Ending therapy – and how to do it in the least painful way possible!

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
I'm really sorry @barefoot I would have been really upset by that too. In fact I have had a similar response from a T and with quite a few other similarities in quality of feeling and it wasn't good.

I think you're exceptionally reasonable and considerate of others and can understand you considering finishing with her.

Would you want to work with someone else in the future do you think?

And excuse me for not remembering, but did you ever see the nhs trauma service?
 

Sues

Confident
she was late because she said she fancied an orange juice and so she went to get one, she was then really distracted and kept looking out the window and it didn’t feel that she was present or listening, then she suddenly turned her camera off and left for a few minutes because the dog walker turned up, then when she came back she was like, ‘what were you saying? Something about triggers?’

This part alone, is a red flag for me. I know you said before that she is chronically late, but your session is about you. Her attention needs to be on you for that session, not the window, or the dog walker, or anything else. It's not only rude and unprofessional, it's unethical and at times can be dangerous.

How can you possibly get a good therapeutic session in when your therapist is not present? She's distracted, not listening, not paying attention to you. And then when you let her know you want to discuss the possibility of stopping therapy, she brings up an inaccurate description of the session, that she wasn't fully present for, and lays the guilt on you.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
The bits about the dog walker and the orange juice seem like things SHE needs to work on and take some responsibility for. (Maybe you have to take responsibility before you can change?) However that works, she's getting paid for her time with you so that's what she should be doing, with rare exceptions.

I have said before that it frustrates me about myself and about how I get stressed in sessions and then do it more. I have said before that I realise that it’s sometimes that I daren’t stop talking about X because then we’d have to talk about Y.
Do you think she's right, that you were doing that? Sounds like maybe this time you don't see it that way? Because "avoidance" can sure be a reason for quitting too. I guess even thinking/talking about quitting can be used to avoid something else. The way you describe it, her response doesn't necessarily sound defensive. (If she's making stuff up, I don't know WHAT she's doing.)

As for you "talking too much"...... It's hard for me to see that as a thing. After all, it's your therapy session, isn't talking supposed to be a GOOD thing? As for avoiding stuff..... Well, you're seeing a therapist for a reason, right? If you had things totally figured out, you wouldn't be there. It seems like, if there's a problem with what you're describing as "bulldozing" maybe the thing to do is come up with a way for her to help you notice when you're doing it and then do something else instead. (What would you rather do?)

Good for you for bringing things up. I imagine it wasn't easy. Not only is stuff like this not easy, it's often messy. (I think you're in the messy part!) Keep at it and see where it leads you. (I have no idea what the best thing for you to do is. Just, if you're going to quit working with her, I hope it's for the best kind of reasons.)
 

barefoot

Sponsor
The last three months haven't been ideal as our fortnightly pattern has been disrupted, so I have often had longer breaks between sessions. For instance, we met on the 1 July and then not til the end of the month as she cancelled the middle of the month session as she was ill. August, we had two sessions, one in the first week, one in the second week – this was my attempt to try to get some consistency and momentum going. But then there was a mix up with the mid-August session – she didn't see a cancellation email I'd sent (because my holiday days had changed) and then it was difficult to get another appointment with her, so I had to wait another two weeks. September, we met at the start of the month, then at the end of the month as, again, she cancelled the middle one because she had to take time off work to deal with a family matter.

So, the infrequency and lack of rhythm around that hasn't helped in terms of holding focus, getting real traction and building momentum.

Whenever we have longer breaks between sessions, I have a tendency to lose my thread, for things we were working on before to feel quite distant and intangible, and I end up just giving her an update on things that have happened in my life since we last met, because I struggle to find an 'in' after the break to pick up on more meaningful things we were talking about before. It's an annoying tendency I have and I really struggle with it, and I have shared my frustration that I do this with her before.

