Tell me about your therapy relationship.

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I view my relationship with my therapist as a medical professional helping me with an issue, trust obviously exists in the sense where I decide whether I'll let a doc/nurse do my smear test or a T hear about my trauma, but in essence, it's really all the same to me. A "do I trust this person to be professional and be competent?" I understand how it is more complicated in a T relationship, but IMO, it's also not. It is a professional doing a job and my main concern is whether they can do it well. I don't ever feel the need for a proper personal attachment. I have pretty healthy attachments with my friends and have a solid support network, so I dunno if that has anything to do with it.

What I find interesting though is that the only person I've seen having semi-similar views is @Friday (sorry friday, I only vaguely remember the idea of a post you made ages ago, I was just like huh same mate so I accept you may not fully agree!) And even assuming that agreement, my specific trauma is meant to *need* a different type of relationship with my therapist. I have healthy relationships with my friends, appropriate relationships with my colleagues, I don't need healthy relationships modelled to me at this point in my life.

So yeah, I am worried that my view of therapeutic relationships is uh, untherapeutic.. And I have thought a lot about it and decided that I probably won't ever trust anybody the way I'm expected to, and I am happy with that, and it doesn't interfere with my therapy goals and I'm honest about it with my T. I don't need healthy relationships modelled to me, because I see them and I'm part of them.

But yeah, hit me with a summary of how you see your T/therapeutic relationship. Do you think it depends on type of trauma? (I do, yet somehow, don't quite identify with people with similar trauma, f*cked if I know why), just yah. Say whatever you think is applicable here.
 

Freida

Sponsor
I kind of already blah blahed about this, but I'm good for blahing again 😁

I see ts as paid professionals, who have education and training that I don't, who can help me figure this crap out. I've been with both of them for more than 5 years, and in my view it's almost a business relationship more than a "feelings" one.
They have knowledge I need to get my shit together.

Both of them say I intellectualize way to much, which is why I don't get attached in the way many others do. So we work on building a place where I can feel safe showing emotions to another human, rather than working to give me someone I have some kind of relationship with. Although T did ask me just last week if I trusted her. My answer? I'm not sure what you mean by that. Do I trust you to keep stuff confidential on a professional level? Yep. Do I trust that if I tell you some of the really sick stuff you won't bail on me? uhmmmm.. more than I used to. Probably not as much as you would like.

I say they are my tour guides on the journey from ptsd mess to healthy human.
Not sure if they are terribly thrilled by that - since it seems a lack of attachment puts me in a minority of their clients. But they have both said over the years that it is their job to meet me where I'm at, not where they would like me to be. So, it seems to work.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
My relationship with my therapist is evolving. Different parts of me tend to see her very differently. I see her as a professional that has a lot of experience and training. However, she uses a relational style of therapy so it doesn’t always seem doctor like and because of that I can get caught up in transference and fantasies that she is my close friend. I grew up taking music lessons. I tend to feel like my therapist is similar to that. A mentor of my relationship with my instrument…. Only in this case the instrument is my mind and emotions. I love my therapist, I loved my music teachers and I loved my instrument. We talk about love and connection being the guiding force in human condition which is important for healing. I used to feel terrified of her care and kindness. I really think I’ve been evolving in that regard.
 

grief

Sponsor
I view my relationship with my therapist as a medical professional helping me with an issue
i see my therapy reletionship the same way. we are both professionels in our respecteve fields. hers happens to be psychological and mine is technological. i am paying her to help me with my psychological problem just as i get paid to help people with technological problems.

i trust that she is competent. i don't necesserily trust her as a person. she has demenstrated to me repeatedly that she is competent. she knows what she is doing. she is well trained. she does not have melt downs when i talk. i have been told in therepy that i am often very professional and not personal.

she does not see this as a big barrier to therepy because, in her words, it is very unlikely that i will ever "get" to a normal baseline. the goal is not to "become normal." the goal is for me to be able to be happy and functional.

in whatever way that looks like for me, which it doesn't have to look like everyone else. my traumas are distinct and they've made me a distinct type of human. and the solution to that is going to also be distinct. we both know that. i'm also fairly educated in psychology and human behavier which makes our facilitation a bit easier.

she has said she enjoys working with me. (which is nice! i like making people happy. 🐙) because i know what she's doing and she knows i know. she has said it can be more diffecult in other respects. i know what the modaleties are. and i know a lot of it on my own. because i did it by my self for so many years.

and i think that-i like working with her as well. i like her as a human being. she is intellegent and compassionete. but i don't think of her as my friend or my mom. she's my therapist.

i suspect that the deeper i go to within my trauma. that this may not always be the case forever. i've already had a couple instences where i behaved poorly. or i had some kind of transference. where she was nice and comforted me and i immedeatly thought she wanted something else from me. and struggled with not acting on that or saying anything or doing anything out loud.

as far as i can tell that is more normal. but even so i frame that as a trauma response to that specific event-and because we are talking about deep and signifecant tramas. and also because i have borderline and that will intersect with things differently as well. if and when i do get attached it will come at a very big cost. to me, and probably to her.

it's disorganized, i guess. i have always had the disorganized attachment style. i'd go so far as to say even reactive attachment style (i have some of them but not all of them-probably because i did get intensive treatment when i was still developing.) but c'est la vie. 🤷‍♂️ and i worry-

i worry if that happens which it could and it might. it's not a resistence that is conscious. i don't want to be resistent. i want to get help. i will do what i have to do. but i can't make my self feel stuff. but i worry that if that wall ever did come down. that i would do something destructive.

that i might even hurt my therapist or something. i've lashed out before. i've tried to hurt people before. when i was a child. clinicians. people who were trying to help me. i got scared or angry or over whelmed. and lashed out. it's all a big blob. all the same basically, yes. i think of it like that. for the most part.
 
