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Therapist Hopes Patient Will Stop Killing Vibe With All The “Dead Dad” Talk

HOBOKEN, N.J. — Therapist Brandon Carr wished yesterday that his patient would stop “bringing the vibe down with all the dead dad talk” during a recent therapy session about social anxiety.

“My patient was nattering on about social media giving him anxiety, when out of nowhere he starts talking about how much he misses his dead dad,” said Carr while trying to find prank videos on Youtube to cheer himself up. “Why would he tell me something like that? And why ‘here,’ of all places? I’m not his family, or even his best friend. I’m his therapist; his personal shit is none of my business. If you want to talk about dead people, go to a funeral home or something — I’m sure all the people who work there love talking about dead dudes.”

While Carr refused to violate doctor/patient confidentiality, a staffer confirmed the patient was Peter Bales, who often feels nervous discussing his father’s death in his sessions.

“My dad passed away seven months ago, and it’s haunted me each day. We weren’t on the best terms when he died, and I haven’t been able to confront my feelings or mourn in a healthy fashion,” said Bales. “But anytime I try to bring it up in therapy, Brandon always seems to get a little squeamish and changes the topic. I told him that my dad and I have always had a rocky relationship, and instead of digging into that, we spent 45 minutes talking about ‘Nathan for You.’ I love that show, but talking about it doesn’t help me sleep better at night.”

American Psychological Association senior board member Dr. James Gates outlined the importance of boundaries between therapists and clients.

“Part of the appeal of becoming a therapist is sitting around and doodling on a notepad while someone cries near you,” said Gates. “It’s the easiest job in the world — we just nod along to why you think your boss is acting weird, take your money and go home. Confiding in your therapist with personal baggage or drama, like whining about the death of someone we’ve literally never met, can be a real mood killer… especially if you’re trying to sleep with your therapist. Just read the room and keep things light.”

For a successful therapy session, Dr. Gates also suggested clients keep the details of family-related deaths private or in random outbursts on Facebook like everyone else.