Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 323332

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Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Tancred62

Posted by gabbix2 on March 17, 2004, at 20:40:45

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.., posted by Tancred62 on March 17, 2004, at 19:17:54

> In short, I'm disgusted.

So?

 

Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Tancred62

Posted by spoc on March 17, 2004, at 21:28:57

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.., posted by Tancred62 on March 17, 2004, at 19:17:54

> This is all rather queer (in the original sense of the term). And this is why I am very skeptical about "Ts" and their position of power in therapy. Why are people so obsessed with "love"? I understand that long conversations with empathetic therapists (why give themthe capital "T"?)have the potential to create illusions of love, but this is not very constructive. I also feel that many "Ts" take advantage of the situation and ride an ego trip at the expense of vulnerable patients. I thought this board was about mutual help and respect, not about what are the best clothes to wear on sessions with an alleged "therapist." In short, I'm disgusted.

Tancred62, I think what's going on here is an example of the psychological theory of "transference" in action. Ironic that right out of the gate I ended up on this thread, but I have just stopped talk therapy with a psychiatrist who admittedly made anticipation of that effect in general too much a part of his method for my tastes.

I believe transference theory maintains that a patient's issues with a person or a category of people in their "real" lives will play out on the therapist, and through that end up being exposed and resolved. Could be family, bosses or authority figures, friends, lovers. Transference can be "positive" (e.g. idealizing someone, perhaps prematurely or when unwarranted, inadvisable, unreturned, etc; or after having previous problems with getting/feeling/expressing love); or "negative" (e.g. perceiving insults, attacks and bad treatment that aren't there).

Different types of therapists believe transference occurs, and/or is relevant, to different extents. I believe psychiatrists/psychoanalysts are more likely to see it as a key element in therapy. *Anyway* the point I want to make is that the reactions you are reading about here are probably exactly how it's "supposed" to be. The misplaced or buried feelings ultimately get redirected in healthier ways in the person's real life. Meaning, we can't assume that these therapists are asking for it, encouraging it, or handling it inappropriately. These perceptions are often superimposed on them as they sit there. They know how to recognize and track the phenomena as it progresses and (ideally) is resolved by the patient. That's how the underlying issue that it came from gets treated.

But hey, maybe sometimes a crush is just a crush! Like you said -- easy to feel for a confidante. But in either case it's plenty likely that the therapists aren't misbehaving. Oh -- and I think the "T" just denotes the person being referred to more clearly in a sentence than a small "t." Similar to "therp," "pdoc," etc. but even easier.

 

Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Tancred62

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 17, 2004, at 21:55:53

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.., posted by Tancred62 on March 17, 2004, at 19:17:54

Hey, where's your sense of humor - or fun? The work I do with my "T" is tremendously serious and powerful; things are happening in my hours which should be and will always be private, but which are immensely helpful to me in my quest to be as true to myself as I can, and to live as full a life as I can- those are the reasons I am going. The emotions I feel in those hours range from joy, passion, rage and despair- to quiet happiness and understanding. This work is so hard that it was just a lot of fun to kind of "play" with Fallen about the clothes. I'm surprised you don't understand that.

 

Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Pfinstegg

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 17, 2004, at 22:22:53

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Tancred62, posted by Pfinstegg on March 17, 2004, at 21:55:53

You know P, humor , fun and play have been a topic of discussion by me and my T he feels that it's NEEDED more by adults not days cause it helps balance all the rest of the issues in life. Also my next outfit....teal short dress silk and nice....black heels and cold feet lol cause it is gonna snow :p

 

Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Fallen4myT

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 17, 2004, at 22:36:54

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Pfinstegg, posted by Fallen4myT on March 17, 2004, at 22:22:53

Wow, F. A short teal silk dress with black heels sounds gorgeous! Have fun it in it!

I wore my new white camisole with an OPEN jacket today, He knew i was going to wear something a little different, because i had printed out our exchanges for him. He said he loved the humor and the *play* in the printouts, and although he didn't directly compliment me, he did say that he was glad that I felt confident and free enough to dress a bit differently. All this just took a minute or two, and was part of one of those really GREAT sessions- you know the kind I mean!

 

Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Pfinstegg

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 17, 2004, at 22:52:48

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Fallen4myT, posted by Pfinstegg on March 17, 2004, at 22:36:54

He knew before so you emailed them not handed them to him :) I bet he got a lol out of us and our clothes issues...OMG I wonder what all I said...hahaha DID HE SEE the beads deal? Man this is toooo funny and I bet you looked smashing ...You're brave, you now both talk the talk and wear the garb :P WTG, you DID it :) I am way proud and yes he was too and I am sure he STOOD up and took notice no doubt :)

 

Re: sayng what you are feelng..

Posted by Tancred62 on March 18, 2004, at 8:22:17

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.. Tancred62, posted by Pfinstegg on March 17, 2004, at 21:55:53

Well thank you all for your comments. I was aware of the concept (some would say actual dynamic) of transference, but it seems that since the last time I heard/talked about it (15 years ago), it has really come into its own and is now a "standard" approach, for better and for worse. I suppose what "disgusted" me in the thread was that the banter reminded me of teenagers talking about their latest "crush" and the latest fashion statements they had and were about to make. I assume your point here would be "That's exactly what we were talking about, and there's nothing wrong with that!" Hey, that's fine. Nonetheless, I had to cringe at the dialogue because it seemed to reinforce many of the stereotypes about women (obsessions with clothes, boys, gossip, etc.). If that is what transference has wrought for you, it seems a bit trivial; but again, perhaps their is more substance to what I see as trivial. Perhaps I am so unfamiliar with transference that I am missing the whole point. I do have a sense of humor, and I even have to admit that I'd rather see a woman in a nice outfit, looking "sexy," rather than seeing a woman in a frumpy outfit in which she looks like #$#$%. There. That's my stereotypical male view. I guess we're all susceptible to being a cliche. And at least your discourse has a light, airy happiness about it. Can I assume that heterosexual women would prefer, or would have more success with, a heterosexual male therapist? And what about men? Would they be better off with a woman therapist? I've always wondered about that. I've had both in the past, and each really seemed to have no clue. I always felt that they either didn't "get" it or that they actually were more neurotic than myself.