In our session the other day, we hadn't caught up for almost a month (because she took two weeks off for the family matter she had to deal with). The session before that, where she mentioned she was trying to get her interventions in but couldn't because I was talking too much and 'bulldozing' her (that was her word, btw, not mine – and I think it's a pretty judgemental, critical, negative word to use!) was the session with the lateness because of orange juice then her disappearing to sort out the dog walker etc.

I had actually booked that session in for 90 mins as I knew we had had a longer break between session, and I wanted to try to get some more traction and ensure we did some meaningful work....there were a couple of thing I did want to tell her about (it was the anniversary of my mum's passing the day afterwards and we had also had a really stressful time with my brother-in-law who seems to be having a bit of a breakdown but it's hard to talk to him about it or support him as all he wants to do is feed you a load of QAnon BS). But I was really mindful that, as well as talking about those things because they were both very anxiety-making for me, I wanted to try to pick up threads from previous sessions about the main focus we were working on (to do with family triggers) So, I booked a 90 min appt so I could split the time – update her on current stresses and then get into stuff from before.

Two hours before our session, she messaged to let me know that she could only do 60 mins. So, my plan for what I wanted to cover and how to approach it was thrown off a bit and I ended up spending too long on my mum and brother-in-law and then only had 20 mins left to try to get some kind of connection to previous work around family triggers and I probably panicked a bit and was trying to force it because I was so determined that I wanted to work on something 'important'. And that was when she was getting really distracted, it didn't feel like she was present and then she turned her camera off and went to talk to the dog walker for a few minutes.

The reason why it had been such a big gap between the previous session and that orange juice/dog walker session in the first place was because I had had to change my holiday dates, so emailed her a few days before our session to apologise, cancel and offer dates I could do so we could reschedule asap. I didn't hear back from her (but this wasn't unusual, so I didn't think anything of it) On the day/time of my cancelled session, she texted to say she was waiting on Zoom and was I ok, so I messaged back that I had emailed to cancel and I explained why and said that I was away. She sent a short text back saying she didn't receive it, she had just seen it was in her junk folder, and 'what a pain.' I then didn't hear anything more from her...no response to reschedule the date. To be honest, I didn't believe her that my message had ended up in her Junk folder – we've been emailing each other for 7 years so I found it hard to believe that, after all that time with no problems, suddenly my message cancelling a session hadn't found its way to her inbox. I honestly think she just missed the message. Which is fine – we've all missed an email! But, no – she said it was in Junk. A few days passed and no message from her about a rescheduled date. So I messaged her again. No reply for another few days. And I said to my partner – 'you wait, the next thing will be that she's now fully booked.' And sure enough...! Fully booked for the next week now, so we had to do the week after. So that meant again, having nearly a month between sessions. It really irked me that, at the time of the cancelled session when she realised there was an email she hadn't seen (whether it was in Junk or not) she didn't then read the email and promptly reschedule with me. Because, if we had actually gone ahead and had that session, and then decided when we got diaries out at the end that I'd like to book in for the next week, rather than waiting our usual two weeks, I have no doubt that she would have been able to accommodate that. Because she always is able to when that happens. But she just didn't come back to me on it for over a week – even though I sent a follow up message about it. And, of course, by then, she had been booking other people in as she'd seen them throughout the week. Then waited til after the next weekend to say she didn't have any availability left.

So, when I went into that orange juice/dog walker session, I admit I was already irritated about the mix up and the 'it went into my junk' excuse, and the abrupt 'what a pain' text, then not responding about rescheduling for days and then saying days later that she was fully booked now for the following week so it would have to be the week after. Then I was annoyed that, when that session day finally came, she texted two hours before to say it would be for 60 mins not 90. Then we have the numerous disruptions and distractions I've mentioned. And me talking to her about two important things that were making me feel anxious and emotionally heavy (my mum's anniversary and my bro-in-law buying into every conspiracy theory going) and then trying to pull things back later to get into our previous thread about family triggers but struggling with how to do that and struggling to actually get her to pay attention!

