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    "I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
    Anna Freud, posted by Daniel

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Today I had my second last session before we finish until January. I didn't feel good at all when I left. I felt like he really came down on me hard. And he did - and rightfully so. We'd kinda gotten off track lately and we both let our guard down, and now I'm relapsing, so he's laying down the smack. I don't like it. I was really angry when I left. So angry that I emailed him to cancel our last session.

Is it ok to want to take a "time out"? I don't really know what my goals are anymore or what direction I want this to take. Lately we'd just been "hanging out" and talking about turtles and dogs and parrots and I was rather enjoying that. I think, really, I'm just mad so I'm pulling a pout and saying "I'm not going".

I asked him to call me and confirm "if it's ok" that I'm cancelling. I have to see him Wednesday to drop off my dog, and I'm a little nervous about that, because I don't want to have to explain why I cancelled Tuesday. But I can't lie to him either....

I just don't know how I feel about this anymore. Maybe I can cut back from twice a week to once a week? I don't know...I'm just thinking....
 
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I know that for me I have taken a week or so off sometimes b/c I need time to process things...my suggestion would be not to just stop theraphy all together but to think about why you are so mad that he came on you even though you say that he should have....sometimes I get mad at my therapist when he says something that i know is true but don't really want to deal w/....take some time to sit down and think about what he said that made you mad...also write down what your goals for theraphy are and ask your therapist what he thinks the goals should be and see how they compare...if you are both going in totally different directions either decide on a plan of action together or possibly look for a new therapist that is more in line w/ you goals....usually if I have the urge to just stop therapy all together it is b/c I am about to tackle something really hard that I don't want to deal with...I hope this helps and that things work out for you!
Kelsey
 

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Hey Kelsey,

Thanks for your advice. I've asked him a couple times where he thinks I need to go, and I've told him I don't know what my goals are. I know what HIS goals are for me. I know he wants me to stop cutting, which I've said fine, I'll try, but it doesn't bother me and I don't see it as a big problem, so that will be tougher. He wants me to deal with the PTSD and negative thoughts and self image. I just feel like we're beating a dead horse at this point.

Finding a new therapist isn't really an option - he charges me next to nothing and I would not find another therapist that would charge me this little. And he does help *alot*; I'm just running out of energy for this. Maybe it's the time of year and everything that's going on. Maybe a few weeks off will be a good thing and I'll feel better about it in the New Year. I don't know. I just don't know.
 

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I think Kels gave a lot of really good suggestions... since you've been seeing this therapist since a while now and you generaly seems to have a pretty good c-t relationship, why not bring up your concerns with him? I know you said you don't know what your goals are but there must be some reason why're you're in therapy... if you truly didn't think any of those issues were of any concern to you, then you wouldn't be there, right? I think at times we can perceive something as 'normal' or 'okay', not b/c it is when you think about it, but b/c it's become your 'normal' and life is still 'working' to some extent, right? so it's difficult to be motivated to change anything about this if you're cruising along just fine, well, or so it seems... but my point is, if life really is so good, then what's the point of si, for ex? if there's nothing to deal with and you're able to cope with things, then why would you or anyone else even need si? (I know si isn't the only prob, it's only an ex.).

I think you have every right to sit down w/ him and reevaluate your goals and direction. Get some feedback fron him and how he thinks therapy is going, his expectations, your expectations... what do you want from him? what do you need from him? how can he help you besides from just 'hanging out'? If you feel like taking a break is what you need right now, I don't see why you can't do that, but just make sure it's not b/c you're running away from dealing w/ things... those things will still be there in January. that's why at least talking about it w/ him might help. it'd be so much easier (in the S/T) if people would just let us continue on our paths and not point out the potential problem with those choices, but I would think for a therapist this is exactly what they are supposed to do. they can't live your life for you but they also shouldn't just stand by...

the thing is, if those goals are his goals and not yours, I don't see how you can truly ever achieve them, and even if you do, will that make 'life' better? no. b/c if those aren't your goals you're only pleasing someone else. his 'right' or 'normal' might not be what that is for you. but then what is it? I think you might want to think about that. One thing I figured out for myself is that it doesn't help talking to someone, working on that person's goals in terms of what they think is right for me if those goals aren't in line w/ mine... trust me, I tried, thinking that eventually things would be better but obviously they didn't get better b/c we were going in 2 totally different directions... but it's up to you to communicate those things.
 