Peace.

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. Tancred62

Posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 12:42:13

In reply to Re: sayng what you are feelng.., posted by Tancred62 on March 18, 2004, at 8:22:17

So many really serious things I want to look into at this site, yet here I go posting to this thread again!! I guess I need to work through having just spent so much emotion and ungodly $$$$ in what was for me the wrong kind of therapy. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the kind the women here are in, but this thread brought up a common aspect of them all for me.

You said:

> Well thank you all for your comments. I was aware of the concept (some would say actual dynamic) of transference, but it seems that since the last time I heard/talked about it (15 years ago), it has really come into its own and is now a "standard" approach, for better and for worse.

Probably only with practitioners (often psychiatrists) of psychoanalysis. My assumption too was that transference *as KEY* was a concept from the past. That was why I was so shocked to find that I had sat through over two months of my only "treatment" being the anticipation from my pdoc that as he sat there I *would* (meaning no discussion to the contrary allowed) make him into -- and treat/react to him -- the same way I do to all the major types of players in my life.

Anyway it sounds from the posts here that these women have warmer, fuzzier interactions with their therapists, because when you're only seen as a stimulus-response lab organism, you know it! So theirs probably aren't "analysts," meaning they probably recognize but don't necessarily look for or "need" to see transference happening to perform their magic. Here, it's probably not the case that it's being applied "to" these women. When a therapist really *does* feel to a patient like a particular person/persons in their life, that part of it probably initiates from the patients themselves. I think my initial purpose in posting was kind of to ask whether the women realized that they may be transfering (and perceiving reciprocation of) their romantic feelings to an idealized, "conflict/reality-free" target; rather than experiencing unique compatibility/attraction with a specific individual.

I've been talking out of both sides of my face on this thread, but at first I thought maybe they should consider that in case their therapists weren't practiced in this "technique" and wouldn't end up helping them avoid being hurt by what would feel like a break up/rejection. Later I thought, the "T" has a plan that may not involve a stranger on a thread disclosing that there is no Santa Claus. Lastly I thought, maybe these women do know why they're really feeling what they're feeling but are just choosing to have fun with it in the moment. I have no idea if that's good. When I felt the "love" I laughed at myself and stuffed it right back in its cage. Never allowed myself to dress any differently. Didn't want to play into a classic pattern that therapists can spot a mile away (and in this case mine would have been right for the only time about when my transfered issues were at play). But maybe that is a sign of how I deprive myself or repress myself in real life! See, around and around the circle of reasoning goes. And indeed the "fruition" was that I saw I had projected ideal character on him based on nothing...So maybe I learned from that.

You said:

> I suppose what "disgusted" me in the thread was that the banter reminded me of teenagers talking about their latest "crush" and the latest fashion statements they had and were about to make. I assume your point here would be "That's exactly what we were talking about, and there's nothing wrong with that!" Hey, that's fine. Nonetheless, I had to cringe at the dialogue because it seemed to reinforce many of the stereotypes about women (obsessions with clothes, boys, gossip, etc.). If that is what transference has wrought for you, it seems a bit trivial; but again, perhaps their is more substance to what I see as trivial. Perhaps I am so unfamiliar with transference that I am missing the whole point.

Guessing again, but the above could be an exact illustration of what COULD BE "healed" by a therapist making use of the transference that really seems to be occurring in these cases. Tendencies to stay in the teenage mode of "falling in love" (infatuation not grounded in reality) and end up disappointed. Tendencies not to overcome the things women do that hurt themselves and hold them back in the long run. If someone could start therapy already knowing which of their chronic, self-destructive/disillusioning tendencies to reign in and how, they wouldn't be there! AND here's another guess -- some people may go to therapy because they have lost or never had the ability to love or feel sexual/sexy, and even to just play and flirt as they are talking about. Not being able to bring those things to our lives is actually pretty serious. Maybe they need to learn or relearn how to do that with their partners. In that case, if transference works right, the newly learned skills developed in a safe environment with their therapists will ultimately get redirected to where they should/could be in the person's real life.

No kind of actual "relations" are to take place of course. But taking it a step further for illustration purposes **only,** think of the one (bad?) analogy of how transference works that all laypeople seem to understand: a sex therapist. We all know that person is there to help someone who has been unable to perform in their real life to resolve their issues, so that they can ultimately move on.

On the seventy-third hand, everyone is human and we can only hope that the vast majority of therapists handle crushes constructively or at least so as not to cause damage. Who knows what could actually be going on here.

