• Quote of the Day
    "Connection is why we’re here…it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives."
    Brené Brown, posted by Daniel

gooblax

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It went OK. We started out on surface topics but he got a little too focused on talking about setting boundaries with parents so that they will let go a bit, and mentioned that he discusses this often with clients. I started checking out because of a thought spiral (I don't see it as a useful topic that I want to spend time on, my topics aren't important, especially compared to other clients, I shouldn't talk about my topics, I should quit) but he quickly noticed and asked about it. He misinterpreted why I was checking out but I told him the thought spiral and we eventually got back on track.

I asked how I could better approach things when my inclination is to discretely self harm under the desk and he encouraged me to just try and let him know that I'm feeling emotional and need a break from the topic.

I also managed to describe that I feel bad when we have a session where I don't feel a good connection with him (and that sometimes what we talk about doesn't lead to feeling that connection so it feels bad).
 

gooblax

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The problem now is that I'm worried about my psych getting resentful.

In order to avoid ending the session while I'm clearly stuck in a negative thought pattern, my psych quite frequently ends up extending the session by around 10 minutes. He made a bit of a mention of it this time: I can't remember what was going on but I was partially stuck (in a 'staring into space, not really able to engage, not really thinking because if I start thinking it'll be about doing something self destructive so it's better to not think until things pass' sort of way) and knew I'd dislodge soon but wasn't quite there yet. He said something about me letting it go or moving on from there, and I said "I'll have to at some point" to indicate my partial stuckness. His reply was something along the lines of "well it's 16 past (as in, 5:16pm when we'd started at about 4:05-ish) so now's probably a good time. That's not a criticism, I was aware of the time and thought it was important to discuss this topic." And then we ended after he'd asked if we were in a "good place," I said yes but still kind of disengaged, and then I managed to get unstuck as we wished each other a good few weeks until the next session.

What I'm worried about is that he's resentful of extending sessions for me. And I'd rather him end the session on time (even if it's with me still thinking about hurting myself), than have him hate me. I know how to handle me hating me, but not him hating me.

So now I'm going to come up with ideas for how we can end sessions on time. Whether that's leaving one thing off my "good things" list to talk about at the end so we get to the hard stuff quicker, or setting a 3 minute buzzer to just end the session regardless and give us enough time to put the next session in the calendar and say bye, or coming up with a "read this after the session if you're stuck" note full of things I might need to hear to get unstuck.

Finally I can write all this without tears and snot running down my face because that's been my day today every time I thought about it.
 

Daniel

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I know how to handle me hating me, but not him hating me.
That's pretty insightful right there -- if you see you are prone to projecting your feelings of inadequacy: "A person who persistently thinks negatively about himself or herself may also assume that others think the same way, no matter how strenuously they deny it."

What I'm worried about is that he's resentful of extending sessions for me.
Would you agree that you have an intolerance of uncertainty (feeling uncomfortable not knowing some things for sure, such as what another person thinks)? So the thinking/feeling goes: better to assume the worst than to live with the uncertainty.
 
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David Baxter

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The problem now is that I'm worried about my psych getting resentful.

What I'm worried about is that he's resentful of extending sessions for me. And I'd rather him end the session on time (even if it's with me still thinking about hurting myself), than have him hate me. I know how to handle me hating me, but not him hating me.

But he's choosing to extend the sessions. If he resented it, he wouldn't do it.

Sometimes, it almost seems as if you view him as someone who cannot make his own decisions so you have to second guess everything to try to make those decisions for him.
 

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If he resented it, he wouldn't do it.
I can see though why that could be a difficult assumption to make. If (like me), you were were raised with lots of mixed messages, and it was your job to read between the lines to avoid disapproval: "The patient’s ambivalent experience of self is hypothesised to originate from early mixed messages of approval and rejection. Thus, the client may have difficulty accepting the therapist as empathic, genuine or trustworthy."

Sometimes, it almost seems as if you view him as someone who cannot make his own decisions so you have to second guess everything to try to make those decisions for him.

Similarly:


Although it's a parent's responsibility to take care of their child, toxic [parents] will reverse this norm, instead expecting their kids to take care of them....putting your needs behind theirs...
 
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gooblax

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Would you agree that you have an intolerance of uncertainty (feeling uncomfortable not knowing some things for sure, such as what another person thinks)? So the thinking/feeling goes: better to assume the worst than to live with the uncertainty.
My psych would agree that I do. I guess it could be right. It's not something I spend much time thinking about, but I do avoid things that I don't know much about when I'd need to put more effort into researching things to get more data to feel comfortable getting involved or knowing what the actual risk is. Interpersonally I mostly just try to 'manage impressions' and don't think too much about not-knowing. But unless I've made a mistake that involves someone else, it's really only in "high stakes" relationships (like the one with my psych) where I go a bit overboard with assumptions. My psych was just telling me last session to ask him instead of assuming things he might think.

But he's choosing to extend the sessions. If he resented it, he wouldn't do it.

Sometimes, it almost seems as if you view him as someone who cannot make his own decisions so you have to second guess everything to try to make those decisions for him.
I know he can decide, but people decide things and resent it all the time.
I can see though why that could be a difficult assumption to make. If (like me), you were were raised with lots of mixed messages, and it was your job to read between the lines to avoid disapproval: "The patient’s ambivalent experience of self is hypothesised to originate from early mixed messages of approval and rejection. Thus, the client may have difficulty accepting the therapist as empathic, genuine or trustworthy."



