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Re: How are you today? shrinking violet

Posted by gardenergirl on March 19, 2005, at 18:43:39

In reply to Re: How are you today? Shortelise, posted by shrinking violet on March 19, 2005, at 18:20:35

Hi SV,
I'm thinking back to much earlier posts when you two were getting on well. So well, in fact, that it seemed as if you two were going to wind up friends. I know at the time I was concerned about your T's boundaries at the time. I was concerned that she was too emotionally attached to you and she was letting it show to you too much. I wondered about the quality of the supervision she was getting. Please correct me if my memory of your earlier experience with her is not accurate. Because my perception now is colored by that.

> Well, in her defense, she did ask me if being angry with her is the only way I can say goodbye to her, the way I have with other relationships in the past. ... With her, I know beforehand that my time with her is going to end, ...The thing is, even though she may understand it logically, she seems to react to it emotionally and take it personally.

It does seem like this is going on. She seems to be just as frustrated as you are. I think that what should be really happening is that your t should be working through this with you, helping you to undertand this pattern. Instead, she's feeding it in a way. She's giving you ultimatums, such as well, come back when you are ready to talk to me, and well, it's me or the boss, which I'm sure is oh so appealing to you. It's kind of like saying "you're in trouble, missy." At least that is how it sounds to me. I'm thinking of my own T, who responded to my no-showing about a month ago by gently asking me why I might be angry with him. It was very non-threatening. It was an invitation to explore it with him, versus a challenge or a pout kind of thing. That's what I wish I was seeing from your T.

>But maybe since I'm angry with her quite a lot, and never seem to move past it, maybe she's reacting to that.....

It could be. She may be quite frustrated at what she perceives as your lack of movement. I wonder if you two are on the same page as to what the goal of therapy is? I mean really and truly. I am thinking of another client I had with anorexia who really was ambivalent about change. She could say all the right things, but her body language and her behaviors suggested that she really wasn't ready to actively fight this. So what we really needed to work on was the ambivalence first. No sense us working on strategies for changing eating behaviors if she was not committed to them. First we needed to get the committment. I dont' know if that relates to your situation at all, but where someone is on the continuum of stages of change is really important. And if the T and the client are working from different stages, it's not at all effective, and leads to much frustration.
> She also said that she thinks I want her to feel like she's failed me, that I want her to take all of the responsibility for this relationship....

This could be some projection and counter-transference on her part. It could be that she feels like a failure for the relationship since it appears to have deteriorated. I'm glad you addressed that in your letter.
> I hate that I'm messing this up so much, though.....I so wish I could be different.

I can imagine that is an awful feeling. I hope you are sharing that with her as well. Because you two are supposed to be partners on this journey. So it's not either one's fault completely. Whatever has happened, it's happened to and from both of you. Is there any chance you could get a consult from another clinician at the site or from her supervisor? It may help you two sort this out in time for some resolution before your time is up.

I do hope things improve. If you want more info. on the stages of change please let me know. I'd be glad to babblemail them to you. The theory is from Prochaska. She may already be familiar with him. I find it a very useful way of looking at things when it seems like therapy is not moving forward. It's a safe way of looking at it that doesn't focus so much on the relationship, which can be very loaded with emotion and confusion.

Take care, sweetie.





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