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 16:01:11

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. Tancred62, posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 12:42:13

I do go to a psychoanalyst- but a contemporary "relational" one. We explore all the feelings which come up between us- and understanding and working with them is the most important thing we do. The contemporary thinking is that out pre-conscious and unconscious feelings are laid down in early life in our right hemispheres by the relationships we had then. So- here's where the "relational" part comes in - the patient and therapist need to allow their right hemispheres to interact. In this way, we find out how we truly felt as children, but we have an opportunity to allow that part of the brain to develop new and healthier ways of interacting with other people. Recent research has actually shown that people with abuse and/or neglect in their childhoolds have smaller right hemispheres, with many fewer neurons connecting to the fear centers in the limbic system- they are much less able to use their right cortexes to calm down their tendencies to react to small stressors with extreme fear, rage, dissociation or hopelessness. But, this research has also shown that vital parts of the right frontal cortex are "plastic:- capable of growing throughout life. Modern therapists utilize this knowledge to help patients grow through the relationships they develop with their therapists. The relationship aspect has become so central that the word "transference" really doesn't begin to describe the new thinking about this.The clothes thing with Fallen was just plain fun, and had to do with doing things in a new, happier way. But we are also dealing with immensely painful things and trying to do our best to grow beyond them. For one person, having intensely loving and erotic feelings may be central to their growth. For another, something else might be more important- such as developing basic trust in another human being. For a lot of us, all these things are included at different times. You can be sure we are not wasting our time on frivolities! Like you, and everyone else, we want to live the fullest, richest lives we can.

As to the gender of a therapist, I';d say - choose the one you think would mean the most to you. Women (sadly the majority on Psychobabble) have had very meaningful and successful experiences with both sexes, and men are surely the same.

 

Therapists and compassion/interaction Pfinstegg

Posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 18:22:39

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 16:01:11

[New title for thread, "Saying what you are feeling"!]

Wow, did he share all that process information with you? It chokes me up to have it confirmed for me how short things were falling, due to total lack of information, communication, reactions, humanity or even due process as intended. The pain was not a result of the necessary pressure and conflict implicit in classic analysis. The application was flawed, period. But he's in that "position of authority" so I am still reeling and my next therapist, if any, will have that baggage to deal with too. Summary:

I had a window of relatively huge enthusiasm when I began, due to finally taking action. I had faith and the cards were absolutely stacked in his favor. "Hi, I'm here to dig out of paralyzing depression (and OCD, ADD, whatever) and build self esteem so I can accomplish something." I stated repeatedly that I wanted to face the bad but definitely employ some CBT-like aspects and formulate baby steps ASAP. Right there he could have told me I was in the wrong place.

He asked background questions for two sessions, then went absolutely and permanently mute, including devoid of facial expressions. Weeks pass, I talk to myself. The good, the bad, the ugly. Professing pain but taking responsibility for most of it. And trying to also occasionally mention the positive things I cling to about myself that I hope I could build on in future careers or relationships. I repeatedly request, but don't get, feedback or perspective. I truly am talking to a cardboard cut-out. Excuse me -- once he said "ick" in reference to one of my life experiences. That's not sarcasm, that's truly the full script of any compassion he ever showed. And in the end I asked him to correct me if I was wrong on that.

He deflects me when I ask if my thought processes about anything in particular seem good/accurate, and when I ask for any feedback in general. But he does start dangling some harsh and groundless speculations, phrased as foregone conclusions rather than open-ended hypotheses. When I ask what it is I said/did that lead him to say those things, across the board he knits his brow and replies only, "The important thing is why it MATTERS to you what I think." He had taken the hastily gathered and admittedly true seed that I am oversensitive and made it the driving force behind everything, so it became a catch 22 impasse. He would say/answer/justify nothing about his own responses or lack of them, but if I asked for any discussion whatsoever he would only frame the asking itself as proving his point. After weeks of this I began telling him that to have someone in his position react this way was contributing to a nosedive in depression and self-doubt heretofore unreached. No response.

Finally I studied up a bit myself and saw that it is indeed I-M-P-E-R-A-T-I-V-E to the process that the differing perceptions of the two parties as to what was just said and what just happened get addressed and hashed out *immediately.* I pointed that out to him but still no change. Also, I know classic analysis (which at 2x per week this supposedly wasn't) isn't about positive thinking techniques and the like, but in the end I asked him sincerely to please remind me of anything anything anything anything at all that he had ever said or reinforced that was positive in nature (HE: "Uh... I've laughed at your humor sometimes haven't I?"). Or to explain to me how it is that even a "normal" person wouldn't also eventually perceive negativity if someone ignores their requests for dialogue (or even facial expressions) long enough -- but does pipe up with poorly extrapolated bad stuff they won't connect to anything. He could think of no answer. He tried to use his masterful deflection skills here too, and when finally pinned down, began saying he would have to think about it and answer me next time. But "next time," would say the same thing. And just as I -- the layperson -- had long before warned him, by the time he did try to have the conversation with me our recollections were so divergent it was hopeless. But he had still been unable to even use paraphrasing as fact in his attempted answer; it was all just lost.

Thanks for listening, obviously I had other things going on than lending an opinion to the clothing discussion. And bear with me, Bob board, it probably ain't over yet.

_______________
>> I do go to a psychoanalyst- but a contemporary "relational" one. We explore all the feelings which come up between us- and understanding and working with them is the most important thing we do. The contemporary thinking is that out pre-conscious and unconscious feelings are laid down in early life in our right hemispheres by the relationships we had then. So- here's where the "relational" part comes in - the patient and therapist need to allow their right hemispheres to interact. In this way, we find out how we truly felt as children, but we have an opportunity to allow that part of the brain to develop new and healthier ways of interacting with other people. Recent research has actually shown that people with abuse and/or neglect in their childhoolds have smaller right hemispheres, with many fewer neurons connecting to the fear centers in the limbic system- they are much less able to use their right cortexes to calm down their tendencies to react to small stressors with extreme fear, rage, dissociation or hopelessness. But, this research has also shown that vital parts of the right frontal cortex are "plastic:- capable of growing throughout life. Modern therapists utilize this knowledge to help patients grow through the relationships they develop with their therapists. The relationship aspect has become so central that the word "transference" really doesn't begin to describe the new thinking about this.The clothes thing with Fallen was just plain fun, and had to do with doing things in a new, happier way. But we are also dealing with immensely painful things and trying to do our best to grow beyond them. For one person, having intensely loving and erotic feelings may be central to their growth. For another, something else might be more important- such as developing basic trust in another human being. For a lot of us, all these things are included at different times. You can be sure we are not wasting our time on frivolities! Like you, and everyone else, we want to live the fullest, richest lives we can.
>
> As to the gender of a therapist, I';d say - choose the one you think would mean the most to you. Women (sadly the majority on Psychobabble) have had very meaningful and successful experiences with both sexes, and men are surely the same.

