• 💖 [Donate To Keep MyPTSD Online] 💖 Every contribution, no matter how small, fuels our mission and helps us continue to provide peer-to-peer services. Your generosity keeps us independent and available freely to the world. MyPTSD closes if we can't reach our annual goal.

Massive backfire in therapy - don't know what to do

Would it help to be able to separate out disagreement and criticism?

Disagreement is great. Without it there would be no progress, nobody would step out and push forward, there’s no debate, no change. I see disagreement as a hugely positive thing, shows someone can hold their own view and not just soften to mine/those around them.

So your disagreement with your therapist shows you know yourself, you have your view, you use your voice. Just because he doesn’t agree, or he has a different personal experience - that’s not a criticism. It’s just a difference. Maybe you can assess his views and take a little of his, maybe he can take a little of yours.
Thanks... yes this does make sense... and I agree... guess it's a shame initially in that session he didn't model this himself as he made it very personal to him.. but I need to not keep going over things and move past that...

On reflection from what you've wrote, adult me totally gets it...I agree..I can see it... that's not a problem...

The problem is young me. If I have to disagree openly with someone about something which genuinely matters to me, my voice shuts down, heart races, thoughts disintegrate, i may feel a bit dizzy, I get shakey legs etc... overwhelm is a good word..so I have a visceral reaction to trying to hold my own voice...

I think that's the bit which is hard to address because I feel I don't have control of that process
 
The reason why I came to him about the DD information to begin with is because there were areas in the therapy i was struggling with which he just wasn't hearing.
That seems like a really important topic. Have you had a chance to go back to the reasons all this got started? It's important to deal with the struggles, regardless of where they come from. (With my T, there were plenty of times when I thought he didn't get what I meant, or I thought he thought I was "wrong". Usually he had a really good idea what was going on, he was just kind of waiting for me to catch up.) It might be worth going back and explaining your reasons for bringing the information up and trying to sort the original problems out, if you haven't already.
it's like when I feel people are criticising me they can see the me that feels i am inherently bad... that they (young part) are stupid and lesser etc etc. I know that's a child like view but that's how it feels..
I THINK (but am not sure) that somewhere in the process of growing up we are ideally supposed to learn that we don't have to be perfect to have value. I guess there are a lot of variations on that theme. The thing is, if you haven't learned it yet, you don't know it and it's not reasonable to expect your brain to act like it does know it.. I'm not an expert on DID, but it seems like those younger parts need the chance to learn that they AREN'T inherently "bad". That involves a bunch of risk taking. After all, trusting someone with your doubts and fears can blow up in your face.

My T was a big fan of IFS. I kind of hated it. LOL We had a number of conversations where I adamantly insisted I had no "parts". He said everyone has parts. At least at the level of "Part of me knows I need to lose weight but part of me really wants that piece of cake." I sort of guessing that that exists on a continuum, with some people sorting off "parts" and isolating them to a huge degree as a way of dealing with things that are impossible to deal with. I'm not sure why I so totally rebelled at the idea of "parts". I've noticed on this forum it's common for people to sort into two different groups on the subject. I wonder why, but have no insight into it. Anyway, your T sounds like he's probably someone it's safe to share your struggles with, even if the two of you think of the situation differently. And it might be pretty valuable to just take the chance and see what happens.
 
My T was a big fan of IFS. I kind of hated it. LOL We had a number of conversations where I adamantly insisted I had no "parts". He said everyone has parts. At least at the level of "Part of me knows I need to lose weight but part of me really wants that piece of cake." I sort of guessing that that exists on a continuum, with some people sorting off "parts" and isolating them to a huge degree as a way of dealing with things that are impossible to deal with. I'm not sure why I so totally rebelled at the idea of "parts". I've noticed on this forum it's common for people to sort into two different groups on the subject. I wonder why, but have no insight into it.
As an aside, I had to check like 3 times I did not write this myself 🤣
Maybe a thread for another day, I too would be really interested in why the split on the ‘parts’ subject.
 