So, it now blows my mind and, honestly, really pisses me off, that her takeaway from that session was that I was talking to much and she couldn't get a word in....so she was trying and trying to make interventions but I wouldn't let her. And that could be because I was avoiding stuff.

I get that we each have our own experience of sessions. But it is actually quite a concern to me at this point, that we are on such different pages with what we see happening with our sessions.
 

Teasel

MyPTSD Pro
When is thevlast time you felt you really got something from a session?

And the time before that? Was it just before or a long time ago?

So, thinking about sessions you've had this year, how many of them were worth £100?
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I can see why you're getting frustrated! First, SHE'S the one that used the word "bulldozing"?! Not the best choice of words. At least I don't think so. Words matter. And, I'm not so sure I think "bulldozing" is even an accurate word to use to describe what you described doing. "Talking too much" is an interesting way of avoiding talking about particular subjects. (I really mean that. It's something I hadn't thought of but I can see how it would work.) It's not "wrong". It's just an avoidance technique. The "problem" isn't the technique, it's the avoidance. And even that.... It's not evil or malicious, it's a defense mechanism for heaven's sake.

She really needs to get her act together if she wants to run her own practice. Her problems with things like managing her schedule and separating her work from the rest of her life are having an effect on her ability to do her job. I think that's a legitimate complaint. You ARE paying her to do her job. Everyone gets distracted now and then but it seems like she's making a habit out of it. And, everyone is good at some things and not others. My T hates doing the billing part of running his business. So he pays someone else to do that so he can do the rest of it better. If she can't manage scheduling, maybe she should consider hiring someone else to do it. But, that's not your problem. Or it shouldn't be.

As far as what to do about it? Tough question. At least, when I try putting myself in your position, I find it would be a tough question. I think I could have a productive conversation with my T if a similar situation came up. But then, if he didn't see an email or read it and forgot it, I also think he'd just admit to that and we'd go on from there. (I have to agree that it seems unlikely your email suddenly went to the junk folder. Unless she changed some setting or something else in her email account changed. And in that case, I'd think a LOT of emails would have gone the wrong way.) If she's making excuses there, I'm not sure what it says about HER.

@Teasel brings up a good question. And from there, what would it take to make sessions more productive? Whatever it would take, is it possible? I think you're doing the right thing, in confronting these issues rather than ignoring them. And you're taking the time and effort to sort things out rather than just getting mad and quitting. I hope she sees that and you can have a productive discussion about it.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Would you want to work with someone else in the future do you think?
Thanks for the kind words @Teasel. No, I don't think so. I find the therapeutic relationship and the push/pull around it so stressful and head-f*cky! I know therapists are not all the same and that I may not experience these things in the same way with someone else but I really just can't bear the thought of starting over with someone else, telling them all the old stuff that I have already told mine and then getting into another situation where I feel like this about it.

And excuse me for not remembering, but did you ever see the nhs trauma service?

It was a bit of a long story but, in a nutshell, they wouldn't let me in to the trauma service because it was already over-stretched and over-subscribed..so they kept encouraging me to go their usual service route 'which is just the same anyway' (they kept telling me this, when I knew it wasn't – if the usual talking therapies service was the same as the trauma service, there wouldn't be both! And the trauma service offered additional things such as group offerings) It turned out that, because the trauma service couldn't take on any more people, they had given some of their usual talking therapies therapists some extra trauma training, so that they could see some people who couldn't get into the trauma service! Anyway....somewhat reluctantly, I said I'd give it a go. Had three sessions at the start of the pandemic with one of the therapists who'd done a bit of trauma training. Those three sessions were all assessment/info gathering sessions. She then offered me 12 sessions of EMDR and I agreed to it.