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction spoc

Posted by pegasus on March 18, 2004, at 18:43:21

In reply to Therapists and compassion/interaction Pfinstegg, posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 18:22:39

Holy smokes, spoc, that sounds horrible! I'm so sorry that you had that experience. So, am I correct in understanding that you are no longer working with this person? May I ask how long you were with him? Frankly, I'd report him to the BBB or something. Someone let me know if I'm just missing how something like this could possibly help someone.

Spoc, I hope you have an opportunity to have a much better therapy experience in the future.

- p

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction spoc

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 19:28:37

In reply to Therapists and compassion/interaction Pfinstegg, posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 18:22:39

Oh, Spoc -what a horrible experience! He was obviously not aware of all the amazing things which were learned during "the decade of the brain" (the 90's). You sound like you have a lot of positive things going for you, and could easily have a wonderful therapy experience with the right person. The relational aspects are now consider so primary in importance, that, when you look for a new therapist, why not interview several, and ask them questions about how important they consider it? Find out how comfortable and skilled they are with the new interactive techniques. Take your time, and don't sign up for therapy with anyone until it feel intuitively right to you. You're the consumer, and are entitled to the best!

PS I had a bad prior therapy experience, also, so I began learning about the relational aspects on my own. The analyst I chose knew a tremendous amount about it, and has since shared with me new things as he is learning them. I feel that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that right hemisphere mutual interaction is THE curative factor. It can be taxing on the therapist, so you want to evaluate at the beginning whether you think they will be able to provide you with a really good experience.

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi

Posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 22:09:15

In reply to Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction spoc, posted by pegasus on March 18, 2004, at 18:43:21

Thanks so much you guys! I'm new here and hope I end up helping some people feel better too, as your words did for me.

Pfinstegg, I learned a lot from you. It will be of untold value in what I look for -- and get -- next. I didn't know any of that. As I mentioned way earlier, I kept myself naive going in, thinking I'd do better without "preconceived notions." Boy, was I wrong. NOW I see why I was meant to end up on this thread! :- )

Pegasus, I scaled down to requesting a meds-only relationship with that pdoc, since he should at least know me well enough by now to better address any meds with me. I want that only until I make a switch. I hope at least that much can come from this, but so far looks like he defaults to straight SSRIs. Which I told him during my initial inquiry haven't worked before and I'm not interested in using again, at least alone.

I "only" saw him for close to three months. I hear that's nothing for those experienced in the sometimes daunting quest for help. But it was my first and way late real effort, after hitting an amazing new low for a year. I was vulnerable and needed a degree of warmth, any degree, at least initially. I was not unrealistic or expecting a quick fix by any means. And I know this is the chance we take and I have probably only just begun to understand the horrific associated debt, but I have no insurance coverage for this and an urban pdoc twice a week for (45 minute) hours added up to say the least. Would have been well justified debt to carry if it had been at all helpful, but now will be a longstanding and painful reminder of failure as I pay it off.

It's hard to make peace with this kind of experience because you keep telling yourself they're the expert, and that after all, it IS supposed to be unconscious stuff they're unearthing. I tried relentlessly to corral things in his favor. Now I try relentlessly not to, since it would only have taught me to let someone else tell me who I am on all counts. And to be submissive, even when the other party is wrong and it's making me sick(er). But I do think his posture is well within the spectrum of what happens out there. Maybe some analysts dispense with the nuances of a proper and fair technique/approach over time, but with them are in reality throwing away the ability to end up studying what they think they are studying in the patient. Rather, they are adding factors and skewing the results without knowing it.

Thanks again both of you! ;- )

---------
[Pegasus]
> Holy smokes, spoc, that sounds horrible! I'm so sorry that you had that experience. So, am I correct in understanding that you are no longer working with this person? May I ask how long you were with him? Frankly, I'd report him to the BBB or something. Someone let me know if I'm just missing how something like this could possibly help someone.> Spoc, I hope you have an opportunity to have a much better therapy experience in the future.>

[Pfinstegg]
> Oh, Spoc -what a horrible experience! He was obviously not aware of all the amazing things which were learned during "the decade of the brain" (the 90's). You sound like you have a lot of positive things going for you, and could easily have a wonderful therapy experience with the right person. The relational aspects are now consider so primary in importance, that, when you look for a new therapist, why not interview several, and ask them questions about how important they consider it? Find out how comfortable and skilled they are with the new interactive techniques. Take your time, and don't sign up for therapy with anyone until it feel intuitively right to you. You're the consumer, and are entitled to the best!

> PS I had a bad prior therapy experience, also, so I began learning about the relational aspects on my own. The analyst I chose knew a tremendous amount about it, and has since shared with me new things as he is learning them. I feel that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that right hemisphere mutual interaction is THE curative factor. It can be taxing on the therapist, so you want to evaluate at the beginning whether you think they will be able to provide you with a really good experience.


