Struggling with desire to return to former T

FauxLiz

Sponsor
A couple of years ago I relocated across the state and as a result I had to terminate my long term relationship with my T of four years. One of the primary reasons though not the only was that my insurance was changing and he didn't accept my new insurance. The other major reason was distance. At the time he did not offer teletherapy and the 400 mile round trip was not conducive to in person sessions.

But a few things have changed. Beginning in August my insurance is changing to a company that he accepts and the pandemic has required that he add teletherapy to his practice. This has resulted in me struggling with a desire to see if he would take me back on as a client.

It is not that I am particularly unhappy with my current T, we have made good progress in the last two years but my attachment to my former T remains even after two years. There are pros to returning to my former T which include the acceptance and comfort that I feel with him. The work we did in that time took me from a point of constant SI and SH through 3 acute hospitalizations to a point where I have been more stable and functioning than I had been in a couple of decades. He was the first person in my life that model a positive relationship with boundaries but at the same time greater support than I had ever in my life. I never believed I deserved someone to treat me that well. The negatives (cons) to returning to my former T include what I have recognized as an unconscious desire to retain his support and acceptance certain topics surrounding my traumas I would not bring up or otherwise avoided because I didn't want the relationship to change, didn't want to take the chance that things I told him would change his opinion of me or how he interacted with me.

My current T we have done a lot of CPT therapy which meant really discussing and talking about my traumas in a way I never had before. We have done good work both in person and via teletherapy but that level of comfort and acceptance doesn't exist. I think I can speak to him about things I couldn't in the past because if his opinion or the way we interact changes I am not invested in this T and would seek out a different T.

I had hoped to be relocating back to the area where I lived before the end of 2020 but that is looking less likely with all of the COVID issues. I could really use some insight from others about whether or not I should approach my former T and see if he would take me back as a client knowing that it would be relegated to teletherapy for the unknown future even after the pandemic or do I stay with my current T and try to talk through with him the struggle and desire to return to my former T and why I don't feel the connection to my current T?
 

Ronin

MyPTSD Pro
I would do both - check up with former T on practice and availability and any other Qs you may have -

And work out with current T what brings out the desire / need to go back to the former one.

Eventually what kind of therapeutic work you are missing, at present, that you feel is needed.

Possibly ask for more resources of who & how works with that area of issues.

It doesn't have to be either / or, stay or leave, this T or that one.

You can look it more as about the work done then & needs & wishes, less about having to choose; add, don't substract from existing progress.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I think as Ronin said do both. The best thing IMHO is that regardless which therapist you ultimately take... Discussing your attachment to the last one and the lack to this one is worth it.... And decision will become easy after you cross that bridge...
 

bird_on_a_wire

MyPTSD Pro
Idk a lot about this or how insurance works (can you have 2?) , but just to say far as this goes:

certain topics surrounding my traumas I would not bring up or otherwise avoided because I didn't want the relationship to change, didn't want to take the chance that things I told him would change his opinion of me or how he interacted with me.

I think there's little point doing therapy without being honest or withholding, simply because that's what you're there for and if it's that bad likely what you should actually be bringing up? Also, if you think or fear the relationship/ respect etc would fail if he actually knew the truth, it sort of supports feeling lousy about yourself, I would think. ('He wouldn't have the respect/ would actually treat (me) differently/ be grossed out if I told the truth- and so would anyone else', could be a cognitive distortion revealed there.) At least if you tell the truth you know you can work together or not/ have regard or not, based on reality and what is true.

That being said, I think trust is paramount. Tbh, Idk if I could just tell a relative stranger anything and not try to finish in 1 or 2 sessions, for that matter. Because to me it would be a business transaction. Like going to the dr- to be dreaded but get some kind of solution as quick as possible if absolutely necessary. And when I go the dr it's like my brains fall out and I minimize totally and words/ lies come out I don't even intend. :rolleyes: )

Good luck to you. :hug:
 

Allie D.

MyPTSD Pro
I could really use some insight from others about whether or not I should approach my former T and see if he would take me back as a client knowing that it would be relegated to teletherapy for the unknown future even after the pandemic or do I stay with my current T and try to talk through with him the struggle and desire to return to my former T and why I don't feel the connection to my current T?
This is a tough one for an outsider to answer.. Is there any way you can do both? I'm in a transition to a new trauma therapist but I'm also going to be speaking with my long-term T as he gets better from his illness (I'm lucky to manage this setup right now.)

I think a lot has to do with how comfortable you are with the teletherapy, you could always try a couple sessions and see; it's ok to check things out without fully committing to one or the other. It doesn't sound like there is a big rush about this? But maybe I'm wrong and you do need to decide soon. If you are in the US - there are a TON of extra services right now, including a lot of insurance plans giving extra or even unlimited teletherapy sessions. So it may be a good time to take advantage of that. You can contact your old T and ask them what they think.

