Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 279699

Shown: posts 1 to 13 of 13. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Worried about today's session

Posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 10:20:02

Silly I know. These things have usually blown over for my therapist by the next session.

I don't recall much of last session. We had been talking for a while about him challenging me more in therapy as opposed to being more supportive. So last time he decided to try it out.

I fell apart completely. I don't remember much of it. Just bits and pieces. I did a pretty good job of blanking out what he was saying, but overdid it and blanked out my entire mind. The rest of the session was I just recall a monstrous sense of frustration because he wanted things from me, and I couldn't find my words to give him what he wanted. I kept trying and trying to find words and couldn't.

One thing I do remember vividly is that he told me in a rather ominous tone that we would have to talk more about him being able to challenge me. But I also remember him being at least ten feet tall when he told me that, so there may have been some cognitive distortion involved. Or maybe he had stood up and I was still sitting? I can't remember.

So I figure we'd better talk about that today. My plan is to tell him to go ahead and challenge me when necessary, but to expect that I might fall apart. It's not like I say to myself "I think I'll lose my wits and irritate my therapist". It's involuntary. But I don't see why that means he shouldn't do it. Just that he should be prepared for the outcome.

I also remember the very end of the session when he was preparing my receipt. When I asked him if everything would be ok, which he normally answers reassuringly, he said that everything was ok with him but that I would have to take responsibility for everything being ok on my end. And he wouldn't budge. And I broke into great heaving sobs which startled him because I guess he doesn't understand how important his standard reassurance is to me.

I remembered after leaving that he also didn't give his standard reminder to call him if I needed to. But I did anyway, and he wasn't mad or anything.

I think today will be ok, but I'm afraid it won't be. He's going out of town again next week. What if it isn't ok at teh end of session today?

 

Re: Worried about today's session Dinah

Posted by Poet on November 14, 2003, at 11:00:36

In reply to Worried about today's session, posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 10:20:02

Dinah,

I'll try to check for updates on today's session.

That you couldn't find the right words to say and burst into tears should have clued your therapist in that challenging you will be easy for him and very difficult for you.

If you need him to back off, I hope you have (had) the courage to tell him. My therapist said "I think we should temporarily back off from healing your inner child" when it triggered memories of childhood trauma. Which triggered bulimia. I don't want to think about that, besides I'm mad at her.

Please let us know how it went. I hope he's not that ten foot giant, I'm thinking of you.

Poet

 

Re: Worried about today's session

Posted by Susan J on November 14, 2003, at 11:05:56

In reply to Worried about today's session, posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 10:20:02

Hi, Dinah,


>>So last time he decided to try it out.
>
> I fell apart completely.
<<I'm clueless about the challenging part vs. the supportive part, but did he *warn* you or reassure you that it's normal to be upset with a therapist challenging you? Did it take him by surprise? I guess I'm not sure why he'd keep doing something that upset you so much.....

> One thing I do remember vividly is that he told me in a rather ominous tone that we would have to talk more about him being able to challenge me.
<<What's the benefit of being challenged to you? And did it elicit from you what you wanted, even though you were very upset? Maybe he just means *he* needs to tone it down a bit....does it have to be all or nothing?

> I remembered after leaving that he also didn't give his standard reminder to call him if I needed to. But I did anyway, and he wasn't mad or anything.
<<If he was startled by your being upset, I'm sure he just forgot to remind you to call. I'm sure it doesn't mean he doesn't want you to call or anything....

Good luck, I'm sure things will go fine for you. I'll be thinking of ya,

Susan

 

Re: Worried about today's session

Posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 11:16:55

In reply to Re: Worried about today's session Dinah, posted by Poet on November 14, 2003, at 11:00:36

I suppose I should have added that after I burst into sobs he asked what was this about, finally reassured me that everything would be ok, and awkwardly patted my arm.

I was the one who asked if he held back on challenging me, and when he admitted he did, suggested that he do it more. Sometimes I worry we've gotten too comfortable and that I might get better faster if we upped the ante. And I do want him to continue. I guess it won't be much help though if I can't hear or remember what he's saying and lose my verbal abilities. But maybe after that happens a few times, I'll start handling it better. And I really don't want him to get as "frustrated" (read angry) as he did when I fell apart.

I'm afraid he thinks I'm faking it. I guess I'll have to ask him that today.

Thanks for the words of wisdom and encouragement, Poet and Susan.

 

Re: Worried about today's session

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on November 14, 2003, at 11:59:49

In reply to Re: Worried about today's session, posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 11:16:55

One thing I have learned in therapy is to BE BRAVE. Be Brave with your therapist and don't be afraid to tell him what you feel.

Also, you could look at his challenging behavior in a good light since by doing so he is not going to be somehow making you dependant on him. He wants what is best for you, the client, and that means independence. You can assure yourself that he is looking out for your own best interest.