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Hi BG,

Who are you angry with? Your therapist for wanting to help you find your path again or are you angry with yourself for relapsing? If you choose to not return to your therapist are you not shooting yourself in the foot so to speak? I agree with the others about communicating with your therapist regarding any issues you are experiencing. I hope things work out for you and you are able to work through this experience. Take care,
 

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BG said:
I have to see him Wednesday to drop off my dog, and I'm a little nervous about that, because I don't want to have to explain why I cancelled Tuesday.
This part confused me - what does it mean? What does your dog have to do with anything?
 

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David Baxter said:
BG said:
I have to see him Wednesday to drop off my dog, and I'm a little nervous about that, because I don't want to have to explain why I cancelled Tuesday.
This part confused me - what does it mean? What does your dog have to do with anything?

Sorry - he is dog sitting for me over the holidays so I have to drop the little guy off - and I'm afraid he's going to say "So, what's going on? What was last night about?".
 

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Dr. Dobson,

I am angry with him - I'm not angry with myself. I don't care that I SI - but he always makes it out to be such a terrible thing - and I'm sick of hearing about it, and the accompanying "threats" - "If it doesn't stop I'll have to refer you to someone else" - he KNEW long before he took me on that I SI, so I don't understand why he feels he can't deal with it. It's not like I sprung it on him three months into our sessions.

Anyway, I was thinking about it last night - I just need to take a step back, figure out my goals, what I want, if I even need to still be going, etc etc. I obviously have a very good relationship with him so I'm not saying anything to you people that I wouldn't say to him, I just need to think it through with some outside help first so I don't go off the edge.
 

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he is dog sitting for me over the holidays so I have to drop the little guy off - and I'm afraid he's going to say "So, what's going on? What was last night about?".
Is there no one else who you could ask to do this?

I have to say this worries me just a bit - it sounds at face value like one of those "blurry boundaries" issues: Is he a friend, neighbor, dog-sitter, or therapist?
 

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I have to say this worries me just a bit - it sounds at face value like one of those "blurry boundaries" issues: Is he a friend, neighbor, dog-sitter, or therapist?

I didn't have anyone else I could ask, and he offered, so I took him up on it. He's a friend, therapist, spiritual director, confessor, dog-sitter...we joke that he provides an all-inclusive service.

There's definitely blurred boundaries - but we've always had a multi-dimensional relationship. Him being my therapist is just one part of it.
 

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I'm not trying to suggest impropriety necessarily, BG... just that a friend is not usually the best person to be your therapist, perhaps primarily because friendship often erodes objectivity.
 

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I don't disagree, but I didn't think it would matter, and so far it hasn't, and I think we're both pretty careful - we know which "mode" we're operating in and are pretty good about sticking to it. I know we're walking a fine line, and it wouldn't work for alot of people, but so far it hasn't been a problem. When I get mad at him, I just have to remember it's as a therapist and not as a friend or person in general. And I never stay mad long anyway.

I just wonder, if I stop therapy, what will happen to everything else - our friendship, etc.
 

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Hard to say, of course. It might make other aspects of your relationship easier.
 

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I just wonder, if I stop therapy, what will happen to everything else - our friendship, etc.
that's the thing though, is this relationship primarily one between a therapist and a client or is it more a friendship with some "therapeutical benefits" or one of a dogsitter who strolls along for the occasional walk and gives you his opinion...? It's great that this has worked for the both of you and as you said, it's probably not the norm, but setting some kind of boundary can usually help not getting into exactly these kind of situations... where it's difficult to discern whether you're mad as a client and at him as a therapist b/c you're being confronted with something you don't particularly want to deal w/ or as a friend b/c you're hurt a friend wouldn't be more 'supportive'? do you think you would have been as mad if this would be one of your friends? or another therapist with whom you don't have all of these different relationships with?
 

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Hi Eunoia,

To better explain our relationship - he was a friend first. I started seeing him back in February, officially as a therapist. We can't ignore that we knew each other before though - so some of that carries over. We don't do things - ie go for dinner - anymore, but some of our "sessions" end up as "friend chat" etc. It's really not nearly as complicated as it sounds.

But anyway, would I be mad if someone else or another therapist said the same things to me? Yep. And it's not even him - it's me. At this point, I think I'm just questioning if there's anything more for me to gain in therapy or if it's time to throw in the towel. I think that's my biggest dilemma.
 

