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Re: How are you today? gardenergirl

Posted by shrinking violet on March 21, 2005, at 21:09:03

In reply to Re: How are you today? shrinking violet, posted by gardenergirl on March 19, 2005, at 18:43:39

Wow, GG, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it, and value your input.

>> 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.

--No, you're right on. I think my T and I have always had a sort of dual relationship: the therapy, which never went well in my opinion, and which was/is the cause of many of our tribulations, and the other part where, as you said, she was perhaps too attached or invested and letting it become evident in her treatment of me. I think, to her, it was one in the same: I think she views our relationship as part of the therapy, and showing me caring and nurturing (neither of which I have gotten much of from anyone else) would be helpful and healing. In fact, though, it just confused me more, because given that she is my T and I a client, I was always unsure of my boundaries with her (seemingly having almost none but still not wanting to cross any lines out of respect). She would say and do things that I wasn't sure a T should do, necessarily, and then I think I began to resent her for it. Now, I don't trust her as a T at all, and I'm hurt personally because I feel like she underestimated her power and left me vulnerable and hurt because I have grown to care for her deeply, and still rather confused.

Also, she tells me she does "confer" quite a bit with other clinicians, both in her office and personal friends of hers, and she has paid for consultations on at least one occasion that I know of (maybe two, I can't remember). I was never present for any of these consults, and she's never told me much detail about them other than that they all seem to encourage and support her. Again, I have no way of knowing how much she's actually telling them, either, in terms of her conduct with me, etc. And, knowing her as I do, and hearing this from her myself, I know she has probably told these other therapist's that she feels she's failed me, etc, so of course, being her friends, they want to make her feel better and encourage her, so I'm not sure how truthful they would be with her anyway, even if they did think something was amiss.

>> 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.

--Thank you for that. My T is often very "motherly" with me, and she often takes my reactions VERY personally, and she'll turn them back on me so that I feel badly for my reaction to her. So of course I don't want to show or share anything with her, for fear of how she'll react to it. And now, it has extended to my being afraid of her reactions and afraid she will say or do something to hurt me. The hardest thing about all this is, I think, that I know she means well. I know she would never ever want to purposely hurt me or anyone, and I'd hate to walk away from this experience with her and having her think that she's harmed me in some way. I'd hate for her to think of me as the client who shook her confidence and shattered her ego (and I think that's partly why she's turning it back on me, saying that I want her to feel like she failed.....because maybe she wants ME to feel like I failed so that *she* won't have to face the fact that yeah, oops, maybe she really screwed up).

> 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.

--Well, she says I have made progress and movement......she never specifically says how, though. As for our "goals," we've tried to discuss them at various points during the treatment, but as time went on I couldn't come up with many. I hated therapy but I wanted to keep seeing her, and any little thing I tossed at her she would grab at.....for example, I told her a few months ago I wanted to work on my opening up to her more. She accepted that as a goal....Now, given I have a myriad of issues such as anorexia, depression, post traumatic stress, etc, I'm surprised she didn't press me for anything more. So maybe she wanted to keep seeing me too, and using the therapy as an excuse? (ok maybe that's far fetched....). I've tried to quit numerous times....she's always called to get me back. I'm not clear why. It seems silly to have therapy goals now, anyway, since I only have a couple of months left with her anyway.

I think we did go through the stages of change at the beginning.....if it's the same thing you're speaking of. Although this was in a chapter related to eating disorders in a workbook, so perhaps it was a different thing. I do remember her saying I was at the first stage....that was almost 2 years ago and I don't think I've moved from that stage yet, which is another obstacle I'm sure.

>> 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.

---She's said that to me too, how it feels like we're on opposite sides and we keep 'missing' each other, and if I could bring her over to my side (or go over to hers) then it would be easier and a lot better for both of us. She never told me HOW to do that, though, and I've never figured it out. I doubt getting a consult with her at this point would accomplish anything, since my time with her is coming to an end. I just want it to be a decent ending and not a total dismantling of the past 2 years. And I wrote above she has had consults on her own.

Thank you again GG. I hope she and I can fix this too.....I'm still waiting to hear from her after sending her the email last week...... *scared*

Take care,




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