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Therapy progression - change of method

Discussion in 'Treatment & Therapy' started by grit, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. grit

    grit Active Member

    I am fairly new to the site as well to therapy so I thought I will post something. I am hoping those who have had long experiences in therapy can help.

    I have had two types of therapists in my life.

    The first one lasted 7 months and was super aggressive, confrontational and demanded that I must trust her completely in order to be helped. This sort of thing was so much like my chaos, violence, intrusive, over the top handling of my childhood so I completely dissociated often in the therapy. She talked or lectured like 40 minutes out of the 50 min and after 7 months I got a bit of strength to get out of there.

    I stayed only because I really thought this was what therapy supposed to be. My inner child was so threatened and so fearful I was having madness dreams.

    In short, I could not trust her so I left without proper termination.

    I just called and left message saying thank you for the treatment but I did not feel safe so I would not be coming back.

    What I learned from that experience:
    • · I was re-enacting my childhood so much and I had no recourse to recover or process because the therapist was more interested in my breaking down and build back than ME. I felt serious implicit experiences were becoming explicit without any interpretation or meaning and I felt being re-traumatized.
    • · I could benefit from this style provided I have built some strength of self or ego beforehand but this was too much for me at the moment.
    • · I needed to discuss about the process of therapy in length for me to feel safe and this she termed as resistance and I was not allowed to ask any questions about the process. She wanted me right into uncovering which with my great and persistent dissociation just became flooding and more dissociation. I could not remember anything.
    • · I felt I started to defend myself against her rather than having alliance and this was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Basically I was spending all my mental energy, thoughts, feelings about her and how to protect myself from her than healing, recovering, finding peace and even thinking about my past. I went to straight projection mode and enacted walls so she could not even get in. There was zero trust. Actually there was opposite of trust – threat!

    Now I am with another therapist. He has been extremely supportive. I processed some heavy stuff with him. I control what I say in therapy and how I say it because he does not say much at all. He more or less does not talk or now and then may say something like I wonder...whatever he says is so light I hardly ever understand but I do process therapy outside of therapy often and find insights and breakthrough. I let them seep into my body to make a change.

    I have been with him for 7 months (there is a pattern here I am recognizing as I type here).

    I am in a great place to face some confrontation or exploratory style therapy now. One experience during transference, I sort of demanded engagement from the therapist but he just looked at me like I was asking him to disrobe! I then realized I was in transference so I was asking my mother to engage me (this felt very raw and very early in development like maybe I was like 1 or 2 yrs old). I withdrew from him and processed it my own to dig deep why I was disappointed that I needed so much engagement and why he did not want to engage me...like asking me questions? Which he never does. I learned and processed and seeped into my cells now – I was not cuddled or touched but only handled for changes or feeding which was sort of like last minute. I feel I was let go of crying forever as a toddler. I felt that with my therapist as well and I am grateful to work through this.

    Now in every session, I still come in and just talk but I can feel I am reaching a point of needing different approach.
    • · One side of me feels, I should ask him if he could do confrontation therapy and see what he says about that. I want confrontation to re-enact my childhood's aggressive, intrusive, and abandonment feeling so I can face it directly in transference and work through it.
    • · Another side of me feels, this is not his style cause that side never showed up in 7 months and the only time I asked he seemed not interested in doing so. So I think (my feeling) he does only supportive method of therapy and would not change his method for one client.
    • · The other side of me is feeling, maybe this is all me. Every 7 months or so, I find myself in similar situation of focusing on the therapist and this tells me something I am blind to but visible to others and it should process in due time.
    I had one experience where I tried to push him during transference so he could get angry at me and act like my mother so I could act like me as a child - defenseless. He did not take the bait and I also woke up from that transference due to his blocking it. I learned a lot about myself then. I learned that I preferred to be the defenseless than the aggressor but I had both strongly in my character. Great insight for me.

    One time he said that aggressive side was not me. I told him who was it then? it was me and it was my mother's side that I identified with but obviously that is the side that causes me grief because I do not fully identify with. I felt maybe he does not deal with aggression well and was avoiding it.

    You may ask why do not I ask him to clarify. I did but he does not talk much so the question hangs there and then I sort of focus on my feelings about the silence from him and process as part of my history. He does not talk much and this has given me a lot of space to sort my own feelings really good and I am grateful but I think I need now a more pointed questions about my character, behavior and such to go deeper. I am not in crisis right now so it is hard for me to pinpoint strong traits in me in everyday life situations.

    My questions to those in therapy for extended period of time are:
    • Does the same therapist do different methods according to how the client has progressed?
    • Is it fair for me to ask my therapist to change his ways (could be just his personality prefers this type of supportive method). I honestly think dealing with aggressiveness and rage in therapy is specialty not something every therapist can deal or wants to do. Is this just my own belief ( a blind spot) or do therapist switch over time?)
    • Am I looking for excuses? Do you sense maybe I am resisting something just from your first reaction to my post?
    • How do you know it is time to move to another type of therapist?
    • Does therapist need to agree to change to another therapist?
    Any other comments or questions or input is appreciated.

    PS. I am doing psycho-dynamic psychotherapy for long term so any other therapy that may helpful is also welcome.

