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I wish I could send you my therapist wishingstar

Posted by Racer on March 11, 2006, at 21:32:58

In reply to Re: tranference or real feelings? pegasus, posted by wishingstar on March 11, 2006, at 20:51:08

> Yes.. you're right. Thank you. It does make me feel just as unheard as before.
> Rather, we end up talking about stress with school or some memory from when I was a kid or something else that is just not part of the big picture for me right now. Often, I'm not even really mentally with her during these conversations (I've told her this).

That really does sound as though she's really and truly not hearing you, at least not enough to recognize that you're not benefiting from therapy with her right now. Can you tell her that you need to talk about something else? Or does she redirect you? I don't mean saying that you need to talk about [x], because I find that I often don't know what I do need, but can you tell her that the topic under discussion is not on your map right now? Does she allow you to explore what your current needs in therapy are?
> .. but I'm still feeling totally helpless and worthless. I hate myself so much sometimes. I just want to scream "I give up!" And I want her to know how very, very scary it is for me to trust anyone at all. I just need someone to care about me so badly.

Do you need someone to care about you? Or do you need someone to respect you enough to make some effort to listen? Do you need someone to *earn* your trust?

Trust is a big issue for me, especially since I got a weird reaction once from a therapist when I told her that I didn't trust anyone unconditionally, but that I thought the conditional trust I had for some people was better, because it respected their limitations; it didn't ask them to do what they weren't able to do. Until I explained it, though...

But there's another issue with trust: *blind trust,* trust that is not earned, is dangerous. It's unfair for anyone to ask you to trust them, without making some move to earn that trust. (Think of that stereotype of the smarmy con man, saying, "Trust me...") One way that therapists *earn* clients' trust is to listen, and validate. Sure, after validating, they may then point out the cognitive errors -- but first they listen, and then they validate that you are feeling that way. Having a therapist tell you that you aren't actually feeling [x], but really having reaction [d], is in the category called Not Helpful.

(I've had it happen, by the way, so I can say that from experience.)
> Shes probably right that part of it is transference. I KNOW she cares about me and is listening. I wonder if I'm expecting too much?

How did this happen? You're asking for something perfectly reasonable: for your therapist to listen to what you tell her. How did that suddenly get to be your misinterpretation? If she's not hearing you, and she's telling you that you're not feeling unheard, but only experiencing transference, how is she listening?

Maybe part of it is transference, but you know what? Sometimes they're windmills, but they just might be giants.
I'm sorry you're having trouble, and wish I could send you my therapist. She doesn't do a sliding scale, I'm afraid, but she's wonderful. I feel heard, which is not something that always happens with me, but more importantly, if I said that I didn't feel heard -- she would NEVER ask me to back that up, she would tell me that I feel what I feel, validate that feeling. Only after doing that would she consider trying to explore any cognitive distortions adding to that feeling. It wouldn't be helpful to do it the other way around.

Can you explore whether there are other options for you for therapists in your area with a sliding scale? You don't have to change therapists, but wouldn't you feel better knowing that you have options? That you're not settling for, not trapped with, but actually choosing to work with this T?

I hope something in there helped. And I hope I didn't cross any lines towards making you feel worse. I ache that you feel unheard by your own therapist, and it's bringing up some of my own feelings about having been unheard by therapists in the past. Peace.




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