Shower problem

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I had a problem with showering. For unknown reason, I am not taking showers daily like I should’ve been. It started when I was 16 years old and I am still not taking showers. I had told this to my doctor and my therapist; they think I’m going through a “phase” but I think there’s more to it than that. What’s wrong with me?

PS- It has nothing to do with phobias

A: I don’t know what’s wrong but I am sure that a 4 year problem is not a “phase.”. Without more to go on, I can’t offer much in the way of an answer. I can only suggest a few things. See if any fit:

  • Sometimes teenagers get into a power struggle with an authority figure or parent. Was someone giving you a hard time about showering? Is not showering a way to show that person that you can’t be pushed around?
  • A related reason is the wish to show society that you won’t conform. Some teens and young adults insist that others take them just as they are, no matter how unpleasant. They are willing to alienate others and be less than successful just to make the point and see it as others’ problem if they don’t like it.
  • Sometimes not showering is a symptom of depression. Do you have any other symptoms? Are you sharing them with your therapist?
  • Are you sure this isn’t a phobia? If I were talking with you, I’d want to know why you don’t think so.
  • Sometimes it’s a matter of personal preference. It’s important to be clean so that you are healthy and presentable. But if you’re taking baths, those goals are being accomplished in another way. There are lots of people who simply don’t like how a shower feels.

I hope at least one of these gives you something to think about. Do ask your therapist why he or she thinks something that has gone on for so long is a phase. Since it is making you uncomfortable, ask what can be done about it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Oct 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Shower problem. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/10/03/shower-problem/

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