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Can’t Visualize My Therapist

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Recently became very depressed and really felt like ending my life. I also have a dissociative disorder (de-realization – though I did not know until recently what the symptoms were called), I suffer from frequent nightmares, about 1 every 10 days, I was abused and neglected as a child. I only did anything about this 3 months ago when I became very depressed. I have been in Therapy 3 months. Ok, someting very strange I have noticed is that I’m unable to visualize my therpaists face (no problem recognizing her) it is truly bizare as I have no problem with anyone else I know, I have an excellent memory and very good 3D visio-spacial, I’m very good at visualizing situations I’ve been in and can visualize people in meetings from months ago even having only seen them once. I’ve sat looking at this lady for over 15 hours now but draw a complete blank when attempting to visualise what she looks like (unless I’m in the session of course!) — There is definitely some strange stuff going on subconsciously I think. I’m interested to know your thoughts on this matter, and whether this is a known phenomenon, and what it might mean. Many thanks.

Can’t Visualize My Therapist

Answered by on -

A.

Your symptoms might be related to your dissociative disorder. Memory issues and dissociative disorders often go hand-in-hand. It could be a memory issue and not necessarily anything psychological.

You might be good at visualization, but how good are you at recounting specific facial features? Generally speaking, most people are not very good at this. In fact, even people who’ve been married for decades often cannot accurately describe a single feature of their spouses face.

Research suggests that police composites are only about 20 percent accurate. It’s not because police sketch artists are not good at their job; it’s that most people don’t recall specific facial features very well and often wait too long before contacting the police.

An another example of the inability of people to recognize faces, is false eyewitness identification. To date, 337 people have been proven innocent by DNA in the United States. Misidentifying the perpetrator was a factor in 70 percent of those cases. People who thought they were accurately identifying perpetrators were, in fact, wrong the majority of the time. Poor visibility, faulty memory, unconscious biases, among other things, account for why eyewitness identification is highly fallible.

Some people experience prosopagnosia. Prosopagnosia is essentially face blindness. People with the condition have trouble recognizing the faces of people they know including friends and family members. In extreme cases, a person cannot recognize his or her own face.

It seems that generally, the average person is not good at reading faces or even remembering those faces very well. Maybe your recollection skills are on par with that of the average person. If this problem is causing you distress or if you suspect a possible medical condition, consult a doctor for an evaluation. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Can’t Visualize My Therapist

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Can’t Visualize My Therapist. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/04/12/cant-visualize-my-therapist/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 12 Apr 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.