 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc

Posted by Fallen4myT on March 18, 2004, at 22:59:51

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. Tancred62, posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 12:42:13

Spoc I am not as articulate and smart as it seems most of the posters in here are including you. My posts are kind of basic and to the point. I am so sorry you had a bad experience with that T and it sounds really aweful. I would be jaded too but PLEASE keep an open mind cause there are GOOD once out there..really. Like one of the others said you are the consumer..you gotta SHOP till you find the right FIT :p PUNS Included :)

Tancred62, you seemed a bit concerned about some T's and how they may take advantange of some people ..women like me maybe with our clothes etc.....please as far as me do not be concerned because I cannot be taken advantage:) Plus my T is really a GOOD T and a PRO and very respected in our area...He has been a T a long time and I have had nothing but good treatment from him. Do not judge a book by its cover..I may look good and have fun but I am very protective of me..but thanks

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. Pfinstegg

Posted by DaisyM on March 18, 2004, at 23:33:53

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Pfinstegg on March 18, 2004, at 16:01:11

We spend a ton of time on "our" relationship too...it is nice to know the brain information. I always like to know the "whys".

We also talk about early attachment interruptions and the fact that therapy can repair those if the Therapist stands steady and true. It is taxing on them, they encourage the attachment and then must withstand the terrible neediness that crops up. My Therapist has evolved into my "safe base" in attachment speak and I am learning to trust that this base is secure. That means lots of contact and we immediately address anything that effects the connection we are building, which can be really hard. Talking about my feelings for my Therapist means being honest about my fears about not deserving therapy, or his support. eew-ick...that is hard for me. The fact that he is so available to me makes it easier in some ways and harder in others.

I can't imagine a blank slate. I would have run and never come back. I need reassurance that at least that I'm going in the right direction and I need my brain fed with the theoretical as well as intepretations of what I am presenting. I also need someone to remind me why I need therapy when it gets really hard and I want to run from it. I guess I need "permission" sometimes to do things for myself that feel self-indulgent.

I also don't think gender matters. It is how you relate to whom you are working with.

 

Questions about transference

Posted by lonelygirl on March 19, 2004, at 2:00:16

In reply to Do you and your t. say l love you ever?, posted by KindGirl on March 11, 2004, at 18:06:26

Hmm, where to begin? I have been to several psychologists and psychiatrists over the last 10 years or so, never of my own volition. My parents forced me in jr. high and high school and even now (I am in college), make me take Prozac and go to a psychiatrist for refills a couple of times a year (except I don't actually take the meds, but that's another whole topic, I guess!).

Anyway, I recently got in trouble at school and was forced to go to counseling at the student health center as my punishment. The way it works there is that one goes to an initial consultation/evaluation, and if recommended for treatment, one goes on a waiting list and is assigned to the next counselor with an opening. My initial consultation was with a psychologist who had recently (about 6 months earlier) earned his Ph.D. from the same school, but did not have a license.

Between the time of my consultation and getting on the waiting list, he had finished his licensing requirements, so I got assigned to him (actually, he later told me that he had requested for me to be assigned to him). He recommended 6 sessions. Needless to say, I was not happy about the circumstances of being forced to go to counseling, and I just wanted to get it over with. That, combined with the fact that I am a very reserved person, made me a bit uncooperative. I didn't have a very good opinion of psychologists in general, so I didn't have a very positive attitude about the counseling (or the psychologist himself) from the beginning, but I thought the psychologist was nice, so I gradually became more and more comfortable with him. By the time the mandatory counseling was over, I had begun to feel attracted to him, and though I had intended all along to stop after I finished my "sentence," I would miss him too much, so I ended up continuing anyway.

Well, that was a long-winded background to introduce my actual question... I have not told him how I feel about him, and I am actually quite embarrassed about feeling this way. Searching on this phenomenon was actually what brought me to this web site. I had never realized that this "transference" was so common, accepted, and even welcomed by some psychologists. Still, I definitely do not feel comfortable telling this guy how I feel (he is married, by the way, and I know there is no chance of an actual relationship with him) -- especially because I am overweight and unattractive and have been rejected by every guy I have ever liked.

I feel tortured by these feelings that I can't even tell him. I know that he does not feel this way about me, and I suspect that he may actually DISLIKE me. I told him about my latter suspicion, and he tried to convince me that it was not true. He complimented me in very personal, meaningful, and seemingly sincere ways that only cemented my feelings for him. He also said that he feels "drawn to" me when I open up to him (because I was very reserved and unforthcoming initially) and he feels "close to" me when I talk about things with him. But he has certainly never said anything close to "I love you," and I get the feeling he would be uncomfortable with that surfacing from me. I know that his theoretical orientation is in cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychology, and I have read in a couple of places that cognitive-behavioral does not believe in "transference." Is this true? If so, how does the cognitive-behavioral approach (or the interpersonal approach) consider these types of feelings of a patient for her psychologist? What is recommended by this approach when these feelings occur? I was advised by someone at another web site (a M.SW. therapist) to consider seeing a female psychologist instead because my feelings for my male psychologist are "sabotaging" the therapy.

I hope somebody made it through this long, rambling post and will be kind enough to respond... thanks.

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi spoc

Posted by Crooked Heart on March 19, 2004, at 4:16:23

In reply to Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi, posted by spoc on March 18, 2004, at 22:09:15

Hi Spoc

I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Falling into therapy" by Anna Sands. The author's experience sounds very similar to yours. Her first experience of therapy with a rigidly psychoanalytic therapist left her disoriented, undermined, her confidence shattered; a teacher and author of educational textbooks, she was for a while unable to function. (Her mental health previously had been OK, she went into therapy to help her 'become a better wife and mother'.)

She later went to a therapist with a very different approach and had a much happier and very productive experience.

