Tell me about your therapy relationship.

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I kind of already blah blahed about this, but I'm good for blahing again šŸ˜

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.
My last T was not a bright candle in the woodshed....she was kinda dim. So, having a T who is really knowledgeable about the C-PTSD/PTSD and other comorbid disorders is essential for the journey. I don't need a mother....I just need a guide. This new T is really on the ball and knows her stuff. So, while I know some things about me and where I want to go, and the T is considered an expert guide, she may see things differently in traveling the MH trail....but having a quality T makes the journey easier I think.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
I see my therapist as someone with a skill set, and when it's working well - their skill set helps to dismantle the building blocks of my trauma.

I don't understand the concept of 'trust' - I really only have an abstract view of it. I don't trust my therapist. But it's important for me that I respect their skill set. Not respect as in "never challenge or question"....because I do that, a lot. We've had pretty heated debates about our differing perspectives. The thing that works, though, is the majority of the time he accepts my criticism of him, when I truly believe he's f*cked up with me. That has happened a few times.

I wish he was actually supportive, in a more empathetic way. Sometimes I don't know how to tell whether something was really that bad or not - like, I don't always know how to calibrate my own response to things that have happened to me. Objectively speaking, I get that it's terrible. But my memory of it doesn't connect with "terrible"...instead, it connects with however I was coping in the moment, or in the years afterwards. I detach, under emotional pressure - when it comes to trauma. Not depression. Weirdly.

The empathy part of it, I think is more of an isolation thing. I'm extremely isolated, and I'm not good with maintaining relationships of any kind. So I sometimes wish that he could provide me some kind of comfort, in certain moments. But I also know that's not the kind of therapist he is, and I accept that - just sometimes, I don't like it.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I love this type of questioning!

I have two minds on these: therapy/therapist is a tool I need to use to heal myself and then go my merry way versus therapy/therapist is a relationship that supposed benefit both people and eventually allow grief, mourning of both and let go. That mutual benefit is not symmetrical.

I think having both is difficult. I think having both can be done. I think needing one more than the other is possible (and this may create a problem for client vs therapist if they do not agree) and this has happened to me few times. I think not needing both of this is also a thing - something most of us strive for and have had in the past and will in the future.

So what is my point?
for me I see it this way and it depends where I am struggling. I do take a note of the thematic points in each session to determine what is the overarching theme I am dealing with so I can understand myself.

If I am working with the internal versus external (like an issue with another person - relational and reality aspect) - I need the therapist to sort of sit for the other and our relationship is a bit I need you to challenge me (I cannot do this by myself...I need others and the therapist provides that as a tool). Usually not a major issue for me in therapy.

If I am working through body and mind (dissociation/developmental), then I need the therapist to sort of hold for me the reality, while I can let go to understand myself - again this creates some conflict because the therapist wants me to include in the process. The problem is unfortunately, one cannot really go between the mind and body and if they do = trauma. But most therapists (in my experience) this is an area they like to take over without understanding where the client is. Some people with certain trauma may allow this cause they need that but not all. I am injured in intrusion - no thank you intrusion of the mind is not going to heal me. some people are injured somewhat in the body and need to know everything about the therapist and the absence of therapy is like body moved - pure abandonment....each to his/her/their own.
This area - I need a peaceful person to be with me but let me do the work...to me this implies my trauma was intrusion and I need peaceful person to sit with me but not drive me. so this area in therapy, I need the therapist as peaceful professional but most they insist relationship and intimacy that I am not into and it is work in progress.

The last area I relate to therapist is intrapsychic. What is my mind and what is other' mind....giving access to this area is very important to me and I think this is where a therapist may have more power over me and can harm me. So hence why I am aware of it and negotiate when I allow to give access.

The overarching theme is the relationship is different than all other relationships and has time limit for me but I "allow" access to a person I do not really know much about - yes they have education but I have no idea how they live their lives and honestly, I try to focus on my own perspective than theirs and that sort of reminds me my own inner power that I also use outside of therapy so I stay on the ground.

Long blahhh ...I am never short of words but hope it makes sense.
 

whiteraven

MyPTSD Pro
I view my relationship with my therapist as a medical professional
I am unable to view my therapist as a medical professional, because I have only experienced lack of regard and trauma from others with that same title. I sometimes see him as a "health care provider" - that feels safer to me. But I think we're in some weird in-between place that I just don't know how to name.
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.
I suspect that has a LOT to do with it. I definitely feel more attached personally when I am without any support, which has been most of the time.
I am worried that my view of therapeutic relationships is uh, untherapeutic.
Is it working for you? I mean, have you noticed any issues that have arisen because of the way you see the relationship?
Do you think it depends on type of trauma?
I think it can. I also have noticed that folks with DID often have closer and more personal relationships sometimes with their therapists because of how the trauma has manifested.
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.
Yeah, this is what we do (or did).
I say they are my tour guides on the journey from ptsd mess to healthy human.
I started calling "doctors" body mechanics. I love thinking of therapists as tour guides!
A mentor of my relationship with my instrumentā€¦. Only in this case the instrument is my mind and emotions.
Yes! Mentor is a very good way to look at it!
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.
This!!! I can't effectively deal with folks who are "health professionals" because they have been so hurtful in the past (past being up to like two weeks ago). I don't trust them, and I honestly want nothing to do with them. I think that's why I equate doctors with auto mechanics. Much easier to deal with, that way.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Hey.

