Therapist asked about goals and I feel like I'm doing something wrong

HealingMama

Sponsor
Been seeing her about seven months and today she wanted to spend time going over my goals and how I feel about our relationship. I find these sessions really triggering like it means I'm doing my therapy wrong somehow. Getting feedback makes sense but a whole session ... Idk. It feels like I'm letting her down or she wants to be done with me like I'm not making progress fast enough. I did tell her I felt like it meant I was doing it wrong. She explained it's about making sure there is safety as we move forward.

Not even sure what I'm looking for here. Do you have a similar reaction? How have you navigated it? I do feel like I'm spinning my wheels sometimes but I can only go as fast as my slowest part so it is what it is.
 

Sideways

Moderator
Goals. So important with therapy. Really. I know it sounds like BS, but without goals you can so easily end going along each week, waffling on aimlessly, and a week spins into 5 years and you look back wondering what the hell you invested all that money in.

Worse? You go in and talk about really distressing stuff week after week, getting more and more dysfunctional, without any actual point to it all...

My guess is you already have goals. At least broad ones (like: I'd like to feel more present, I'd like to turn my primary relationship from crappy to happy, I'd like to reduce the amount of flashbacks I have, I'd like to learn how to better regulate when I feel unsafe...). Likely it's just not come up in this language, or this abruptly, before.

There's a lot to love about goals. They keep your T accountable. In 6 months, if you've made zero objective progress on your goals, it's time to seriously reassess whether this therapy is worth it.

But they also give you measurable progress. Progress you can stand back in a year from now and think, "wowsers, I've actually achieved what I set out to achieve", or decided that you want something else entirely.

Ts that don't have the 'goals' conversation with you in some form, once you're relatively stable? Is seriously questionable practice IMHO.

So, what are your goals? What drives you to go back to therapy each week and do the hard work?
 

HealingMama

Sponsor
Oh yeah I understand having goals for therapy. It's that we revisit them, the way it happens just makes me feel like a failure or something.

I said today that I want to feel better (more self love and self compassion) and I want my life to make sense, to be more cohesive. I had already covered relationship goals. I said I want to understand myself and have better internal cooperation with fewer inner conflicts. And I want to center in my own opinion of myself not be so open to how others see me.

I'm not opposed to having goals in general but the way we talk about it triggers me. I can look back and see the progress I've made. I told her a few weeks back that I was getting fuzzy not quite blackouts but not tracking therapy stuff well and I think her timing is from that, she's reading it as me being triggered but I was assuming it was because I as host part was stepping back more which to me is a good sign if I'm able to feel safe to do that. I tried to explain that to her but I don't know that I communicated it very well.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Totally get the feeling of doing therapy wrong. I battle with this a lot.

But I agree: setting goals or re-evaluating them, is good.

Being curious about why this discussion brings up this fear of doing therapy wrong is also really good. Because we can't do therapy wrong. We all have our own processes we need to go through. But the fear of it: that's the bit that has the nugget of gold to work through.

Also, if you don't want to spend the whole session talking about this: then don't. It is your session. Did T say it would be the whole session or did T say it would be this session? Because the conversation takes as long as you want it to.

I have my overall aim of "making peace with everything". Which was vague and remains vague, but that's all I have. And then we sort of do some in session goals. Like last week she suggested we spend this week continuing on a issue I raised last week. So we sort of set week to week goals. But those shift and change depending on what comes up.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
the goal setting portion of psychotherapy still triggers me back to the instability of my childhood where setting goals for myself was forever clouded by the certainty that i would be moving to a new school soon with all new curriculums and a whole new set of possibilities to navigate. having goals for any given location only seemed to speed up the process of having the rug pulled out from under me --again.

I still haven't overcome this particular trigger, but awareness that it is in play helps me circumvent the self-sabotage, low self-esteem etc., which comes with it.
 

Huxley

Learning
the goal setting portion of psychotherapy still triggers me back to the instability of my childhood where setting goals for myself was forever clouded by the certainty that i would be moving to a new school soon with all new curriculums and a whole new set of possibilities to navigate. having goals for any given location only seemed to speed up the process of having the rug pulled out from under me --again.

I still haven't overcome this particular trigger, but awareness that it is in play helps me circumvent the self-sabotage, low self-esteem etc., which comes with it.
i find this description so helpful. we moved a lot too and I haven’t really linked it in this way before, but it makes sense. goals feel heavy to me because daily life felt (and still feels) very much like trying to roll a stone uphill; i had to keep trying, because I wanted a life, but impersonal circumstances I had no control over kept interfering. The hill was just always there as something that essentially ignored me but had to be dealt with daily.

goals as such haven’t been something either of my T’s brought up. i think it’s because I‘m a bit stuck in the stabilization phase and not really able to feel safety and attachment.
 

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
thank you for helping me feel less alone with this psycho tick. i am ambitious by nature and always feel at odds with my nature when goal setting exercises trigger me to a dissociative state of intellectual paralysis. it doesn't help my damaged self-esteem a lick, either.

still. . . having dreams and the faith to believe in them is a potent element in the healing mysteries. it helps me to find euphemisms and synonyms which don't trigger my hypervigilance to start looking for the proverbial other foot to fall and the reflex to self-sabotage before somebody beats me to it. one of my personal favorite mantras born of this very psycho snot knot is, "let the dream motivate. let reality dictate."
 
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