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Too much for my Therapist

Quassus

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My last session left me questioning my therapist. She kept forgetting things and getting my flashbacks mixed up. Considering how fragmented thigs are i guess i can understand that. I have to remind her what we use for EMDR ( I don't use the lightbar) and I was starting to disassociate and she didn't seem to realize how bad off I was at the end.

Time has been an issue and she has said we need to fit in additional sessions or longer sessions because one hour a week isn't cutting it with all the crap my brain is throwing at me. She is supposed to email with time suggestions. I get that maybe the lack of time is actually the issue. By the time I'm done talking about my week the sessions half over and we have very little time for reprocessing...and if it takes me a while to get into it..and then its time to stop. I can't just get through it.

But I also felt like the last session was alot and she should have seen it. I was struggling to connect..then when I did I got stuck in one spot and started to get anxious and disconnect. She tried adding more bilateral stimulation to help me get unstuck but that ramped up my stress over the memory. I felt like I had failed somehow, because the memory is fragmented and confusing and I'm struggling to believe it. So diving in and reprocessing is hard. And I just got overloaded with it all.

Because we didn't do anything to sort of close it up at the end I drove home disassociating and ended up a town over because I just started driving...and then had a crappy day and feel off. I have an ick feeling towards my T and I feel like maybe I'm to much for her. She is a trauma T and trained in EMDR, Somatic therapy and DART..but only been a T for 5 years i think. I think I have more then what she bargained for when we first started. Idk. I feel like I'm just to much and the time issue is making it harder. I don't have a lot of time to go each week with my schedule..it's all frustrating and part of me wants to give up. And maybe I should just tell her what I think but I struggle with being honest with my feelings to her.
 
Time has been an issue and she has said we need to fit in additional sessions or longer sessions because one hour a week isn't cutting it
My normal = 120 minute sessions twice a week when I’m processing trauma.

I’ve gone as high as 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, for a few specific things.

I only go lower than 120min, twice a week, if we’re not touching trauma.

((Which happens, for good reason / good purpose, like nailing down coping mechanisms, dealing with normal life stuff, etc. Attempting to do trauma work, in such a narrow window? f*cks up my entire week to no purpose, as we don’t actually get anything done AND I’ll end up dealing with massive symptom spikes, trauma “leakage”, & therapy “hangover”… without any actual traction, nor containment.))
 
By the time I'm done talking about my week
I usually skip this bit in therapy, unless something seriously important has happened that my T needs to know or that I really need input on. If we talk about everything that's happened since the last session, we'd never get around to doing any actual trauma therapy.

So with my last T and with this new one, I've been like "Umm, we need to cut to the chase. Please stop asking me how my week was or how I've been or similar questions at the start of a session. I need you to start each session with "What do you want to work on today?" and then we need to delve straight into that."

Like I said, if there's something truly important that I want/ need T's input on, which happened that week, then obviously I'll mention it, but it might be really brief, like 5 minutes. I try to keep the appointments free for actual processing.

I realise that it would probably be "valuable" or even "important" in some way for T to know how I've been doing or what's going on in my life... But I figure I can't have it all, therapy sessions are limited and if I'm going to choose between talking about my week and processing trauma, then I know why I've chosen to do trauma therapy and I set my priorities accordingly.
 
I usually skip this bit in therapy, unless something seriously important has happened that my T needs to know or that I really need input on. If we talk about everything that's happened since the last session, we'd never get around to doing any actual trauma therapy.

So with my last T and with this new one, I've been like "Umm, we need to cut to the chase. Please stop asking me how my week was or how I've been or similar questions at the start of a session. I need you to start each session with "What do you want to work on today?" and then we need to delve straight into that."

Like I said, if there's something truly important that I want/ need T's input on, which happened that week, then obviously I'll mention it, but it might be really brief, like 5 minutes. I try to keep the appointments free for actual processing.

I realise that it would probably be "valuable" or even "important" in some way for T to know how I've been doing or what's going on in my life... But I figure I can't have it all, therapy sessions are limited and if I'm going to choose between talking about my week and processing trauma, then I know why I've chosen to do trauma therapy and I set my priorities accordingly.
I've been thinking I need to do the same. I've been having flashbacks and freeze states during the week I share. But I think I need to just focus on the memory we have been dealing with and put the rest to the side unless it's crazy hard. She said it's like we are playing whack a mole right now and I agree . I think I need to just tell her let's get to work as you said.


My normal = 120 minute sessions twice a week when I’m processing trauma.

I’ve gone as high as 4 hours a day, 4 days a week, for a few specific things.

I only go lower than 120min, twice a week, if we’re not touching trauma.

