Tell me about your therapy relationship.

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I truly believe that no relationship is meant to be forever
Relationships seem to me to be kind of like living things. They change and evolve over time. The problem with "forever" in my experience, is that people die. Then what? That whole "forever" thing just doesn't seem like a promise anyone should make.

Going back to the original question....... When I started seeing my T, I was looking at it kind of as taking a vehicle to a mechanic. "Tell me what I need to do to fix this, then I will and life will move on." It hasn't exactly worked that way. I THINK part of the reason it hasn't is that there were some things I missed growing up that turn out to be important. Like the whole " attachment/trust" thing. I haven't asked him (yet? LOL) but I suspect a lot of the way he's approached things has to do with him thinking I'd benefit from getting more comfortable with the idea of relationships and people being something you can depend on and "trust". So, our relationship has a lot of the feel of a friendship to it. I keep reminding myself that's not what it is. Because he's good at his job (and he seems to be) I'm pretty sure he'd do something to make a course correction if he thought that was a problem. I guess I'm trusting him to do that. As it is, he seems to be going out of his way to demonstrate that we actually DO have a relationship and I can trust it.

So, yeah, I very much think the relationship that develops probably depends on what led you to therapy in the first place. Maybe keeping a distance from a therapist helps you feel "safe". Maybe you need practice with the whole relationship thing, and that becomes part of the process. Another thing my T has mentioned a few times is that he does things the way he does because of who he is. HE has likes and dislikes in relationships too. And things that make him more or less comfortable. That influences how he structures things.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry I read the whole page before this one and it didn't exactly stick with me. (Idk if this is even relevant to the OP or just sort of where the conversation flowed).

Idk if it depends on what you need as much as how you are, how the relationship is, and what the roles are. When you are paying a professional it's appropriate to expect or look for a certain standard of service or goods (IMHO). But, all interactions or relationships (even those) have some trust, regard, degree of friendship that is a choice to give, if warranted. And that is on a spectrum and tested with time. I say that thinking of hair dressers; mechanics; contractors; even waiters or waitresses or the local barista, etc. But people have told me in response to "I only get the good people" that that's more because of how 'I' am. But, Idk, everyone is human, many are likeable, we are are contributing different things that help each other, everyone's fighting their own battles and attitudes of thanks or genuineness are not a lot to ask, I think.

Far as trust goes, I think it's a choice. It is (to me) blind in these circumstances if I want to get better and trust someone knows the way better than I do. But on top of the process there has to be some trust in the person's character, because for a person like me it is blind and I am not inclined to do that easily. Whereas I find many others are the exact opposite of me. So I don't put people on a pedestal. or enjoy the 'honeymoon stage' easily, but that is my tendency to withhold, intellectually and to protect myself. I need a very long time to see and decide, or I know right away and little fundamentally shakes that.

I think attachment styles have much to do with reasoning, as an adult. Personally I don't even remember most of the child stuff.

i have never understood how 'forever' and death are contrary; 'forever' may be a bad choice of wording, but to say ~I will do everything to recommit or re-devote through challenges and time, I can see. Death is not normally a choice so not reflective it is contrary to 'forever' (or as long as it is within my power). Doesn't mean both people will of course. So I guess it depends on how closely love and commitment are aligned (in that one can have love without commitment, or commitment without love). I think it's deceptively simple, actually. Like even in self-help groups people can only feel free to be themselves and for self-disclosure with support and knowing what is told will be in a place of safety, caring and respect, without fear of reprisal and knowing it will be held in confidence or with respect. Really, it's a heart instead of mind thing. But that has more to do with relationships in general, vs a purchased service. i don't think you need to have a requirement to learn how to have a healthy relationship to foster other healthy relationships. Meaning, if you need therapy there is a reason, and if you treat your T with respect (and they you) it is more support and hopefully helping in the healing or managing. But like getting on a plane, you have to put your trust in the pilot and mechanics and then let the rest go. or choose another flight, or another airline, or another way of commuting, or avoid the trip entirely. And I think beyond attachment styles and trauma, fundamentally you will be less or more inclined/ click or not to a greater or lesser degree, tested over time, based on character, similarities, regard, honesty, caring and trust. So yes, it would have to do with trust because the less trust established the more guarded and reserved a person will feel and be. And those might be warranted trust issues or your own to manage, or both. JMHO though.