But then I caught Covid and then developed long Covid, so I was too poorly, had no energy and too much brain fog to even contemplate starting a new therapy with a new therapists – especially something as potentially intense as EMDR. Also, I spoke to my T about it – she didn't seem to really know what EMDR was (!) and seemed unhappy about the prospect of me doing it, and she basically insisted that if I give it a go, we still continue to work together alongside it so that she could be there to support me.

The woman I'd had those three NHS sessions with understood why I couldn't then proceed at that time. She was also just heading off on maternity leave. So, she spoke to her boss and made a note on my file and she said that, when I was feeling better and was ready to start up again, I just needed to call the service and they would give me someone else to work with. But seeing as so much time has passed now, I would now have to get referred again and join the waiting list again and get re-assessed again...and I've still got long Covid and am not brilliant health-wise at the mo, so I don't really see it happening...

Sorry....long answer!

know you said before that she is chronically late, but your session is about you. Her attention needs to be on you for that session, not the window, or the dog walker, or anything else. It's not only rude and unprofessional, it's unethical and at times can be dangerous.

Yeah....I don't mind the odd thing....life happens....especially now we're all used to working remotely and that requires everyone to have a bit more flexibility....sometimes, on Zoom calls, a dog starts barking, a kid starts crying, a cat trots in and chucks up a fur ball, the door bell rings, next door starts hammering something in the garden, and whatever whatever....these things happen and I don't generally mind. It just feels like, lately, they are happening more and more with her. And she doesn't seem bothered....and she doesn't seem to think that I might be bothered?

when you let her know you want to discuss the possibility of stopping therapy, she brings up an inaccurate description of the session, that she wasn't fully present for, and lays the guilt on you.
Yes, that's how I felt/feel about it. But I'm sure she wouldn't see it that way.

The bits about the dog walker and the orange juice seem like things SHE needs to work on and take some responsibility for. (

Yes...and I have always found it frustrating that she doesn't ever really own these things that she does. And, as I said above, I can cope with the odd thing happening here and there....these things happen, especially when working at home. But she will never admit that these things are on her. Which is partly why I don't believe her saying my email went into her Junk (why would it after 7 years?!) I honestly just think she missed the email in her inbox....and that isn't a big deal...but it's like she can never admit to making a mistake with this sort of stuff...so, she didn't miss my email, it went into her Junk... Yes, I realise I'm mind-reading here and, who knows what happened to my email that she didn't see. But her tendency to not take responsibility for these sorts of practical things make me doubt things she says sometimes.

Do you think she's right, that you were doing that? Sounds like maybe this time you don't see it that way
Honestly, no, not this time. I did talk a lot about the stressful things that had been going on (I mentioned these just now in my previous post) but was then later deliberately trying to shift things back to pick up threads from previous posts...and I was struggling with that and needed her to try to lead on it a bit...but it just felt like she would rather be somewhere else and that she wasn't paying attention....so I definitely saw no signs of her trying and trying to make interventions and me not allowing her.

And when I was talking about my mum's anniversary and my bro-in-law - they were both very stressful topics and I just needed to download some stuff around it to try to ease some anxiety....I don't really see how that's me being avoidant?

The way you describe it, her response doesn't necessarily sound defensive

I feel like: if she thinks I am showing a tendency in recent sessions of being avoidant, it would have been useful for her to raise that. And, as you say, we could have discussed it and, if we were both in agreement, we could have agreed what we could do instead. But she only raised it after I had very neutrally mentioned the possibility of wrapping things up....and then I wasn't allowed to say anything in response. Whether it was defensive or not (to me it still feels like it was – that she was defending herself and shifting blame to me) it certainly didn't feel useful or therapeutic. Apart from anything else, we have spent seven years with her talking about finding my voice, my voice getting hijacked in traumatic situations in the past and I was unable to speak, me not speaking up afterwards, and now trying to advocate for myself more eg with doctors. So, to throw it out there out of the blue at the end and then I'm meant to just hear that and shut up about it because she's not letting me say anything in response...it feels like a really out of line thing to do, which was not in service to me.

