• Quote of the Day
    "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered."
    Nelson Mandela, posted by Daniel

pocono

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2 years in therapy. Traumatic past which erupted in my memory. Trying hard to work it out. Trying hard to succeed in therapy. Stuck. Every time I try to talk about one of the memories, I feel so vulnerable. I want my therapist to say things like "you are safe; I care about you; nothing is going to happend here". He only says these things if I directly ask him to, and then sometimes in a way which feels matter of fact. He also does not understand my disgust at the event. He has an explanation for my actions/feelings then, but I can't grasp it. I feel like every time I remember with him it is like the event itself all over again. I have expressed this. I've written it. I like him a lot and don't want to leave. But I can't find a way to change the dynamic between us, even after talking to him about it.

He is going to do a consultation. At first that made me feel better. But now I'm scared. What if another therapist says we should stop? What if there is something wrong with the relationship? I hate feeling so dependent on him, but I am. I don't want to leave therapy with him, but I can't find a way aroung this roadblock.

It also feels like the rules have changed. He used to let me call between sessions when I was really upset. He still does, but he is less patient now, even angry, I think, about these calls. I'm afraid. I feel like I'm about to get cut adrift.

I don't want to be alone.....really can't bear to be alone anymore.

Help.
 

David Baxter

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What frightens/worries you about changing therapists, pocono? Sometimes, that's the best way to get past a "roadblock" as you describe it. Also, it sounds from your post as if the current therapist isn't reacting to you in the way you would hope he would - it's very possible that someone new might understand and connect with you better than him.

That doesn't necessarily mean you are going to be "cut adrift", though. It may be that your therapist is recognizing that he doesn't know how to help you. If so, the consultation he is arranging may be a way to find someone more suitable for you and the issues you are trying to address.
 

ThatLady

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It sounds to me like your therapist is doing exactly what a medical doctor would do if faced with a situation he/she didn't quite know how to handle. Call in a specialist. An Orthopaedist won't operate on a gall bladder. ;)

We have a tendency as human beings to worry about "what ifs". Yet, if we'll just live one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other, the "what ifs" usually take care of themselves. If you can keep this in mind, see the consultant, and see what comes of it, you just might be pleasantly surprised.

:hug:

I do understand it's scary, but it may be just what you need to get past the roadblock you mention and back on the road to health and happiness. :)
 

pocono

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What scares me about seeing a new therapist? It took many months for me to begin to feel safe with current therapist. More than a year before I could not "disappear" in the middle of trying to tell him something scary. (Actually, that still happens, but lot less frequently now).

We have both worked hard to build a good working relationship. I have learned to trust him to a much greater degree than I have trusted anyone (including husband of 21 years, who I love very much but can't tell the bad memories to.)

I can't tell if the "more" I want from him is justified. I know there are limits to this kind of relationship, and I haven't fallen "in love" in the sense that I am romantically attracted to him (thank god). But I do love him in the sense that I very much want him to care about me and be proud of me.

I have a lot more work to do, and I can't stand the thought of having to reconstruct a working relationship with someone else. I also can't stand the idea that maybe he is tired or frustrated with me. I can't even say how badly that makes me feel when I think he is giving up on me. He does not say that is what is happening. And when I expressed by fears to him that someone would recommend I change therapists, he didn't seem to think that is what is going to happen.

Still -- I'm a wreck worrying about this. Lower than I have been in a long while.......and there isn't anyone else to talk with about this either, which makes it worse.
 

Halo

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Hi Pocono,

I know how scary it can be at the thought of changing therapists as I just went through it myself. I was with the same one for about 8 years and didn't really realize that it was not working. I thought that I felt safe, secure and content with her but didn't realize that I wasn't really moving forward or through my issues and that was a problem. She ended up leaving and I have since began with a new psych and to be honest it has made a huge difference. I didn't know that I needed something different or a change until I saw for myself the improvements and change in myself.

Although it is scary at first having to get to know someone new and the level of trust is not there but if the connection is there on a client/therapist level then in time the trust will be built and the work that needs to be done will get done. I know for me it was more of a fear of the unknown and the "what ifs" that raised my anxiety about seeing someone new.

One last thing that I want to add is that by building up a trusting relationship with your current therapist it does make it easier to begin with someone new because you have done it before and you can do it again (or at least that is what I was told and repeated to myself over and over). I have trusted before so I can do it again.

If you want to talk further, don't hesitate to send me a pm because like I said, I have been there pretty recently myself.