Hey, PS, @scout86 you're a Mod, congratulations! We have (more) great Mods! 😊
 
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grit

Not Active
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.

This seems like where language's limitation in therapy comes and the next door is usually end of therapy - good termination cause something great but unexplainable has been reached or we doubled own on the semantics - sort of not seeing the tree from the forest and stay unhearing/unseeing state of mind...paralysis of therapy and healing.

IMHO, what Joe says above is the limitation of therapy in terms of trust. The trust is can therapist do its job with you without benefiting it for themselves, harming, and stay conscious/mindful and focus on the client's needs. You are not particularly focusing on their behaviour here so this to me sounds like you are processing something quite different than trusting the therapist - sounds more like to me "trusting yourself". Trusting the therapy is metaphorical sort of - like "as if" relationship of what it may have felt if one had a decent childhood where one could trust solely on another human. the assumption being if one had great trust as an infant, the imprint is strong; if one did not, there is some struggle but as all others must learn later experiences, trust can be learned. It may be better to ask what does therapy look like when one does not have "trust "issues? that may give you the flavour of "control group" to gauge from where you are in the spectrum.

Is it possible that you are reaching your own strength of what is trust in yourself and realizing no matter what you do, one CANNT trust "other" more than "oneself" in the literal meaning?
Maybe you trust yourself so much, challenging this trust and trying to project and give to the therapist is the blockage cause - it is impossible? Only a baby can do that - giving/projecting and completely trusting "other" or dying? There is no equivalency state of mind in adulthood unless we are fully sedated/unconscious or hospitalized. I do not know if you are "fighting" against what others think is trust versus what is the innate trust you have in yourself.

I am always in awe when I see others struggling their most precious being...
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry @grit , I know your post must be great above, and it may resonate entirely with the OP or @joeylittle , but I just don't have the ability to wrap my mind around it as it deserves. Joeylittle sounded very practical to me, but I don't see it as self-trust (though I guess it is), or a reflection of whether the therapy should continue or end. (I might be missing something?)

I can only say for myself, and I do seem to be mostly dismissive avoidant, there is a danger (for me) in intellectualizing decisions, especially backwardly. i.e., My mind/ words say (this) -> therefore it must show (that). When really, (just speaking for myself), it has more to do with vulnerability. It's easier to say I don't need something, or this does not resonate, than this hurts very much, +/or laying all cards on the table. The moment I don't 'think', and speak more from heart than head, is probably when it will get to the heart of the matter and is more healing.

I do think it is possible we can trust others completely, even if it feels without a safety net (the dying analogy you said above @grit ). Does that mean we have to trust ourselves to do it? Idk, but the more thinking put in to it, the less likely it would even approximate baseline for a person like me, and I just wouldn't do it. I'd probably never open my mouth or type a character if I didn't suppress my mind! My thinking causes more problems than it solves, because even if I trust myself my thoughts about myself may need a lot of improvement. Just me, personally, others may have a very different experience. It isn't always resisting a person or even idea or advice for me (though it can come out that way) as much as avoiding tackling things that are enormous. That reality can feel more like demise is inevitable than avoiding or burying it. But if I intellectualize? Well God-only-knows what I'll come up with! 😜
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
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
Yeah, this makes sense to me and is pretty much how I view it. And I've only met this T three times so far so uh, that's semi-relevant, but it's a thing with all Ts really.
I trust confidentiality (cos breaking it would cause them more issues than it would me tbh..), still help me? Uh, to be decided later cos yeah, three sessions in. Understand me? Yeah to trying to, dunno to managing. I think I can push back on shit (Cos yah, I do, all the f*cking time with everyone.. n it hasnt been an issue with her yet) and probably about frustrated at process, I tend to voice frustrations sarcastically and laughing more than *angrily* though, so they're more likely to get brushed over until they've known me ages.

