What/when to share


Just finished a session. It went OK. I kept myself busy before hand, so I didn't drive myself crazy with anxiety 🙈 She says she is happy to go at the speed I want to but she needs me to give her an idea.of what she's working with and I don't know if it's the reaction I for when I shared a timeline with the other therapist and how I feel she didn't believe me but it's kind of made me hesitant to go into it all or send a timeline....but I also feel like having it all out there from the start is a good thing too. So I don't know what to do with this. Did you find having it all out there from the start helped or were you a bit by bit kinda person? She asked me a couple of yes/no questions which made it easier but she doesn't really know anything. I haven't been writing as I usually would, with only being at the start but I think I'll start writing from next week and that will obviously give us a bit more direction too. She said she will send me a book over email, which may help. I think it was called "the courage to be me" or something along those lines, have any of you heard of that?
I think writing would help and if it worked for her to ask yes/no questions you can let her know that and maybe her doing that will help you find what you want to open up about. When I had a difficult topic I asked my T to ask yes/no questions and she honed in pretty quickly on what I *didnt* want to talk about.

I think it’s important for you to honor your own pace while still getting feedback from the T. Like I pushed myself way too hard at the beginning and my T told me it do at work well to continue like that. Or if you tend to hold back then they can gently encourage you to take some risks.
Not exactly the same but it took me about, I think, 7 or 8 years to say the first past thing (was 30-ish years before that it occurred) and a couple of weeks ago(?) to say another after (maybe 17-18 years? ) Of course I've said much along the way and gained a tremendous amount of healing, more than I would have thought possible. I would also have thought I would take everything to the grave. Guess I'm a late bloomer lol. I sort of expected to solve my own problems (by myself) and take the consequences.

I think the important thing is to be 100% honest. The timing or disclosure would be what suits your personality and capabilities. And not sharing with someone who you feel can't understand.

ETA, I would also be open to whatever the response is. That is, as long as you feel they know what they're talking about, it is/ was important to me to hear the truth/ honest feedback. Even if it could have been blaming or shaming (it wasn't). Not what I could have wanted or would hope to hear (though I didn't really have any expectations that were positive), but what they really thought about what occurred and my role, or what to do/ not do.

Welcome to you!
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I have done therapy both ways. When I was young I was out with the types of trauma from day one. We were really focusing on stress tolerance and emotional regulation. I went out in the world and did my thing for 20ish years and am back in therapy due to a PTSD relapse. This time I have found it useful to go much slower. I let her know I had a history of childhood trauma and the details have come out organically. I found both ways to be really helpful. When I was younger I needed fast results to get me at a point where I could have a productive life. There were pitfalls to that way though.

This time around I found myself switching over into almost a clinical mode when I gave my history. With my new therapist I am figuring out how to actually feel things so I only talk about what I can handle without shutting down. It took years for her to get the whole story but it has been working. If I were you I would talk to your therapist about your feelings at every step of the process. Tell her what are you worried about, when you are too stressed to give her more information. It's that connection that is worth more than anything.
My first ever therapist asked me to do a timeline of anything that I felt was significant. I did, and because of that timeline and other symptoms, she felt unable to work with me. That was a bit of a shock at the time but actually she was honest and helped me to find someone more suitable.

That's one argument for sharing everything straight out.

My second therapist was from an organisation that specialized in sexual trauma so just to be there she was aware of the type of trauma I'd experienced and that helped to know that it wouldn't be a massive shock to her and she just let me share in my own time, it took a while and lots of going over and over intrusive stuff. That was the therapy that helped me overcome the diagnosable symptoms of PTSD.

I guess that's an argument for your therapist knowing the theme of what you've experienced but allowing time and process to go through more detailed account - this is the basis of exposure therapies - to know the theme of the trauma, but to support you to explore it one step at a time.
There's a kind of - if I could do it again thinking we all do.

So I just did a filibuster in the first session with my 2nd T and went through the story. There's always a price to pay when you go near those trauma things and I figured do it and pay the price once and be done with it.............rather than nibble away at it and deal with the hangover session after session when I don't need to. It was kind of...this this that and trauma happened, then on with the story - kind of a high level fly by rather than a blow by blow.

Reality is.....how it works with different therapies is different too. EMDR that I do is like taking a beaver dam apart. You deal with the stuff on top and clear it out of the way and then repeat that process. Sometimes its leaves and twigs, sometimes its mud, sometimes its trees. But fast and slow are relative to the things that come out in therapy somewhat.

Learn to deal with your day to day and feel whats going on for you - that's your fast and slow. It's OK to say no (for me) EMDR work today, I'm still doing too much reprocessing, and to take a break if you have been doing a lot of reprocessing that say took a couple months. And sensing where you are with reprocessing means learning to figure out where you are every day - and to try not to get overloaded. Or to know when its inevitable and how to deal with hyper whatever that comes with that.
My first therapist I’d never said it aloud and never acknowledged it’s existence so I didn’t tell him because I just knew I was struggling with life.

After that I’ve always said I have a long history of CSA.

This time around after 20 ish years away I finally admitted there was physical abuse too.

I couldn’t do the timeline thing. I can’t say the words and I don’t know how I’d do trying to timeline out so many things.

I think giving the big picture is important because you don’t want to spend a bunch of time getting to the point you trust someone and then find out they’re out of their depth.

I’d also have a huge issue giving a timeline because trust is a big thing for me. Give a little see how they deal with that, then a little more.
Did you find having it all out there from the start helped or were you a bit by bit kinda person?

I'm both. I am very up front about what type of traumas have occurred to me/by me, but getting into the details of different events has been a frustratingly slow process. Writing it out beforehand helps a lot. I use a specific kind of format which is two-tiered: a logical, factual presentation of what I can specifically recall, and then a separate piece surrounding my opinions/emotions/moral judgments.

A lot of it is simply because my brain didn't actually coherently understand the events as they were happening, so the memories themselves are fragmented, nonsensical, or split across multiple iterations of my consciousness that don't operate simultaneously due to a dissociative disorder. I do forensic narrative exposure therapy, so the biggest "pieces" of that are the trauma timeline, and then keystone event narrative construction.

Usually I either have an event that I am willing to work on for each session, or there are more existential issues "related" to the event (for example, in one event I was forced to perpetrate an act of violence that permanently disabled someone, but I am more interested in figuring out what that means for me as a human being, rather than detailing every aspect of what happened).
Did you find having it all out there from the start helped or were you a bit by bit kinda person?
The only time I’ve ever had it ‘all out from the start’ (in quotes, because for me that’s kind of like singing the alphabet, and considering the dictionary read)… was with a therapist who had a thick sheaf of papers used by his church to intake returning missionaries & combat vets/correspondents.

It took several hours, and he was just reading down the list, & ticking boxes & being personable. I didn’t have to actually talk about any of it.