Thanks everyone for your replies, imma try and kinda summarise my thoughts, it's probably gonna be a bit disjointed cos uh my brain is a bit disjointed right now. But I appreciate everyone inputting.

why I don't get attached in the way many others do
But you do miss your Ts n worry when they're on holiday or whatever. Or worry they'll leave you to cope on your own. None of these things even register to me. I'm not saying that's right, I'm just saying it's different.

You don't get attached how your Ts want maybe, but there is a stronger attachment there than I have with Ts, but yeah might be a time thing cos NHS switching about Ts etc.
i have always had the disorganized attachment style
I'm rocking avoidant attachment. Like dismissive avoidant, but where I care about other people, so maybe anxious avoidant but with an (un)healthy dose of dissociation.
I donā€™t think it matters if it works for us?
I think it's mostly because I'm always bring told on here that until I fully trust a T I can't move forward. I disagree, n honestly consider full trust a lost cause n not something I want. But I asked because I wanted to see if that meant different things to different people (it does appear to) because I guess I was worried if answers were all about how it was necessary I'd probably have been like "well f*ck"
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?
Mostly that it just reads different to other people. N that I'm told that my view is wrong (in more words but still, how I interpret it, if nothing else) My T knows my thoughts n is basically like "yup makes sense" n doesn't seem overly concerned cos I still am honest, and as open as I am capable of being.
I don't understand the concept of 'trust' - I really only have an abstract view of it. I don't trust my therapist. But it's important for me that I respect their skill set
Heh. Yes. I dunno if other people define trust differently, or trust easier or what. But this just feels like it's a never-ending fight where people tell me I don't trust enough and I don't even understand wtf they mean by trust.
I wish he was actually supportive, in a more empathetic way. Sometimes I don't know how to tell whether something was really that bad or not - like, I don't always know how to calibrate my own response to things that have happened to me. Objectively speaking, I get that it's terrible. But my memory of it doesn't connect with "terrible"...instead, it connects with however I was coping in the moment, or in the years afterwards. I detach, under emotional pressure - when it comes to trauma. Not depression. Weirdly
Um. I probably never really know what was bad or not bad or whatever. I kinda feel like I've always been pretty detached so I'm a bit like "uh, didn't care then, why would I now?" N I understand how other people view it I guess. But yeah, I don't think I believe other people saying anything. So Ts are kind of like "you realise that was...?" N I'm like "yup. Got it"

So yeah I guess the trust issue is mostly a problem in that context.. not in the how honest n how much I'll work at T etc. More in a way where I don't really believe them when they say how they view things, but I think they're being a bit melodramatic usually. Or not exactly. I think that they probably do think it, but uh, they're wrong heh.

I suspect that has a LOT to do with it.
Yeah. I think my basic "people like me and my existence is a good thing to some people" needs are met by friends. Like I don't doubt I have people that like me etc.
Is it working for you? I mean, have you noticed any issues that have arisen because of the way you see the relationship?
Heh. I'm unsure. It works for me well enough. Like theres definite trust issues at play, but I my main concern is that people tell me that I need to trust to move forwards. My T thinks trusting competence is pretty good n fine. But I worry that if real full on trust is necessary then that's not possible for me (right now? Ever?) So yeah.

Feel a bit like a f*cking hopeless case sometimes basically. N these replies are probably contradictory and insane, my apologies. I cannot decide my thoughts basically.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
Thinking about this 'trust' thing....it's making sense to me, if I am specific about what I'm trusting them to do.

Trust that my therapist will preserve my confidentiality? Yes, I do.
Trust that he can still help me? Some days more than others.
Trust that he understands me when I describe my experience? Not always, but -
Trust that I can push back on his statements, without it turning into an interpersonal mess? Yes.
Trust that I can get angry, or frustrated - at the process - and that I can express that without fear of reprisal? Yes.

Don't know...maybe it's got more to do with knowing what I can and cannot rely on him to provide.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
What is the difference between trust and full on trust?

I agree with @ruborcoraxxx , that we trust different people in different ways? Maybe?
Full trust for me it's of someone who will always understand, always be there, and save your life. It's a fiction. Some people can get very close of that by always wanting to understand and help and effectively might have saved you a few times. However even these ones, they can simply fail.

People can fail. Professionals can fail. Ourselves we can fail.

Your dearest partner can fail or not be reliable enough.