Take care
 

ThatLady

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At this point, it doesn't sound like your therapist is suggesting a change to another therapist. He's just asked for a consultation; probably, with someone he feels has special expertise that will help him (and you) help you. It doesn't mean he's rejecting you. To the contrary, it shows he cares enough to want to provide you with the very best possible care.

If you trust your therapist - and it sounds like you do - trust his judgement in this matter and try to be as open as you can possibly be with the consultant. That will help your therapist to give you the care you need. :hug:
 

Halo

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Actually TL makes a good point. After re-reading your posts I realized that your current therapist has not said that he is referring you to someone else only that he is asking for a consultation. My apologizes for misreading your post. I do agree with TL when she says that he is not rejecting you but trying to do what he can to help you and provide the best care.

This is really a positive thing that is happening in your theraputic relationship and hopefully some good can come from it that will help you.
 

pocono

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Thank you for everyone who responded to my post yesterday. I guess I have several fears:

1. That someone will give the advice that Dr. Baxter did and suggest I start over with someone else. (I'm a little worried that I don't like the administrator's responce....seems like that should carry some weight.)
2. That he may get good advice but ultimately nothing will change.
3. That he is really tired of me and is using this as a "graceful" way to get out.

I read Nancy and ThatLady's posts just before I went to bed and they temporarily helped me calm my fears. I do trust my therapist's judgement and I do believe he really does want the best for me. So I tried to rest on that knowledge last night.

Still, I could not sleep as the anxiety creeped back into my mind. I recognize it as anxiety, and I'm trying to put some boundaries around it by distracting myself, keeping busy, etc. But Thurs. feels like a year away. I'm also not sure if by Thurs. he will have completed this consultation (it is him consulting with someone -- not me......I can't imagine how I would talk with a total stranger about any of this). Then what? What do we talk about for an hour?

Thanks again for your support.
 

ThatLady

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Goodness, Pocono! If it's your therapist consulting with someone else, you are working yourself into a froth over nothing, in all probability. It sounds to me like he's just going to someone he feels has more experience in dealing with issues like yours. He's doing this to gain pointers for himself so that he can more effectively help you. I think this proves beyond any doubt that your therapist has your best interests in mind, and that he is not above admitting when he needs to consult someone more experienced to learn new ways of approaching a problem. That's a tremendous indication that he's a really good, caring therapist.

Try to put your fears to rest. It sounds like you have a winner in this therapist. :)
 

Halo

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I guess I was under the impression that you were going to be see the consultant and that is what the fears were about and also what the end result of the consultation would be. I too think that you therapist is doing a good thing here by trying to obtain another persons perspective and insight into how to help you better. I honestly wish my old psych would have taken on that idea when I was seeing her. It might have really made a difference. I truly think that you are lucky to have a therapist that cares so much and is willling to try and help you any way he can.

Anyway, try and put the overactive "what ifs" to rest at least until you see him this week and find out who his consultation went (I know easier said than done :))

Good luck and let us know how it turns out
:hug:
 

pocono

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Whew. What a week. I am amazed sometimes by how little control I have over my mind. The anxiety got so bad this week, waiting for my appointment I had to call the medical Dr. to increase my meds. This helped, but also knocked me out, so that I missed several days of work.

We had our appointment yesterday. He hadn't had time to get consult yet...that will happen next week. But he spent time trying to understand the roadblock more, what I was feeling he was doing wrong or what wasn't helpful. We talked about why he is "matter-of'fact" when he reasurres me. He can't give me an answer as to why. I asked him if it is some kind of technique.........this whole need to experience deprivation in therapy and learn how to grieve what isn't possible. He denied that was the reason The most he could say was that it is not my fault and doesn't have anthying to do with what I do and don't deserve. He promised to really do his level best in consultation to understand what is going on.

I cried a lot. I'm still very afraid. It feels like and death for us to get past this problem. I'm trying to have faith in him. I reiterated to him yesterday that i am still committed to the therapy and still trust him even though I'm so frightened right now.
 

David Baxter

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We talked about why he is "matter-of'fact" when he reasurres me. He can't give me an answer as to why. I asked him if it is some kind of technique.........this whole need to experience deprivation in therapy and learn how to grieve what isn't possible. He denied that was the reason The most he could say was that it is not my fault and doesn't have anthying to do with what I do
That's probably quite true. A while ago, in a thread at this forum, I talked about the need for a therapist to find a balance between connecting empathically with the client and maintaining a certain emotional distance - if the therapist fails to do that, he fails the client and himself - instead of being able to function as a guide leading the client out of the darkness, the therapist becomes just a fellow traveller, a companion in the pain and darkness.