((Which happens, for good reason / good purpose, like nailing down coping mechanisms, dealing with normal life stuff, etc. Attempting to do trauma work, in such a narrow window? f*cks up my entire week to no purpose, as we don’t actually get anything done AND I’ll end up dealing with massive symptom spikes, trauma “leakage”, & therapy “hangover”… without any actual traction, nor containment.))
Yes we aren't getting enough time to really process. When I had a good thought line going and felt I was getting somewhere we had to stop..and then last week being left hanging in the most intense parts..ugh. Feels awful. Sounds like I need to be more aware of using time better and help myself stay on track with what time I have until we can fit more time in
 
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My last session left me questioning my therapist. She kept forgetting things and getting my flashbacks mixed up. Considering how fragmented thigs are i guess i can understand that. I have to remind her what we use for EMDR ( I don't use the lightbar) and I was starting to disassociate and she didn't seem to realize how bad off I was at the end.

Time has been an issue and she has said we need to fit in additional sessions or longer sessions because one hour a week isn't cutting it with all the crap my brain is throwing at me. She is supposed to email with time suggestions. I get that maybe the lack of time is actually the issue. By the time I'm done talking about my week the sessions half over and we have very little time for reprocessing...and if it takes me a while to get into it..and then its time to stop. I can't just get through it.

But I also felt like the last session was alot and she should have seen it. I was struggling to connect..then when I did I got stuck in one spot and started to get anxious and disconnect. She tried adding more bilateral stimulation to help me get unstuck but that ramped up my stress over the memory. I felt like I had failed somehow, because the memory is fragmented and confusing and I'm struggling to believe it. So diving in and reprocessing is hard. And I just got overloaded with it all.

Because we didn't do anything to sort of close it up at the end I drove home disassociating and ended up a town over because I just started driving...and then had a crappy day and feel off. I have an ick feeling towards my T and I feel like maybe I'm to much for her. She is a trauma T and trained in EMDR, Somatic therapy and DART..but only been a T for 5 years i think. I think I have more then what she bargained for when we first started. Idk. I feel like I'm just to much and the time issue is making it harder. I don't have a lot of time to go each week with my schedule..it's all frustrating and part of me wants to give up. And maybe I should just tell her what I think but I struggle with being honest with my feelings to her.
Yea, I know the feeling, to much for doctors, family, can't keep friends, don't even feel like it, open honesty is not natural for people, nor was it for me, but I got all fudged up at age 6, been a ride, my last therapist in Mo.,; I was like wat the fu_, does one hour do, who's there the rest of week, lol, couple years in state hospitals, multiple rehaps, groups out the ass, at this point don't really feel like talking to no one, they don't believe things that are fact, so I went old school like the 3rd grade, I'm being nice to the plant, which is me, I'm whole know, looking for real trauma group, that isn't lead by therapist, my life is not a insurance game, I LOVE THE PART WHEN THEY SAY, CALL IF U NEED ME, BUISNESS, HOURS ONLY, NOTHING PERSONAL, LMAO, OH THEN THEY SAY U 51/50, WELL I AM, I ACCEPT IT, hope this helps
 
Time has been an issue and she has said we need to fit in additional sessions or longer sessions because one hour a week isn't cutting it with all the crap my brain is throwing at me.
I used to do 1 hour sessions with a psychologist and after 20-30 sessions I was pleased that I no longer had suicidal ideation but I have shifted to psychiatry because my hypervigilance and nightmares have returned and I needed medication to help me sleep (I was only sleeping 3 hours).

The psychiatrist reported to my doctor that I am 'tangential' and that she repeatedly had to pull me back in line. She only allows ½ hour sessions and when I asked for longer sessions she said that "I will be more focussed than your used to and a ½ hour session is more than enough for you to process. I won't give you a full hour because your 'story' is quite disturbing and we risk you being retraumatised. We will work in small chunks."

My first psychiatric session was a full hour in which she took down a detailed history. She then starts each session by asking me if there is anything specific that I want to discuss and if I'm hesitant she'll take over and extract a passage from the notes she transcribed such as, "You said the darkness began at age 11 or 12. Can you remember what made the darkness begin and can you make me understand what this darkness feels like?"

I find her approach refreshing because it stops me from getting my memories all 'mixed up' and being overwhelmed.
 
Oh... I also wanted to add that I think it's a normal and valuable part of therapy to be trying different things and working out what fits and what doesn't and communicating that to your T and the two of you adapting it to work better and better over time.

This, to me, is like buying new hiking shoes and needing to "walk them in" until they've adapted to your individual feet.

Yeah, this process can be frustrating but imo it's not a sign that it's a crap T, or the wrong T for you or that you're too much for her.

Only if you keep going round in endless, unhelpful circles and are both unable to come up with an approach that's more suitable, would I say "it's probably not a good fit".
 
I used to do 1 hour sessions with a psychologist and after 20-30 sessions I was pleased that I no longer had suicidal ideation but I have shifted to psychiatry because my hypervigilance and nightmares have returned and I needed medication to help me sleep (I was only sleeping 3 hours).

The psychiatrist reported to my doctor that I am 'tangential' and that she repeatedly had to pull me back in line. She only allows ½ hour sessions and when I asked for longer sessions she said that "I will be more focussed than your used to and a ½ hour session is more than enough for you to process. I won't give you a full hour because your 'story' is quite disturbing and we risk you being retraumatised. We will work in small chunks."

