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Is there a ‘right’ way to do therapy?

Maybe that's the thing to explore: the wonder about whether you need it or not.
I second this. I had deep transference with my T. Attachment trauma blah blah blah. I asked her if it was like that for all her clients and she said not at all. Some were business like, coach like.

One thing about the closeness with T that is way different than closeness with friends and family is that it’s meant to have an end, it’s meant to be temporary.

Perhaps knowing that it’s temporary and that the cultivation of this temporary relationship for the purpose of healing/rewiring is what the T’s are trained in doing—how they earn their money—changes your perspective? They don’t want closeness just to get off on, so to speak, but as a way to do their job.

Some people are hurt by the fact that the attachment is meant to have an ending. I always thought of it like a cast. I needed it and it felt good when I had it on (protection, care, positive growth) but it was never meant to function like the relationships with my friends and family—even though it provoked/triggered feelings I would normally associate with people I loved and loathed.
 
But if I don’t want to do those things ie, no connection and less frequent sessions, does that mean I’m doing therapy wrong? Are those things absolutely necessary for therapy, or is it we just prefer to work in different ways?
If I have a toothache, I go to the dentist, if my car isn't working right, I go to a certified mechanic. I don't tell them what I want, they tell me what I need.

I consider my T on that same basis. I go there because they are the professional. They spent years studying to be able to help me.
 
My therapist has said she wants a higher level of connection, and I nearly threw up. Yuck. Eew. No. That disgusts me, get away from me.


But is all this the reason I’m maybe not progressing? Is the work in the relationship, even though my relationships outside of therapy are stable and long lasting? Am I not doing therapy the ‘right’ way to get the benefit? Is my short sessions and wanting breaks often avoiding having to ever properly delve into anything, or just my own way of processing and working?
if my plumber or professor said this, they’d find their names crossed off my ‘We’re having a BBQ later, if you felt like stopping by, bring the kids!’ list… and I’d be signing up for different classes next quarter / hiring a new plumber.

Because it would skeeve me out.

Sure, I sometimes make friends with people who came into my life for professional reasons.

But my bullshit meter doesn’t tolerate a lot of forced relationships …and…I am VERY aware that if I’m dealing with a highly trained master manipulator? (Therapists, HRT, Diplomats, etc.) that I’ve got a very very thin margin of tolerance for the occupational hazard of reading/influencing people. In both a professional & personal setting.

<grin> It’s actually super FUN (IMO) in a professional setting, but that’s half of that thin wedge of tolerance translating to personalities. I don’t want my hand held in a journey of blah blah blah self discovery and woo-woo. I want straight talk, and a kick to the ass, resources, tips/tricks, insight/eval. Giving someone with skills that info? Let’s them drop a couple of touchy-feely filters, and manipulate me faaaar more effectively, as we both know that’s what they’re doing. Even ATTEMPTING to force a “deeper connection” than what is there, organically? Pfft. Has the opposite effect.
 
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if my plumber or professor said this, they’d find their named crossed off my ‘We’re having a BBQ later, if you felt like stopping by, bring the kids!’ list…
Yeah, but no one in their right mind would ever invite their T to a BBQ, and if they did they’d be in for a rude awakening and Loya of talk about boundaries—unless their relationship is highly atypical.

A higher level of connection with a T has pretty much zero to do with friendship as it’s experienced outside of session. Yes it’s forced, but for a very good reason, if that’s what a client needs to heal/rewire their brain. If it did turn into an outside-of-session friendship while therapy is occurring that’s a huge red flag.

It’s an odd thing, the therapeutic relationship, in the whole scheme of human history—very artificial. Since you had a supportive child-parent dynamic growing up, with “typical” neurogenesis until your adult traumas, it makes sense that you would want to steer clear of an artificial relationship that mimics parenting. It is my understanding that some people with “typical” childhoods who later experience adult traumas still benefit from going through the reparenting process to re-align their neural networks.
 
