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The course of therapy

Posted by wittgensteinz on May 12, 2010, at 18:01:39

When I entered therapy I was in the depths of a crisis. At the time, it was a means of getting through the immediate future - there was no long-term future at that moment and I had no expectations regarding the course of the therapy.

Now, a few years later, the crisis is over and the therapy is in a different phase. I still have some difficult times but they seem to be more sporadic and I recover quicker. Life is really looking up (I'm a bit hesitant to type this - but I can't deny it) - I see a future ahead of me (a long term future, even).

Until a few months ago I'd been seeing my therapist twice weekly (sometimes 3x weekly, if the need was there). I've now transitioned to once a week. I found it difficult at first and it was more like 3 times in 2 weeks because I invariably asked for extra sessions. But the last month has been different - I didn't request extra sessions - I've become comfortable with the lower frequency.

I remarked about this today in the session, and he seemed pleased I felt that way but also said that as far as he was concerned I could continue to see him indefinitely - for as long as I wanted to - and then qualified that by saying that as long as he didn't die, which triggered me a little - I tend not to dwell on his mortality. Of course the "indefinitely" made me feel content/relieved/welcomed (although he has said something similar before).

Changing to once a week feels a little like stepping down onto the bottom rung of the ladder, one more step down and that's it, the end - that idea made me anxious to make the shift.

After today's session, I thought to myself, "but does that mean you want to go on indefinitely?" - but I don't seem able to answer that. At the moment, this works just fine and it's giving me the support I need to keep me in balance and functioning - so long as that is the case, it makes sense to continue. That to me seems justified. Another thought in my mind is "are you feeling too comfortable?" - maybe I am, but maybe that's ok. Ending therapy seems like an extraordinarily big thing (and I'm writing from the perspective of someone in an intensive long-term therapeutic relationship) - it's not just about stopping, it's about being ready to think about stopping - ready for the necessary grieving process and to stop clinging to the remnants of one's pathology.

I wondered what other people felt about this. I'm sure there are others who are in a situation where they might 'go on indefinitely' or at least 'long-term' - had you planned on this or did it just happen? Do you ever pause to think about it or does it feel comfortable this way? I'm sure on the "outside" some people might find it difficult to understand - that's why I almost never disclose about being in therapy. A lot of therapy nowadays seems to be focused on getting patients (clients) in and out in a minimum number of sessions, and highly goal orientated. When contemplating the inevitable pain of ending the long-term relationship with my therapist (however that works out - he is nearly 70 and I'm in my 20s - so there is almost certainly a finiteness to 'going on indefinitely'), I can see the attraction of a short-term therapy with less intimacy or attachment - not to say that I regret for a split second having opted for this type of therapy - I'm quite sure it's saved my life and the relationship itself was an essential element of that.





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