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Need a Second Opinion (Big Trigger+ Longer Even) mair

Posted by Dinah on February 8, 2008, at 9:28:16

In reply to Re: Need a Second Opinion (Big Trigger+ Long) Daisym, posted by mair on February 8, 2008, at 8:29:29

You know, Mair. I think it's perfectly reasonable for you to be upset and wanting to throw in the towel. Your therapist and pdoc, through no fault of their own, have been the source of so much distress lately that they'd be a reason to send someone to therapy.

The husband of someone you care about committed suicide. Your therapist had months of chemotherapy for cancer. Your therapist got divorced. And even before that you were upset about knowing things your therapist didn't know you knew, right? In a normal relationship it would have been distressing processing those things. In a therapeutic relationship, where you feel uncomfortable about turning the focus on her, and where you make sure to keep firm boundaries, it's even harder processing these things. You've been traumatized by your therapeutic relationships lately, through absolutely no fault of their own.

During Katrina, when my therapist went away to Europe for what amounted to six weeks of no therapy when I needed therapy most, when he needed therapy maybe even more than I did so wasn't at his best, I had an interim therapist I call T3. I was telling T3 my hopes that when he came back we could get back to normal again (even though he had moved three hours away). What she answered felt more like a curse than an intervention. And I am not sure I'll ever forget it for my entire therapy life. She said "But you will always know it happened."

If you stop and think, do you find yourself angry about all these things? About therapists who are mortal and imperfect. About pdocs who weren't able to help their husbands so how can they help you? About what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future? If you are angry about those things, I'd say go ahead and get as angry as you want. Is it fair to your therapist? It doesn't really matter. Therapy is a place where you don't have to check to make sure you're responding in a mature way. It's more important to respond with truth than with correctness.

I hate it whenever my therapist talks about me in a group setting. She probably ought to have left that out in discussing it with you, even if the group was a general one, not a specific one. Maybe especially. You have a specific relationship, not a general one.

It is a real relationship you know. How can it not be after so much time? Even if youve dealt with someone for years on a professional basis rather than in a friendship, there is a layer to the relationship that is real and human. Think back to professional relationships youve had on either side. There might be some that are purely professional, especially if you dont see the other person often. But if you work closely on a professional basis for a long period of time, its impossible for a real relationship not to develop. I guess its the curse and gift of very long term therapy. The trick is that the professional (and you) are supposed to put that aside to concentrate on your issues in the sessions because that *is* the work. Gardenergirl once wrote a post to me that really clarified what was very jumbled in my mind at the time, and causing me a lot of distress. It gave me a framework to think about what was bothering me, and to discuss it with my therapist.

I can see why it would be tempting to leave therapy. But Im not sure this is the right time to decide. It might be a better time to talk to your therapist about how tired you are of navigating discussions about the unique differences between a therapeutic relationship and an IRL one. And how you feel the relationship is too complicated for you and that youd be better off if you didnt have to juggle it all.

And how it would be so d*mn much easier to keep to the pristine lines of a clean purely professional therapeutic relationship if their d*mn lives didnt intrude so much on it.

As far as the obsessions go, they arent terribly logical. The very fact that it happened at all and the graphic images evoked by your knowledge of what did happen will trigger obsessions whatever your feelings about what he did may be. Linehan has a section about watching thoughts go by like leaves on a stream. Ive found it very useful for dealing with obsessions that dont really match what Im thinking and feeling.




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