But yeah. I think as far as three-sessions-into-T goes, that's as far as my trust will reach. And I'm not sure it drastically increases over time, although it probably does a bit, because it's more of a "are they competent?" thing, like "if I was working and they were a patients T, would i think they were competent?" very impersonal. But I don't think that affects what I say or whether I try or anything. I think it's just less attached.
Full trust for me it's of someone who will always understand, always be there, and save your life. It's a fiction
I think there's people who'd try to the best of their ability, but ability has an end point and for professionals (Ts in this context), for me it's more deciding that they have the ability to help. I think this one does. (which is lucky cos shes uh the one running the trauma service so I'd be shit outta luck otherwise..)
Trust the process. If you start to change your mind every 5 minutes then it certainly will not work.
I think I do. Trust the process I mean. I'll bitch about it, but I don't think I'm crazy resistant these days.
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
I don't think attachment styles are necessarily harmful in adulthood, I do think they're a shortcut phrase to explaining how people relate to people and why. Shortcuts have issues and are generalised etc. For me it's just a faster way of saying "Yeah, I looked after myself and other people my whole life so now I'm unsure wtf to do with people trying to help out".
Maybe keeping a distance from a therapist helps you feel "safe". Maybe you need practice with the whole relationship thing, and that becomes part of the process.
Distance probably does help me feel "safe" (or whatever a better word is, cos safe doesnt feel like the right one), but I guess it's whether keeping a distance is always gonna hinder things, or whether it can just be acknowledged and worked around, or if nowt else, put in the "later" pile, cos if we make it a priority right now, nobody is gonna go anywhere fast.
Far as trust goes, I think it's a choice
Really? I'm unsure. Acting as if I trust someone is a choice, feeling like I trust someone, not a choice IMO. So with Ts I act like I trust them (consent to treatment, being open etc. and I don't *distrust* them) but I'm not sure I can just wake up one day and decide to trust.
and the next door is usually end of therapy - good termination cause something great but unexplainable has been reached
Heh. As much as I wish I could run with this idea, I fear that three sessions in may not be the end of therapy.. As much as I lowkey wish it was sometimes.
Maybe you trust yourself so much, challenging this trust and trying to project and give to the therapist is the blockage cause - it is impossible? Only a baby can do that - giving/projecting and completely trusting "other" or dying? There is no equivalency state of mind in adulthood unless we are fully sedated/unconscious or hospitalized. I do not know if you are "fighting" against what others think is trust versus what is the innate trust you have in yourself.
I pretty much fully trust myself, I'm a bit of a cocky bitch at times tbh, I don't think I'm trying to get a T to look after me or trying to trust her more than myself (seems counter productive, like self trust is good, right?) I think it's more that I'm a bit detached and pathologically independent (if that's a thing, I know it's not, but hey. Best description I have right now) and my relationship with T is decent, I'm honest and open, she's competent. But is more trust necessary? Or is that personality dependent?
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Wow, 3 sessions, I wouldn't even trust they'd show up. 😄

I don't think attachment styles are wrong, but there's a reason they call only 1 'secure'. When you said this:
I don't think attachment styles are necessarily harmful in adulthood, I do think they're a shortcut phrase to explaining how people relate to people and why. Shortcuts have issues and are generalised etc. For me it's just a faster way of saying "Yeah, I looked after myself and other people my whole life so now I'm unsure wtf to do with people trying to help out".
and
I'm a bit detached and pathologically independent (if that's a thing, I know it's not, but hey
I would wonder if you are avoidant. And I agree that it's not bad, just not necessarily very efficient across the board for getting where you need to be/ accepting influence or help, or even just feeling good about it and springboarding to more progress off of that. But I also agree that:
But I don't think that affects what I say or whether I try or anything. I think it's just less attached.
However, you might consider if it affects how and when you reveal what you do, and if the sender gets the message? (Just a thought borne of my own crappy communication.)
Acting as if I trust someone is a choice, feeling like I trust someone, not a choice IMO. So with Ts I act like I trust them (consent to treatment, being open etc. and I don't *distrust* them) but I'm not sure I can just wake up one day and decide to trust.
Yes. But feelings aren't facts. It was one of those snap decisions I made after 30 years. 😊
I tend to voice frustrations sarcastically and laughing more than *angrily* though, so they're more likely to get brushed over until they've known me ages.
Trust and knowing it's more comfortable to be avoidant (but trying not to be) might help you not have to minimize or hide it this way. ^^ And therefore address it more head-on, and maybe more quickly. But you know what's best for you.

