Face to face VS Telephone

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LucyLou

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So I speak to my therapist via phone. It's just better for me, in terms of comfort and accessibility. At our session yesterday, she asked if I'd consider Face2Face.....I told her I wasn't sure, didn't really go into it much but I did kinda compromise and said a "maybe soon" to zoom appointments but I don't even know about that either. I think, maybe, she feels frustrated that she can't tell how I really am during our sessions. I'll tell her I'm ok, when I'm obviously not because I've never been one to show feelings in front of people....even over the phone, just not something I'm comfortable with.....but she kinda saw through it yesterday....asked if I was OK whilst I was trying not to let her hear me cry and then asked again how I was really feeling. I know this might sound silly she says she feels the physical presence would be better for me but I'm not sure when/if I'll ever be ok with that.....especially now she has this timeline, so knows about everything. What do you think?
 
I'm in therapy twice a week, this used to be once face to face and once on the phone. After a few months she asked me to come to both sessions face to face and that's how it's been since. I've asked a few times if the phone is an option, but it's not, even though they do phone therapy, they won't with me. Sounds like for similar reasons to you , they feel I need the physical presence of the room / them. On the phone it's very easy to mask everything and insist that you're fine. Face to face that's almost impossible, your body gives you away even if what's coming out your mouth is 'I'm Ok!'

Ultimately, you're in therapy because you want something to change/ something isn't working/ you're 'stuck'. I've tried to trust my T to work with me with what I need, because I know deep down that hiding on a phone isn't helping me, even though it feels safer. If you can make it to the office it might be worth considering, it's really hard to trust, but she'll get that, that's a huge part of therapy. I still can't look at my T and I've had way over 150 appointments, but I trust her enough to believe her that I'll get there, and all I have to do is keep showing up.
 
I still can't look at my T and I've had way over 150 appointments,
This is how I was too. I graduated from therapy after five years and even in the end I still couldn’t look at her for when we were cutting to my core, particularly with certain small parts. However, it was WAY better than when we started, I could look at her for general banter, and I often tried *really* hard to look at her when talking about certain topics (sometimes made it to her neck or forehead). And a few times I muscled my way to her eyes, even if it did lead to dissociation sometimes.

I agree with @Midnightmoon that you are seeking services from a therapist to improve your ability to relate to others so it makes sense that you would need to “grow up” or develop at some point beyond where you are now.

I would suggest doing it in small doses. Like phone for most of the session then zoom for ten minutes. Then maybe not at all the next session. And keep challenging yourself. It’s good to feel comfortable but it can also lead to resentment when you are plateaued or stale.

You can do it!
 
I hope this makes sense. I came back to this thread because a few things reminded me- probably mostly shame (about myself). And reading a dear friend's very honest obit about her daughter. It reminded me that, it isn't fun and games here; that is, as you said:

I'll tell her I'm ok, when I'm obviously not
You don't know why your T is suggesting it, except to say she feels it's in your best interests for healing.

I am the opposite- hate phones, Zoom forget it, in person disclosure not ideal but nothing much else left than on your own. Or maybe writing.

I will say I dare say many of us here can describe shoes better than faces! I am the same as you in that:

I've never been one to show feelings in front of people....even over the phone, just not something I'm comfortable with.....but she kinda saw through it
and I will not be crying, either.

But I was reminded of 2 instances: one where I looked up and I don't know what anger/ rage/ repulsion I expected to see, and it was only kindness (several times tbh). And one time specifically with Suic'dl Ideat'n stuff feeling so gross-post and being hugged instead. Without in person it couldn't have happened.

Some things to consider maybe? Best wishes to you with whatever you choose.
 
How about trying zoom with both cameras off? And trying with them on for bits at a time?
Or an agreement that you will turn your camera off at points. So that you are in control with it?

I learning to make more eye contact with T. Because I would put my head down and not speak. So learning to try and keep eye contact.

What I like about zoom compared to being in person, is that she can't see how much I fidget with my hands. I used to just fidget with them all the time. Now I have an object (usually a felt coasted) that I sort of play with. Helps me.

I think part of therapy is growth. And learning to take safe risks. Whilst feeling in control. So it could really help going to zoom?

Maybe working through what is holding you back from seeing someone or someone seeing you, and that someone knowing your story. Because the flip side of it is: someone knows your story and they are still there. Because there is no shame in your story. Or in you. Powerful growth to be had with that.
 
If you consider that more than 80% of our communication is non-verbal, your T is pretty hamstrung trying to help you, the unique individual, over the phone.

Sitting with someone, and allowing them to accept me and be compassionate, was a big part of my recovery. Extremely uncomfortable, sure. There was a lot of leaving the room involved! But then, everything that I needed to do to recover was extremely uncomfortable.

You can survive this. It doesn’t need to be going in, and straight away opening up all your deepest wounds. Try going in and just shooting the shit. Learning that you can trust both your T, and yourself, to be with someone who is offering compassion. That’s a big deal. And as frightening as it might be, it’s also kind of exciting to consider: what if I can? What if I can learn to be okay with humans being physically there for me, seeing me with my vulnerability, and allowing them to be kind to me…?

Learning you can do that? It’s incredibly exciting for what it has the potential to offer your life, and the relationship you have with other people moving forward.
 
I do Zoom--I could never do phone because I need to be able to see his responses. We used to be in-person, which I liked better because...

Sitting with someone, and allowing them to accept me and be compassionate, was a big part of my recovery. Extremely uncomfortable, sure
On the phone just doesn't compare to face-to-face, whether that is Zoom or in-person. I seldom look at mine, even now, except when I want to see how he reacts to something. I also have trouble talking, so we sit in silence a lot--that would never work in a helpful way with me over the phone.
 
Phone? Has 8 arms, tentacles, is covered in poison, mocks me from across the room, and in general scares the hell out of me.........don't know why it just does.

I'm in the process of changing T's. My current one said "face to face only". I know why. I hang on to stuff. A guy I play poker with would swear up down and sideways that I never bluff - if only he knew..... I have tells and you are never ever going to see them on the phone or zoom.

I need face to face....
 
Face to face is the only way I could function. I totally understand wanting to hide but it will only impede your progress.

For me I benefit as much as he does. I’ve been reading people my whole life, survival tool. I need to be able to read him as much as he does me. The difference for me is that I’m at more of an advantage than T is. As T says I’m hard to read. He’s pushed me too far a few times when we’ve done phone therapy because he’s out of town, because the closer I am to shutting down the easier that is to read.

I’d say do what you can to push yourself to be face to face.
 
I actually just brought this up with my T recently. We had to do a phone session rather than the usual face to face. I mentioned that the positive for me is that he can't see when I start to fidget. He can't see my facial expressions, which he seems to watch and read constantly. My face betrays me all the time. He always knows when my feelings don't match what I'm saying.

The negative for me on phone sessions is that, like someone else said, I also read faces......constantly. Facial expressions, tones, words used, words not used. Body movements before they respond to whatever I'm saying. All of it. While I can still read into the tone and his choice of words ect when on the phone, I lose a lot of my ability to read him when it's a phone session and I rely on that for how I proceed with my own words at any given moment. That said, I surprisingly only just recently realized that whenever the topic I don't want to discuss comes up I can't look at him. My face automatically turns away. Floor, ceiling, wall, window. Anywhere but his face. Shame, I suppose it's the shame. I'm not sure why I never noticed it before.
 
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