Sorry @scout86 I think I read this and then totally forgot about and I'd meant to reply...
That seems like a really important topic. Have you had a chance to go back to the reasons all this got started?
No. But I think it's coming. I've been sliding this week after being in a much stronger place. It's a classic time for me to email al the parts which are kicking off because I could never explain this in person face to face in a 50 min session. However I'm blocked from emailing him because part of me feels until we come to a mutual understanding of where my diagnosis fits in the therapy relationship - ie what he agrees with and doesn't, then I can't move forward. I emailed and told him that. And we agreed to address it in the next therapy session.


It might be worth going back and explaining your reasons for bringing the information up and trying to sort the original problems out, if you haven't already.
I think you're right. It has to be done. I've been avoiding it because the act of addressing it with him has set off voices that I'm wrong, I'm weak, he's not going to listen etc. And causing a backlash of self hate. So I know it's time to address it before it gets out of hand.
I THINK (but am not sure) that somewhere in the process of growing up we are ideally supposed to learn that we don't have to be perfect to have value. I guess there are a lot of variations on that theme. The thing is, if you haven't learned it yet, you don't know it and it's not reasonable to expect your brain to act like it does know it.. I'm not an expert on DID, but it seems like those younger parts need the chance to learn that they AREN'T inherently "bad". That involves a bunch of risk taking. After all, trusting someone with your doubts and fears can blow up in your face.
That makes sense. I wonder how i reach those younger parts when my brain is predominantly controlled by older more cognitive parts of myself... again, a question for T perhaps... i KNOW on one level I'm not bad. Yet simultaneously I tiredly truly feel it and believe it.
My T was a big fan of IFS. I kind of hated it. LOL We had a number of conversations where I adamantly insisted I had no "parts". He said everyone has parts. At least at the level of "Part of me knows I need to lose weight but part of me really wants that piece of cake." I sort of guessing that that exists on a continuum, with some people sorting off "parts" and isolating them to a huge degree as a way of dealing with things that are impossible to deal with. I'm not sure why I so totally rebelled at the idea of "parts". I've noticed on this forum it's common for people to sort into two different groups on the subject. I wonder why, but have no insight into it.
I think it's OK to feel you don't have parts. There's nothing inherently wrong in that? It's actually the goal for many people - to be integrated and not having your life run by parts in such a separate way. I'd not like the idea that any therapist is pushing the idea of parts on to anyone if it doesn't resonate with them! Doesn't sound like he was doing that though...
Anyway, your T sounds like he's probably someone it's safe to share your struggles with, even if the two of you think of the situation differently. And it might be pretty valuable to just take the chance and see what happens.
Thank you for your insights. That's going to happen whether I like it or not. But it needs ti happen. And I think he'd probably say we could look at why I find it so difficult to voice my opinion in the room and hold my own.
 
I couldn't voice it. I emailed him last week to say I needed to talk about his opinions on dissociative disorders. That i can't see how we can move forward if he doesn't believe in them. He emailed to say we'd discuss it in session. But I didn't bring it up. I'm such a f*cking muppet. I felt too nervous and not confident to say anything. As it was, other parts were OK with me sharing some things in session. And it was a good session. But I don't know what's wrong with me. I guess I was hoping he would bring it up. But he didn't. And he's probably thinking it's my responsibility to bring it up. Which it is. But I just find it so hard. Gonna have to try harder next time.

I did talk to him about the length of the sessions. How 50 mins isn't always enough. Esp when I've had a week like this week which has been really dark at times. And parts kicking off in different directions. I can't share the amount of stuff there is. And even discussing 1 thing which is difficult takes time to build up the confidence in session to talk about. By the time we've warmed up, once you take off the time to ground before session ends it leaves very little time to address the hard stuff.

T and I have emailed about it today. He said he's unable to do ad hoc longer sessions. But maybe regular double sessions (1 hr 40 mins) could be a possibility. However he's mindful about keeping a very strong therapeutic boundary - of which the session length is one of these main boundaries. Therefore he'll discuss with his supervisors to see if it's safe for me and to make sure he's working within his competencies... the safety was in relation to doing deeper work i think...