As for you "talking too much"...... It's hard for me to see that as a thing. After all, it's your therapy session, isn't talking supposed to be a GOOD thing?

Yeah....she has spent seven years telling me I'm too hard on myself, too self-critical and that it shows up in therapy too – but very clearly telling me there is no right or wrong way to approach therapy. But now it seems that there is – because now, I'm talking too much. I'm bull-dozing her. So, to me, that sounds like she's saying those things she thinks I'm doing are wrong?

It seems like, if there's a problem with what you're describing as "bulldozing"

I was quoting her. She said I've bulldozed her. Which made me feel incredibly defensive because that isn't a neutral way to describe a behaviour...it's judgemental, critical and negative...

Good for you for bringing things up. I imagine it wasn't easy.

Well, to be honest, I didn't think it was going to be hard. I was just giving her a heads up! Thought the messy part might come next session if it was going to come at all. So, it took me by surprise!



Sorry for such long posts....as you all probably know by now, I am all about the detail! In posts here and also in therapy sessions when I'm on a roll talking...brevity doesn't come naturally! Thank you for sticking with it and reading all my blah blah blah and helping me think all this through. I just feel so exasperated. And that T and I are just poles apart at the mo.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Sorry, I hadn’t seen new messages as I was posting!

@Teasel those are all great questions and I’ll reflect on them as I’m finding them hard to answer.


Not the best choice of words. At least I don't think so. Words matter.

Yes, words matter a lot. And I try not to get too hung up on them or give them too much power because I don’t want to give them emphasis and intention that the speaker didn’t intend when they said them in the moment. But being accused of bulldozing my therapist because I was talking too much about two very stressful/upsetting things that I didn’t want to say to anyone else in my life…if feels upsetting and hurtful. And really confusing actually.


The "problem" isn't the technique, it's the avoidance. And even that.... It's not evil or malicious, it's a defense mechanism for heaven's sake.

As I said before, I fully accept that I sometimes over talk so people can’t get a word in because I want to stay here with this topic…avoidance, anxiety… I don’t feel that was what I was doing (I don’t think I was avoiding) in the session she was talking about. Or in our most recent session that she mentioned where, again, I had waited almost a month for the session (am totally fine about her needing to take time off to deal with whatever the family matter was - life happens!) I was telling her about a stressful hospital thing - again, telling her things I don’t want to tell anyone else, so that time slot is my opportunity to get stuff out, to say what I need to say, to someone who will listen attentively. I didn’t need any great therapeutic interventions from her the other day. I just wanted her to be there and listen as I discharged some stuff that had been stressful, triggering and upsetting the previous week. So, I got out of the session what I needed from it - no new insight, just somewhere I could finally say this stuff so I could put it down somewhere and then feel some relief. So got her to then say at the end that this session and last session I had bulldozed her so that, although she kept trying, she couldn’t find a way in to make an intervention…that’s also what makes it feel to me like she was defending herself. Because, last session was a good session for what I needed in that moment…until she started criticising me and basically telling me I’d stopped her from being able to make therapeutic interventions! It just doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like we’re in two different sessions. Or, perhaps more accurately, perhaps this is an attunement issue at the mo - to me, it doesn’t feel like she is very tuned in to what I want/need and doesn’t seem able to read how things are landing with me. She’s usually better at those things. Maybe that’s what feels so off at the mo?

Everyone gets distracted now and then but it seems like she's making a habit out of it.

Yes, that’s my issue…occasional stuff doesn’t bother me…but when it’s quite a lot/quite often it feels like she’s not caring enough to bother to get things as they should ideally be.

