No rest for the weary

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.




Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “No rest for the weary

  1. Bourbon

    Following on from our brief convo this morning…
    Perhaps she didn’t mean for it to sound quite so grilling as it came out. I guess i can understnd why she was asking what a therapist means to you after a discussion on how your old T felt REALLY untherapy like for you and crossed a load of boundaries. Perhaps she really doesn’t want to screw this up and the best way she feels she can do that is basically ask what you need from her. Do you need outside contact. Do you not. Do you need her as someone to check in with otuside sessions. Do you need her as someone you can call only in emergencies. Do you need her to be consistent with replying/not replying. Do you need outside contact as something you can use so you feel she is keeping track on your week. I agree whole heartedly that the way she expressed that about your partner is bang out of order. As you expressed this morning you don’t go to a therapist because there is something you are not getting from your partner. They are two completely different relationships. But perhaps she was thinking that you can’t tell your partner stuff when you are in crisis. Who knows. But no wonder you ended up backing away from the room. Just from what I’ve heard from you it sounds like she was quite oppressive. I think it’s good for therapists to push in a way but to push to the point where you dissociate from the room, and then consequently make a light hearted joke about it? Well, I would be furious too. I’d be doing what R did. I think it’s good that you are going to keep your appointment later this week and hopefully you may be able to iron out what went wrong. I guess in such early days you both are still getting used to each others styles and “rules” if you like. If you can manage to tell her on Thur that you felt very confronted with all those questions and were offended (if she can’t already work that out from R’s email) then hopefully you can both talk honestly about where it went wrong and how you can stop it from repeating. So far you’ve had a really great initial session and a bump of a second session. Let’s see where the third session lies. But I am sorry it didn’t go the way we had hoped it would. It is always frustrating to come out of therapy feeling like you haven’t even been heard. Feeling offended. Riled up. Walked over. Pushed away. Speak to you soon chick xx

    • Well, I was going to say pretty much what Bourbon said, though I think she probably worded it better than I would have! I have been in this situation before, with T3(not my current T), where I felt like I was on the witness stand. Or the prosecution stand!

      And the lighthearted joke thing would really turn me off, too. T3 said something similar to me, with her tone, and an embarrassed laugh. “You’re not much of a talker, are you?” Well duh bitch of COURSE not you’re making me feel like shit!

      My only suggestion is this: I know R is experiencing rage, but I wonder, is any of that rage your own? I would own it, if possible. You deserve to have some rage after a session like that. Especially after all the duds and bad luck you seem to keep getting. I would own that rage, let it explode on something harmless like a pillow in an empty room, than let the dust slowly fall to the ground in silence as you gather your thoughts for your next session calmly and with a clear head.

      • Well to answer your question, no I don’t feel any rage about it at all. I feel a little irritated that she made the assumptions that she did, and that she questioned me the way that she did, but I’m writing all my thoughts out and am going up share them with her at our session on thurs. I feel good moving forward that way. :). And as I said, if this one doesn’t end up working out, I know there are other therapists out there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s