It’s an odd thing, the therapeutic relationship, in the whole scheme of human history—very artificial.
Exactly, its a purposeful professional relationship. I buy their professional services, which includes dealing with very personal stuff in the time I buy from them. That professionalism needs to extend to me outside therapy. In other words that relationship does not extend beyond their office door. But in that office, when the door is closed I trust their professionalism and everything is on the table.

To do anything else is like taking your car to the garage, telling them it won't stop, and telling them they can't take the wheels off. You have placed a limitation on them that insures they can't fix the problem.......
 
Since you had a supportive child-parent dynamic growing up, with “typical” neurogenesis until your adult traumas, it makes sense that you would want to steer clear of an artificial relationship that mimics parenting. It is my understanding that some people with “typical” childhoods who later experience adult traumas still benefit from going through the reparenting process to re-align their neural networks.
I can see this being true, however I don’t think that means those of us who had an “atypical” childhood NEED to experience reparenting either. If my T said what @nomore did I‘d run screaming too.

I think it’s one thing for a deep bond to develop organically and quite another to have it thrust upon you.

To the question of a “right” way to do therapy I think therapy is what you need in the moment. A good therapist will help you see what you need and the tools you need to get it. That being said sometimes we don’t see what we need. I’d be curious as to why your T thinks you need to come more often and develop a deeper bond. What is she expecting from these things? If what she is expecting aligns with your goals and has scientific backing then I’d give it a whirl if not, I’d probably look elsewhere or tell her your goals and why you think your current level of bond is sufficient And why you prefer longer between sessions and see her response.

I think it’s worth noting that while you like time between sessions it isn’t idle, it’s in pursuit of evidence for or against the tool you’ve been given, maybe your T doesn’t know this?
 
it makes sense that you would want to steer clear of an artificial relationship that mimics parenting
Not at all. Or, rather, yes… it makes sense, as I have no need of a parent, but…

My therapist has said she wants a higher level of connection,
1. ^^^This^^^ in no way speaks to mimicking a “parent” relationship to me. Does “a higher level of connection” automatically zing the idea of a parent/child relationship for you?

2. I’ve been in heaps of unequal/artificial relationships (like therapist/client, mentor/protege, superior/subordinate, professor/student, master/sensei/student, coach/athlete, etc.) that DO -on many levels- mimic parenting (as well as have their own unique axis, and in no way resemble parenting) with real depth of feeling & connection present.

It’s not that I avoid these relationships, unless I’am avoiding all relationships, because I already had parents… but that I avoid people who are attempting to force a connection/dynamic that doesn’t exist. Especially, if they’re attempting to elicit my participation in that process.
 
This debate is really interesting and the different views.
@No More , has she explained in detail her thinking about this? And I wonder what type of therapy she practices?

I'm not taking what @No More has said that she is forcing a relationship but has raised the issue for exploration? And that exploration can go any direction?
 
No, I haven’t had a session since I started this discussion yet but I will definitely ask for the reason behind the suggestion, rather than shutting the whole conversation down with an ‘Ewww absolutely not’ 🙈
Exactly, its a purposeful professional relationship. I buy their professional services, which includes dealing with very personal stuff in the time I buy from them. That professionalism needs to extend to me outside therapy. In other words that relationship does not extend beyond their office door. But in that office, when the door is closed I trust their professionalism and everything is on the table.
See I agree with this - I do trust her, I don’t hold anything back, I do the work, I will try the suggestions with an open mind & work really hard at it. But what I’m failing to see is where connection comes into my ability to do those things? If I had issues with connection outside the therapeutic relationship I’d maybe see more of her point? But I don’t, as in, really really genuinely don’t?

