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Me and my wife have been going to this little Methodist church for years now and like all Methodist churches we change out ministers every four years well a couple of years back we got a preacher new to being a Minister and this was his first church. Well my wives dad was a retired Methodist minister so it didn't take long for us to get on a friendly basis with this fellow, well one day he was at the house for the first time and it I guess it didn't take long for him to figure out from all the medicine bottle in my dining room that someone here at my house had a problem so I cured his curiosity and told him that I was bipolar and then naturally it went in depth on what it was and the history and about every detail you could think of, and after all this probing he asked if he could sit in with me and my tdoc for a couple of session's naturally I did not say no I said yes but I feel kinda weird about it me being used to help him in his I guess counseling of people or I don't know really but every time I go to my tdoc the whole thing is lingering on my mind

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I wouldn't do that if you put a gun to my head. Therapy, medication and religion have very little to do with each other. But I guess it depends on what the minister's goal is, whether he wants to learn new counseling techniques or convince you that the devil is inside you and you don't really need meds and therapy, just prayer.

As an aside, I'm a firm believer in God, raised Catholic, but I honestly believe God and priests, ministers and preachers also have very little to do with each other.

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I don't think I would be comfortable with that, personally. Honestly, it's not your job to "educate" the guy. It sounds to me more like he's indulging his curiosity than anything. Unless you really feel like you want his support or this will help him better support you, I'd tell him to take a hike, frankly.

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...so I cured his curiosity and told him that I was bipolar and then naturally it went in depth on what it was and the history and about every detail you could think of, and after all this probing he asked if he could sit in with me and my tdoc for a couple of session's naturally I did not say no I said yes but I feel kinda weird about it me being used to help him in his I guess counseling of people or I don't know really but every time I go to my tdoc the whole thing is lingering on my mind

I'm not trying to be mean-spirited, but none of this seems 'natural' to me.

I wasn't clear from your post if this has already happened yet, or is yet to happen. If it hasn't happened, I would tell the minister you've changed your mind, and your therapy session is personal, as are visits to your pdoc, and he can't go with you.

He should have received all his counseling training before he showed up at your house, and if he feels he'd like to learn more about bipolar treatment, he should pursue additional education, not use you as a training aid. Or he could just be nosy, which is bad, too.

If it's already happened, then if I were you I would be asking my therapist to help figure out why you felt like you had to agree to this, or even answer a lot of questions from the minister that maybe you didn't want to, and have the therapist help you develop some coping skills for keeping your personal life personal.

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I have got to agree something inside me was telling me it was the wrong thing to do and you know back at the whole situation I dont know what his intention were this whole thing started with a house blessing I'm not all that religous my wife is I was home she wasnt if my dining room didnt look like a pharmacy I wouldnt be having this to deal with

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So has he gone with you to any visits yet? If not, maybe you should put the blame on your tdoc and tell the minister that the tdoc won't allow it. It's the same teenage excuse as 'My parents won't let me', but it's very effective. I still use a variation of it at work, as in 'My boss won't let me..."

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He sounds awfully nosy to be helping himself to reading the labels on all your medication bottles. This alone makes me uncomfortable with the man.

He is a minister, not a psychiatrist. When he wants to go to school for however many years, get a degree in psychiatry, and then solicit your permission to sit in, that's another story. But he's not. And he has absolutely no reason to be in the sessions with you; he should mind his own business. If you feel you need a religious perspective on what you are going through, then meet with him at church for regular pastor counseling, which, if he has no relevant education in counseling, he should not be doing and you should not speak to him about anything aside from scriptural issues and small talk. People without training can do some real damage. Too often religious institutions goad people into getting counseling from someone at church instead of getting actual medical treatment, and very bad things happen because of it. If he has relevant training--and not just some piece of paper that says he completed a very short training; he needs to be at least a licensed counselor--then speak with him to the degree you feel comfortable and nothing more. Do NOT let him guilt you into talking about things that are really none of his business, even if he does have the title of minister. This is solely up to you. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable doing with this guy.

Judging by what you posted, he seems nosy. I don't trust it.

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I would refer this young, new pastor to NAMI for further education. I would not bring him to my therapy session. If he really wants to learn about mental illness he could have coffee with a psychiatrist or therapist, or go to NAMI meetings. But your appts with your mental health providers are.....sacred. ha ha I think he does not realize that was an inappropriate request.

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Would you let the minister sit in on a prostate exam?

