Not sure- therapy relationship concerns (again)

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Well, to put a positive spin on your therapy issue....I think there are times in our life where we need to step back and learn from something that might not have gone down the way you think.....she heard you weren't happy with your relationship.....I got the impression that attempts to work it out wasn't to your satisfaction................you now have all the options you need. You have the option to interview other therapists and give any one you want a one time try (I have given T's a 4 session try....and I know by the 4th session if we are a good fit)...it's enough time to examine their qualifications and therapy styles. You have the option to do some home therapy reading and journaling. You have lots of options regarding what you do with this outcome......all with the knowledge that she didn't pull the plug. You can look at this positively, ......and document how well you will manage from week to week without weekly therapy, and what issues you are struggling with....if any. It could give you time to think about what you'd like to accomplish next in life, with health, work, home lie, and maybe give you time to step back from trauma processing, work on your health, and pick up a new hobby and just have some fun time for you! Breaks can be healthy if you spin it in a positive manner.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
We did it. It took a bit, but we finally replied to T. We told her that some insiders were freaked out and worried. That some thought maybe she didn't have time for us anymore. But then we said we understand that she's offering us support and time to recovery and we really appreciated it. And it would be nice not to push all the time. And we thanked her for that


. But this time, your T has decided that you have the coping skills and support necessary to get through this. Without needing extra therapy support.

huh, hadn't read it that way at all. Thank you. Had to think on this a bit

seems like people are seeing stuff in us we aren't seeing in our self right now

They're stressors. Even good stuff? Can be a stressor.

had forgotten this. Good reminder

I think what you're describing is it feels like a rupture (which is not discounting of all your progress).
yes. I guess it does. we just tried to read through the email with a calmer mind and she's being very clear that she's not cutting us off and is there if we feel we need to see her or want to email. So it's probably not this. we probably just very tangled up.

.....you now have all the options you need.

..all with the knowledge that she didn't pull the plug.

I think you are right. We are having a really hard time feeling this, but having processed a bit more we can acknowledge we are probably getting exactly what we need at this moment.
 

Rumors

MyPTSD Pro
Am I the only one here thinking that this relationship with your therapist shouldn't be the focus of therapy??? I mean you should be able to come to therapy and "do the work" without feeling like you have to fix your relationship with your therapist before you take your break or it could be the end of your relationship.... that shouldn't be at the heart of your therapeutic work... She should be helping you to set goals and creating a space that feels safe where you can come unload the things that need to be worked on. *She* shouldn't be the work... my opinion only..... I hope you are doing ok.
 
Am I the only one here thinking that this relationship with your therapist shouldn't be the focus of therapy??? I mean you should be able to come to therapy and "do the work" without feeling like you have to fix your relationship with your therapist before you take your break or it could be the end of your relationship.... that shouldn't be at the heart of your therapeutic work... She should be helping you to set goals and creating a space that feels safe where you can come unload the things that need to be worked on. *She* shouldn't be the work... my opinion only..... I hope you are doing ok.
I don't think this is technically true.

As far as I'm aware, normal talk therapy is considered to be approx. 50% about the relationship between the patient and the therapist.

It's not like they're just some service provider... they're not a waitress bringing you a burger or a mechanic fixing your car - where the functional aspect should be 95% of the transaction.

If therapy turns into more than 50% being about the relationship between patient and therapist, so there's not room left to do the actual therapy work itself, that would be a problem.

Having said that, obviously therapists and patients have and prefer different styles. Some therapists don't provide much "relationship" in the therapy and some patients don't want/seek that either.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I don't think this is technically true.

As far as I'm aware, normal talk therapy is considered to be approx. 50% about the relationship between the patient and the therapist.

It's not like they're just some service provider... they're not a waitress bringing you a burger or a mechanic fixing your car - where the functional aspect should be 95% of the transaction.

If therapy turns into more than 50% being about the relationship between patient and therapist, so there's not room left to do the actual therapy work itself, that would be a problem.

Having said that, obviously therapists and patients have and prefer different styles. Some therapists don't provide much "relationship" in the therapy and some patients don't want/seek that either.
@Sophy (in lockdown) I agree with @Rumors ......your therapist shouldn't be the focus of your therapy concerns........

