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T forgets things

Thread starter #1
I have been seeing my therapist for twice a week sessions for 5 months and she forgets things.
In the beginning I was like well I just mentioned that in passing so makes sense.
But then she forgot that I am married to my husband! I constantly feel like I have to rehash things because I don't know if she remembers. Does she remember I told her about some of the "trauma". It's gotten to the point where it's hard to talk because it feel futile and useless as everything I say will be forgotten soon and it doesn't matter...
I don't know how much is my "transference and projections" and how much is the truth and real.
 
#2
It’s hard to know sometimes. See if you can record your sessions. Then you can check and see if you told her what you think you did. You should also ask her about it. If she is forgetting, it could be medical and she may or may not be aware of it. Therapy is truly a profession where memory is important. If she is forgetting things and doesn’t find a way to fix it, like taking better notes, it may be time for someone new.
 
#3
I don't know how much is my "transference and projections" and how much is the truth and real.
What helps you break this down into seperate pieces?
It's gotten to the point where it's hard to talk because it feel futile and useless as everything I say will be forgotten soon and it doesn't matter...
Not that I don’t have my own line in the sand, here, I do. If someone can’t be bothered to even glance at their notes to remind them of who I am & what we’re doing? We won’t be working together long. Maybe that paradigm works for them with other clients; either day to day life issues clients or clients who need the structure and repetition of summarizing everything at the beginning of each session. Maybe they’re more of a call-center crisis counselor who is meeting people cold, and doesn’t have the skills/training/experience to handle ongoing clients. Maybe maybe maybe maybe. That’s not me. Not my lookout, why they do what they do; and not what I want out of a therapist. So, as I said, we wouldn’t be working together for very long if that’s their MO.

But the way you phrased it makes me wonder. Are you talking to be remembered, or to be working on specific things? And if it’s to be working on things, is the forgetfulness hurting your treatment plan or your ego?

No wrong answer. Because personalities clicking is at least half of the whole ‘therapeutic alliance’ thing. One person can be perfectly fine working with a different therapist each and every session because their focus is on learning / can be taught by many; whilst another person needs/wants a personal connection, building a professional working relationship with one person. One person doesn’t give a good god dayum if their therapists “likes” them, or not, because they’re not here to be making friends... whilst another person has to feel liked, in order to listen to anything someone has to say. And a whole freaking motherlode of other motivations, needs, wants, desires, <waves hand around vaguely> schtuff. The stuff YOU want out of a therapist? Matters. Because it’s your therapist. You’re paying them to do a job. If they’re not doing the job you’re paying them for? Well you wouldn’t pay your plumber to come watch the football at your house, when your bathroom is flooding, would you? (Actually I know at least one person who not only would, but would add a tip. I’m just going to hope you & he are not twins separated at birth).

3-6mo is a good solid time to be working with someone & get a feel for how they do things.

Right now? How they do things isn’t working for you. Which gives you 2 & a half options, the way I see things. Find a new therapist, or bring those problems to the table to see if those are actually issues that can be worked around/surmounted. The half, of course, is the order you do this in ;) Meaning a third option is “both”. Bring your issues to the table, to see if they can be resolved, and IF NOT then find a new therapist... taking the things you’ve learned about what you want in a professional relationship with you.

Either way? No wasted time. Valuable lessons learned, regardless of which option you choose. The only waste of time, again how I see things, would be to do nothing. Don’t find a new T, and don’t bring your issues up with this T.
 
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#4
I have been seeing my therapist for twice a week sessions for 5 months and she forgets things.
In the beginning I was like well I just mentioned that in passing so makes sense.
But then she forgot that I am married to my husband! I constantly feel like I have to rehash things because I don't know if she remembers. Does she remember I told her about some of the "trauma". It's gotten to the point where it's hard to talk because it feel futile and useless as everything I say will be forgotten soon and it doesn't matter...
I don't know how much is my "transference and projections" and how much is the truth and real.
Wow, didn't remember hubby.??? That's Screwqs--UP....sounds like it's a red flag if your T forgets regularly. I had to change therapists, and this was just one of a number of reasons.....My therapist was dissociating (red flag).....distancing big time.....when I'd talk about my trauma.....sometimes she'd close her eyes and when I'd finish talking I'd look up and there she was with her eyes closed.....when asked where was she going in her head, she said she didn't know-AND that other clients had asked her the same thing (Red Flag)...She never took notes (Red Flag) either and didn't prepare by looking back at the prior appt's notes......and she had trouble switching from patient to patient....I didn't feel her mind was in the here and now all the time....like she was preoccupied (red flag).