2. I’ve been in heaps of unequal/artificial relationships (like therapist/client, mentor/protege, superior/subordinate, professor/student, master/sensei/student, coach/athlete, etc.) that DO -on many levels- mimic parenting (as well as have their own unique axis, and in no way resemble parenting) with real depth of feeling & connection present.
So also, my day job is sport. That’s literally what I do, all day. So I’m very used to operating in professional relationships with performance feedback, planning, goals, marginal gains, constructive criticism, performance analysis and so on. And so for me, the therapy relationship is like that but for my brain? I like her, I respect her, I trust her knowledge and ability. But where connection comes into interpreting what I say and giving me skills, education, strategies i don’t know. Because as you say, attempting to push connection makes me turn tail and back away.
 
See I agree with this - I do trust her, I don’t hold anything back, I do the work, I will try the suggestions with an open mind & work really hard at it. But what I’m failing to see is where connection comes into my ability to do those things? If I had issues with connection outside the therapeutic relationship I’d maybe see more of her point? But I don’t, as in, really really genuinely don’t?
I had to think about this a bit. Could it be that you daytime profession plays into this? I used to do sales and my first T got that part of me right away. It's like putting on a suit - you slide into your "professional" or "sales" self.

Depending on how that relationship works with most of your clients, is it possible that's what your T sees and is reacting to? Maybe that's what you need to talk about next session?
 
I haven't read everything I am sorry, and I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I learned looking for a solution is a way of avoiding being vulnerable/ emotions. But to me being emotionally vulnerable with someone who Idk who or how they are 'really'- the real person not a facade- is to me like jumping in to my own frying pan when Idk if there is a fire under it. And adding butter! However, I too just want a solution, even if it's just to get through the moment. When people (in general) say their feelings aren't validated if advice or expertise is given, I don't relate at all. I don't feel comfortable with anyone talking about feelings in a pre-determined time frame on the spot, in a one-way manner, with someone I barely know, even if it's for my 'benefit' (so called).. That is awful. If I have a nail through my hand that's nice to say that must be very painful but I'd just rather get it out. I relate wayyyy more to men that way.

I remember one woman I knew (not super well) years ago, to her defense I'm sure very nice and survived much herself. But whether her instinct or finding out she ran up to me once talking all about my 'feelings' (she didn't even know me, really, and I don't recall sharing any) and abuse resources. OMG I never talked to her barely again. I see her every couple of years and I still can only think of it and cringe. I try to avoid her or anywhere or time she is there. I suppose that's how why I assume other's avoidance too, maybe unspoken but felt. Now however her own health needs dominate the conversation (thankfully!).

Ugh, sorry for the rambling. I guess the point is everyone is different and doesn't respond the same, even if the majority would or do or want. Different things lighten burdens for different people.

ETA I guess too I've just seen too many people manipulated by others' artificial emotions to trust there's any use (Are you crazy??) in bearing my own authentic ones to a stranger and feeling that is wise. Just give or show me the tools and I'll do the job if I can.
 
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I had to think about this a bit. Could it be that you daytime profession plays into this? I used to do sales and my first T got that part of me right away. It's like putting on a suit - you slide into your "professional" or "sales" self.
Definitely could be, my job is less a 9-5 and more a 5-9 and a lifestyle. It’s also very much buckle up buttercup, hyper competitive, no room for emotions sort of a job so there’s a definite possibility my attitude well and truly spills over everywhere else.

If I have a nail through my hand that's nice to say that must be very painful but I'd just rather get it out. I relate wayyyy more to men that way.
Interesting, I am absolutely similar medically for sure. I’m a proper ‘feckin fix it so I can f*ck off out of here’ attitude 🤣 I definitely don’t do the whole empathy, sympathy, I’m sorry, validation blah blah blah. I come with problems, I want solutions.


I think it comes down to the fact that I don’t feel I ‘need’ the space, I don’t ‘want’ that level of attachment to a therapist because my genuine belief is that that’s not what therapist should be providing. They are a medical professional, I pay for their expertise, and while we get on, I don’t like relational style therapy and it doesn’t work for me. I am very logically cbt, worksheet, psycho education based as oppose to needing a higher level of connection and closeness.
 
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