What does T mean by this?

Ellie226

New Here
Hi everyone,

I was diagnosed with PTSD a few months ago due to childhood physical abuse and I've been seeing my T for about 9 months now. During our last session, my T and I were talking about goals for therapy and what I'd like to do moving forward and she commented that she doesn't think I'm "ready to really get into the trauma stuff". Now I can't get that out of my head because I don't really know what she meant by that. I feel like I've gone into it a lot with her so I'm wondering if I'm not doing enough in therapy. How will I know when I'm ready? I'm feeling very discouraged because I thought I was making good progress in therapy and I've shared more with her about my trauma than I ever have with anyone before.
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
Hi Ellie and Welcome! I don't think this means that you are not making good progress, you probably are! Your T is probably just making sure that you are stable before you get deep into processing trauma. Are you familiar with the 3 phase approach of trauma therapy? This doesn't mean anything bad about you, it could be about the level of distress that you are in right now and you might need a bit more time. However, please take anything that T says just as a suggestion, they are there to help and guide you. If you feel like maybe you are ready, maybe bring it up with T and say hey I am ready and maybe you can have a conversation about how you feel you are progressing vs how she thinks and so on. Hang in there.
 

Ellie226

New Here
Thank you for your reply! The thing is, I feel like I'm in a much better place now and that I'm actually doing very well, so I'm surprised to hear that my T doesn't think I'm ready or stable enough to get deeper into my trauma. It also confuses me because to me it feels like we've already delved deep into it so I was surprised to hear that she doesn't think the same. The more I dwell on her comment the more negative self-talk I've been having so I am feeling quite upset and discouraged with myself, and also angry at her for making me feel this way. She mentioned that the fact that I haven't spoken to my boyfriend about my trauma could be a sign that I'm not ready, but we have only been dating for a month so that seems like an unfair analysis to me. I will try bringing up to her that I feel like I might be ready and see what she says. Thank you for your advice!
 

mylunareclipse

MyPTSD Pro
I think talking to her about all this might be best! Don’t feel discouraged!! Some of us have been in therapy for multiple years and maybe not ready to completely deal with the trauma yet. You have done nothing wrong. I am glad you feel better overall and have benefited so much from therapy!
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Ellie226, I'm surprised that your therapist has said that because it's not upto your therapist what YOU want to talk about. You can talk about anything that you want to anytime you want to because your paying for their time.

Also the comment about not talking to your boyfriend yet about your trauma after only seeing him for a month is really off.
 
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EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Well…. Talking =/= processing. You can talk about your trauma until you are blue in the face, but that doesn’t mean you’ve actually processed it. This will be better understood once you have been through processing. And, processing can be a very rough thing for many people. It was hell for me until I found the right technique.

Have you demonstrated that you are safe? Do you have a number of healthy coping skills that work well for you? If not, this could be the sticking point.
 

Friday

Moderator
I'm surprised that your therapist has said that because it's not upto your therapist what YOU want to talk about.
True… but good trauma therapists will often flat out refuse to do trauma therapy, as opposed to stabilization, skills building, and general therapy… when they feel a client is too unstable, doesn’t have enough skills, or needs to focus on their current life / issues… in order for their life to be able to absorb the blows & massive symptom spikes, that come part & parcel with trauma therapy. Without, you know; killing themselves, having to be hospitalized, &/or losing their home/work/relationships in the wake up of an unmanaged spinning out of control & the client rapidly decompensating.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
True… but good trauma therapists will often flat out refuse to do trauma therapy, as opposed to stabilization, skills building, and general therapy… when they feel a client is too unstable, doesn’t have enough skills, or needs to focus on their current life / issues… in order for their life to be able to absorb the blows & massive symptom spikes, that come part & parcel with trauma therapy. Without, you know; killing themselves, having to be hospitalized, &/or losing their home/work/relationships in the wake up of an unmanaged spinning out of control & the client rapidly decompensating.
Ok, thanks for explaining 🙂
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I will go against the grain here and make few observations:
How you can do trauma processing? One thing most therapists should look (but most do not look is) how functional are you OUTSIDE of therapy. If you are for example, working, can develop relationship (decent enough a friend, or a partner or colleagues), can maintain a job where you can easily pay the services (insurance or out of pocket), you can do trauma. Why? cause you have some compensation abilities that make you function despite of what happened to you. Your reality in the reality of outside of therapy is you have some coping skills and can do trauma therapy.

Now of course most therapists follow their own regiment (wrong or right) and may assess you about your inner world and say hmm your ego is weak and you may be a risk of breaking down and may try to slow down the process - however, imho, and very narrow experience, I think a good therapist will say so in a way to educate you not to confuse you or invalidate you.

I have had 3 therapists that I dumped precisely because they made those choices for me. My current therapist made very clear the following things: we will do trauma, educational, and supportive. What they may look like clinically: you (me) lead the trauma things. Therapist leads the educational depending all spontaneously each session is itself, and supportive when I need after trauma talk/process...
Now I got that piece out (probably more about me and my life than yours) but to share where I am coming from.

"ready to really get into the trauma stuff".
Now back to you: You do not need to answer to me but this may help you make sense what she said> how are you in your real life - stability wise? have you had self harm or suicide ideation or such in the past that may give the indication of your coping skills? do you have certain (critically judged) diagnosis in the past?are you safe outside of therapy or are you still in deep relationships with those that hurt you? there are million other things you shared that may cause the therapist to be so direct - though again - they need to explain this rather than acting as omniscient?

Again all these do not mean shit to a great therapist, but fairly new, therapists who are seeking easy existential clients, we are not as client often right for them either! just saying.

She mentioned that the fact that I haven't spoken to my boyfriend about my trauma could be a sign that I'm not ready, but we have only been dating for a month so that seems like an unfair analysis to me.
This latter part - and I have seen few others saying similar things - to me it seems when a therapist tries to "outsource" the thing of therapy to outside people - they are communicating something very serious such as issues of abandonment or dependence and they are trying to create, albeit stupidly, that they cannot be there for you and want you to have outside support system. This latter is in opinion more problematic and no therapist worth a penny should utilize. A decent therapist needs to be more forth coming issues of abandonment and dependency with the client. but again, I do not want to fly off with this but it seems your intuitions are not wrong but perhaps the best you can do is just ask for clarification in such that you are confused about this - and maybe all my writing is grit paranoia.

sorry about some of the spelling and sentence structures.
 

Vickster

New Here
I have found therapy to be about layers. And processing things with our head is quite different from processing things with our heart. I can know something/ understand it intellectually, but not understand it in my heart if I haven't felt it yet. When I get to my deepest emotional pain then I can do the full healing. And that's when a person needs all the coping skills they can get.

You'll probably get more clarity when you tell her about your reaction to her comment. Stay cool til then.
 

Ellie226

New Here
Thank you everyone for your responses! It is very helpful to hear your perspectives. I plan on meeting with my T early next week and will hopefully get some clarification. Now I'm thinking the fact that I have been spiraling into negative thoughts and giving into self harm urges this week after this one little comment might actually prove that I'm not as stable as I thought I was.
 
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