 

Re: Worried about today's session Dinah

Posted by mair on November 14, 2003, at 14:44:27

In reply to Worried about today's session, posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 10:20:02

Dinah

How did things go? It sounds to me like the last session wasn't your therapist's finest hour. I went through this a while ago with my therapist who also decided that I maybe wasn't going to get anywhere unless she challenged me a bit more. I have the same problem as you described. When I feel "threatened" I tend to seize up and I have a great deal of difficulty talking. However if this frustrates my therapist, she does a very good job of hiding it, I think because she's so intent that I not make judgments about how I "do" in therapy. She pushes; I go as far as I think I can. I feel more comfortable telling her I'm having too much trouble talking and then we talk about that fairly neutrally. It's not perfect and I still have some pretty dreadful sessions, but I think she knows that I'm trying and I've come to appreciate her patience. It's not that she backs down; it's just that soem days maybe she doesn't push as hard as others. I think your therapist must understand how difficult this is or he wouldn't have suggested ratcheting things up. By the same token he needs the patience to understand that you're not going to transform yourself into a different person just because the 2 of you have agreed to try to take things to a different level.

Here's hoping for smoother sailing today.

Mair

 

Re: A good session (long)

Posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 20:01:33

In reply to Re: Worried about today's session Dinah, posted by mair on November 14, 2003, at 14:44:27

No, I agree that last session was not his finest hour. But he redeemed himself today beautifully. In fact he was so wonderful that I feel like I want to give something back to him, and have been wracking my brains for something I've refused to try to do, or something I've refused to share.

I don't feel as warm and fuzzy as I do after my favorite sessions. But I do feel like we accomplished a lot, and I'm still in one piece.

First of all he finally agreed to stop using the euphemism "frustrated" when really he means he's angry. :)

When I brought it up, he expressed the same concern that I had. That it seems unproductive to challenge me if I then am too upset to take in and remember what he's challenged me about. But I persevered and asked that even if it's difficult and annoying for him, could he please continue to try because I sometimes thought we were got too comfortable and didn't really work on issues enough.

Then I asked if he could continue challenging me without getting angry if I fell apart sometimes. He answered that he wished he could promise that, but he couldn't. He did agree (and said he already tries) to remember that I'm doing my best. And I asked him to try to make sure I'm patched together before sending me into the world.

So we worked on the matter today. He asked me if it was ok to challenge me over the "Everything's going to be ok" issue. He wants me to take more responsibility for my part of making everything ok. I want him to continue saying it with conviction and without reservations like "Everything's ok with me, is it ok with you". So he wanted to know what it meant for me to hear him say it. And we worked out a compromise. He would say it, but I would add something before or after to show that I recognized my responsibility. It was a tough negotiation, and it was tough to explain why it was so important to me.

I lost my words many times during the process. My cognitive functioning declined enough that I was getting frustrated trying to understand what he was saying. All the conditions were in place for this session to go as badly as last. But this time, he helped calm me as I was getting frustrated. He not only gave me time to find words but he helped by asking questions. And he put things several ways if I was having trouble understanding.

So it all worked out very well. I was still overstimulated when I left, but I had avoided meltdown. I seriously doubt it will go this well every time he chooses to challenge me. But it does give me a good model of being challenged and being able to survive it.

I still want some of the sessions to be warm and fuzzy and safe feeling though. I hope we can balance it.


 

Re: A good session (long)

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on November 14, 2003, at 20:17:10

In reply to Re: A good session (long), posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 20:01:33

I'm so glad it went well! I'm glad that therapists can indeed redeem themselves.

 

Re: A good session (long) Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on November 14, 2003, at 20:48:46

In reply to Re: A good session (long), posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 20:01:33

I'm really glad that the two of you could come to agreement on things that would satisfy both of you. I'm also glad that you do want him to challenge you - and help you grow. You mention that not all sessions will be that good - so the next one that isn't as good, please remember that you will have another chance - and practice will make (more) perfect.

Good Job!

 

Re: A good session (long) fallsfall

Posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 22:29:19

In reply to Re: A good session (long) Dinah, posted by fallsfall on November 14, 2003, at 20:48:46

Thanks, Fallsfall.

I just hope that in the long run I'm glad I pushed this. I hope I don't lose my safe space. I hope I am not expelled from my personal Eden by choosing knowledge and growth.

I want to keep my therapist/mommy. He says I can. He says he's not going to push me out of the nest any sooner than I'm ready. I just hope he lets me pick "ready". Oh well. I know how to fight for what I find important.

 

Re: A good session (long) Dinah

Posted by Poet on November 15, 2003, at 10:36:43

In reply to Re: A good session (long), posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 20:01:33

Hi Dinah,

You were able to talk so openly about your not so good previous session. I wish I had your courage. I hope your warm, fuzzy and safe feelings surround you again real soon.

Poet

 

Re: A good session (long) Poet

Posted by Dinah on November 16, 2003, at 18:53:23

In reply to Re: A good session (long) Dinah, posted by Poet on November 15, 2003, at 10:36:43

No courage is involved, I'm afraid. I'm just really comfortable with him, trust that he won't terminate me, and know that his anger won't extend beyond a session or two.

Now I really only worry a bit that he looks at his watch and sighs when he knows it's my hour. :)
I'd like to be able to really believe he feels a bit of fondness for me.

 

Re: A good session (long)

Posted by lookdownfish on November 17, 2003, at 10:28:13

In reply to Re: A good session (long), posted by Dinah on November 14, 2003, at 20:01:33

sounds good. Obviously warm and fuzzy is much nicer. but coming away feeling challenged, or even a bit uncomfortable I think is a good thing. shows you've touched on something important.


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