Similarly:
Yeah, I guess this. With my parents I guess there was quite a bit of 'guilting' for being selfish/ungrateful and that the things they did for me were a burden. That having children is a burden and just a load of unwanted effort/work. Like a therapist having clients that need stuff from them.
 

Daniel

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I know he can decide, but people decide things and resent it all the time.
But do you see -- at least intellectually -- that your therapist is not your responsibility? In other words, that people need to speak up or make different choices rather than expect someone to magically read their minds?
 
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gooblax

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But do you see -- at least intellectually -- that your therapist is not your responsibility? In other words, that people need to speak up or make different choices rather than expect someone to magically read their minds?
In part. But I do think I'm responsible for knowing what would be annoying or exhausting in general and not doing those things. And I expect him to punish me somehow if I get it wrong. I get that there's a theoretical way that he could tell me that I'm doing something he doesn't like without already being angry but it doesn't seem possible in reality.
 

Daniel

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“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.”

Albert Ellis
 
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gooblax

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My psych is having his surgery today (after it initially got cancelled due to covid hospital response). I'm hoping the surgery and recovery goes well. Still thinking that it's bad for me to have a session with him 2 weeks after his surgery, expecially cause I'll be feeling bad about him being in pain.
 

David Baxter

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My psych is having his surgery today (after it initially got cancelled due to covid hospital response). I'm hoping the surgery and recovery goes well. Still thinking that it's bad for me to have a session with him 2 weeks after his surgery, expecially cause I'll be feeling bad about him being in pain.

But surely if he's not feeling up to it he can let you know and postpone it. Depending on the type of surgery, he may well be able to manage video sessions from his home.
 

gooblax

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But surely if he's not feeling up to it he can let you know and postpone it.
Yes but I'd rather anticipate that than be 'surprised' on the day. And then there's a difference between being able to work vs being ok/good.
Depending on the type of surgery, he may well be able to manage video sessions from his home.
I'm not sure whether he'll be doing home or office sessions once he resumes, but he's taking 2 weeks off for recovery.

Anyway... I'm feeling sad about the idea of having to say a final goodbye to him, again, even though the only reason I'd need to do that in the near future is also just in my head.
 

David Baxter

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What type of surgery is he getting? With modern techniques, recovery is often a lot faster than it was even a decade ago,
 

Daniel

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I'm actually surprised he took two whole weeks off then, but most people don't have personal assistance 24/7 even if they are married or can afford part-time caregiving. Shoulder surgery, like foot surgery, can take a while to fully recover from -- like up to six months (or up to a year in some cases) for the shoulder to be pain-free or to feel better than before the surgery. You may actually feel more pain two months out (than 2 weeks out) since by then you are no longer wearing a sling, which reduces pain/mobility. But one can be "ready to party" even the day after surgery as far as one's mental faculties are concerned, though one has a sling to limit dance moves :)

My husband had a fairly complicated reverse shoulder replacement surgery last year on the same shoulder that was involved in a car crash decades ago. And he was in a good mood afterwards. The pain was worse for a few months after the surgery, but he had pain pills for that. His recovery was faster on his other shoulder for the more common rotator cuff surgery (after he fell off a ladder).
 
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gooblax

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There's no point in me speculating about what arrangements he's got in place but my understanding is that usually it's just him and his kid, which would be difficult straight afterwards.
If he doesn't need the work (as suggested by not collecting payment for 8-9 weeks) then whatever.
My only reference point is when I broke my wrists as a kid and I was completely useless at the start and I can't remember how much things had improved 2 weeks out, with the faster kid recovery timeframe.

At least this puts my "do I want to know if he ever does hugs with clients" question in the drawer because it's no good thinking about that with him having a bung shoulder.
 
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David Baxter

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The closest I can come to this is when the rotator cuff in my right shoulder is acting up. It sometimes becomes quite painful and when it does I can take pain medications for that. But I can still position myself at a keyboard and talk via Zoom or Skype.

That's what I meant earlier when I said he should know what he can manage and what he can't. You should trust him to evaluate his capabilities and to reschedule or cut a session short if the surgery is making things difficult for him.

Your comparison to broken wrists is really not comparable at all.
 

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At least this puts my "do I want to know if he ever does hugs with clients" question in the drawer because it's no good thinking about that with him having a bung shoulder.

Arguably, therapy is a more detached experience than it was 30+ years ago:


The threat of lawsuits, the already strong language in the APA code, and the general litigiousness of society have prompted many therapists to erect barriers between themselves and their patients when it comes to any physical contact. No more hugs for a sobbing patient. No encouraging pats on the back. Even friendly chitchat outside office walls is shunned...

Despite the current controversy, reputable therapists may offer hugs and other physical comforting...

"Most of our clients suffer from detached and cold parents. So how can we fathom that detached, cold therapists might be able to heal those wounds?"

It's not just fewer hugs or handshakes but fewer opportunities for phone calls between sessions, etc. At least in my experience, medical doctors are far more likely to offer to shake your hand than therapists/psychologists.
 
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