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okay well that in itself clarifies a lot, that you said you would still be mad if any other therapist would have said those things to you, b/c then in the end it does come down to you and what you want. sometimes, I think there is a point where you've gone as far as you can, in therapy or in a relationship w/ someone or at something. but I also think that this doesn't mean that this is the way your life has to be or is going to be indefinitely. what I mean is that, maybe with another therapist you could go further or explore some different avenues? maybe redefining your own goals as you said would be a 1st step so that you're clear on what it is you want. then you can look at how to reach those goals. I just don't want you to think that si for example has to always be a part of you or your life b/c it is right now or has been in the past. it might not be w/ this therapist but there's plenty of other therapists out there... on the other hand if you feel like you've accomplished everything with your current therapist that you possibly could have, then 'this therapy' is probably 'not for you' anymore... but that doesn't mean that therapy in general isn't anymore...

I kind of know what you mean w/ the whole friendship thing... I am really close to this one psychologist who I used to have as a prof and she's great at giving advice and she never has been my therapist and won't be, but there is that constant crossing of boundaries between "therapist", friend, prof, coworker (I also work w/ her) etc.... if that makes any sense. I would think it'd be a little bit more complicated though if she actually were my therapist. but that's just my opinion.
 
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Hey BG, I've had three therapist and the first one was a guy that went to my church and lets just say that it wasn't weird when I was in a session w/ him but when i saw him at church it was definitly akward...I mean what do you say Hey how's it going...I mean seriously...anyway I stopped seeing him but now it's still kinda weird when i see him in church b/c I think about what he knows about me and it's like whoa...anyway it sounds like your situation is not as bad as that but I just want to let you know that it has potential to become a very akward situation esp if you stop seeing him as a therapist but continue to have contact w/ him as a friend...as far the SI I know what you mean for a long time I didn't see it as a problem and I wasn't willing to work on it until I was like this is ruining my life and I am seeing serious consequences b/c of it...I would also get mad when my therapist made comments about it being one of my issues but let me tell you if you don't see it as a problem you will eventually... I mean seriously sit down and see how it has affected your life...if you think it hasn't think about the all the time you invest in doing bodily harm...that's at least one negitive it takes to much time...I would just say communication is the only way that any of this is going to get any better...good luck w/ everything
 

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Hey Kels,

I can understand your situation as far as the whole church thing. Imagine your therapist is also your parish priest! That was my reality, and if he hadn't left the parish, I would have. It's bad enough I see him twice a week - I didn't need to see him Sundays too haha.

I don't SI *that* often, and I was just thinking about it now walking to my computer before I read your post. I think I'm angry because I just don't feel like I'll ever be successful and he'll forever be coming down on me. I could quit for five years and if I slip that's what he's going to focus on. I just feel like - yeesh I went 14 weeks - it's obviously not THAT big of a problem.

Anyway, I've been thinking about it yesterday and today. I'm just going to tell him tomorrow I need a break and I need to step back for a few weeks - which is perfect cause we're breaking anyway for Christmas. I'll decide closer to January what the next step is. Right now I just want to remove myself from the situation.

He lent me a couple books last week and as he handed them to me he said "Even though you don't deserve them..." (cause I had SI'd). So I made him some cookies today and as I give them to him I'll tell him "Even though you don't deserve them" haha. Seriously though - I just need to step back. I need time to think and refocus and reprioritize and reenergize.
 

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Hi BG,

Now that I have read more of what is taking place...I must agree with David. The boundaries are too blurry with this therapist. He should refer you to someone else. I hope you can find someone who can provide clear boundaries. Take care,
 
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Sometimes removing yourself from a situation is the best thing to do for a while...I would challenge you to as objectivly as possible look at the situation and especially look at the boundaries that you and your t have...boundaries are such a tricky thing in any situation no matter who the relationship is w/...any way good luck and remember that if you need to talk during your break w/ you therapist we're always here for you...also good job for not SIing for 14 weeks that is really good and no matter what don't get caught up in dichotomous thinking that it's either your SIing or your not...I get caught up in that really easily like ok I haven't SIed in a couple of days but now since I slipped up it's all over and I'm back to where I was I might as well not even try...remember there's a difference between a slip up and relapsing...good luck
 
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