Therapy Updates: Safe Enough

Vico Whitmore
4 min readFeb 1, 2024

It took months after my most recent shitty therapist to start looking for a new one. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t have much hope that I’d find anyone I was interested in seeing, much less someone who would make it past the third session. I’d been through five therapists already, only one of whom managed to help me with any meaningful work. After the most recent three, I had a hard time seeing therapy as anything but a setback. That’s not to say that I feel that way about all therapists for all clients, but for me, seeing another therapist who would only make me feel more unfixable felt like a risk not worth taking.

Still, I wanted someone to act as guardrails. I’ve done the work alone often enough to know that I sometimes mistake dodging my symptoms for healing, and I wanted someone who could at a minimum prevent that from happening. I realized that I didn’t need perfect or brilliant. I just needed someone who was sane and not transphobic. So, despite the risk of once again finding the exact opposite, I started looking again.

I found a therapist who is trans and specialized in neurodivergence and trauma almost exclusively. There was no giant list of treatment specialties, no bizarre bio, no red flags that I could see. I booked the first session with a little hope and a lot of doubts.

It didn’t start out great. My new therapist didn’t ask many questions and at one point ended session early because I’d run out of things I needed to talk about. I left the third session not sure if continuing to see her was worth my time. After all, I wasn’t breaking any new ground here. I wasn’t being challenged. I was just sort of word vomiting about my life and then leaving.

She did say a few things that made me feel like it was worth sticking around. First, she acknowledged that my experience with California therapists was terrible. She said that while she thought therapy could help everyone, she couldn’t recommend most therapists. She also disclosed that our trauma histories pretty neatly lined up. She didn’t go into details or make the conversation about her. She just let me know that she understood exactly what I was saying and that she’d been there herself.

That helped, but I still wasn’t sold. I resolved to show up to the next session and if things got quiet and she recommended closing early again, I’d ask her how long she’d been treating patients, so I could better decide if this was a fixable hang up or another failed attempt at therapy. I honestly thought that I’d likely end up firing her in a matter of weeks.

By the fourth session, I’d changed my mind. It wasn’t that she said anything so special or that she’d made me reconceptualize anything. It was that I realized she was safe enough. She’d already disclosed that we shared a pretty similar trauma history. We both have Schrodinger’s autism, by which I mean, it’s impossible to know whether we’re autistic or have enough trauma induced brain damage that it’s impossible to know if that’s what’s going on or not. We both love horror. We both have a dark sense of humor. She can “yes and…” with the best of them. All that really happened in that fourth session was us having a really good, dark laugh, and that was enough for me.

It’s not that I don’t think there’s a better therapist for me out there. I would still love to find a therapist who will challenge me and make me think about the way I see the world. I would love a therapist who has done research about trauma in particular and can help me rewire my brain so that life feels a little easier. I don’t think my current therapist is that person.

All of that said, I also know that having a strong rapport with a therapist is the biggest determiner of success. Everything else aside, I do feel comfortable with her, and that’s far more important than any other metric.

While it’s not ideal, I’m okay with leading the session and her just being an active listener. I’m okay with needing to challenge myself outside of session and then bringing back what I’ve found the next week. It’s not perfect, but I think I can make strides with the therapist I have now.

At the end of the day, she’s safe enough, and that’s a vast improvement over the last few attempts I’ve made. At this point, I’ll take it.



Vico Whitmore

Trans CSA survivor leaving a trail as I stumble my way toward healing. Support me on ko-fi!