This book was published in the UK. I'm not sure whether it would be available in the US without a whopping postal charge. In fact, it might be too depressing to read anyway :( If you're interested I'll try to do a summary when I've finished reading it. (Could be a while, I should *not* even be posting here now, there are deadlines I need to meet.) I suppose what I'm thinking is that it's such a relief when you find that you're not the only one, that other people have had similar experiences.

That you still have to PAY for this in money as well makes it that much worse. What would happen if you refused to?

 

Re: saying what you are feeling.. Fallen4myT

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 8:11:39

In reply to Re: saying what you are feeling.. spoc, posted by Fallen4myT on March 18, 2004, at 22:59:51

Fallen, I think good common sense is a big part of being smart, so your reply sounded plenty smart to me! And funny how the grass is always greener....I would love to be able to be "to the point"! Sometimes it feels like not knowing the language when you start out having only one or two main things you need to say, but it turns into a tree with extensive branches that is giving you a headache and backing up your day! And complicated is not always better, or necessary. I respect how you could post about how you were enjoying the play and lighter side of your therapist interactions without feeling the need to give background and explain the more serious details for strangers happening by. I couldn't do that. Anyway, yes I will keep (or rekindle) the faith, and you guys have helped with that! : )

> Spoc I am not as articulate and smart as it seems most of the posters in here are including you. My posts are kind of basic and to the point. I am so sorry you had a bad experience with that T and it sounds really aweful. I would be jaded too but PLEASE keep an open mind cause there are GOOD once out there..really. Like one of the others said you are the consumer..you gotta SHOP till you find the right FIT :p PUNS Included :)
>
> Tancred62, you seemed a bit concerned about some T's and how they may take advantange of some people ..women like me maybe with our clothes etc.....please as far as me do not be concerned because I cannot be taken advantage:) Plus my T is really a GOOD T and a PRO and very respected in our area...He has been a T a long time and I have had nothing but good treatment from him. Do not judge a book by its cover..I may look good and have fun but I am very protective of me..but thanks
>
>

 

Re: Questions about transference lonelygirl

Posted by Pfinstegg on March 19, 2004, at 9:28:58

In reply to Questions about transference, posted by lonelygirl on March 19, 2004, at 2:00:16

Hi. I thought it was very encouraging- what you wrote about how you initially felt resistant to therapy, but are now beginning to feel some attachment to your T. You would naturally worry about disclosure of sexual feelings, but it's a natural, healthy thing to feel them, and eventually (when you are ready) it will help you even more to disclose them. It's a good feeling to know that they are accepted (even if, in his counter-transference, he had the same feelings for you, he wouldn't tell you or act on them). Your goal is to develop your self-confidence, and remove the self-defeating feelings you have so that you get to have your own great life- sex included! You are only at the beginning of your journey, but you have already done the hardest thing- to begin to trust your T.

 

Re: Questions about transference

Posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 9:47:28

In reply to Re: Questions about transference lonelygirl, posted by Pfinstegg on March 19, 2004, at 9:28:58

I've already established myself as a cynic (I'll respond to your last post, winged one) and a skeptic, so forgive me if I offend anyone. I suppose my role here is to be that questioning person, the one that gets on your nerves but might make you think. I think Dinah mentioned the importance of such people. And thank you spoc, for your rational analysis on transference. I was thinking all last night, and now, after reading lonelygirl's post, thinking more this morning, that this dynamic known as transference has some problematic paradoxes. One of these paradoxes involves the simultaneity of therapy and fantasy. I realize that some would say that such fantasy (imagining a romantic relationship with the therapist, etc.) is the whole point, and that a good therapist would use that aspect of the therapist/patient relationship to work through past issues and establish new behavior, but at what emotional cost? In one sense, the relationship becomes a sort of play-acting, where therapist and patient (I refer here only to the male therapist/female patient relationship) engage in romantic attachment, flirtation, longing, etc., all for the goal of "repairing" the brain. After reading lonelygirl's post, I can't see how yet another rejection would help her situation. I also don't think that a man in power (therapist) can maintain impartiality when he knows (and most men know) his woman patient sees him and/or his attention as an object of desire. It just seems to duplicate the very dysfunction the patient is trying to mend. I've heard the rhetoric that "good" or "professional" therapists that know how to use transference can control the situation and use the emotional dynamic to advantage, but why should we assume that they are any less human than the patient? Reading lonelygirl's post (that name is truly ironic) one would assume she is talking about a male friend at work, the married guy next door, or the UPS man.

Now I will lurch in the other direction. I once had a woman therapist that was so resistant to ANY notion of intimacy between me and her that it bordered on the ludicrous. How on earth was I (or she) supposed to deny the fact that we were a man and a woman talking about my most intimate feelings? In other words, I was not ALLOWED to ask her any questions about how SHE felt about men, sexuality, her view about relationships, etc. It was all a one-way street where I poured out my feelings to what seemed like a automaton of a therapist. "If you see me downtown don't talk to me. We are not friends." Oh, OK, I'll remember that next time I tell you everything I'm feeling. Jeez! What a joke. What made things worse was that I could not deny (to myself) my attraction to her physically (sexually?). Nonetheless, she was very unattractive as a person; she was, in fact, not a person but anthropomorphic manual. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I completely understand how a more intimate relationship with a therapist could be a good thing. I suppose the ultimate ideal would be to have a therapist as a committed lover (who would talk to you for free!). So, here I am, contradicting myself. But in imagining myself having a more intimate woman therapist I foresee a problem if I wanted to have some transference with her. I think the relationship, and therefore its effects on me, would inevitably be nullified by the intrinsic dynamic between men and woman when they become intimate. I don't see how any real therapy would result. Which brings me full circle to the problem when the patient and the therapist try to use intimacy as a way to healing or improvement. Is there a happy medium?