Ask your T to show you her treatment plan.......if no plan (Red Flag)....then where you going? Mine kept telling me she would write one....forgot to do that (Red Flag). She even forgot, after 2 years, who I walked with, gave music lessons to, and who took care of my cat (one of 2 people in my world that I saw) (Red Flag). She also couldn't define the D words relating to trauma...I asked her to differentiate between dissociation, derealization and a couple other trauma related D words-she failed to do so (Red Flag). So very sorry you are having to deal with this....I know I didn't feel validated when she kept saying she couldn't remember or had to ask who that was I was talking about when I had had several recent conversations about the person in question. I came to the conclusion that my T couldn't help me make connections therapeutically if she couldn't remember the characters in my narrative.....and that just wasn't good enough care.
I put red flag to note....that it wasn't till after I left that I realized these behaviors were a problem... a red flag. But at the time, changing therapists was the last thing I was willing to do....I should have left much sooner. Not wanting to change led me to stay much longer than was healthy. If you aren't making progress, or you aren't totally satisfied otherwise, or you don't want to discuss it....I'd go look elsewhere. Good luck...this doesn't seem like it is about you......sounds like the problem is hers.
 
Thread starter #5
I think we had been working “well” overall, in the sense that I have been in therapy overall for five years now so it’s much easier to not get as wobbly and upset over things and more likely to bring them up. She says she is experienced in trauma and dissociation and tends to work long term with patients. So I don’t think her forgetting has anything to do with that.
I think her forgetting probably has more to do with not focusing and not paying true attention coupled with my monotone talking and dissociation in sessions.... we have never met in person due to the pandemic and this maybe has made it harder for us to “connect”. I guess I am more upset by her saying that I am just focusing on these minor things she forgets rather than her owning up and saying “yes I forgot and I shouldn’t have”. If it’s something that she feels that she doesn’t even have to change or make better. How do you work with someone that doesn’t even remember you are married after 40 sessions of work?
I was trying to talk to her about it but my dissociation was extreme and heavy in session today, so all I could mumble was half sentences. I just feel like I have given up on our relationship now and don’t know how to resolve it. If she thinks it’s ok for her to forget such things then I don’t know if I can work with that?
She says I am just afraid of the connection and I am finding these faults in her to keep disconnected.
I have contacted another therapist, but I am finding it hard to find someone who accept my insurance.
She was also typing some stuff and sending some email? To someone at the beginning of one of our sessions which upset me, but then she apologized so made me feel like at least she knew that that’s wrong/not nice, but the forgetting thing she keeps saying it’s ok?
Since this accident she has started taking notes regularly in sessions which makes me feel awkward as I feel like I shouldn’t “complain”.
I want to truly find a way out of this. I just don’t know how to?

I do want to mention that this does hit on a core issue for me. I have always felt invisible, forgetful and kind of accepted that that was me and my role. Therapy made me feel seen at times which was surprising. So now I feel like in order to do long term therapy I need to work with someone who’s willing to somewhat see me?
 
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#6
I think you need to talk to her about it again. And maybe think through what she has already said to you: that you are holding on to these 'small' things.

My T forgets things sometimes. Once she said the age I was raped was 14 , not 15. And a few other things. But she also talks about things I've said that I have forgotten I said. So it goes both ways. Whilst I get a little jolt when she forgets, I can understand. I mean she sees X people a week and doesn't take notes in the session. So it hurts, but I get it. And she also redeems herself because of the things she does remember.

I suppose they can't remember everything. They are human.

And whilst being married is a huge thing for people. For her, it might not be. Maybe in the session what she was remembering was your feelings, your body language, your attachment style etc etc etc. Therapeutic elements rather than a fact you are married (a fact that doesn't really hold therapitc value?).

This is causing you emotional pain and is stopping you from building that therapeutic relationship. So it is vital that you are able to solve it with her. I hope that you do.
 
#7
Since this accident she has started taking notes regularly in sessions which makes me feel awkward as I feel like I shouldn’t “complain”.
So you brought up her forgetting things that are important to you.
She’s taken steps via note taking to not forget those things.
So ...you’re upset she’s taken steps to solve the problem?

This isn’t parsing, for me.

I’m sure there’s emotional logic in there somewhere, But emotions don’t logic so hot, ya know? Feeling like you shouldn’t complain, when a) there’s a difference between complaining and bringing a problem to the table to solve & b) you got the result you wanted... she’s taking steps to change the way she does things to better meet your needs. IE you got a good result from talking with her, and are using that result to beat yourself up with, and be upset with her, in the same fell swoop.

I do want to mention that this does hit on a core issue for me. I have always felt invisible, forgetful and kind of accepted that that was me and my role.
Out of curiosity... how many times have you brought a problem to someone and they actually take steps to solve the problem? Not just given it lip service, or said all the right things to make you feel better without actually following through; but actually changed how they did things?

If not a lot? It can be an uncomfortable sensation to actually be listened to, and have someone take action based on what you say. The flip side of being seen.
 
