I had my second therapy session tonight. I wish I could say it was as wonderful as the first session. I can’t, and it wasn’t. It wasn’t wonderful at all.
I was laying in bed tossing and turning, ridden with anxiety, my mind spinning in circles. I figured I would come and write about it. Then maybe, just maybe, I can sleep.
I shared with this therapist – let’s call her Bean – the letter that I had written her regarding my old therapist. That was fine. We talked about that for a while. How unhealthy that relationship was. How destable it made me. How inappropriate my previous therapist had been. Everything was fine until she changed topic and started asking me questions.
She started asking me why I felt the need to reach out to therapists in between sessions. What she means is, when I call and leave a voicemail letting them know I’m having a hard night, for example. Or writing an email about a particularly hard incident that week… What I “got out of it.” What need was being met by me doing it. [Okay, already uncomfortable with this line of questioning. What exactly was she trying to get at?] She asked what need the therapist was filling that my partner (of four and a half years) wasn’t. Umm…. WHAT?! She kept pushing for answers. I think R began coming closer. She asked me to define what role a therapist should play, what a “therapist” meant to me. I began to get more and more uncomfortable, and less able to answer her questions adequately. I was saying the first thing that came to mind, since I was feeling quite put on the spot, rather than what was in my heart. I felt like I was a witness on a witness stand. Afterward, after I had time to really think about it, I thought of really great answers and “comebacks” to everything she was questioning me about. In the moment though, my mind was starting to go blank.
Then toward the end of session, I just started to go inside. To withdraw. It didn’t feel safe. Then she started grilling me on what I was “feeling” in that state. “Are you feeling scared?” I shook my head. “Are you feeling angry?” I shook my head. “Are you feeling sad?” I shook my head. I couldn’t even look at her. I had curled up into a ball on the sofa in her office and was fading slowly away… She laughed uncomfortably and she said, “Guess that emotion!” (the way a game show host might say that). I guess she was trying to be funny. I think she may have followed it with a “just kidding” but I couldn’t tell you for sure.
This session, she didn’t make sure I didn’t leave in a dissociated state. It was time to end and her next client would be arriving shortly. She just asked for me to come “more forward into the room.” I pretended to be “back” and present, although I was far away in the clouds. I walked out of there barely able to string two words together in my head.
I feel caught between a rock and a hard place. I want so much for this therapist to work. I want to give her a chance. And it’s quite possible that this is just a big misunderstanding. That maybe she was pushing us in her questioning so that we could come back with what was really true for us. To challenge her on everything that she was saying. However, what she was saying did seem very presumptious. Her language wasn’t open and kind and curious. It felt a bit narrow and harsh. She was making assumptions in her questions. Rather than saying, “Do you feel something is lacking in your relationship with your partner which therefore makes you feel the need to reach out to a therapist?,” she said, “What is lacking in your relationship with your partner that you are trying to fill by reaching out to a therapist? What void is the therapist filling that your partner isn’t?” Ugh. Not cool Bean, not cool. I’m trying to be open-minded and give her the benefit of the doubt, but I have to say, it’s really hard.
I’m going to keep our scheduled appointment for later on this week, and see how things go. If this one doesn’t work out, well… as I’m learning, there are more therapist fish in the sea.