A patient reversed roles with her therapist and put him in the hot seat by asking a very personal question.
Did he or didn't he take a dump during her online therapy session?
Redditor "GoldenOldies80" said she's been in therapy for a month after "struggling with a few personal issues/major life decisions."
Most people who are self-isolating or quarantined are interacting on Zoom.
But when the Original Poster (OP) and her therapist experienced technical difficulty on the teleconferencing site, her therapist asked if their session could be conducted on the phone.
"We've been doing therapy via Zoom & telephone. My therapist is a nice guy and I feel that he's been helping."
"We had a session yesterday and he asked if we could use the telephone rather than Zoom because his connection wasn't good; I agreed."
And then she heard it.
"About 1/3 of the way through the call, I heard a fart. A really loud, unmistakable fart, and I know it came from his end (of the phone, lol)"
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The first sonic assault was a freebie.
"I was kinda shocked so I just kept talking, but then a couple of minutes later I heard some more unmistakable sounds - it literally sounded like he was taking a s*** while we were on the phone (I heard the water plop)"
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The OP couldn't let it slide.
"At this point I'm disgusted and annoyed and said 'Sorry but are you taking a s**** while talking to me?' He got all flustered and denied it. I said I heard you fart and now I hear plopping noises, I'm not an idiot."
"I told him it feels disrespectful because he wasn't focused on what I was saying and I feel violated too, like what if that's a fetish or something? It's just unprofessional."
So much for patient and therapist confidentiality.
"He kept denying and I said it's fine but I don't wanna listen to your taking a dump so I hung up. He didn't call back."
"I got an email today (hence the post) saying we need to reconsider therapy at this time because of MY behavior. Seriously what??"
"Was I really out of line for that? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills when HE was the rude one."
She asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for asking her therapist if he farted and/or took a dump.
After all, AITA is where anonymous strangers on the internet decide where guilt belongs by declaring:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
She asked and Reddit answered.
"Sounds like your therapist is gaslighting you in this situation?? You should be reconsidering your relationship with him. Get a better therapist!" – paddlesandchalk
This person assessed the situation and probed deeper into the sexual misconduct accusation.
"I mean that's possible, but then wouldn't he say, 'oh, that's not the case, the noises came from ___' why would he just get flustered and not offer any reasonable explanation?"
"You'd think a therapist would be able to understand how someone can perceive something by accident. And instead of getting mad at them, it would be more beneficial to be understanding and explain things."
"Getting flustered and defensive does not tell someone that what they heard was wrong, it tells them that they need to keep quiet and not trust their senses and literally believe what people tell them instead of their own hearing."
"That just isn't good. If it were an accidental noise somehow he'd be calm and help OP understand. Also, if he were a good therapist he'd do that.
"quick edit: I don't want to take a hard stance on this one I guess. If OP accused him of having a fetish to his face, I think his response was actually proportional."
"Regardless of what happened -- like even if he really did take a dump -- it's scary to be accused of sexual misconduct when really you're just a dunce who thought the person wouldn't be able to hear the rest of what was happening in the room."
"So if OP did say that I think dropping her as a client would be reasonable even if this guy did f'k up initially. Saying he might have a fetish because he wasn't thinking it through is too much." – the_shiny_guru
The therapist was held accountable for his unprofessional response.
"Op let it go the first time though. He's paying good money for his therapists time, and has multiple instances to think his therapist was popping on the call."
"That's unbelievably disrespectful. I mean wtf, you're paying to open up to a professional about your problems and you think they're taking a sh*t on your dime? F'k that noise, op was justified in calling him out."
"Whether or not the rest of it was justified is definitely up for debate, but your solution is basically for op to say hey, I'd rather eat the cost of half this appointment and leave likely feeling worse off than when we started (my feeling aren't important enough to hold a sh*t in for an hr, or at least properly use mute?) to avoid an awkward situation."
"Op wasn't being dramatic calling him out at all, they were in the right." – TributeToStupidity
The email went too far.
"Even if he wasn't taking a sh*t, this is an incredibly outsized reaction to someone asking if you were taking a sh*t while on the phone. Leading me to believe he actually was taking a sh*t, and got defensive about it as a result."
"A therapist who wasn't taking a sh*t would respond more normally, along the lines 'Oh of course not, I'm so sorry it sounded like I wasn't paying attention to you, xyz was happening on my end, but you 100% have my full attention. As I'm sure you know, it can be challenging to work from home sometimes. Please continue.'"
"On top of not responding normally, the therapist then sends an email claiming you need to 'reconsider therapy'? This is so insanely far from a professional reaction, I'm not chalking it up to paranoia on the part of OP."
"Sounds like someone taking a dump on the phone and trying to cover it up and possibly avoid a bad review/ethics complaint to me." – paddlesandchalk
"Honestly, this is such an unprofessional response I kinda wonder how much of OP's story is, y'know, true. I'm a therapist, working from home these days, and I would never dream of seeing a client while pooping, even over the phone." – monkwren
So much for proper etiquette.
"NTA. Ever since this started and we've had to go back to our roots and actually call people instead of just text them, it seems like a good number of people have forgotten that you can simply ask the person you're talking to 'can I put you on hold for a minute? I need to take care of something.'"
"Come up with any excuse you want to come up with when the person you're talking to asks why you were gone for so long. Taking your phone with you into the bathroom though is just so gross and I don't get why people think it's ok."
"The only unfortunate part about your situation is, unless you recorded the call, you have no proof that it happened so you can't report him." – desert_red_head
"Or just hit the mute button if you're not doing the talking??" – faerystrangeme
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However, this person thought the OP's accusation was enough to justify the therapist's decision to reconsider their sessions.
"OP didn't just say, 'It sounds like you're taking a sh*t while talking to me, and I feel like you're not paying attention.'"
"The therapist said they weren't pooping, and OP responded by chewing out the therapist and accusing him of sexual harassment before hanging up."
"At that point, there's not a lot the therapist could do to defuse the situation, and I think, especially if OP misunderstood the sounds they were hearing, it makes sense that the therapist would not want to continue seeing someone who is volatile, resistant to talking, and accused him of sexual harassment." – Known_Character
For the sake of both parties, it may be best for them to wash their hands clean of the situation and respectfully move on.
The book Modern Etiquette Made Easy: A Five-Step Method to Mastering Etiquette is available here.