My first psychiatric session was a full hour in which she took down a detailed history. She then starts each session by asking me if there is anything specific that I want to discuss and if I'm hesitant she'll take over and extract a passage from the notes she transcribed such as, "You said the darkness began at age 11 or 12. Can you remember what made the darkness begin and can you make me understand what this darkness feels like?"

I find her approach refreshing because it stops me from getting my memories all 'mixed up' and being overwhelmed.
That's interesting, the different approaches! My T is very much , let the client lead. She is very careful not to insert her own opinions or to say anything that might produce a false memory type thing. I appreciate that, but I also wish she would lead more at times. But EMDR is also meant to be brain led and I think I need to trust my brain to do it.

Oh... I also wanted to add that I think it's a normal and valuable part of therapy to be trying different things and working out what fits and what doesn't and communicating that to your T and the two of you adapting it to work better and better over time.

This, to me, is like buying new hiking shoes and needing to "walk them in" until they've adapted to your individual feet.

Yeah, this process can be frustrating but imo it's not a sign that it's a crap T, or the wrong T for you or that you're too much for her.

Only if you keep going round in endless, unhelpful circles and are both unable to come up with an approach that's more suitable, would I say "it's probably not a good fit".
That's very helpful. I have not been letting myself have an opinion or communicating my feelings about the sessions because I'm a people pleaser too. I need to start expressing myself more and what I feel or want with the sessions.
 
I wonder if your time has been long enough in the stabilization phase for you to work in EMDR. What tools do you have for all the overwhelm? EMDR creates A LOT of stuff coming at you if your tool box has one or two tools you just aren’t equipped for what’s going to be coming at you. If you’re overwhelmed by day to day living you probably shouldn’t add processing memories to that. Are you able to box up memories and flashbacks when they come or do they take over? Of the answer is the later, you don’t have the tools necessary to handle EMDR.

I think my T and I did 9 months before and even then we’ve had to pull back several times. (In truth less times than I probably should’ve).
 
I wonder if your time has been long enough in the stabilization phase for you to work in EMDR. What tools do you have for all the overwhelm? EMDR creates A LOT of stuff coming at you if your tool box has one or two tools you just aren’t equipped for what’s going to be coming at you. If you’re overwhelmed by day to day living you probably shouldn’t add processing memories to that. Are you able to box up memories and flashbacks when they come or do they take over? Of the answer is the later, you don’t have the tools necessary to handle EMDR.

I think my T and I did 9 months before and even then we’ve had to pull back several times. (In truth less times than I probably should’ve).
The flashbacks thing is completely new to me. Looking back I can see I had emotional flashbacks alot through the years but these intense body memory flashbacks and stuff have hit me like a train the past few months. I had some super intense ones the past week that sent me into freeze and then collapse response...unable to talk for hours. But, I am getting better at pushing them aside once I'm out of them or placing them in my box. I journal the experience and the points I want to remember or consider and try to leave it there. I sometimes tell my husband about it and then can usually be okay. It's hard when these are all new memories and you can't be sure what's true. That's the part I struggle to not ruminate over.

My T has said from the beginning that you have to go slow to heal. And she also sees how the symptoms upset my life when I need to be able to be mom to little kids and make it through the days. She admits it's tricky to find balance between wanting to help get some relief and going slow. We have established my box for the memories and several safe places. We also have done alot with heart focused breathing.
 
The flashbacks thing is completely new to me. Looking back I can see I had emotional flashbacks alot through the years but these intense body memory flashbacks and stuff have hit me like a train the past few months. I had some super intense ones the past week that sent me into freeze and then collapse response...unable to talk for hours. But, I am getting better at pushing them aside once I'm out of them or placing them in my box. I journal the experience and the points I want to remember or consider and try to leave it there. I sometimes tell my husband about it and then can usually be okay. It's hard when these are all new memories and you can't be sure what's true. That's the part I struggle to not ruminate over.

My T has said from the beginning that you have to go slow to heal. And she also sees how the symptoms upset my life when I need to be able to be mom to little kids and make it through the days. She admits it's tricky to find balance between wanting to help get some relief and going slow. We have established my box for the memories and several safe places. We also have done alot with heart focused breathing.
But am I correct to assume that those flashbacks are still affecting you pretty regularly? What has you T suggested to help you deal with the collapse response?

The problem we all encounter is that we want it done and over with but if you start EMDR it WILL make your symptoms worse so if your struggling to deal with them before you’ve gone too far into EMDR then you’re only going to make matters worse.

I’d suggest asking your T for tools to handle what’s causing you to lose hours a day to a collapse response before delving further into reprocessing. Especially as you still have to function as a mom and wife. There are even studies showing reprocessing isn’t necessary. I’m not sure I agree with them but there has been success.
 
Attempting to do trauma work, in such a narrow window? f*cks up my entire week to no purpose, as we don’t actually get anything done AND I’ll end up dealing with massive symptom spikes, trauma “leakage”, & therapy “hangover”… without any actual traction, nor containment.)
Will insurance companies cover several hours of therapy per week? I was under the impression that many providers will only pay for 50 minute sessions once per week.
 
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