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Frustrated wih therapy and being pathologized

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by Justmehere, May 12, 2018.

  1. Justmehere

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

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    My therapist encouraged me to get back into online dating sites and into dating again. We set goals to engage it all for 10 minutes a day and so on... it was really hard to get myself to do... and stick with it...

    Now, I’m in it, doing what we set as a goal, and my therapist said it’s all counterphobic for me to want to do it at all. She said it’s “endearing how counterphobic you are.” Then she said I’m the biggest counterphob she’s ever met.

    What?

    I mean yeah, I’m a little counterphobic, maybe a lot, but my single friends on dating websites are usually doing so much more than me at the moment. How is even this being counterphobic? Why does even this have to be pathologized?!

    I thought it was just me dealing with my stuff and getting back into normal life, and I was feeling proud of it. I’m not even get going on dates yet... been asked, and I’m just not there yet for some odd reason.

    And yet. My therapist calls it counterphobic I am on online dating sites. Like great now even THIS is a sign of something wrong with me?! She encouraged it!

    This therapy isn’t working. It feels either like a set up or being dismissed again and again. She isn’t actually trying to set me up or be dismissive, but what the heck?!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  3. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

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    Oh man.. I'm sorry. Makes no sense why would she provoke something and then criticise it.
     
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  4. Zoogal

    Zoogal I'm a VIP

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    Get rid of her. Sounds like she's going to dismiss any and everything you do.
     
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  5. Abstract

    Abstract I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    Gosh, I may be misunderstanding but to me counterphobic in the context you mention is just a general description of your actions and I suspect she means it as a compliment. You are afraid of this. You are heading into your fear face first = counterphobic. A really helpful skill when it comes to PTSD! I may be wrong of course but I don't see it as a pathological trait. It can be expressed ulhealthily of course but thats a different matter.

    It takes enormous bravery to do things you are afraid of and I suspect she is impressed by your willingness to do that. Your friends aren't likely to be that afraid of doing it.
     
  6. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

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    Yes, this could be true. Didn't think of it.
     
  7. Zoogal

    Zoogal I'm a VIP

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    That's true. Could be a bad way to compliment you.
     
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  8. Still Standing

    Still Standing I'm a VIP

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    Hi, @Justmehere, I just looked up the definition of "counterphobic" and I don't understand anything bad about it. This is the definition: "Counterphobic attitude is a response to anxiety that, instead of fleeing the source of fear in the manner of a phobia, actively seeks it out, in the hope of overcoming the original anxiousness."

    It sounds like a pretty brave way to face one's anxieties! Me? I'd be running for the nearest bed covers to hide under!!! Perhaps you are being a bit hard on yourself? I guess I would suggest you do a practice run on being counterphobic and do this with your Therapist. Ask her to define this term for you, so you guys are on the same page with it. And I would tell her that you have been understanding this as a "bad" thing from her...is this how she is using this word with you? I think you and she just need to be on the same page with understanding her meaning of this word. But, it sounds to me that you are truly facing your fear/s and being productive about it! It sounds all good to me!
     
  9. barefoot

    barefoot I'm a VIP Premium Member Donated

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    I interpreted it the same way as @Abstract

    From what you’ve written, I don’t see this as your T pathologising you or criticising you.
    I actually interpret it as she’s encouraging you and that she’s impressed by how much you have flung yourself into this challenge

    Maybe it’s worth talking to your T about this - firstly so that she knows that her comment didn’t land well with you and secondly so you can ensure that you are both on the same page re what she actually meant.

    You seem uncertain about therapy/your therapist in other posts too lately. Maybe those ideas of feeling set up and/or dismissed by her (even when you know, intellectually, that that’s not actually the case) are also worth some discussion with her?
     
  10. Justmehere

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

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    She also later said “you are like oh what could push me over the edge... I know, I’ll join (online dating site).” - the very site she encouraged me to pursue...

    We use humor too much in therapy and are trying to stop but we both go there. She said things in a jovial way.

    If it was a compliment, why couldn’t it have been, “Hey jmh, job well done”?

    It could have been a compliment. She said in the past she is counterphobic. She said it can help in therapy and life.

    We tried to talk through feeling dismissed in therapy a few weeks ago. It started with another communication disconnect. It didn’t go super well... I’m not sure how to help her understand how I’m taking things.
     
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  11. Still Standing

    Still Standing I'm a VIP

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    Bypass the emotional influences and patterns you guys have during counseling and write your thoughts down and hand her the paper. This way your concerns will be devoid of humor and she will read it as such. This is what I would do. And if this does not bring the result you want, maybe it is time to change Therapists. Sometimes our relationships become too familiar in the professional setting and a change is needed to get things back on a more serious and focused level. I just had to do this with my pain doctor. We were getting too personal and friendly and he was beginning not to take me seriously...we joked and laughed all the time, too. As much as I did not want to leave him, it was nice to start over with someone who was able to look at my case and see it in a fresh manner, prescribing tests that I have never had and approaching my care differently. Perhaps, this is what you need too...a fresh approach in counseling?
     
  12. Sietz

    Sietz I'm a VIP

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    Seems like a lot of things are left out for interpretation. Maybe ask her what she really meant by that comment.

    We tend to overanalyze, sometimes a direct question can be the right approach.

    I think it's worth it if you try to work things out with someone you know you work well with.
     
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  13. Justmehere

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

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    A fresh approach sounds good but I don’t even know where’d I go... most trauma therapists in my area quickly say they don’t know how to handle my type of trauma. :/ I made calls a few weeks ago to find someone new and it fizzled out fast. I tried last fall to find someone new and it didn’t work out.

    I can’t get myself to be vulnerable enough. That’s the pattern with others. They say it’s the type of trauma but they don’t bring that up until they run into my limits of how vulnerable I can be.

    It’s worthwhile to try to work it out with her. But it’s also just not working.

    My therapist reminded me a few weeks ago she is replaceable. It was in the context of trying to convince me is ok to be mad at her. Oh good. Yeah. Thanks for reminding me. Then she reassured me she’s not going anywhere.

    She also said she was trying to push my boundaries (huh?) and push me to be vulnerable (ok that makes more sense), and said she was running into a wall of resistance, and I expressed that I agreed with all of it. I wanted to go where she wanted to go. Wall is totally there.

    I asked her, “how can I be more vulnerable than I am? How can I take down that wall? I don’t know the first step.” I begged for practical steps to get where she wanted me to go.

    She kept talking about how important vulnerability was. I found myself trying to validate that yes it’s totally important for connection and relationship... she was getting almost confrontational in asking if I understand how important vulnerability is?

    “again, yes, it is important, but how HOW do I take down the wall cause I keep trying and failing..”

    She replied, “do you think vulnerability is good or bad for relationship?”

    It was apples and oranges.

    I ended up really breaking down, telling her I felt like a learning disabled kid who is also really bright and really doesn’t get something and is being told try harder. (Which is the type of kid I was - I have an LD and test in the top percentile on most tests, but I’m sure you all notice here I’m a terrible speller.)

    It took two sessions to work it through. We ended up agreeing - stop pushing me. Break it down. Let’s take off the pressure and try different experiments and see what will work better. She tried this different approach for one session and it helped. This past session just left me confused and super symptomatic. I can’t figure out what was happening.

    I could write her, I do every week... I keep trying and it ends up being a letter to quit.

    Instead, maybe it could be a letter to list my concerns and what I’d like instead?
     
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