That emotional distance, essential both to the survival of the therapist and to the effectiveness of therapy for the client, may at times seem like detachment or "matter of factnesss" - but it doesn't mean lack of caring.
 

pocono

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That's probably quite true. A while ago, in a thread at this forum, I talked about the need for a therapist to find a balance between connecting empathically with the client and maintaining a certain emotional distance - if the therapist fails to do that, he fails the client and himself - instead of being able to function as a guide leading the client out of the darkness, the therapist becomes just a fellow traveller, a companion in the pain and darkness.

That emotional distance, essential both to the survival of the therapist and to the effectiveness of therapy for the client, may at times seem like detachment or "matter of factnesss" - but it doesn't mean lack of caring.


I hear what you are saying and even understand it to a certain degree. So then what am I suppposed to do? What if I can't tolerate such emotional distance. It isn't huge boundary-breaking things I long for or ask for. It is simple affirmative statements about how he feels towards me -- like -- "I do care about you, you are important to me. I won't abandon you." Said, of course, with some compassion, not with detachment. Is that really too much to want or need? Am I just organizing more frustration and disappointment for myself?
 

David Baxter

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Is that really too much to want or need?
That may well be true. Your therapist may see this as counterproductive or even dangerous both for you and for him. He is there to help you as your therapist, not to be your friend. And he can't be both.

Am I just organizing more frustration and disappointment for myself?
I suspect so, yes. See above. If you want a friend, that friend cannot also be your therapist. If you want help from a therapist, that therapist cannot also be your friend.

Remember the old saying? "A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client"?

That also applies to health and mental health professionals. I don't try to be a therapist to my children, although I'm happy to give them advice as a father. Similarly, physicians do not treat family members (or themselves) - they send them to other physicians.
 

pocono

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Hard to read.

I can't imagine getting any farther with the memories then. They are so difficult. There isn't anyone else, at this point, I can share them with. I want to talk about each one -- go through it -- so that it isn't all mine; someone else knows too.

But each memory is extremely painful, and I relive it as a speak it. I'm left an emotional wreck and feel desperately like I need my therapist to say something kind to help me cope with the pain.

Ok...asking for too much.....only then I can't imagine doing the work anymore....which just leaves me alone again with a whole lot of ****. More than I can really tolerate sometimes.
 

David Baxter

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I would remind you again that none of this means he does not care about your pain or about you as a person. It simply means that in order to help you he must maintain a certain professional distance.

That's not a bad thing. That's a good thing.
 
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pocono, i am curious, why do you feel so strongly that he has to react like a friend would? do you feel that otherwise he cannot possibly be caring enough about your difficulties?
 

ThatLady

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I think it's important to realize that everyone, whether therapist, friend, or acquaintance, shows caring emotions differently. Not all people are effusive. Some are quietly, calmly caring. Some people are huggers and touchers. Others are more likely to simply listen quietly. Because someone falls into one group and not another does not mean that person doesn't care or that they aren't empathetic.
 

pocono

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I'm not sure I can explain this without getting too deep into painful details.

The bad things that happend to me....they happened at the hands of people I trust -- people I thought cared about me, would take care of me...keep me safe.

And in some kind sick, twisted 14 yr old logic I returned to these people on my own volition (after the first thing happened)....hoping, I think, to change the ending. It never changed.

Now , when I walk through the memories -- those same deep, desperate longins surface. I want my therapist to help me change the ending, I guess. By going through the memories one at a time and by me coming out of them not feeling hurt, used, abused by him -- but rather cared for, safe, ok. Somehow that feels like it could help me finally leave them behind....quit replaying and reenacting them.

Too often, the session ends and I'm still in the middle of the negative memories, he tries through a variety of techniques to try to refocus me in the here and now. I pay him; I get out my appointment book to schedule next session; I ask one more questions to try to draw out some reassurance (usually fail). (by the way he is pretty good on empathy....I get a good dose of that.) Then I leave. And I fall apart. More flashbacks, more anxiety.

It is a vicious circle.

I don't actually think I'm trying to get my therapist to be my friend. But I am asking him to play an important role in helping me change the endings to these memoires and all the acting out they have led to over too many years.
 

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