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My new therapist triggered me. Is this common?

Hi everyone,

I had my third visit with a new therapist and she triggered me hard. Fawning and freezing simultaneously. (This is a big step for me - I identified the trigger, took the time to recover, identified a number of areas this has effected me in my life and how I respond). I am going to talk to my other therapist about this but want your input as well. I have postponed all of my DBT work so I can figure out how to handle this. My logical thought process is to stay with her because I am going to have to deal with people like her everyday and this is a good way to practice. She now represents ALL of the people in my life that abused me but I do not feel threatened, just pissed. She promised a lot and did not deliver. She also did not give me all of the information upfront. As a person that works in sales, seems a bit sketchy. Story of my life, lol. I know she is human. I know humans make mistakes. I have a hard time dealing with lies, untruths. I also have a hard time with people less intelligent than me (this is a new revelation to me as I have never considered myself intelligent because I was treated otherwise). I am really trying to think things out before doing something impulsive - and I can be very impulsive when triggered. Have you had to deal with this? What was your solution? What was the outcome? Would you have changed your decision? Thank you for reading. Please take care of your self.
 
Have you had to deal with this?
it has happened to me so often that i thought deliberate triggering was part of psychotherapy. it's how we reach the sore spots in need of healing. staying inside my comfort zone makes more sense at a social event than a therapy session.
What was your solution?
i worked it through within my therapy network. having a network rather than a single node helped tremendously. alternate views gave me a broader perspective of what was going on.
What was the outcome?
healing happened.
Would you have changed your decision?
i avoid this exercise as much as possible. the functional fact is that i don't get to change the past and all roads have their dangers.
 
So I wonder what happened? Because T's make mistakes. Or we are triggered and misread things or project stuff from the past onto our T's.
Something's are good to work through. And some things it's good to know when to call it a day.

Without knowing more of what happened, I don't think you can get full advice?

My T has said many things that have triggered me. We have had some difficult times. But working through them has helped me learn a lot. Learn about myself learn about her and what to expect. It's been worth it, very much, to work through.

But, you're 3 sessions in, so if you think it won't work, then maybe listen to your instinct?
 
Have you had to deal with this? What was your solution? What was the outcome? Would you have changed your decision?
Yep. I’m not sure how the hell I’d get through psychotherapy without being triggered. We’d have to stick to very benign topics - screw that. I’m there to heal - of course I’m gonna get triggered.

I’m much better at dealing with it. Had to change Ts when mine retired at the end of last year, so he’s still learning about my trauma and my triggers, but for the most part? *shrug* I get triggered, we pause for me to recover, and then we talk about it.

I wouldn’t work with a therapist that avoided my triggers.
 
Trauma therapy, by definition, is triggering.

Or it wouldn’t be trauma therapy.

It would be generalized counseling that only touches on the parts of life completely uninfluenced or effected by trauma. And? You’d feel better when you walked out, instead of feeling like you got hit by a truck. But? You’d still be completely f*cked & f*cked up by trauma. Trauma therapy sucks, but it works. Like physical therapy sucks, and isn’t your favorite yoga/spin/dance/martial arts class.

I know she is human. I know humans make mistakes.
HUGE TRICK

When someone triggers you? They didn’t make a mistake.

A trigger is something your/my/anyone’s past associating something NORMAL with something life-or-death. Like, touch a hot burner? Get burned. Jump off a cliff? Go splat. That level of “common sense” attach to tooooootal bullshit, like a pretty dress means getting raped.

The avoidance symptom of PTSD? Means that, in the beginning, we almost always blame the person/thing/etc. that is triggering us (THEY f*cked up, made a mistake, triggered us, shouldn’t xyz), instead of seeing it AS a trigger.

THEY triggered us. Instead of? I was triggered.

Triggered, by definition, means overreaction / totally incorrect conclusion. That’s US. Not them. It’s not even a judgment call. Much less a preference (like people whose personalities can go suck a bag of dicks, whilst others are interesting/easy/hard, and still others are bliss/exciting/relaxing). It’s a cross-wired instinct. Telling us that rain is made of fire. And other BS.

***

ETA… totally forgot. Some cool links to read



 
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Hi everyone,

I had my third visit with a new therapist and she triggered me hard. Fawning and freezing simultaneously. (This is a big step for me - I identified the trigger, took the time to recover, identified a number of areas this has effected me in my life and how I respond). I am going to talk to my other therapist about this but want your input as well. I have postponed all of my DBT work so I can figure out how to handle this. My logical thought process is to stay with her because I am going to have to deal with people like her everyday and this is a good way to practice. She now represents ALL of the people in my life that abused me but I do not feel threatened, just pissed. She promised a lot and did not deliver. She also did not give me all of the information upfront. As a person that works in sales, seems a bit sketchy. Story of my life, lol. I know she is human. I know humans make mistakes. I have a hard time dealing with lies, untruths. I also have a hard time with people less intelligent than me (this is a new revelation to me as I have never considered myself intelligent because I was treated otherwise). I am really trying to think things out before doing something impulsive - and I can be very impulsive when triggered. Have you had to deal with this? What was your solution? What was the outcome? Would you have changed your decision? Thank you for reading. Please take care of your self.
Normal to get triggered not only by people but by things in general,remember how vulnerable we are ,don't forget we are like a sponge when it comes to opening up to New people and places,things,etc.i can't tell you how many times I would have walked away from therapy since mine did things that I thought were absolutely intentional but they always ended up being things from my past.it helps if you could talk to her about it.remember to think how you take things in. Once I was able to own my triggers which I absolutely hated,I learned to walk through them.it was very difficult because I wanted them to feel awful about what they did,well I learned what my head holds in memory has very little to do with reality. It's still difficult but I know better than to act out,that is just simply not acceptable to me. Hope this helps. You too take care,you matter too.
 