    Thank you.
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  3. Skywatcher

    Skywatcher Active Member

    I don’t think that I could handle psychodynamic therapy. I see an emdr therapist and I think that it might be an interesting approach for you to try. I watched a free summit online this summer and each therapist that is high up in their field spoke about their therapy style. I wish you could see something like that. After watching, I was intrigued by “brain spotting” and I felt like “inner family systems” seemed odd, but made sense as to something that fit my issues, but I also think that my T has woven some of that into what we do. Maybe you should research those?
    Searching4Self and grit like this.
  4. grit

    grit Active Member

    Thanks Skywatcher.

    I have heard about EMDR before. It is very expensive here in Canada so that is the only reason I did not try it. My understanding is not something one can do for long term and it is preferable for adult PTDS. I have long childhood issues that are in meta memories. I do not have one incident I could get back to explore. These were my excuses.

    But I may actually just meet with a EMDR practitioner to get some insight.

  5. Skywatcher

    Skywatcher Active Member

    I did learn in the seminar that with childhood issues you need an emdr specialist that uses a modification approach that deals with attachment figures. Complex ptsd can extend how long it takes for success. It lowered it to 30 percent cure rate if you just do the formula, so I would select your therapist carefully. Luckily for me, my emdr therapist uses the modified technique and she also mixes in some trauma and relational types of therapy and has also used eft.
    grit likes this.
  6. Harmonics

    Harmonics Member

    It sounds like this therapist is practicing only an older style of psychodynamic therapy. What I have found is that I prefer a therapist who is well versed in a few different types of therapy. One type is not always best for what I am dealing with. I wonder if that is what you are finding here. While you have learned and grown, you may be ready for someone who can work in different ways to address your needs. For example, my previous T did mainly a form of CBT. My current T uses several different types of therapy including mindfulness based, psychodynamic, sensorimotor, CBT, ACT, and some aspects of EMDR. I have made a lot more progress with a mix of methods than with a therapist who could only practice one type of therapy.
    piratelady and grit like this.
  7. hithere

    hithere Well-Known Member

    You don't have to have a specific memory to do emdr successfully. you can take a negative core value and do emdr with that. that worked for me very well and quickly.
  8. grit

    grit Active Member

    Thank you for all those who responded to my post. After I wrote this post, I had a significant breakthrough.
    It seemed I was actually processing a blind spot and I slept on it and I thought about it and it sort of came out at me.
    I will share this in the far fetched that another person may benefit from it. It could be just my own digestion of my experience.

    I will try to write out in a cohesive way but excuse me if it sounds confusing.
    There were few topics that jumped at me first.
    Controlling - I used that word to mean it is client centered therapy and I do all the talk.
    For whatever reason I had this deep need to be engaged, confronted and talked to directly by the therapist.
    I made few assumptions about his personality and his style of therapy without really having a real hard evidence other than my feeling.

    My breakthrough are many - many meta feelings came out but the overarching themes are as follows:
    A lot of control issues came up in my therapy recently and that I am accepting I can be a control freak as a result of chaotic childhood. I am defending of helplessness (which shows up as tiredness and procrastination) and the victim feeling of I am damaged, abused but I am fighting against this because I also have really good life. I am conflicted and close to accepting both are me! victim of childhood issues and an accomplished woman who has done really well for herself. Both are me. I hate the first and love the latter but both are me. I need to let that seep in.
    I feel I am regressing to basically the first 4 years of my life; hence, the acute feeling of control to ward off helplessness in my formative years which I also believe are my trauma epicenter.
    My need to be engaged and talked probably relates loneliness I felt as a baby/toddler/young child. and my feelings of being ignored and maybe neglected.
    My assumptions about him is probably my own projections to him. If I feel this helpless, bored, like a pathetic being that needs and needs, he must be picking on those feelings and I could see it BECAUSE they are my feelings too.

    So basically, I recognize some fundamental issues that I need to deal and accept and allow.
    I am in sort of regression but still obviously also working and living so this takes a lot of energy.
    I need to let him in and influence me rather than thinking I do not need him.
    I would like engagement as an adult but not as my inner child. I want to continue in cooing and living in my trauma in this safe space, until I rework through the memories. I am already feeling how hectic it was for me, my 3 siblings, my parents and the situation. I was one part of crisis and perhaps not all directed at me but I just happened to be a baby there.

    Still processing the multitude of meta feelings that are coming out of my body since I do not really have a real explicit memory during this time. This is probably when I started to dissociate.

    Now, I feel I need to keep exploring this phase of my life and maybe (and I hope) I will realize when I need to start exploring my young child from 4 or 5 yrs and onward. I do not want run away from this discomfort.

    Thanks again for all your feedback.
    Searching4Self and piratelady like this.
  9. piratelady

    piratelady Not Broken Premium Member

    It sounds like you have a lot to think about. I do want to just add there are a lot of benefits in telling your therapist what you need from therapy or if it feels like something is missing. I think, for some us it can be a scary thought depending on our our trauma or abuse.

    For example, I’ve had the same therapist for years and realized I wasn’t learning coping skills and felt like he wasn’t helping anymore. I went so far as to meet with a potential new therapist. Truth is, I never wven tried to tell my current therapist what was going through my head or what I needed. I think communication in therapy is so valuable.

    Just food for thought should the situation arise again.
    Searching4Self and grit like this.
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