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Therapists and compassion/interaction Pfinstegg

Posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 18:22:39

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 16:01:11

[New title for thread, "Saying what you are feeling"!]

Wow, did he share all that process information with you? It chokes me up to have it confirmed for me how short things were falling, due to total lack of information, communication, reactions, humanity or even due process as intended. The pain was not a result of the necessary pressure and conflict implicit in classic analysis. The application was flawed, period. But he's in that "position of authority" so I am still reeling and my next therapist, if any, will have that baggage to deal with too. Summary:

I had a window of relatively huge enthusiasm when I began, due to finally taking action. I had faith and the cards were absolutely stacked in his favor. "Hi, I'm here to dig out of paralyzing depression (and OCD, ADD, whatever) and build self esteem so I can accomplish something." I stated repeatedly that I wanted to face the bad but definitely employ some CBT-like aspects and formulate baby steps ASAP. Right there he could have told me I was in the wrong place.

He asked background questions for two sessions, then went absolutely and permanently mute, including devoid of facial expressions. Weeks pass, I talk to myself. The good, the bad, the ugly. Professing pain but taking responsibility for most of it. And trying to also occasionally mention the positive things I cling to about myself that I hope I could build on in future careers or relationships. I repeatedly request, but don't get, feedback or perspective. I truly am talking to a cardboard cut-out. Excuse me -- once he said "ick" in reference to one of my life experiences. That's not sarcasm, that's truly the full script of any compassion he ever showed. And in the end I asked him to correct me if I was wrong on that.

He deflects me when I ask if my thought processes about anything in particular seem good/accurate, and when I ask for any feedback in general. But he does start dangling some harsh and groundless speculations, phrased as foregone conclusions rather than open-ended hypotheses. When I ask what it is I said/did that lead him to say those things, across the board he knits his brow and replies only, "The important thing is why it MATTERS to you what I think." He had taken the hastily gathered and admittedly true seed that I am oversensitive and made it the driving force behind everything, so it became a catch 22 impasse. He would say/answer/justify nothing about his own responses or lack of them, but if I asked for any discussion whatsoever he would only frame the asking itself as proving his point. After weeks of this I began telling him that to have someone in his position react this way was contributing to a nosedive in depression and self-doubt heretofore unreached. No response.

Finally I studied up a bit myself and saw that it is indeed I-M-P-E-R-A-T-I-V-E to the process that the differing perceptions of the two parties as to what was just said and what just happened get addressed and hashed out *immediately.* I pointed that out to him but still no change. Also, I know classic analysis (which at 2x per week this supposedly wasn't) isn't about positive thinking techniques and the like, but in the end I asked him sincerely to please remind me of anything anything anything anything at all that he had ever said or reinforced that was positive in nature (HE: "Uh... I've laughed at your humor sometimes haven't I?"). Or to explain to me how it is that even a "normal" person wouldn't also eventually perceive negativity if someone ignores their requests for dialogue (or even facial expressions) long enough -- but does pipe up with poorly extrapolated bad stuff they won't connect to anything. He could think of no answer. He tried to use his masterful deflection skills here too, and when finally pinned down, began saying he would have to think about it and answer me next time. But "next time," would say the same thing. And just as I -- the layperson -- had long before warned him, by the time he did try to have the conversation with me our recollections were so divergent it was hopeless. But he had still been unable to even use paraphrasing as fact in his attempted answer; it was all just lost.

Thanks for listening, obviously I had other things going on than lending an opinion to the clothing discussion. And bear with me, Bob board, it probably ain't over yet.

_______________
>> I do go to a psychoanalyst- but a contemporary "relational" one. We explore all the feelings which come up between us- and understanding and working with them is the most important thing we do. The contemporary thinking is that out pre-conscious and unconscious feelings are laid down in early life in our right hemispheres by the relationships we had then. So- here's where the "relational" part comes in - the patient and therapist need to allow their right hemispheres to interact. In this way, we find out how we truly felt as children, but we have an opportunity to allow that part of the brain to develop new and healthier ways of interacting with other people. Recent research has actually shown that people with abuse and/or neglect in their childhoolds have smaller right hemispheres, with many fewer neurons connecting to the fear centers in the limbic system- they are much less able to use their right cortexes to calm down their tendencies to react to small stressors with extreme fear, rage, dissociation or hopelessness. But, this research has also shown that vital parts of the right frontal cortex are "plastic:- capable of growing throughout life. Modern therapists utilize this knowledge to help patients grow through the relationships they develop with their therapists. The relationship aspect has become so central that the word "transference" really doesn't begin to describe the new thinking about this.The clothes thing with Fallen was just plain fun, and had to do with doing things in a new, happier way. But we are also dealing with immensely painful things and trying to do our best to grow beyond them. For one person, having intensely loving and erotic feelings may be central to their growth. For another, something else might be more important- such as developing basic trust in another human being. For a lot of us, all these things are included at different times. You can be sure we are not wasting our time on frivolities! Like you, and everyone else, we want to live the fullest, richest lives we can.
>
> As to the gender of a therapist, I';d say - choose the one you think would mean the most to you. Women (sadly the majority on Psychobabble) have had very meaningful and successful experiences with both sexes, and men are surely the same.


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