Posted by Dinah on February 21, 2008, at 18:27:10
In reply to Re: Therapy - Bang for the Buck? » MissK, posted by sunnydays on February 18, 2008, at 22:23:51
I just wanted to add another perspective.
There wasn't anything relevant I didn't tell my therapist within a couple of months. My life is pretty boring and I have no real secrets or trauma in my life.
Yet I didn't trust him for five years, and the work in therapy for those five years was learning to trust him. It wasn't until after that that we delved deeply into issues.
I can't even really say what I mean by that. I know it's true, but I couldn't at all say what exactly it is that's true.
I can kind of get a glimpse of what I mean when I think of some of my other experiences with mental health professionals. I've had a number of psychiatrists and adjunct therapists or temporary therapists over the years. And I've had the experience of seeing their notes or reports, or just hearing them talk. It is absolutely astonishing to me how much they get wrong. I've had reports written based on something I know darn well I never said. I've read actual quotes from myself that were taken out of context to mean something completely different than what they meant when surrounded by what came before and what came after. I took a dissociative disorders questionnaire that said I didn't appreciably dissociate. My therapist admits thinking of me in ways that he'd never think of me today. Of seeing my problems in ways that he now knows are plain wrong.
I think I was right not to trust him. Maybe not for five years. But I was right not to trust him. Any errors I've made with any of those professionals was trusting too much. Well not of trusting too much, because I can't say I ever learned to trust any of them. But of saying too much. Of being too open and letting them stick me in a convenient little box and interpret everything I say based on their preconceptions.
And admittedly I have idiosyncratic ways of expressing myself. The person who wrote the report swearing I said something I know I didn't say, I can see how she might have misinterpreted what I said. Because I express myself with metaphors and arcane expressions sometimes, as well as my own brand of humor. I also have a fair amount of social anxiety, and that can influence how easy it is to understand what I'm saying. And my affect can appear flat, although those who know me best wouldn't say so. I'm not sure whether it's nerves on my part, or just that my facial expressions are more subtle. Even my lack of physical attractiveness can influence people's view of me.
Maybe it's just as simple as that after five years I trusted that my therapist was hearing what I was trying to express. Or that if he didn't, he would say so, or if he didn't say so, I would notice that he didn't understand and ask if I needed to clarify. After five years I trusted him to respond in a way that meant he understood me. To know how best to influence me. And to accept me exactly as I am, so that I was free to change.
Now, maybe it really only took three years. But I know it didn't take as little as six months. :)
And I hope no one blames him for that. He was better than any of the others. Because at least he was open to the possibility that he was wrong.