My current therapist is an experienced trauma therapist. I get a 1 hr appt. If I spent 30 min each time talking about our therapy relationship, I wouldn't have enough time to do meaningful work.....about trauma processing, learning strategies to shut down dissociation, and talk about immediate non-trauma issues. I had a bad therapist before who in a short time, would end up talking about herself, saying what she liked, or bringing in a protein shake like I drank and making a big deal about it..........and I realized that she doesn't get to take up my time, talking about herself..... I also have a good friend, and we don't spend 50% of our time talking about "the relationship." I don't know of any relationships I have that I spend 50% of the time discussing or dissecting the relationship itself....and when relationships have gotten complicated, I shut them down because I didn't want the drama.

Therapy has goals and objectives. Therapists should have clear boundaries and ethics about both your goals and using time wisely, and not wasting it; and having appointments begin and end in a timely fashion. The therapist should also be able to recall basic points about the last session, and connect that one to the current one....if there was anything that was pertinent to review. I'm not walking into the trauma therapist wanting to know a lot about who she is, because my last therapist spend a lot of our time- a lot of the time I paid her.......to talk about herself. If the therapist is spending much time talking about herself, she's not going to be able to follow the plan that she's required to write. That therapist took no notes, ignored me when it came to presenting a mental health plan, or setting goals.It's kinda like going to the doctor for a check up, and leaving without having all the work-up done. So, maybe a good conversation might better be spent reviewing your mental health plan, goals and objectives, timelines for goals, and your feelings about it...She is a medical practitioner for hire.....and she can never be your "friend" so you don't need to know but so much about your therapist except her areas of expertise, any legal suits or pending legal issues, how much she charges, and availability. Beyond that, if she's a good therapist, she will insure the therapy stays focused on your trauma work.
 

Rumors

MyPTSD Pro
@Sophy (in lockdown) if I spent 50% of my therapy appointments working on my relationship with my therapist, I wouldn't go to therapy. I have never heard anyone, even my therapist, say that half my therapy time will be spent exploring my relationship with my therapist. That means if I spend $5000 on therapy, $2500 was spent exploring that. I agree with @TruthSeeker that the therapist should have clear boundaries and help you set goals.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
I think I'm done. I'll sit with it for a few days but I just can't anymore. And I guess I'm really struggling with that. you know that feeling when you just want to curl up and not move. That's what I have.

I have been taking the break like T suggested and it's been good. She had asked us to email during our break so we did. We sent a long one the end of march and talked about stuggling with our relationship. I said part of the issue was telehealth appointments but said a lot about other stuff. T answered back and talked about stuff but didn't acknowledge that part much except to talk about how much pain she's been in the last few years and how that is better now. she sasid she is vaccinated now but did spend a couple hours throwing up after the first one. she said she's less busy and doing 1 day a week as in-person. She also said she wasn't as busy now and wasn't overworking. I guess all that was supposed to make us feel better about the relationship? One of the things we said is we felt insecure in our relationship.We also said we were struggling with it. It was hard not having her say anything more direct about what we said. We would have been happy with "we will talk about that when we start back up".

we been emailing her more just lately and we've gotten back quick replies which is good because it lets us know she got it. she did say she'd respond over the weekend to a few and didn't and that's hard for us. but we also told her she didn't need to reply so it's not fair to be bothered by that. Over all communication has been better with her and we were feeling pretty good about things for a bit.

We noticed we were emailing more and probably struggling more. So we sent her an email and asked when she was in the office. That we would like an in-person session. we let her know that if it was a day we worked, with enough advance planning we could get it off. She replied back and asked what our days off were. So we answered and again said that with advance planning we could get a day we worked off. We got no reply. We went online to schedule a telehealth schedule and the first session we could find was the third week of may. We scheduled for the following week when we could find a day on our day off.

