Home Anxiety Is It Normal for Therapist to Diagnose People without Meeting Them?

Is It Normal for Therapist to Diagnose People without Meeting Them?

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.: My wife goes to a therapist for what started as work related anxiety and occasionally I join her to talk about some big life events that have happened and some rifts in the families that have resulted from these events. The therapist is nice, but she seems to diagnose a lot of family people around my wife and I as mentally ill without meeting them, there’s a certain amount of this diagnosing that makes me feel uncomfortable since it doesn’t feel like we are improving ourselves. Is it normal for therapists to give general diagnosis to people around their clients?

I’m glad you attend sessions with your wife. I believe that the most important and intimate relationship (unless there is partner abuse going on) should be between partners, not between a therapist and client. By attending, you are able to provide information from another perspective. Further, by sharing in the process, you can better understand each other and learn new ways to be mutually supportive.

Without witnessing the behavior that concerns you, I’m reluctant to comment on your therapist. Is the therapist “diagnosing” or is she thinking aloud in maybe ways that are misunderstood?

The best way for you to handle this is to share your concerns with the therapist. I hope it is a misunderstanding. But talking about it may remind the therapist to be more clear and may give you peace of mind.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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