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  1. #1

    Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    I've thought about this a lot and I've also seen other people ponder about this too and then others saying it's okay to take a break- which I do agree w/ as well- but I guess my question is, how do you know when it's okay or maybe even needed to take a break from therapy?? I'm fully supporting therapy, this is more about something I'm trying to figure out for myself. I guess alternatives would be to discuss issues around this in therapy or to slow down in the sessions or w/ the # of sessions... but then when is it okay to justify taking a break altogether? and for how long? I know that sometimes people just aren't ready or can't comitt themselves to the therapy process, so I don't think there's really anything wrong w/ waiting a while or taking a break. but for myself it almost seems more like an option to run away, b/c I know if I stop going then I don't really have to deal w/ the "issues" at hand, which part of me wants. I know that sounds illogical, but I almost think that if I just try really hard I would be okay, I was okay before... and maybe w/ a few changes in my life right now things are bound to get better. right? I'm not saying my therapist isn't good, she is, it's really more about me... reading another post on here made me think- if I'm not using therapy to its full advantage then I'm kind of wasting my time. I know this is again, illogical thinking, but the past week and a half haven't been so bad, maybe I can keep that going. wishful thinking?

  2. #2

    Re: taking a break? or running away?

    I don't know if this is helpful or not: I've had clients who have very directly said, "I know this is helping me and I know I have to and want to continue with this therapy but right now I just feel that I have so many other things happening and demanding my attention that I don't feel i can focus on it right now."

    The last client who said that took all of last summer and part of the fall off. She's now back to weekly appointments with a less cluttered life. I think it was a good decision for her.

  3. #3

    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    yes, that is helpful. but that's exactly what I said to the counselor I first saw last year, that I just wasn't able to focus on things at that time... and if anything, the summer should give me more time to be able to focus on this, w/ less demands from school, even though I'll still be as busy but not in the same way. I can't "de-clutter" my life, well I don't think I want to b/c it is working, but I guess what I'm saying is that some people make therapy their priority right? they make time for it, they want to make time for it... and I feel like I know I should on some level but I also don't want it to be such a big focus, but then I'm feeling like I'm not really getting anything out of it. I can't do it half way, I either need to do it and be comitted to it or I need to stop and then leave it at that. don't you think?

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    Hi Eunoia,

    I ran away from therapy and I'm still running and it's not going so well. But everyone is different. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and maybe taking a break is something you can handle

    I either need to do it and be comitted to it or I need to stop and then leave it at that. don't you think?
    That sounds familiar. It sounds kind of like "all or nothing" thinking. But it's never that simple, as I'm sure you know.

    some people make therapy their priority right? they make time for it, they want to make time for it... and I feel like I know I should on some level but I also don't want it to be such a big focus, but then I'm feeling like I'm not really getting anything out of it. I can't do it half way
    I don't know the right balance. Sometimes I think it is a matter of personality. Some people are able to focus all their energies on one thing while others like to spread it around a bit. Isn't therapy supposed to help you handle/deal with life, it's not supposed to become another problem. Not sure what I'm trying to say. But I think I kind of know what you're feeling and it is difficult.

    Oh man, good luck Eunoia and I do hope you figure it out.

  5. #5

    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    I think your decision could be made with your therapist. Talk to him/her about what is going on in your life and what you are feeling. I think therapy is vital in improving the conditions of anyone's life, including organizing the clutter of life. When I have a client say "I don't think I am getting much out of it or I don't think it is working..." I have found that we are getting somewhere, even if it is small steps. I would explore the thoughts and feelings you have about therapy with your therapist. What are your expectations, goals, desires and ideas regarding your therapy. This will help you unclutter your feelings concerning therapy. You always have a choice to discontinue it for a short period, go every other week for a while, or end it altogether. My experience with therapy was a mixture of positive and negative experiences. The positives outweighed the negative by far. There were days where I felt like I was without tools but then that was just MY thought and not what was actually going on...if that makes any sense. The longer I stayed in therapy, the more I learned about myself.

    When you make therapy a priority, you ARE making yourself the PRIORITY! It is your way of organizing you or uncluttering yourself.

    Ask yourself:

    If you stay in therapy, what is the worst thing that could happen? If you experience any negative feelings, bring them up with your therapist. No matter which choice you make, please take care of yourself!

  6. #6

    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    All of that is true enough, Bill. However, there are also times when in the process of examining the question you realize it really isn't just resistance and it reallt isn't just you - that it's either a mismatch of you and that specific therapist or it's just not a good time.

    The client I mentioned had several issues going on in her life at the time that simply could not be postponed. Once she had those dealt with and out of the way, she was back with full attention and is now progressing very well indeed.

    On the other hand, in one of my own experiences in therapy several years ago, I found I was reisting going to sessions, looking for excuses to cancel, etc. When i stopped to analyze what was going on, I realized I just didn't like the therapist, his approach, or how he made me feel in sessions. I found someone else and was more than happy to keep my appointments.