 

Re: Questions about transference lonelygirl

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 9:48:21

In reply to Questions about transference, posted by lonelygirl on March 19, 2004, at 2:00:16

Lonelygirl, this worked out well because you had posted on the thread called "I think my psychiatrist doesn't like me..." and I was going to reply there but then here you are! I pasted some of the other version of your post first, since there was additional stuff in it. Replied to both then pasted the version from this thread all at the bottom. Hope that's ok.

>> Anyway, I have been going to a psychiatrist for, oh, about 10 years, I think? My parents forced me when I was in jr. high and high school. They also forced me to go to a psychologist for several years, but eventually, that stopped and it was just the psychiatrist for the meds (I've been on Zoloft and Ritalin, Welbutrin, and currently Prozac). I go maybe 2 or 3 times a year for refills. She asks her standard questions (How are "things" going? Are you having any suicidal thoughts? Etc.) and I give her all the standard answers (Fine; no; etc.) and she gives me the prescription...> It makes my parents happy, but I don't even take the meds. Nobody seems to know the difference, including the psychiatrist. I gave up on psychology/psychiatry a long time ago, because it seemed like they just wanted to shove meds down my throat to "solve" my problems, which obviously does NOT solve my problems. Also, it seems kind of wrong to me that this woman just refills my prescription without even thinking about it or evaluating its effectiveness (or lack thereof). I was not under the impression that this is how "treatment" is supposed to go.
======
I don't think that IS how combination treatment (half talk and half meds) should go! Sounds like you were diverted from the talking part prematurely and put only into a "med management" maintenance thing. I wouldn't get disillusioned from how it went down, maybe as a "youth" decisions are made for us that aren't right. Once on med management only, a pdoc probably has somewhat limited evaluation tools beyond the kinds of questions she is asking you, due to the few minutes you meet for. If they were to do something more extensive it would also cost a lot more for more of their time. But in that kind of meds-only relationship, if you feel something is being under-evaluated, maybe it's the psychotherapist "half" that needs to be revisited. You mentioned in your other post that this pdoc and your current psychotherapist don't know about each other. I'm not sure how -- if ever -- this works, but maybe you could request for them to "pair" for you. OR -- since this pdoc is irrelevant to you and you don't take the meds, maybe you could just go with whoever the campus doc would use, if you are interested in trying meds again....

(now replying to your post on this thread)
I don't know if CBT "embraces" transference as relevant, but I kind of think not. I think it acknowledges that feelings do cross over sometimes, but not necessarily, and that it's not a key element for addressing issues.

Regarding your feelings for your current doc, I never did get to the part either where I really understand HOW it's supposed to be that transferred romantic feelings get redirected into the person's real life and they end up better for it. Maybe this is an opportunity for you to work through what has felt like rejection from men. For instance if initial idealization has anything to do with it, maybe you'll see why you "pick" who you do and why it ends up hurting. (Armchair logic, watch out!) BUT -- actually I wonder if it might take specific training and/or *experience* for a therapist to make constructive use of the patient's feelings or even to handle them so that pain is minimized. Your campus doc sounds like a nice and compassionate person but maybe you should get another unbiased professional opinion, say from someone you wouldn't actually be switching to, on whether a change might be better. Unless you are in therapy with the kind of fabulous-sounding, "relational" practitioner that some of the women on this thread have mentioned (who make use of the transference), I can't see either how progress doesn't get sabotaged (of course a classic analyst like the one I was unloading about welcomes transference too, but don't go there, it's not handled with care). Maybe there is a common life theme in there you really should work through, but perhaps not first, with someone inexperienced? Could you bring yourself to, after getting another opinion, ask the campus doc flat out if for your own sake maybe you should switch?

Tidbit: I used to think of transference as the romantic thing only. Now I know from my analysis experience that it is any feeling, absolutely bad ones too. I don't think I ever gave off strong -- if any signs -- when I was feeling attraction ("positive" transference). But as if everything would play out on cue in accordance with the textbook model of transference in general, my pdoc forced situations in order to believe he was feeling to me like all the key problematic figures in my life (whom he identified and overgeneralized about based on two initial sessions). I.E.:

HE: (In instances of speaking at all) "MMmmm, now I feel like a scary boss to you..." "Now I feel like a judgmental peer to you...." etc.

ME: Uh, no, actually you don't...

HE: [in essence] OVERRULED! And why does it matter to you if I think that...

ME: Becauuuuuse...you're wrong and we should clear it up?

HE: OVERRRULED! My you're paranoid! (I'm paraphrasing big time for sure)

Anyway those would be examples of "negative" transference (if he was right about feeling like those people to me, that is).

(other thread again)
>> Nobody answered the question about what "pdoc" means! I have a pretty good guess that it's psychiatrist...

That was and still is my guess too!