I wish you good luck with this new therapy! 😊
 
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grit

Not Active
I'm sorry @grit , I know your post must be great above, and it may resonate entirely with the OP or @joeylittle , but I just don't have the ability to wrap my mind around it as it deserves. Joeylittle sounded very practical to me, but I don't see it as self-trust (though I guess it is), or a reflection of whether the therapy should continue or end. (I might be missing something?)

I can only say for myself, and I do seem to be mostly dismissive avoidant, there is a danger (for me) in intellectualizing decisions, especially backwardly. i.e., My mind/ words say (this) -> therefore it must show (that). When really, (just speaking for myself), it has more to do with vulnerability. It's easier to say I don't need something, or this does not resonate, than this hurts very much, +/or laying all cards on the table. The moment I don't 'think', and speak more from heart than head, is probably when it will get to the heart of the matter and is more healing.

I do think it is possible we can trust others completely, even if it feels without a safety net (the dying analogy you said above @grit ). Does that mean we have to trust ourselves to do it? Idk, but the more thinking put in to it, the less likely it would even approximate baseline for a person like me, and I just wouldn't do it. I'd probably never open my mouth or type a character if I didn't suppress my mind! My thinking causes more problems than it solves, because even if I trust myself my thoughts about myself may need a lot of improvement. Just me, personally, others may have a very different experience. It isn't always resisting a person or even idea or advice for me (though it can come out that way) as much as avoiding tackling things that are enormous. That reality can feel more like demise is inevitable than avoiding or burying it. But if I intellectualize? Well God-only-knows what I'll come up with! 😜
It is a huge spectrum so I took what joelittle said in terms of the professional aspect and added my thoughts.
At the end, we are alone. Even in airplane, one must put the mask on self first. I move from zero trust to enough to trust my husband and many ways in between.

At this point I feel I am moving towards philosophical so in respect to the poster, I said enuf.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
Wow, 3 sessions, I wouldn't even trust they'd show up. 😄
Hahah. Yeah.. I just realised that may be a key point in this thread.. but it's a specialised NHS trauma service and she's my last Ts supervisor. So she's known about me for the past year and I think that she isn't really starting fresh is also relevant.
I would wonder if you are avoidant
Lol. Definitely. But I do have healthy friendships etc. So it's not *fully* avoidant. It's more with professional folks. Or maybe just friends don't hit that "I can do shit myself thanks" nerve in me.
However, you might consider if it affects how and when you reveal what you do, and if the sender gets the message? (Just a thought borne of my own crappy communication.)
Yeah so this T started with a year of notes from last T and also whatever he said in supervision re me (so I can ask about his notes but obv supervision is confidential for him). So it's not a typical start point. Cos it started with a kinda "I know this. Wanna tell me your thoughts?" N she said I can ask about what she already knows, but I don't really want to because I'm more likely to overthink it than find it useful. I know how last T documented one specific trauma and I found that weird (cos I couldn't pinpoint which occasion mostly. N I don't think she was prepped for a game of guess the trauma)

I do need to be more straight up when I communicate hard shit, like I know that. But right now it seems like sometimes it's "say it dismissively or not at all" and then I figure better to say it n I'll clarify later. Cos at least it's out there. I dunno. I know theoretically just being straight up is an option, but I'm really bad at that.
But feelings aren't facts. It was one of those snap decisions I made after 30 years. 😊
Heh. Yeah. I've decided to act like I trust. Like maybe feeling like I do will come later, maybe it won't. But right now I trust her enough to be honest and I can roll with that.
And therefore address it more head-on, and maybe more quickly. But you know what's best for you.
Working on it.
I wish you good luck with this new therapy! 😊
Thanks!
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
I approach my relationship with my T with complete honesty. My T knows stuff about me nobody else does. All the weird stuff comes out - everything.