Not getting a response probably sent us spinning again. It felt like a repeat of what happened before. Not knowing if she got the email. Not knowing if she read it. Not knowing what was happening and not being able to schedule with her. So we sent her an email asking if she go our last one. She said yes and that she'd been trying to figure a way to get us. And I guess we should be happy with that but we can't deal with the void of not knowing. And we wish she'd just give us a date even if it's in June or something. Based on past history the longer this drags out the longer it will be before we get on the schedule. And not seeing her at all until the end of May isn't so great and all she said about that is put ourself on the wait list. And now that we write it, it seems so minor and like we aren't appreciating what she does for us. She is trying to find a day probably. She just failed to communicate that to us.

And big deal that we have to go to the end of may. we supposed to be taking a break anyway. And maybe we didn't say it to anyone because everyone was saying how great the break idea was but we knew this would happen. we knew we should get a date on the calendar for the end of our break or it would end up being too long until we could get in. And big deal we will go through a trigger date. we can be fine. And big deal her only response about our concerns about our relationship was to talk about our stuff. Ok, that's not even true because we mentioned W and her reaction to that, and that part she did acknowledge and said she was fine about our relaitonship with him. So everything is fine.

we just whining and being stupid

and sorry we didn't acknowledge the last few posts. read them. was thinking on them
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
Ok, I am swirling less hard. Littles inside are still feeling bad and I'll need to deal with that, but right now I need to find the functional parts of me and think about it that way. My impulse was to ask if I was being unreasonable but I think that's a slippery slope for me. The thing is, it's not working for most of us. We don't need to look for outside affirmations that our needs are ok or not.

What we need:
A T who prepared and able to deal with trauma and DID
If there are problems in the relationship, we need T to acknowledge it's something to work on.
Therapy to mostly be about me (our system) and not have a lot of info about the struggles in T's life. Yes, sometimes it's good to hear about relatable stuff but it should be a small part of the focus. (ok, self, that's not selfish when it's a therapy relationship)
A T who allows written communication, because that's how we communicate best. It's ok if it's just addressed in session,
A T who is consistent in their communication - And if that's less communication that's ok, but we need to know what to expect and not have it be all over the place.
A T who doesn't freak out about BDSM
A T who isn't so distant we feel like crisis won't be addressed (we had a T who was like that)
A T who can fit us into their schedule


I feel like there was something else we were going to add to the needs list but our head is buzzy now.

We feel like we are betraying T if we leave her. She really was good for a lot of years. She took us farther than any other T ever has. She did extra for us. So if we leave her we are acting like all that doesn't matter? I dunno. it gets muddled up in our head. Like we need to be loyal to T. Like we don't want to hurt T's feelings.

The part that worries us the most about finding a new T is finding one who is ok with DID/trauma and all the ups and downs that go with that.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
Ok, I am swirling less hard. Littles inside are still feeling bad and I'll need to deal with that, but right now I need to find the functional parts of me and think about it that way. My impulse was to ask if I was being unreasonable but I think that's a slippery slope for me. The thing is, it's not working for most of us. We don't need to look for outside affirmations that our needs are ok or not.

What we need:
A T who prepared and able to deal with trauma and DID
If there are problems in the relationship, we need T to acknowledge it's something to work on.
Therapy to mostly be about me (our system) and not have a lot of info about the struggles in T's life. Yes, sometimes it's good to hear about relatable stuff but it should be a small part of the focus. (ok, self, that's not selfish when it's a therapy relationship)
A T who allows written communication, because that's how we communicate best. It's ok if it's just addressed in session,
A T who is consistent in their communication - And if that's less communication that's ok, but we need to know what to expect and not have it be all over the place.
A T who doesn't freak out about BDSM
A T who isn't so distant we feel like crisis won't be addressed (we had a T who was like that)
A T who can fit us into their schedule


I feel like there was something else we were going to add to the needs list but our head is buzzy now.

We feel like we are betraying T if we leave her. She really was good for a lot of years. She took us farther than any other T ever has. She did extra for us. So if we leave her we are acting like all that doesn't matter? I dunno. it gets muddled up in our head. Like we need to be loyal to T. Like we don't want to hurt T's feelings.

The part that worries us the most about finding a new T is finding one who is ok with DID/trauma and all the ups and downs that go with that.

Everything you listed is perfectly reasonable and healthy things to want and expect from a therapist.

