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Emotion from therapist

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by Hopefully, Mar 20, 2018.

  1. Hopefully

    Hopefully I'm a VIP

    I have just started with a new T for childhood trauma who has a bit of a different style to what I experienced in the past, she is quite direct which I am finding a little challenging. She uses words I would always avoid and despite all my minimising she is very vocal that my experiences were difficult and wrong.

    The last time I saw her she told me she feels very emotional when she sees me, she visibly looked upset and glassy eyed. She said she feels differently with different clients but sensed that she was feeling what I don’t allow myself to feel. That would make sense as I am very avoidant of negative emotions and struggle to allow myself to connect with them but I didn’t know what to do or say to her. I think I apologised and said something along the lines of ‘it is what it is’.

    I was just wondering if anyone else had had similar reactions from a T and if so how to rebalance the emotions in the room?
    blackemerald1, Mach123, AnD and 3 others like this.
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  3. Marinna

    Marinna Active Member

    I haven't had a lot of T, but it seems strange that the burden of rebalancing emotions seems to have fallen on you?!
    Trauma therapists need to be a little more hardy IMO. Empathy is fine, but this T is acting a little strangely?!
    She is also taking empathy a little far IMO. Is she somehow absorbing your emotions and HAS to display them? Hopefully someone will be along with more insight and experience. My first reaction is that this sounds bizzare.
  4. Justmehere

    Justmehere Help support myPTSD - more info in Social forum Moderator Premium Member

    Not your job. She’s the only one who can manage her emotions, and they are hers. She may be feeling negative emotions about the trauma while you don’t feel negative emotions about it... but that doesn’t mean she’s feeling your feelings for you. She’s having her own reaction, and it’s hers to own and manage.
  5. UnicornSightings

    UnicornSightings Well-Known Member Donated

    There are so many different styles. If you’re in the game of minimizing this could be incredibly good for you. She’s showing you what’s appropriate to feel given your history. That’s awesome. And not sure why you think it’s your responsibility to rebalance emotions?! Let her hold then for you until you’re ready to bear them yourself.

    Or she could be cuckoo. We have no way of knowing but I like to think if this is the only different thing you notice about her and otherwise her boundaries are good, this could be useful. Also talk to her about it. “I don’t know how I feel about you feeling so much for me. Can we talk about it?”
  6. Hopefully

    Hopefully I'm a VIP

    Thank you @Marinna, @Justmehere and @UnicornSightings.

    I struggle and edit with a lot of what I do say so I don’t want to have to worry about her reaction as well. On the whole I don’t know what to do with emotions, mine or other peoples, it panics me. I feel her looking at me like she is trying to make me see this is how I should feel which just makes me shut down more.

    I think there is something in what @UnicornSightings says though, I think she might be trying to show me how it is ok to feel, that I don’t need to keep denying, it is ok just to feel it.

    I don’t think she is asking or wanting for me to rebalance things I think I just feel that is my job, I guess logically I know it’s not but it makes me uncomfortable so I want to change it. As much as I crave someone’s acknowledgement or understanding as soon as I have it I have to push it away, it is too much.

    I know much of this is my reaction and not necessarily her but it feels different from T’s I have seen in her past.
  7. FauxLiz

    FauxLiz Well-Known Member Premium Member Sponsor $100+

    @Hopefully I agree with others that it is not your responsibility to rebalance the emotions in the room. I also understand why it would make you feel uncomfortable for her to be so visibly emotional and know that it is something that I personally would not be able to handle. In fact a recent conversation with my t included an admission from my t that he has teared up in the past in hearing about my past and I ended up getting angry about it (obviously not the best response). I would say @UnicornSightings has good advice about talking this through with your T.
    blackemerald1, ladee, AnD and 2 others like this.
  8. Mytime

    Mytime Well-Known Member

    Maybe she trying to show you , you have a right to feel these emotions. You are safe to feel these emotions. Maybe she showing you her emotions, so you can see. You can feel and experience your negative emotions and still be ok after. Experiencing negative emotions and learning self compassion.