We’ve spent 18 months doing Zoom appointments and she still won’t turn off her computer notifications so there is ping ping ping whenever she gets an email or whatever. It drives me f*cking insane! I even sent her instructions for how to do it AND talked her through it at the start of a session (I know, not my job, but it was really annoying me!) Next time - ping ping ping again. She followed the instructions, she said, but for some reason, it won’t work on her Mac… It has driven me mad that she won’t get someone to help her with it. That instead of getting it sorted, we all have to hear her computer pinging every session! Again, it feels like lack of care. Not that I feel like she doesn’t care about me. But that she doesn’t bother to pay attention to some of this other stuff that negatively impacts client experience. I can only speak for myself, but I can’t imagine I’m the only client who isn’t distracted when you’re in an important moment and then you hear her ping!

If she's making excuses there, I'm not sure what it says about HER.

Yeah…but when it feels to me like she’s making excuses, not owning stuff…it creates a disconnect because it makes me doubt her…even if they’re about smalll, trivial things, it makes her seem less trustworthy.

And from there, what would it take to make sessions more productive?

I’ll give this more thought. I guess I did come up with some things a year ago, which really refocused and re-energised the work for a few months. But here we are again. So, I don’t know if I need to come up with different things seeing as those things didn’t stick?

Ugh…session on Wednesday and no idea how to approach it.

Part of me wants to tell her all these things that have bothered me…the mix up when my email ‘went to Junk’…the fact that I didn’t believe her…the then having to wait two weeks because she wouldn’t get back to me to reschedule, the 90 min next session suddenly becoming 60 mins…the orange juice lateness, the dog walker clash, the infernal bloody pinging because she won’t sort out turning her notifications off, me feeling like she blamed me last time, my not liking ‘bull dozing’, the feeling of misattunement, the feeling that she’s not making enough effort and paying enough attention..,,

But it would just be a long tirade of criticism. And she will probably just say I’m doing it again - over talking so she can’t get a word in 🙄

I want to cancel and just be done.
But I know that won’t resolve anything and that, ultimately, I wouldn’t feel good about it.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Other thing to make this hard - I suspect, because she has had time to reflect on it, she will not be defensive on Wednesday. I suspect she will be smiley and lovely and kind and caring and will be totally up for how we can get back on track…And, once again, I will be totally torn…
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I suspect, because she has had time to reflect on it, she will not be defensive on Wednesday. I suspect she will be smiley and lovely and kind and caring and will be totally up for how we can get back on track…

This kind of phoniness in a therapist would make me drop them in a second. Because you never know if what they are saying or how they are acting is truthful.

Honestly, I think some people expect us to bow down to the therapist like they are some sort of g^d that can do no wrong. And I think we are often pushed into believing that whatever the therapist does, it must be ok because...well, they're a therapist, right? smh

I wish you well, but I hope you have the courage at some point to find someone who actually seems to care about YOU and doesn't make it all about her.
 

Friday

Moderator
But I know that won’t resolve anything
What would resolving things look like?


I suspect she will be smiley and lovely and kind and caring and will be totally up for how we can get back on track… And once again, I will be totally torn…
I wonder if she’s this good at mirroring other client’s skeleton keys, or if she sticks mainly with clients who are hardwired through trauma to never leave her (to find a better therapist) as long as she treats them just badly enough the prospect seems impossible, withholding affection until ALL of the client’s attention is focused on her, and how to make things work.

Whilst that follows the general abuse paradigm?…

(Things getting worse and worse, until CRISIS! followed by honeymoon; then things gradually get worse and worse until CRISIS! followed by honeymoon… rinse, lather, repeat)

…It’s a specific kind of increasing levels of disregard, followed by insult, followed by flooding affection/attention; that’s primarily used by pick up artists, politicians, & pimps. People who need to keep assets (plural) “on the hook” & chasing after them.

It is, quite frankly, ODD to see a psychologist using those same tactics, especially a trauma therapist… since recognising those exact manipulation patterns is usually part of the therapy of teaching people to overcome the power of them. Because, cha, there’s very real power in getting someone to chase you. (And is part of how abusers get their victims to agree to their version of events; by chasing them with apologies). It speaks directly to our social animal & survival instincts; narrows focus, increases desire, heighten emotions, & belies reason.