Your therapist did not have very good boundaries. Someone with trauma and dissociation NEEDS those good, solid boundaries (and a therapist solid enough in themselves to also be able to tolerate some boundary crossings some of the time **if in the best interest of the client**). It sounds like these boundary crossings were not to your benefit.

Your therapist should not be charging you to discuss any of their personal stuff unless it is occasional, generic not specific, and used intentionally for reasons such as:
to normalize your experience
help you feel the universality of some human struggles
help reduce feelings of shame by seeing someone discuss a thing like your thing without feeling shame

I have actually been reading a book for therapists about treating dissociation and in the book they talk about how the therapist needs to be careful to not become a "caretaker" (encouraging dependency) while also not becoming aloof. To find a balance.

Your T had no business guilting you about charing a reduced fee, or implying that they are giving things up for you. That's on them, and if they can't do it comfortably they shouldn't do it at all.

You feeling like you are betraying them is probably partly bc they fed this caretaker dynamic with you and bc they injected so much of their actual not therapist self into the relationship. You should feel comfortable doing what feels right to you when it comes to any therapy relationship. You should not feel like you need to consider the feelings of your therapist at all.

I mean if we are blowing up the therapists phone at 10pm frequently and then angry that they didn't answer, that's a different conversation, but questions of termination or do we need to slow down or speed up or talk less about the therapist's personal life or being able to confront failures on the therapist's part and have them respond without defensiveness... None of those should be questions and imo are a sign either of transference issues or the therapist not providing an appropriate frame for the client.

Of course your littles are stirred up. This therapist nurtured that part of the relationship but it sounds like she also became parental in a way that didn't really serve your system as a whole.

Having your t ignore communication of concern about the therapeutic relationship is a red flag. Having your t talk about their own pain in an email with a client is a red flag.

I do understand it's hard to find a specialist for dissociative disorders, but I just wanted to say that a lot of what she is doing is problematic and it is a sign of healthy functioning in you that you are not feeling good about those things. Your instincts are working properly there, and if you're anything like me it's very helpful to hear that kind of feedback when we are feeling out of sorts and confused.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
That list of what you need from a T sounds really good. Healthy, totally reasonable and achievable.

I can understand feeling guilty if you move on from her. But....relationships change. Nothing stays the same. And maybe you have outgrown her?

I hope you find a T that meets your list of needs.
 

Sideways

Moderator
A T who allows written communication, because that's how we communicate best. It's ok if it's just addressed in session
A T who encourages this perhaps?
All of my Ts over the years have encouraged me writing stuff down. Not always via emails to them, but always "write it down", because it's my easier and definitely more frank (less vague and avoidant) way of communicating.

I don't think this will be hard to find. So, keep writing, even if it's emails that you save in a draft folder when you have something you don't want to bring here.

You may want to give your T the heads up; lack of clarity and consistency with how and when you'll reply to emails has been problematic for me (reduced trust, caused confusion and distress, etc). It would be helpful to most Ts (this one I think is already on notice, but maybe it's time for some more non-judgmental feedback on the issue to her).
A T who doesn't freak out about BDSM
A T who doesn't "freak out" period?
What does "freaking out" mean to you? Can you define it so that you don't go away questioning "is she freaking out, or am I just being overly-sensitive?" (You tend to be uncertain of yourself when someone is patently letting you down - asserting yourself seems uncomfortable. So, can you be any clearer, at least in your own mind, of what you need, and don't need, in the way your T interacts with you?)

My T doesn't list herself as a Bdsm- informed T. I wouldn't go there, because I personally worry it would indicate a bias ij favour of bdsm, which would be incredibly unhelpful for me.

But she's a seasoned trauma T, and that alone? Means I'm not her first rodeo with complicated bdsm issues on board, and she doesn't "freak out", about anything!
A T who prepared and able to deal with trauma and DID
This is harder to find. Especially good ones.

For purely practical reasons, can you stick with your T, say for continued support managing present-day issues as they wax and wane, till you find a good alternative?

It may not sound like it, but I actually love the direction you're headed. Identifying your needs, what is and isn't working, and keeping a pretty level head about alternative ways forward to meet your needs. High fives for that, yeah!
 
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