That's how I view therapy and psychiatrist appointments. What goes on in my head is just as personal as what goes on in my private parts. No spectators, please.

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Hopefully he won't ask about it again....if he does then tell him No. That's really strange, no way in hell would I let that happen. Either make something up like someone said about the therapist not allowing it, or just say that after giving it some thought, you aren't comfortable with it. He can get his education elsewhere.

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When we had this little talk he explained why he wanted to sit in on a session and it merely to gain knowledge in counseling and at the time I could kinda understand that but after he left I pondered on it and this is what I come up with, he's a spoiled brat I'll bet half of the people that has viewed this has shopped in one of his family owned stores he had the luxury of changing his career of helping run the family business to going to work in this low paying job that he proclaims was a calling from GOD he has been sheltered all of his life he definitely has no scope normal people and then I thought maybe thats just part of the reason the other might be some sort of power trip mixed with nosiness any way it never happened I knew in my heart there was something wrong with that picture no matter how it was drawn but it was completely weird and I swore every time I get in my truck to go to my tdoc it crosses my mind

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I am religious and I still wouldn't have my minister sit in one of my therapy sessions. I agree with others it's inappropriate and he needs to be told that.

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I am religious and I still wouldn't have my minister sit in one of my therapy sessions. I agree with others it's inappropriate and he needs to be told that.

I'm assuming why this is more appropriate is because its a small church. Everyone knows each other and is like family. If him and his pastor are close enough that they dont mind then I don't see a problem. But it does seem like he regrets allowing it so just needs to have a casual convo letting him know that theres been a change of plans.

Make sure when you tell him when he asks why he can't come. Say it's not you its me. Case closed.

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My minister has visited congregation members inpatient and has helped me in times of suicidal crisis, but that's because he has got off his ass and learned about mental health from the appropriate sources so he could support me. He has never been voyeuristic or tried to access my vulnerability. Any minister who does that is worthy of suspicion in my eyes.

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Sorry if this gets long. But I have a bachelors degree in psychology, and a masters in Biblical Studies from Asbury Seminary. For a long time, I've been on staff in churches, most of thm very large (thousands of people attending). I may not know much, but I can speak to this.

1. FYI - faith and psychiatry are not in opposition to one another. They mesh, honestly. Psychological healing can bring spiritual peace (shalom, which really means "complete-ness"). Spiritual peace (Shalom) can help one deal with psychological issues. (I didn't say "heal" and I don't mean faith is there to cast out demons). Anyone who says they are opposing is missing the complete picture, whether a preacher, or a non-believing therapist.

2. It is completely inappropriate for him to ask. If you asked him, that's one thing. If your therapist wanted him to come, that's one thing. If he said "hey, if you ever want me to come with you, if you're concerned that your counselor may be contradicting your faith, I would be willing to. But only if you want me to", that's one thing.

Its something completely different, and inappropriate to ask or invite oneself to someone's therapy!

3. He may be nosy, but he also may be threatened that you are being influenced by someone else.

4. He may be one of those ministers who believe psychology is THE DEBIL (sorry, I heard The Waterboy in my head). Some believe psychiatry is evil and contrary to God, which it isn't. So he may want to find out if you are being "infected" with"evil, sex-obsessed Freudian" therapy.

If he wants to learn, he should take classes. The Methodist denomination will help pay if he wants to go.

I would ask him. "I'm trying to understand why you want to go to MY therapy session. Can you explain to my why?" It's a valid way to ask without being a jerk. There isn't a reasonable answer to this; not one that values you.

I would tell him, "I'm really not comfortable with that right now. It's not just you; I'm not ready for anyone to come to my therapy session right now." That makes it less personal, and it doesn't slam the door on him.

Anyway, just my thoughts. It was a jackass thing for him to do and shows his immaturity or insecurity or both.

Again, sorry if this was long and preachy. It just pissed me off that he would do that.

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Religion aside, it is inappropriate for his to invite himself to your psych sessions.

He should have better judgement than to have even suggested such a thing. By his position alone he wields undue power to influence you or any parishioner to say yes.

If he wants broader experience or training in pastoring to mentally ill then he should arrange for it through the established programs of his church or local hospitals.

You are uncomfortable now, and I guarantee you will be most regretful if you allow him to shoehorn himself into your sessions.

Call him now and tell him you changed your mind and that you are not comfortable with a third person.

Do not feel bad, do not apologize, don't feel guilty. This is no different than him asking inappropriately to observe a physical with your GP.

Stand up for your rights and best interest. Best, a.m.

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