Thread starter #8
@Friday. Thank you for your insight!
You actually sound like my T. She said that my being upset of her forgetting things has exponentially increased since she started taking notes. In all honesty, I don’t notice her taking notes too much as my general shame stops me from ever looking up, so I don’t really see what she’s up to.
It’s just hard for me to make this connection as it must be really unconscious, as I haven’t thought about her taking notes unless she brings it up, which has been a couple of times since then.
She also says that what I am really afraid of is that she does hold me in mind, not that she forgets about me.
Maybe these things make me feel uncomfortable.
Maybe you’re onto something here.
After writing all of this down I have more able to “mentalize” and less just going with the feelings. It’s hard when the process is unconscious as I really have no such conscious thoughts in my head, so it feels like someone’s trying to manipulate my brain.
 
#9
@Friday. Thank you for your insight!
You actually sound like my T. She said that my being upset of her forgetting things has exponentially increased since she started taking notes. In all honesty, I don’t notice her taking notes too much as my general shame stops me from ever looking up, so I don’t really see what she’s up to.
It’s just hard for me to make this connection as it must be really unconscious, as I haven’t thought about her taking notes unless she brings it up, which has been a couple of times since then.
She also says that what I am really afraid of is that she does hold me in mind, not that she forgets about me.
Maybe these things make me feel uncomfortable.
Maybe you’re onto something here.
After writing all of this down I have more able to “mentalize” and less just going with the feelings. It’s hard when the process is unconscious as I really have no such conscious thoughts in my head, so it feels like someone’s trying to manipulate my brain.
It sounds so hard. But also, it sounds like this whole issue might lead to a breakthrough?
 
#11
I'm reading a lot about transference at the moment. Positive and negative transference. So this might be what you're doing and might help to reframe it.
Good luck! This therapy stuff sure is painful. But the peace it can bring, makes it worthwhile.
 
#12
It's gotten to the point where it's hard to talk because it feel futile and useless as everything I say will be forgotten soon and it doesn't matter...
^That does sound like projection and fear and all-or-nothing, bl-and-white thoughts, as well as catastrophisizing. Does she forget 'everything'? Has the work you have done with her been futile, and all future work would be? Are there instances she remembers, or you have made progress? What if what you say is forgotten? Does that reflect on you, or her?

As far as:

I guess I am more upset by her saying that I am just focusing on these minor things she forgets rather than her owning up and saying “yes I forgot and I shouldn’t have”. If it’s something that she feels that she doesn’t even have to change or make better.
and

She says I am just afraid of the connection and I am finding these faults in her to keep disconnected.
^ that sounds like blaming your attachment style more than focusing on her role. However, if she has apologized and tried to improve that's all she could do. Maybe she does not understand you see it as a larger issue or reflective of more than she does? (With- or without -projecting).
She said that my being upset of her forgetting things has exponentially increased since she started taking notes. In all honesty, I don’t notice her taking notes too much as my general shame stops me from ever looking up, so I don’t really see what she’s up to.
It’s just hard for me to make this connection as it must be really unconscious, as I haven’t thought about her taking notes unless she brings it up, which has been a couple of times since then.
She also says that what I am really afraid of is that she does hold me in mind, not that she forgets about me.
^Again that is back to explaining it away based on attachment style, but the truth is, what you hold unconsciously is not within her awareness, either. There is enough in your conscious awareness to begin to address how you feel there. If the response is, ~"it's your unconscious fears", it doesn't leave room for much dialogue. For example, you may even be uncomfortable she is taking notes, but because you asked for something or feel like it's being difficult. So even agreeing it's unconscious and you're not aware, ends any 'right' you feel to bringing up her forgetfulness, and even takes away the discomfort (say to yourself, she is right, I am wrong to feel that way; that actually reduces the shame- if you are responsible you can think you'll find a way to not repeat it in the future). Maybe she doesn't have the best memory. And maybe you have conscious meanings associated with a low level of engagement, one of the worst parts may be not being heard? (Suggesting it comes from within you, rather than her apologizing for her own lack of memory and saying I see that has a lot of meaning for you, and asking what does this and the rupture that you feel has occurred lead you to feel, think and believe?) It seems it might have gone a different way if she had simply said, "I am sorry, I did forget, but I can see it is very important to you and leaves you feeling 'x' " ('x' being hurt, mistrustful, invisible, unimportant, etc- whatever; up to her to use her own skills and basic human communication to name what she thinks, and then you could agree/ disagree together, and repair and resolve, or not). Or a 1000 other possibilities. But much of them either come back to doubt, mistrust (also at an unconscious and conscious level), disengagement, beliefs, or (as she said) deactivating strategies. Maybe those are questions you can grapple with on your own (because it IS your mind, heart and belief system). Seems to me having enough engagement or trust to be able to talk about it safely and with candor is more critical than what it actually represents, if you're judging if you can work together, and have positive regard, safety and make an honest connection. because she has her own attachment style, and accepting her part in it would show she too is more secure than what you've written here. Minimizing what causes hurt to another is rarely a pathway to deeper understanding or connection. Only you know how sincere or sensitive to what you've said she seems about it.

Good luck.
 
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