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RNrecovery

Learning
I see the relationship as something that is evolving based on trust and getting to know one another in a therapeutic setting. When I first met her I thought she was too nice and going to be the kind that just stares at you and nods. Over time I saw she’s sharp as a tack and just wants to learn what I need.

I see her as a professional who is quite good at what she does. She’s smart, knows when to push and when to pull back. She took the time to get to know me before guiding me one way or another and made sure we had reached a point where I was comfortable speaking my mind. I appreciate that she never seems shocked by what I share and I don’t get the feeling I have to protect her from the dark parts.

When I was younger she’s probably not what I needed. The work I’m doing now is slow. In my early 20s I needed to learn how to function. How to calm the panic attacks, have relationships, be a normal person. Now I need to go slow and integrate all my parts, the hard one adult me with the part that still grieves.
 

RNrecovery

Learning
I kind of already blah blahed about this, but I'm good for blahing again 😁

I see ts as paid professionals, who have education and training that I don't, who can help me figure this crap out. I've been with both of them for more than 5 years, and in my view it's almost a business relationship more than a "feelings" one.
They have knowledge I need to get my shit together.

Both of them say I intellectualize way to much, which is why I don't get attached in the way many others do. So we work on building a place where I can feel safe showing emotions to another human, rather than working to give me someone I have some kind of relationship with. Although T did ask me just last week if I trusted her. My answer? I'm not sure what you mean by that. Do I trust you to keep stuff confidential on a professional level? Yep. Do I trust that if I tell you some of the really sick stuff you won't bail on me? uhmmmm.. more than I used to. Probably not as much as you would like.

I say they are my tour guides on the journey from ptsd mess to healthy human.
Not sure if they are terribly thrilled by that - since it seems a lack of attachment puts me in a minority of their clients. But they have both said over the years that it is their job to meet me where I'm at, not where they would like me to be. So, it seems to work.
I like your tour guide analogy. That’s often how I feel.
 

Skywatcher

MyPTSD Pro
I see the relationship as something that is evolving based on trust and getting to know one another in a therapeutic setting. When I first met her I thought she was too nice and going to be the kind that just stares at you and nods. Over time I saw she’s sharp as a tack and just wants to learn what I need.

I see her as a professional who is quite good at what she does. She’s smart, knows when to push and when to pull back. She took the time to get to know me before guiding me one way or another and made sure we had reached a point where I was comfortable speaking my mind. I appreciate that she never seems shocked by what I share and I don’t get the feeling I have to protect her from the dark parts.

When I was younger she’s probably not what I needed. The work I’m doing now is slow. In my early 20s I needed to learn how to function. How to calm the panic attacks, have relationships, be a normal person. Now I need to go slow and integrate all my parts, the hard one adult me with the part that still grieves.
I really can relate to this.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think there are different levels/parts to it.
Of course she is a professional doing a job. But I see her as a very competent one, who I respect and trust. I also know that she cares, within the professional boundaires of care. It's important to me that there is this element. I understand this element as in my job I also care professionally and understand from a professional view point that this care is genuine and heartfelt. Within the boundaires.

Younger me is in absolute love with T. That love, is what is driving me to talk about and process XYZ (along with adult me's view of T).

I trust T. But there also is another part of me that remains hyper vigilant and on the outlook for signs of T letting me down or abandoning me. So it's a battle in my head sometimes with different narratives about trust and sincerity of T.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t think it matters if it works for us?

but I definitely do benefit from modelled behaviour around emotions etc.
My therapist is relational and I really like her. I would even say I ‘love ’ our working relationship. However it IS a professional relationship has kind but present boundaries on both sides and while I hope had we met normally we’d be friends that is never a possibility due to the professional relationship but even besides the professionalism of my T our professional relationship is not conducive to friendship because of the obvious imbalanced nature of therapy!

therapy can be loving , my T has been warm, kind, told me she is glad I’m in the world and that she cares . And while - because of the relational nature of my T - I have insights into her life- they are that. This maintains the professional boundary -I know where our lives have trod similar paths and where her empathy and understanding is more innate. I never know if she is having a bad emotional day herself, or if she has siblings, or why she moved to this part of this country. Those are things you know about friends.


This strict respect of her boundaries and the understanding that the relationship is focused on me has stopped me viewing it as other than professional.
 
