The Perils of Arrogance

The following is an excerpt from my book:

If you still feel your loved one needs psychological help, the other thing to watch out for is arrogance. By arrogance I mean the irrational assumption that your negative views about your spouse (or whomever) are so correct and self-evident that any mental health professional will, upon meeting the loved one, see things exactly as you do.


Maybe your loved one is not as dysfunctional as you think—or maybe he is, but not for the reasons you might assume. And even in the unlikely event you are right, your complaints will not apply in the therapy office the way they do in your personal relationship with the client. People are usually different from one setting to the next, and the vast majority of people are on their best behavior when in a therapist’s office.

People interact differently in different situations. If your loved one is unreasonable towards you in daily life, but very reasonable towards the therapist, it might be due to problems in the interaction between you and your loved one.

I speak from experience when I say that part (or even all) of the problem might be you! Arrogance keeps people from seeing these things. That same arrogance encourages spouses and parents to “send” their loved ones to therapy to “make them change,” rather than trying to find out what the factors contributing to the problems may actually be.

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