This is why full/blind trust is impossible. It doesn't mean you can't be honest or loyal. But it's just the cursors.

As @joeylittle said, actually you trust according to criteria of what you trust and what you don't.

I would say the biggest thing around a T is comfort and positivy. I think we can decide to trust a process. Lemme explain. In cooking you sometimes have difficult recipes and it looks like you're messing it up but if you keep doing it exactly as the book has stated, it comes together. It's particularly true with sauces. This exists also in my printing job. It might look like Tchernobyl but you're doing it right. Trust the process. If you start to change your mind every 5 minutes then it certainly will not work.

So that's where I am with the idea of trust. I don't think secure attachment can occur in an adult world as love and care always are conditional at some point. It might be disinterested, but the whole point of boundaries is that there are conditions.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Full trust for me it's of someone who will always understand, always be there, and save your life. It's a fiction. Some people can get very close of that by always wanting to understand and help and effectively might have saved you a few times. However even these ones, they can simply fail.

People can fail. Professionals can fail. Ourselves we can fail.

Your dearest partner can fail or not be reliable enough.

This is why full/blind trust is impossible. It doesn't mean you can't be honest or loyal. But it's just the cursors.

As @joeylittle said, actually you trust according to criteria of what you trust and what you don't.

I would say the biggest thing around a T is comfort and positivy. I think we can decide to trust a process. Lemme explain. In cooking you sometimes have difficult recipes and it looks like you're messing it up but if you keep doing it exactly as the book has stated, it comes together. It's particularly true with sauces. This exists also in my printing job. It might look like Tchernobyl but you're doing it right. Trust the process. If you start to change your mind every 5 minutes then it certainly will not work.

So that's where I am with the idea of trust. I don't think secure attachment can occur in an adult world as love and care always are conditional at some point. It might be disinterested, but the whole point of boundaries is that there are conditions.
Thanks. Because sometimes it's hard to know what full on trust is and if that is healthy to have/do, and not doing it: is that part of PTSD or attachment problems or something?

Going off topic slightly, I have a friend who always says he will be with his partner forever. And I say "how can you know that?" And he says "I just know". And I think, wow is it me that is missing something, or him? Because whilst I know, in this moment, I would always want to be with E and I work at our relationship, I have no idea what the future holds and maybe we will be together forever and maybe we won't. I don't have that "full on trust".

And whilst I trust T, as much as I trust E, there still is the unknown so I wouldn't say it's "full on trust", but "enough trust" to feel confident (mostly) in the relationship.

So which is part of a healthy response and which isn't?

(Sorry don't want to derail this thread)
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks. Because sometimes it's hard to know what full on trust is and if that is healthy to have/do, and not doing it: is that part of PTSD or attachment problems or something?

Going off topic slightly, I have a friend who always says he will be with his partner forever. And I say "how can you know that?" And he says "I just know". And I think, wow is it me that is missing something, or him? Because whilst I know, in this moment, I would always want to be with E and I work at our relationship, I have no idea what the future holds and maybe we will be together forever and maybe we won't. I don't have that "full on trust".

And whilst I trust T, as much as I trust E, there still is the unknown so I wouldn't say it's "full on trust", but "enough trust" to feel confident (mostly) in the relationship.

So which is part of a healthy response and which isn't?

(Sorry don't want to derail this thread)
Ok I'm derailing a bit but I truly believe that no relationship is meant to be forever, not even parent child. So why partners ones? You'll spend the time you want can need together and you'll see. Personally I think it's quite a heteronormative romantic myth that you have to find the one to spend your whole life with. My ex from hell struggled so much with this he managed to explode each relationship he had of fear of it not being perfect, even if well, dear, the starts were aligned for that relationship to be good wasn't it from his will to trust entirely and not being able to trust anything temporarily. Which was very ironic given that I'm really loyal and open normally. He's PTSD'd to hell and forced me to break his trust as he was constantly breaking mine on very basic levels. I did tell him I was okay with a certain amount of "floating", that is for now the relationship is good, I want to share my life with you, I don't know for how long but this is what I feel and this is what I want, because I do love you. But no one can ever guarantee their feelings will last forever. Relationships change, shift, become closer, more distant or end.

The trust I guess is to be trustful that you will be happy whatever happens and be capable of handling this change.

Now you have also irrational distrust. As my ex, his distrust was such that the foundations of normal trustworthiness of knowing that you'll at least will make the effort to ease in and ease out peacefully and allow you to be in life wasn't present. And I guess that mutando mutandis this is the baseline trust we're talking about in any relationship. That you can have unless people prove otherwise, as to compare with earned trust that has to be earned because it's more critical.

In a therapeutic setting I really feel this has more to do with precedents of having been betrayed or abandoned and or needing someone to be very present because we're not doing well alone more than with "attachment styles". Attachment styles can be a good marker in uncovering something deeper and probably truer for toddlers than for complex adults. At least that's my idea of it after having read about it many times.
 
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