I love my T and I really look up to her professionally. Out if the dozens of therapists I've seen in my life, she has been by far the most effective. I also strongly appreciate that she discloses personal things about her job and family. However, I know that she does this to help me with issues around my own family and future career, not as a friend.

I've had issues with erotic transference with her, but I value her too highly as a professional (and my own healing) to let myself go very far down that road.

Lately I've even felt like I need her much less than I used to. I've even taken a break from therapy this week for the first time ever.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
I actually think there are loads of people here who share your view that a therapist is a (medical) professional helping you with an issue – that they're doing a job and that we want them to be competent/skilled at it so that they can be of use to us. And loads of people here who don't necessarily feel they need relationship stuff modelled because they have solid relationships outside the therapy room (I put myself in this bracket too).

I certainly see my therapist as a professional and view our relationship as a professional one. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes get triggered by and caught up in the relational aspect. And, it also doesn't mean they can't/don't care about us, their clients, and that we can't/don't care about them.

I guess when most people post here about their therapists, it's often when things have gone awry somehow or people are facing challenges with something to do with their therapist/the therapeutic alliance/the dynamic. I guess most of us don't post when things are going smoothly and feel straightforward?

I had traumatic experiences with medical professionals when I was younger, and I still struggle to trust health professionals and can be triggered by medical settings/people/procedures. So, for me personally, I don't put my therapist in the same bracket as other medical practitioners as that wouldn't feel good for me. So, I see her instead as a professional service. But the relational approach and the fact that I am sharing intimate things makes it feel different than the relationship I have with other professional services, such as my accountant!

To your question about whether different types of trauma impacts the type of therapeutic relationship...I guess, relational trauma is potentially going to impact relationships...and therefore the relationship with the therapist. But...yeah...uh...dunno! That's a bit of a guess. We're all complex and complicated, I suppose....and we all have our own unique experience of everything.

Is there anything specific that makes you feel that your approach is 'untherapeutic'? Or are you basing that on your sense that your approach/view of therapy/your therapist/the therapeutic relationship is very different to other people's?

It's good for therapists to 'meet us where we are' and for us to not think about 'right' and 'wrong' ways to do therapy/the therapeutic relationship, I think...though I struggle with that last one...have a tendency to think I'm shit at therapy!
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I’m more on the professional" side of things. I went there for a reason. I’m suffering greatly and I want this suffering to cease, or at least to be alleviated. I went to my pdoc like I’d go to the vet. I’m saying this voluntarily because I’m really of the time of having to see by myself that my paw is broken and it’s not going away by itself after sleeping three times, something might be wrong. (Not that animals shouldn’t be well-cared for). Beforehand I did read a lot of stuff about not just PTSD but about psychology and cognition in general. And I have opinions about therapies that are proven to work and others where it’s more foggy, and others I don’t know. And that even in the middle of things I find so-so, I’m capable of taking what’s adequate for me and refuse what’s not so great.

I’m docile as a patient. That means, I listen to the end, and I try what’s proposed. I try. I’m of good will. I don’t like to spit on stuff I don’t know. So even if I’m not finding it amazing I know that for this I’m a pedestrian (a well-read one, but still a pedestrian), BUT I’m also the best specialist of myself. I’m also very autonomous in applying suggestions in therapy, if not pro-active. And perhaps that’s a problem. Because my way of worrying is to anticipate, okay what’s next, in the therapy, and perhaps not that much because I’m trying to please my therapist or whatever, but because anticipating the what’s next, being slightly on front, having this buffer given by speed is what allowed me not to sink, so far. So when I do crash, which happens, at least I was a bit upfront. So I have this angst of always being a bit upfront, then crash.

I’m saying this in the context of pdocs. With psychologists, I’m less sure. The ones I had, sometimes for long! were so wrong I don’t even know where to begin with. They failed to identify I had pretty severe depression, pretty severe anxiety, and that it was blinking PTSD all the way along. They got pissed when I told them I went to the doc get antidepressants. So in a sense it makes sense they didn’t diagnose me. Actually it’s not up to a T to make a diagnose. And my brand of PTSD could go undetected for ages. It would have continued if I didn’t entirely crash.

I think Ts/psychologists are a different kind than psychiatrists. With pdocs the goal is to normalize to something bearable and functional. With Ts it seems to me it has more to do with refining how one understands oneself and breadcrumb details where psychiatry would not and alleviate further through that, finding more harmony within oneself. Some doctors are both. Often they’re both. But I think Ts might offer more diversity in approaches that can complete the more down-to-earth view of a pdoc. For some in ways I don’t believe, for some in ways I do think might be useful.

So, trust? I trust their professionalism. As I said, I’m docile. Not blind. I don’t think anyone fully trusts anyone. You can trust certain people for certain things. Others, for others. I trust a few friends to be able to take everything I say an know the friendship would remain intact. Others I don’t. I don’t know if I need to say everything to pdoc or even the detail of it, and to be fair I don’t feel the need to, as I think I’m making progress as it is. But this might change. I would feel the need to say everything to someone intimate to me, emotionally and all. Biggest credential to fully know who I am. Which will never be the case of a T.
 
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