. It did, but we focused more about why he wanted to know if I was nervous and it brought it back around to his family. From then on, I made sure to always have access to a door and never put the client between the door and myself again- just to be safe.



Had a patient who swallowed things as a self-injuring behavior. This individual would swallow anything metal and pointy. Usually as a way of getting into the hospital or to stay in the hospital. At one point they wanted to get surgeries or procedures to have the objects removed, but they weren't actually suicidal. One instance where they almost died after ingesting a series of closed safety pins that ended up opening inside their stomach stopped them from eating things that wouldn't pass.

Anyway, so this person was upset that they were getting discharged as they wanted to stay until the beginning of the month. Hate to say it, but it's not uncommon to see people come in because they are out of benefits for the month. The usual complaints of being suicidal weren't working, because we know this person isn't actually suicidal.

So they went and swallowed the iron from the monopoly game.

It didn't work, we still discharged them. But ever since we haven't been allowed to have board games on the unit without staff supervision.



Saddest WTF moment:

Saw a woman who presented for anxiety in the emergency room. Interviewed her and found out what was making her anxious: the listening devices that had been placed around her home by the government. The lady had psychosis, possibly related to a recent pregnancy although that part was not certain, and she had two small children and had been going more and more quietly psychotic--and her husband hadn't noticed. Very painful situation but I'm glad we got her help.

Funniest WTF moment, also from my ER experience: a guy who was high on a cocktail of substances ran into a staff area, took the fire extinguisher off the wall and started filling the hallway with it, and then started shouting the lyrics to "Sympathy for the Devil." It upset another patient who was waiting admission for schizophrenia and he freaked out and started saying "Satan! Satan is here!" and tried to run out of the front doors. It's the most chaotic situation I've ever been a part of.



"I'm physically non-monogamous."

"I'm afraid my boyfriend is cheating on me with his female friends."

Both from the same person during the same conversation.



I had a client, an older female refugee that I worked with for several months before she told me that she had court the next week and was worried because she could be deported (if found guilty). She didn't tell me earlier because she was ashamed and suffered in silence. She was living with extended family and the family got busted for smuggling and selling khat (a stimulant narcotic). The family determined that she would take the fall for her husband and sons who were behind the operation. At the arrest, the police brought an interpreter for a different language, from a different ethnic group, in a different country than the client was from. On top of that, she said the police didn't have an interpreter present during the questioning at the station and she waited there for almost two days until they found an interpreter for her language. I asked her if she understood what was happening and she said her lawyer (public defendant she met once) told her she would be deported, beyond that, she had no understanding of the situation, process, etc. I had seen her psych eval stating that she had the cognitive equivalent of a seven-year-old. So I told her that we have information that could help her case and that her lawyer should see it as soon as possible. This was on a Friday, court was on Wednesday and the client didn't know the name or any information about her public defender. We got a friend to help her collect the information, the client brought it to me on Monday, signed the ROI, lawyer called me back that afternoon saying they've got nothing to help this poor woman even though the case seems completely set up. I told the lawyer that we've got a whole bunch of insight and data and records that will get the charges dropped. I didn't work Tuesday's and was going nuts worrying and hoping everything would get to where it needs to and in the hands of the people who need to see it. On Wednesday news from court comes that all charges were dropped! I used to get all kinds of sprung on me at the last minute then have to perform all kinds of bureaucratic trapeze maneuvers to alter the outcome of high stakes situations. I wrote so many, many letters. I was hired to be a mental health provider, but I ended up doing tons of case management because nobody else wanted to.


H/T: Ask Reddit

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