I have a hard time dealing with lies, untruths. I also have a hard time with people less intelligent than me (this is a new revelation to me as I have never considered myself intelligent because I was treated otherwise). I am really trying to think things out before doing something impulsive - and I can be very impulsive when triggered.
As a brief aside?

EACH of these 3 things could make rather brilliant threads, as they’re just. that. common.

((Although, to avoid drama in the intelligence thread, backslash it with ‘experience’, to find the common ground. As dealing with people who do not understand? Is near universal in matters of trauma & PTSD. AS IS dealing with stupid people. BUT? There is weird stigma around recognising your own intelligence and rating it higher than anyone else’s, even the human turnip next door; so it hijacks the thread to be about compassion / etc., instead of dealing with well intentioned idiots, malicious idiots, etc.. Just a word to the wise.))
 
I changed T's a few months ago. When I did we agreed and I did a full session filibuster the first session. I knew what it was, what I was going to talk about AND the price to be paid for getting close to trauma stuff. In case you don't get that - when you talk about or work near trauma, there are negative reactions. Rolling all that into one big ball right there in one session meant a few bad days, but it didn't drag all that out for months AND my new T got an understanding of what was likely to be sensitive subjects right there, boom, done.

It was WAY better than the bit by bit method of getting my T up to speed with where I had been and where I was and what I was working on with my previous T. Partly because before I left I did an agreement (specific written agreement) with my previous T to allow her to talk to my current T about anything we had covered..

New T got to seem my reactions to talking about trauma, right off the bat and sort of get up to speed with my case. We continued significant work very quickly and had a breakthrough a few sessions into working together.

Might be worth thinking about. Your T gets a "high level" look at your history and can tell when they hit sensitive stuff after that.
 
It sounds like you are jumping off the deep end here.

What
It sounds like you are jumping off the deep end here.

What did she promise? What did she not deliver? You expected her to deliver “A LOT” in just 3 sessions?

did she promise? What did she not deliver? You expected her to deliver “A LOT” in

As a brief aside?

EACH of these 3 things could make rather brilliant threads, as they’re just. that. common.

((Although, to avoid drama in the intelligence thread, backslash it with ‘experience’, to find the common ground. As dealing with people who do not understand? Is near universal in matters of trauma & PTSD. AS IS dealing with stupid people. BUT? There is weird stigma around recognising your own intelligence and rating it higher than anyone else’s, even the human turnip next door; so it hijacks the thread to be about compassion / etc., instead of dealing with well intentioned idiots, malicious idiots, etc.. Just a word to the wise.))
Thank you for your input.
 
I want to thank you all for the information laid out here, and that continues to grow. I do recognize a few of my mistakes. 1. I was triggered. She did not trigger me. (I am still learning to use new terminology. Habits die hard.) 2. I totally own my triggers. (I did not state that earlier. My mistake.) They are mine and mine alone to deal with - which is why the thread. I own them. And I want to address them and deal/cope with them the best way for me.

I asked about the therapist because she is new. I have one therapist (for A.R.T) that I work very well with. I have had so much success, I am a different person than I was 7 months ago. (Thank goodness!) This is just a new experience for me and I have nothing to gage it by in all of my experiences. The new therapist said a number of things I did not share, as I did not want to alter your bias by adding information. With that begin said, she did say some things that are red flags to me. 1. She called us equals. I do not believe we are for a number of reasons but I do not understand why that was necessary to say. 2. My financial situation was not dealt with until I was in tears. (I had to cancel a session due to an unforeseen financial expense. Told her when it happened. Nothing was said at that time about a discount. She offered a discount at the end of our session after I broke down.) 3. And she kept referring back to the session I cancelled, stating our relationship would be further along if I had not cancelled. It was brought up at least twice which led to feelings of major guilt - even though I really wanted to be there and was doing anything I could to make it happen in spite of being a single mom with a 13 year old son. I am in the middle of a divorce (2 1/2 years and counting.) The new therapist knew all of this.

I want this therapy. I have been searching for this for over 30 years. I want to make sure I am getting the most out of all of my therapy. I know the work is mine and mine alone but I want to make sure I am not making it worse. I am very good at making the wrong decision. This time I want to make as educated decision as I can so everyone wins. But especially me!! I am so ready. So, thoughts now....?

Thank you. For all of your thoughts.
 
Hi everyone,

I had my third visit with a new therapist and she triggered me hard. Fawning and freezing simultaneously. (This is a big step for me - I identified the trigger, took the time to recover, identified a number of areas this has effected me in my life and how I respond). I am going to talk to my other therapist about this but want your input as well. I have postponed all of my DBT work so I can figure out how to handle this. My logical thought process is to stay with her because I am going to have to deal with people like her everyday and this is a good way to practice. She now represents ALL of the people in my life that abused me but I do not feel threatened, just pissed. She promised a lot and did not deliver. She also did not give me all of the information upfront. As a person that works in sales, seems a bit sketchy. Story of my life, lol. I know she is human. I know humans make mistakes. I have a hard time dealing with lies, untruths. I also have a hard time with people less intelligent than me (this is a new revelation to me as I have never considered myself intelligent because I was treated otherwise). I am really trying to think things out before doing something impulsive - and I can be very impulsive when triggered. Have you had to deal with this? What was your solution? What was the outcome? Would you have changed your decision? Thank you for reading. Please take care of your self.
Silverlinings1069, I would fire your therapist. Sounds like she is not going to give you the guidance and support you need in order to heal/reclaim your life.
 
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