    I’m just guessing, but it can be good to be out of your comfort zone.
    Other then her showing her emotions, do you like her?
    Harmonics, AnD and Hopefully like this.
  9. Still Standing

    Still Standing I'm a VIP

    You are a brave soul, Hopefully. I would hope you will keep us updated as how you and your therapist adjust in your therapy. I am curious as to how the show of emotions balance out and is beneficial to you. For me, your scenario would scare :nailbiting: the :poop: out of me!!! To have my therapist show such intimate emotion would be a threat. It would cause the concern that I would have to invest a deeper trust in him and that would mean that, there would be a larger chance of hurt and disappointment if ever we had to part. This just sounds a bit on the edge, in my mind, and makes me suspect as to the intentions. So, I am sincerely interested in hearing how this progresses your care. If it is a positive for you, maybe I can learn from your experience, to some degree.
    blackemerald1, ladee and Hopefully like this.
  10. Hopefully

    Hopefully I'm a VIP

    Thank you @FauxLiz, @Mytime and @Still Standing.

    It does make me feel really uncomfortable but I want to be mindful of pushing it away because it is uncomfortable but ultimately helpful and pushing it away as it could be harmful. I have ongoing issues with knowing how to view my experiences and feeling that I can perceive them as having a negative impact. To be able to say this happened and it hurt. Writing that there seems so simple but to believe it feels completely impossible. I hope she is showing me it's ok and right to feel that but it is scary as I have never seen that ever before, of the very few people who I have told bits to that's not the reaction I have seen. It is what I want to feel but have always been too scared to do.

    @FauxLiz, it brings some anger in me too. I think, what do you want me to do with your emotion, how do you want me to feel? I triggers a don't make me feel that response, a no, a don't, a stop that I can't vocalise which I think I ultimately shut down to and push away. I panic I will handle it wrong, it feels too much.

    @Mytime, I think there is definitely something in this, like I say I have never seen these reactions before, maybe she is showing me what I should have seen a really long time ago rather than disbelief and silence. I am unsure of her and her style but it has only been three sessions so I think I need to give it a bit more of a go. She is more direct than I'm used to. Previous Ts have said they are conscious of needing to be very careful with language, really small things can be really triggering and I'll push back saying they are wrong and misunderstood when they say things like abuse or trauma but she is rolling with it. It's hard. She used an awful word yesterday, immediately I think she is wrong, I'm misleading her.

    @Still Standing, I hope it goes well too! It's been a really hard transitions between Ts, so I am sure some of that difficulty is feeding into trying to balance and establish a new relationship.

    She did ask how it felt for her to say that. I said and do think that she knows none of the detail of what happened so it is easy for me to dismiss as an invalid opinion, she can't judge a situation she knows less than the basics about. That then feeds into a feeling that she will be angry and I will feel ashamed when she finds out more and realises that her emotion was misplaced.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2018
    Still Standing and AnD like this.
  11. MyWillow

    MyWillow Well-Known Member

    Understanding that everyone is different, I'm not sure I could handle that level of emotion expressed by my T at the moment. I need someone who can hold the line so that I can drop all the balls I am juggling....dissociation, vulnerability, fear... My T intuitively gets that and asked me more openly a few sessions ago if that's what I needed. I'm figuring my brain has got enough smarts to put up the barriers it has.
  12. Hopefully

    Hopefully I'm a VIP

    It certainly felt uncomfortable and confusing, not necessarily wrong but definitely different.

    I think the part I struggle with is that I can’t drop the balls, I wish I could. I have to keep all the plates spinning constantly but in fear of I don’t know what, I just have to. I hope she is showing me that it is ok to feel and this is how. They feel like big and terrifying steps and I have no idea how to take them.
    blackemerald1 and Still Standing like this.
  13. Nessa7

    Nessa7 Well-Known Member Donated

    If you are feeling like you can't be honest with your therapist, that's something you should tell her. My first t and I spent a lot of time working on this. It might be something that you need to back off of a bit and return to later.
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