Selfishness could be part of that relationship but it isn't. I'm pretty sure there are things my T hears that they wish they didn't. I try to be respectful and couch things in euphemism at times because well, hyper arousal happens the same way hyper awareness does, but my T does not need to hear every detail, unless I'm asked for them. My T is the one who trained to sift out whats important and I respect that my T knows whats important. I never try to steer sessions to what I want over what my T thinks is important.

Expectations. Got rid of most of them before I ever opened my T's door. I have never learned anything about the EMDR therapy I get. I have never built any expectation of results. Disappointment, anger, feeling like I'm not progressing, frustration, all that stuff comes from expectations. There is only one expectation I have, that my T will pick out what we need to work on for me to progress.

My relationship with my T is excellent because we approach this as a team.
 

OliveJewel

MyPTSD Pro
I've only met this T three times so far so uh, that's semi-relevant,

Even if they have all your notes, trust doesn't come from information--lol. In fact, I suspect that the over-intellectualizing that so many of us sufferers do is a way of blocking trust sometimes.

Wow, 3 sessions, I wouldn't even trust they'd show up.

Right? Three sessions in I didn't even remember her face and was trying to advocate for 6 weeks between sessions!

Yeah. I've decided to act like I trust.

Sounds like a smart idea! I think almost every time I gained a new coping skill or thought pattern I had to go through a period of pretending--which was very offensive to me early on.

I definitely had to pretend to trust her--because I was up against a wall with myself. I remember one of the first times I reached out to her by text when I was suffering badly with the lies in my head. I didn't even mention my hurt, just some random thing just to try to get her attention, and she ignored it. I was so confused because I wanted connection so badly, but could. not. say. it.----yet!

I think it took me three years to be able to reach out to her and state my pain--and even then I was still dismissing myself and even directly telling her to ignore me!

But all along I would have moments of trust--with her, with others, and eventually myself. I still feel the urge to apologize when I text her but I haven't done that for probably six months. And now I can text her more than once in a day if I need to, and it doesn't feel scary because I trust myself that what I'm saying is important and she responds appropriately.

I agree with the person who said it's like a mentor for feelings and relationships. Because of the transference I feel like my relationship with my therapist is like a relationship with an external me, who has my best interests at heart. My internal me mostly has my best interests at heart, but sometimes is confused by old habits and behavior patterns.
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
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.

...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.
Most of me sees it similarly. I have never had "attachment" with a therapist. I see them like a surgeon - you have knowledge and skills relevant to my medical needs, and I give you permission to use that knowledge and skill to address my issue. I've never had transference with a therapist except for maybe a single moment here and there.

My abuser was a psychologist who worked a lot with children, so that might be part of my issue in not doing therapy "normally."

As some of you know I work in mental health, and I have had clients who form attachments to me, as well as those that seem to operate like I do - seeing me more like a coach rather than an "object." I can be a source of attachment in that context just fine, but my own dependency needs are... really f***ing complicated.

I have very little tolerance for poor responses to the little bit of dependency that I have revealed with my more recent therapists. I fired my last two after they didn't respond to a minor message after several days waiting on them to do so. With my current therapist, one of my parts is very attached and gets needy/panicky when sessions are ending, when the T shows up a little bit late, etc. I just talk to the T about what that part is experiencing. I am just honest with all of them now and say, my abuser was a clinical psychologist, I do not attach to therapists, I have a hard time with my own dependency needs and the dependency needs of others. With my current T I also said that I need to learn to do this better, I need to work on my attachment issues. In my case it is about not strong-arming my parts so the more attaching ones can interact with the world, and I can deal with what shows up that way.

It requires letting go of control and I am not good at that, as control gives me the illusion of safety. I imagine it's the same for most with PTSD.

I would say that I trust the T to be safe, because the T has done a LOT to be sure the entire system knows she wants to let us control pacing, boundaries etc. But I do not really trust the attachment process, bc that's the whole thing that is so broken that I am in therapy for. But I am also really open, as open as I can be, because I know that the process is more efficient that way - and my goal is to be efficient LOL. If I keep things to myself then the T cannot be as effective. I do not mind being an open book but that does not mean that I trust them to comfort me, to be there for me, to be consistently kind, to see my neediness and accept me anyway. All of that is a totally different type of trust that basically nobody gets from me, but I am working on it.
 
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