I can see where he's coming from. But it did get me a little worked up that his supervisors may say no to this. I've never even met them. How do they know what's best for me? And i don't see how he'd be working outside of his competencies just by doing a longer session...I swear if he turns round and says it's outside of his competencies it's gonna make me lose my shit because that seems like a cop out for 'I can't go and do the deeper work you need... ' I'll hold back on the judgment though as I know that may be the wrong conclusion.... and I'm happy he's even considering it
 
How do they know what's best for me?
I don’t know the ins and outs of supervision. I have heard that in America there is no standard for this. My understanding is that supervisors are basically doing something like sessions with the T for them to process what they’re working on with their clients. So the supervisor has the T’s best interests in mind, not the clients’, and the decision of whether it’s safe for you would depend on his competency, which the supervisor would help determine.
 
I don’t know the ins and outs of supervision. I have heard that in America there is no standard for this. My understanding is that supervisors are basically doing something like sessions with the T for them to process what they’re working on with their clients. So the supervisor has the T’s best interests in mind, not the clients’, and the decision of whether it’s safe for you would depend on his competency, which the supervisor would help determine.
Makes complete sense... I think I'm just afraid T is going to turn round after all this and say 'I've decided I can't go any deeper into your shit - I'm not competent'. Afraid of abandonment I guess. But I need to not get on that thought roller coaster!
 
But I just find it so hard. Gonna have to try harder next time.
Can you email T this? And maybe ask if he can bring it up or ask about it so you can then decide if you do want to talk about it or not?
I think you are right: T's will want you to start that conversation. Particularly as it is a sensitive one that holds a lot of weight for you.
T and I have emailed about it today. He said he's unable to do ad hoc longer sessions. But maybe regular double sessions (1 hr 40 mins) could be a possibility. However he's mindful about keeping a very strong therapeutic boundary - of which the session length is one of these main boundaries. Therefore he'll discuss with his supervisors to see if it's safe for me and to make sure he's working within his competencies... the safety was in relation to doing deeper work i think...
This is a very competent T. Being clear and transparent. Adapting his technique to support you and checking about boundaires and if this will help therapeutically or if it will provide some unforeseen challenges. It's very very reassuring he is checking this out with his supervisors.
can see where he's coming from. But it did get me a little worked up that his supervisors may say no to this. I've never even met them. How do they know what's best for me?
Oh jeez, I relate to this so much! I remember a time my T said she brought me and her countertransference to her supervisor and it sent me a bit off the rails for a couple of weeks. Who was this person who knew about me? Them discussing me and I had no control about what, when, how. It was actually quite triggering. The lack of control. And I haven't picked that person and I had it in my head they were male and that upset me even more (took me nearly a year to be able to ask, following on from that, what gender the supervisor was because I was so fearful they were male. Turns out they are female).
Anyway, my response is prob an example of how not to respond!
And maybe there is another way to look at it.
If they come back and say no, then it is going to be because they see it from another perspective and the aim would be to preserve your relationship with T. To help therapeutically.
But they may not come back to say no. So it may be a worry that isn't necessary.
And maybe there is a compromise to be had within this?
 
Therefore he'll discuss with his supervisors to see if it's safe for me and to make sure he's working within his competencies... the safety was in relation to doing deeper work i think...
I think this shows you have a very good, responsible T who is committed to providing you with the correct care.

I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way, but if your T is private/not a multi person practice, it may be that if you feel you need a lot more contact, ie frequent emails and double sessions, that he wants to make sure he’s working within his capabilities to provide you with the best possible therapy on his own, without a backup team or further services immediately available. I am also very aware that diving into trauma can be very destabilising in the short term, so I think it’s all about him making sure he is able to give you the right support.

I think saying it would be a cop out is extremely unfair. It would be completely unethical for him to give you therapy if he doesn’t feel he can provide you with the right level of care.


I know my therapist has a supervisor and quite frankly I am delighted if she takes any issues that come up in regards to me to supervision - it shows she serious about doing the best she can for me, it shows there’s an agreement professionally on what’s the best way forward for me, it gives me confidence I can say what I need without worrying about my therapists reaction as she has someone to go process that with herself. Two eyes on the case is better than one.

So - maybe there’s another way to see all this?
 
But I didn't bring it up. I'm such a f*cking muppet.
First, I've always thought Muppets were kind of cool.

Don't beat yourself up too much about not being able to bring it up yet. I think a lot of people have that problem and it's kind of part of the process. I think I'd be willing to bet that everyone who's participating in this conversation has been in the same place. (And made it through it too, although I'd expect it to happen more than once.)
 
Back
Top