Feeling disconnected from therapist

FauxLiz

Sponsor
I don't know if the issue is pandemic related as we have been meeting virtually only since my state lockdown again in November which was the third time in 2020 that we were required to return to virtual sessions due to the pandemic. The thing is I don't feel a connection, I struggle to identify topics to discuss during sessions, I have returned to avoiding eye contact with my T which I had been doing very well with the past couple of years and I frequently am thinking about just quitting therapy. I am a long way from being healthy, but I am not sure that his very style/therapy mode is working for me at this point. He is very evidence based mode focused, CPT primarily. Right now with feeling disconnected I am struggling with opening up further addressing other traumas and when we have discussed the fact that I need less emphasis him proposing solutions (I don't believe everything that I struggle with in life or that causes me stress and anxiety can be resolved by discussing stuck points and while he tries not to go down that track it always seems to end up in that discussion and I try not to let my frustration show but I know it is coming through.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
If you are intuitive and more emotionally communicative person you may find Zoom or video related communications sort of difficult. You may be the type of person who needs to see textual, full body, the twitches of people's faces or hear their breathing or see their sigh or their hands and legs moving or not to make a sense of the communication fully and meaningful - you are perceptively and spatially oriented. So yeah online therapy will be difficult (in some clients it is almost impossible for them to do). It is like a fish learning how to walk. Except of course, we are not fish and we can learn and adapt albeit difficult and unsatisfying until we have other options or this becomes our new way of living. First if this therapist is good and you like him it is probably just enough to discuss your dislike of the method until you are through and can move to deeper issues. But mostly I wonder if you should push for the frustration you are avoiding and see what lies behind or below depending how you see it. It is almost not the best idea to discuss trauma if the present (here and now) is frustrating. If you are frustrated about. This is my personal opinion but I find disagreeing with the therapist is actually healing and shows who I am rather than who they think I am or should be. If the disagreement has a merit for me (I have no idea if it does for them). I wonder if you could focus on articulating your dislike of the medium and your frustration of not being understood by him and see where that may lead you and if it opens the door for enough energy to process trauma work.
PS. I have telephone therapy since the pandemic and though I also personally like to see faces (not so much the body), I found the one sense focus (voice and sound) extremely and unbelievably freeing to focus on my own many senses while I sit at home. But at the beginning I too was baffled by my strong reaction to this and though no way...I need to see this therapist (and to boot she is knew so I never met her!) Imagine the mystery! But now, I feel seeing the therapist would distract me from my own body and mind connection but also i practice the seeing part outside of therapy. So having a therapist I do not see and seeing everybody else I deal with became its own strength of healing.
 

Eagle3

MyPTSD Pro
I'm struggling with this right now too. I NEED in-person sessions to feel any kind of connection, not to mention the fact my T was the only source of hugs in my life! He's been giving me one in-person session a month, but I've had to move to every other week, and supplement with massages every other week to compensate for the lack of physical contact. I struggle really hard to feel any connection to my T over the internet. It's easier in person, but without the physical component it still feels.....clinical, which doesn't help me much.

Its good to hash it out with them, but if you still feel like his modality doesn't work for you, it may be time to find someone else. I can't work with ANYONE who is CBT/CPT/DBT based, so I'm toughing out the lack of connection just to keep my very unique therapist. It's hard for both of us, honestly. He's very open with the fact he hates online therapy too.

Hopefully things get better for all of us this year.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
@Eagle3 I hope that things get better as well. In the beginning I didn't have issues with the virtual therapy but I get frustrated. Again yesterday during our session he brought up the fact that we have not really discussed most of my traumas. I feel as though it bothers him more than he lets on as it is mentioned probably every couple of sessions.

Things that I seem to be certain of: Certain traumas I have never discussed with anyone in the 30+ years since they happened other than to say John Doe raped me on __ date, I was gang raped by __ guys when I was ___. Things like that, no details, actually no last names for parties involved etc. When I took a three week vacation in 2019 I was able to work through the CPT Challenging Beliefs worksheets as I didn't have to focus or devote any energy to maintaining the façade of being functional while doing the worksheets or while having sessions. That is not a sustainable option for me as I have been a single mom for over 15 years and though my kids are grown and out of the house (on their own or in college) I still push myself to work a full time job and stay involved in their lives. Not only that but I have enough medical issues that I really can't afford to use my PTO for therapy as I reserve it for physical issues as I have to have procedures completed regularly, see multiple specialists and generally those eat the majority of my PTO time. I also know that I seem to do better though made less progress with a psychodynamic therapist as opposed to a trauma specialist. The challenge is that I live in a mental healthcare desert and drive over an hour to see my current therapist when we meet in person and he took over 6 months and several trial and errors with others before I found someone so I am reluctant to look for someone new especially as most don't describe their style as psychodynamic and finding someone that I can see that fits into my work schedule (or what time I can flex for the appointments) is an ongoing challenge.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
Is the fear of symptom spikes what is holding you back from talking about the trauma? Have you discussed this concern with him?

Sometimes when a therapist only has a hammer, everything becomes a nail. I find myself frustrated with the this-one-tool-will-be-applied-to-all approaches. I shut down when that happens, and can't connect. I once picked up an ACT workbook and did it with a trauma therapist. I couldn't do the CBT he was offering and trauma work was too much at the time.

The pandemic has opened up a wider range of telehealth options for me, as really, I can see anyone in the state... but it also has the flipside that when the pandemic is over, what happens then?
 
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