But you called it when you “pulled away” by cancelling the appointment, as she’s pulled this on you so many times you knew exactly what she’d do next.

- First she “gives you a chance” that you didn’t reeeeeeally cancel the appointment… oh you DID?!? Must have been in spam! (Now watch, she won’t have appointments for weeks, but if you had had the appointment anyway? Know her well enough to know there’d be appointments for her good girl in spades)
- Then it’s increasing levels of disregard in session, once you can finally get appointments
- The BAM! That disregard? Is YOUR fault. She’s here for you, but yoooooou won’t let her be! Smack on the nose.
- (Now watch, she’s going to be lovely, kind, & caring.)

It’s like making eye contact with a dog whose looking naughty-on-their-mind, challenging them, striding away, until they’re dogging your every step, then abruptly turning and smacking them on the nose, followed almost immediately by love-love-love! Belly rub! Whosagood boy?!? YOU ARE! = Mission Accomplished. Dog to heel. (Stable of girls in line & showing up to work; political bootlickers bootlicking; entourage following in your wake at club, etc.).

It is a bizarre manipulation pattern for a trauma therapist to use -unless she hasn’t been teaching you how to spot it, snicker, and break it- but 7 years into therapy, no treatment plan, and no willingness -much less excitement- to work with someone else? (Even having to hide looking into EMDR, until it’s a done deal -that she’s never heard of??? BUT Is soooooooo willing to help you with how HARD it will be! WTFO) But just to focus on her-her-her and how to make it work with her?

You’re a smart cookie… so she’d never have gotten you ON the hook, much less kept you there, if she wasn’t actually good at her job… when she deigns to be.

You not only could do so much better than her, I am pissed off to the Nth degree she’s not only kept you from finding someone better in the past, but now seems to own your future, as well.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
This kind of phoniness in a therapist would make me drop them in a second.

To be fair on her, the description you quoted about how I expect she’ll be next session…I don’t think it’s phoney. I think I may have explained it badly. I don’t mean she’ll be putting on an act and pretending to be nice.

What I meant was: what she said at the end of last session - me talking too much so she can’t make any interventions - felt like a knee-jerk, defensive response from her. Because I blind-sided her by dropping a grenade in at the end of the session about us potentially ending our work sometime soon. I think she was very surprised and I caught her on the back foot.

So, I don’t think her being nice on Wednesday will be fake. I think it will be that things will have settled, she’ll have had have time to reflect (and possibly taken it to supervision!) and she will consciously be more open and won’t get defensive. This is what’s happened with similar ruptures in the past: she uses heavy-handed language and gets defensive in the moment….then comes back next time with a better mindset!

And, as a therapist, she should be able to self-manage so that she doesn’t get defensive or triggered by clients, right? But, I also think, therapist or not, they are not perfect humans. And sometimes they get caught just as we do. So, it then feels important to me to see what happens next time. Does she continue to criticise, blame me and defend herself? Or does she hear me out, own her stuff and step up?

The few times we’ve been in this kind of position before (and it is only a few times in seven years), she has done the latter. And it’s always been a productive conversation that strengthened the alliance and led to us doing some good work afterwards. If that doesn’t happen this time though? I don’t see us getting things on track because, from my side, trust will be too badly damaged.

I wish you well, but I hope you have the courage at some point to find someone who actually seems to care about YOU and doesn't make it all about her.

I do believe she genuinely cares about me.
What I feel lately is that she is letting things slide and taken me for granted a bit…not thinking I will be bothered about her current not so brilliant service and attention. A bit of complacency, is what it feels like, because we’ve worked together so long and have a (mostly!) good relationship, so it feels like she just assumes I won’t mind these things. But, at this point, with this cluster of things close together plus me feeling frustrated by our lack of focus (which is on both of us, I think) - I do mind.
 
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