If you don't have a strong feeling one way or another, consider doing both. You already know both people. There is a potential problem with the comfort level thing, like a complacency. At the same time - it's great to have someone who you KNOW, you connect with, even if they might not challenge you as much. That might not be entirely bad as long as you are moving forward elsewhere in your life. Good luck, Keep us updated!
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I hope you are easing on your struggles. Your post reminds me of like going back to an ex thinking things will be the same or even better just to realize, I have grown so much since and things never truly went back as I remembered, not to mention the other person has grown too in different way than I could recall. I feel you probably have grown quite a bit since your last therapist and things may not exactly go back as you remembered so I hope you try both therapists and see where you are today and who matches you better - could be either way.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I have recognized as an unconscious desire to retain his support and acceptance certain topics surrounding my traumas I would not bring up or otherwise avoided because I didn't want the relationship to change, didn't want to take the chance that things I told him would change his opinion of me or how he interacted with me.
That's a pretty good observation on your part. One of the things I've been realizing myself, is that I'm learning a lot about "normal" relationships with people because of therapy. Never really had much practice before. One aspect of that is exactly what you mentioned. That it's more or less not safe to let anyone important know what's REALLY going on inside my head, because if they knew, they'd probably hate me. This might be an issue in need of work all by itself, you know? In the event that you think it is, which therapist would be the best to work on it with? With the new T, it would be easier to AVOID working on it, I would think. But, maybe not.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
I want to thank everyone for the input. With insurance I can only have one therapist and one psychiatrist at a time so unfortunately I can't have both. I will probably reach out to my Former and see if there is even a chance that we could work together, but it probably is a good topic to discuss with my current T as well. I think part of my challenge is that I knew and consciously avoided talking about my transference issues with my former T. @grit you are most likely correct that my former T and I have both grown in different ways over the past two years and the relationship would not be identical to what I remember.

I am not sure which can help me the best or if either one is best for me now, I have done so much of the trauma work in the last year I don't know if I am just needing a break and leaving my current T would be one major way to do that because of the amount of time it would take to establish a relationship with someone new or in the case of my former T he was more psycho-dynamic in his approach to trauma as opposed to my current that places a heavy emphasis on CPT and DBT.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
So I had a conversation with my current T last night and I have reached out to my former T and am still waiting to see if he responds. My attachment to my former T remains, and the work I have done over the last two years has been hard, challenging and uncomfortable and while those are all reasons to stay with my current T they are the same reasons that I want to go back to my former T and that doesn't make them good reasons. My current T questioned if my desire to change is a result of avoidance. Avoiding continuing to do the hard work, avoiding talking about my traumas as my former T didn't challenge me in the same way and let me focus on the current situations rather than my past. The thing is without the work I did with my former T I wouldn't be where I am today because I don't remember a time during our four years of work together that I was not at least passively suicidal.

I don't know what I will do, I do believe that if I could have a single session with my former T to get the closure that I don't feel I got in our relationship it would be helpful but I may not ever get even that chance. So for now I wait to see if I hear back from my former T and go from there.
 

FauxLiz

Sponsor
@blackemerald1 What the idea of closure means to me is that I don't feel that we ended our relationship in a manner that allowed me to move on. When I relocated he told me that he would continue to meet with me until I had found a therapist that I could work with. I knew that we would not be meeting as often as before my move but I was hoping for at least once a month. I struggled with finding a therapist after the move as I was working full-time in a rural area that required me to drive at least an hour to meet with a therapist and not having the ability to meet during regular business hours limited the therapists that had openings that I could attend and I struggled a lot. At one point about three months after my move we met and I discussed my options for new therapists with him asking him to help me talk through pros and cons and cut through my preconceived notions interpreting/mind reading what the potential therapists had said or done during our meetings where I interviewed them to be my therapist.

After that session we made tentative plans to meet in another month after I had met with one of the potential therapists to wrap up our work together. As the time came for that tentative appointment I received an email from him stating that he didn't feel that it was in my best interest to meet again and terminated the relationship. There wasn't a conclusion for me, I felt abandoned by him and have struggled since then not to project that anticipated abandonment on my current T especially during this period of COVID that he will decide that we have done all that we can do as we have had to go back to teletherapy and he will terminate with me without warning.

Maybe one last session wouldn't be enough, it surely wouldn't be enough to deal with the transference issues but I would be able to say all the things I wanted to say to him that last session that I never had the chance. Yes I could put those things into an email but it wouldn't be the same.
 
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