    That's part of why I frequently advise people not to ignore their instincts. Stop and analyze them before acting on them but do not dismiss them. More often than not, you'll discover there's a very good reason for how you're feeling, even if it isn't the one you thought.

  7. #7

    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    Yes David, I agree that it could be a mismatch. I think I became to analytical of what I was doing in therapy and how each session "went." When I did that I noticed that I felt "off course." I like what you said about stopping and analyzing before acting on instincts. Finding a "good fit" is important. There have been a few clients over the years where we did not fit well together. The interesting occurrence for me is that women who would prefer a female therapist have given me a "try" and have found that it worked well between us. Some of these woman have said I am unlike any male therapist they have encountered. (80% of my clients are female.) I also agree strongly with your last sentence.

  8. Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    "Some of these woman have said I am unlike any male therapist they have encountered. (80% of my clients are female.)"'
    .... super therapist???

  9. #9

    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    thanks for all of the input, you defnitely gave me stuff to think about... I think that when it comes down to it I have a lot of ambivalence about therapy b/c I have a lot of ambivalence about recovery. so I'm trying to justify why leaving therapy would be a good idea but given the facts it doesn't sound like it would be a good idea at all- and that scares me, knowing that I need to go to therapy b/c I'd still like to think I don't need to, I have control over this, either I'm really not that "bad" or I am but that's what I want... twisted sort of thinking I know. I know the ED isn't the only reason or the problem when it comes down to it, but it's definitely one of the most damaging and the thing that interferes w/ my every day, every hour, every minutee even. my therapist recommened residential treatment which scares me a lot, that she thinks I need to go through such an intensive treatment, b/c even though I realize it's a problem, I don't consider it to be such a big problem like she does and I guess other people would. I don't think that in this case it is a wrong match, I think she's very good at what she does. but no, I don't think I'm getting any better, I feel like I can let go of some of the things but I don't at all see it a possibility to let go of restriciting and my beliefs about what I expect of myself and what is acceptable, but I think if everything else can stop and only this is left, it just has to be good enough. I somehow rationalize that I can pull myself out of this (alone) and that it's not really a problem, b/c I keep on going and I know it has gotten better and it can- if that's even what I want and right now I don't know. my therapist referred to my ambivalence in terms of needing a reality check; I don't know what will do that trick but I agree, I'm holding on too strongly b/c I know I can and my "reality" is still one piece, my life is still "functional" in the bigger picture. For ex., I've been through phases where I really got to see what this ED has done to me, ie. health wise, and yet I get scared for a bit and then I forget all about it. I think in the end I'm just really confused and part of me just wants to be left alone (hence wanting to quit therapy) and the other part is hurting so much and I don't know which way to turn. one thing I keep on hearing over and over is motivation in terms of ED's, I have no motivation. After writing this post yesterday I was ready to come back and say, no the last 2 weeks haven't been good, b/c all I have done is restrict and thought about food obsessively and went from one appt. to the next and had to lie a lot to my family and friends and then yesterday was just about the most horrible day since a long time, which only reconfirms that I can't, can't get out of this. It is such a big part of me, it won't let go, I won't let go, it's always there, it always comes back. but that's not motivation to keep going, it only makes things seem more hopeless really.

  10. #10

    Re: Taking a break from therapy? Or running away?

    Hey Eunoia,

    I think that you probably already got the advice that you were looking for, but I just wanted to say that I think, if have a connection with your therapist, maybe you should keep trying. I think that, while you can be too busy for therapy, that there will likely not be a time in your life when you can focus all of your attention and time on therapy. I think by making a point to go, and thinking about the sessions and trying to learn from them, that you are making it a priority.
    if I'm not using therapy to its full advantage then I'm kind of wasting my time
    Maybe you are taking as full advantage of therapy as you are able to do right now. I don't think that it is easy to just go straight in to thearpy and know exactly how to act, exactly what to say, and how to follow through with the information all at once. It has to be a learning process and I think that the best we can do is try.

    I think that we have been in therapy for about the same amount of time (?) and I have had very similar thoughts so maybe it's just getting to the hard part now. Perhaps it's the dark before the dawn (I hope). You should be proud of what you've done, you're going to therapy, you just got a full physical, you give a lot of good advice here to people...you have really accomplished a lot! I hope you are able to doubt yourself less...there is no doubt in my mind that you are more than equipped for therapy, probably more than the average person.

    With that being said though, I also totally agree with Dr. B that if it's a mismatch it would be a lot better to find someone else...just make sure that you do find someone else!

    I also wanted to add a comment to something I thought I had read in here but now I can't find, about resistance vs. real reason to stop, and I wanted to say that I think for the average person it is hard to differentiate between the two....very hard! Perhaps it's obvious to the therapist but not so much to the client!


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