-------------
>> Anyway, I recently got into some trouble at school (I am in college) and was forced to go to counseling at the student health center as my punishment.... I just wanted to get it over with. That, combined with the fact that I am a very reserved person, made me a bit uncooperative. I didn't have a very good opinion of psychologists in general, so I didn't have a very positive attitude about the counseling (or the psychologist himself) from the beginning, but I thought the psychologist was nice, so I gradually became more and more comfortable with him. By the time the mandatory counseling was over, I had begun to feel attracted to him, and though I had intended all along to stop after I finished my "sentence," I would miss him too much, so I ended up continuing anyway. > Well, that was a long-winded background to introduce my actual question... I have not told him how I feel about him, and I am actually quite embarrassed about feeling this way. Searching on this phenomenon was actually what brought me to this web site. I had never realized that this "transference" was so common, accepted, and even welcomed by some psychologists. Still, I definitely do not feel comfortable telling this guy how I feel (he is married, by the way, and I know there is no chance of an actual relationship with him) -- especially because I am overweight and unattractive and have been rejected by every guy I have ever liked.
>
> I feel tortured by these feelings that I can't even tell him. I know that he does not feel this way about me, and I suspect that he may actually DISLIKE me. I told him about my latter suspicion, and he tried to convince me that it was not true. He complimented me in very personal, meaningful, and seemingly sincere ways that only cemented my feelings for him. He also said that he feels "drawn to" me when I open up to him (because I was very reserved and unforthcoming initially) and he feels "close to" me when I talk about things with him. But he has certainly never said anything close to "I love you," and I get the feeling he would be uncomfortable with that surfacing from me. I know that his theoretical orientation is in cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal psychology, and I have read in a couple of places that cognitive-behavioral does not believe in "transference." Is this true? If so, how does the cognitive-behavioral approach (or the interpersonal approach) consider these types of feelings of a patient for her psychologist? What is recommended by this approach when these feelings occur? I was advised by someone at another web site (a M.SW. therapist) to consider seeing a female psychologist instead because my feelings for my male psychologist are "sabotaging" the therapy.
>
> I hope somebody made it through this long, rambling post and will be kind enough to respond... thanks.

 

Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction Crooked Heart

Posted by spoc on March 19, 2004, at 10:36:04

In reply to Re: Therapists and compassion/interaction-Peg, Pfi spoc, posted by Crooked Heart on March 19, 2004, at 4:16:23

Crooked Heart, the book summary you gave already did wonders for me in itself. I can't stress enough that I'm seeing that this board and thread really do have the potential to help heal. And I think it is unique amongst boards, in that almost always someone chimes in to present another view; stop a slanted downward spiral that could discourage others; etc.

I really do think I will put my unhappy experience in perspective much faster now and be less likely to store it with the things in my life that have felt like negative reflections on my character and substance. I just hope I can hurry up and snap out of the behaviors that have followed this upset...Retreating into myself and my computer as everything and everyone around me (and even myself physically) are unattended to.

Since I was so completely left to my own devices/imagination for so long with that analyst who wouldn't respond to direct and timely questions, I wondered if maybe he didn't want to ever "reward" or be positive with me because he might have jumped to the conclusion that instead I'm the type who needs to be knocked down from some ego trip or "attention seeking" behavior. I just couldn't imagine any other reason to treat/react to someone that way. But I wish he knew that in reality it is massively hard for me to ask for help or even small favors on any level whatsoever and I keep everything inside from friends and family (in the solitude of 'writing' on my computer, it's obviously another story). It's gotten to the point that I can't hide or deny that I'm disappearing more and more, and try as I might I know I sound different when I finally have to return those accruing phone calls or else someone will probably send the police over here. But that pdoc was the only person I opened up to or asked for help, an ear, or for a little "validation," which went against my twisted sense of pride and empowerment through self-blame (responsibility) to begin with. Which are big parts of what I need help with. But he taught me only to redouble (triple, quadruple) my tendency to be an island unto myself and not to seek a lift or kind word from any other.

BUT you are all helping to head that off at the pass, and I thank you.

--------
> Hi Spoc
>
> I'm in the middle of reading a book called "Falling into therapy" by Anna Sands. The author's experience sounds very similar to yours. Her first experience of therapy with a rigidly psychoanalytic therapist left her disoriented, undermined, her confidence shattered; a teacher and author of educational textbooks, she was for a while unable to function. (Her mental health previously had been OK, she went into therapy to help her 'become a better wife and mother'.)
>
> She later went to a therapist with a very different approach and had a much happier and very productive experience.
>
> This book was published in the UK. I'm not sure whether it would be available in the US without a whopping postal charge. In fact, it might be too depressing to read anyway :( If you're interested I'll try to do a summary when I've finished reading it. (Could be a while, I should *not* even be posting here now, there are deadlines I need to meet.) I suppose what I'm thinking is that it's such a relief when you find that you're not the only one, that other people have had similar experiences.
>
> That you still have to PAY for this in money as well makes it that much worse. What would happen if you refused to?

 

Re: Questions about transference

Posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 11:19:41

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 9:47:28

> I suppose my role here is to be that questioning person, the one that gets on your nerves but might make you think. I think Dinah mentioned the importance of such people.

Hmmm... Are you referring to the NASA floor of people? Just to be *absolutely* clear, I said nothing about getting on people's nerves in order to accomplish that goal. :) Just wanted to clarify so that it didn't sound like I was in favor of shock jocks and that sort of thing. Because, in my case at least, people who try to anger me into considering a different opinion merely succeed in angering me. Their point in doing so is lost to me.

I'm certainly not referring to you (or anyone else) as someone who gets on other people's nerves, or as the shock jock sort of person I'm talking about.

I'm just clarifying my stance on a position.

 

Re: thanks

Posted by Dr. Bob on March 19, 2004, at 13:15:48

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 11:19:41

> in my case at least, people who try to anger me into considering a different opinion merely succeed in angering me.

I just want to thank everyone for keeping this thread civil despite any angry feelings...

Bob

 

Re: Questions about transference

Posted by Tancred62 on March 19, 2004, at 14:09:38

In reply to Re: Questions about transference, posted by Dinah on March 19, 2004, at 11:19:41

Dinah. I was indeed referring to your NASA analogy, but probably should have chosen better words than "getting on one's nerves." I'll be more careful next time. I know what you meant, and I too don't want to be a "shock jock." I only want to express some concerns I have regarding the emotional closeness, and for some, distance, between therapist and patient. I've learned more about transference on this one string than I have in a lifetime.

Whatever we do, let's all try to have a good weekend. And remember, the vernal equinox is tomorrow. Happy Spring, everyone.


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