Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 279546

Shown: posts 1 to 17 of 17. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Connecting and Taking In....

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 20:53:35

I don't know whether others feel the same way or not, but I think this board is becoming increasingly sophisticated about transferences- and extremely helpful to those of us in therapy. We all seem to have the same extremely painful reactions: anxiety, dread or intense longing about getting INTO the office, fear of saying what's really on our minds, feeling that the therapist is missing the point, that he(she) doesn't care about us, but longing for them to do so, having strong feelings of sexual attraction about which we are often ashamed, or (one case here so far) deciding that seducing the therapist is ALL we really want to do after all, intense fears of abandonment, and of our own rage at the prospect, dread or intense relief at getting OUT of the office, hours (or days) of stress afterwards. Then, wondering all the time whether the conclusions we draw about THEIR feelings towards us are accurate or are transference distortions. We are desperate to know, but how can we, ever?

I just went through about two weeks of feeling cold, alienated, angry and very distrustful of my therapist. I wondered why I was coming (and PAYING) to see this person whom I didn't like, couldn't understand and, in fact hated. I felt excruciatingly alone, and was (uncharacteristically) silent. All this time, I was thinking that I must have chosen the wrong therapist, and, if I could only choose the right one, painful things like this would not happen. He kept saying things like, "I did ask for all of you to be in here- can you tell me what this part of you is feeling?" I was enraged by the sound of his voice, never mind the questions!

But after two weeks, I gradually, slowly, reluctantly, realized, with gentle but persistent prodding from him, that I was having a prolonged flashback and really couldn't distinguish between him and the semi-conscious memories of my extremely abusive father (now dead). As I really began to understand this, my mood changed and became peaceful. I said, "I feel so different now-so close to you." He replied, "I know- I feel very close to you now, too". After a few minutes, the session ended, without stress or a sense of loss for the first time. That was Wednesday, but I have not been anxious or depressed since then. I feel I am beginning to be able to carry him inside me- filling up a huge empty space. Those weeks were very hard to endure, and I know there will be many more of them, but it seems as though they were what made it possible to have such a good experience afterwards.

The thing which I find the most interesting about this is that it didn't involve any specific recovered memories; instead, it involved re-experiencing the feelings the little girl I once was had, followed by a process of beginning to replace a destructive internal representation of a father with a new, more benign and loving one.

I don't think anything useful could have come of this episode if I had not been going twice a week- I was in a state where I couldn't think, and really needed my therapist to think for me and maintain a sense of what was actually happening between us. Now, it's clear (for the moment!), but it was a huge, miserable muddle while it was occuring.

Pfinstegg

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In....

Posted by Joslynn on November 13, 2003, at 21:03:51

In reply to Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 20:53:35

Wow, thanks for such a detailed description of how the process worked for you. I'm glad you got to this place at the end of the session.

Also, I'm sorry about what happened when you were a child. But it sounds like you have a good person to help you deal with it.

Hmm, I will have to go back and read your post again, to really digest it.

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Joslynn

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 22:02:11

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Joslynn on November 13, 2003, at 21:03:51

Thanks, Joslynn! I'm glad if my post was a bit helpful. I read your first one of today (welcome!), and saw that you had talked about one of the big things we are have to deal with. I have the same struggle with sexual jealousy at times. One time I said I was jealous that he was going on vacation and so could just rest and make love to his wife *all the time*. Said he, "doesn't seem fair, does it?" It didn't! But we both burst out laughing, and that helped some..although, to be honest, not quite enough...

Pfinstegg

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on November 13, 2003, at 22:07:42

In reply to Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 20:53:35

What a wonderful experience, Pfinstegg! I'm so glad you shared it. That's the sort of thing I was talking about in my post above. That primordial emotional response, the attunement in the relationship. And it only comes after lots of hard work and some emotional risk taking that I commend both you and my second favorite therapist for. :) The corrective emotional experience at its best.

I wish it were always like that. lol.

I remember you saying that rage was a large part of your transference reaction. I've not experienced that. Perhaps I'm still too afraid, not of him or abandonment, but of the strength of my own feelings. I still meet intense anger with dissociation. So you inspire me as one a few steps ahead of me on the path.

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on November 13, 2003, at 22:10:24

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Joslynn, posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 22:02:11

> Thanks, Joslynn! I'm glad if my post was a bit helpful. I read your first one of today (welcome!), and saw that you had talked about one of the big things we are have to deal with. I have the same struggle with sexual jealousy at times. One time I said I was jealous that he was going on vacation and so could just rest and make love to his wife *all the time*. Said he, "doesn't seem fair, does it?" It didn't! But we both burst out laughing, and that helped some..although, to be honest, not quite enough...
>
> Pfinstegg

Ok, you lose me at sexual jealousy. :) I still have the small child's reaction to the idea of my therapist having sex. EEEEEUWWWWW. GROOOOOOSSSS.

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In....

Posted by Dinah on November 13, 2003, at 22:13:01

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg, posted by Dinah on November 13, 2003, at 22:10:24

P.S. I still refuse to believe my therapist/mommy does something so ICKY. Other people's therapist/mommies maybe, but not mine.

Nope. Nuh uh.

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Dinah

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 22:44:01

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg, posted by Dinah on November 13, 2003, at 22:07:42

This is the first time I got really angry. But, as you could probably tell, the only part of me that could do it was the little girl in a daze, who could hardly think about what was happening, and instead projected all the blame onto him- HE was to blame for not being the *right* therapist, and for doing and saying everything wrong-or so it seemed at the time, although looking back I know he wasn't doing a thing other than doing his work well. When that was going on, I couldn't think my way out of a paper bag, but he was able to keep thinking clearly for both of us.

The other thing that seems odd to me now is that just as I was allowing myself to begin to feel angry, I wrote here about how much I disliked his office, and how his clothes were too loud. But now that I have begun to deal with the little girl and her rage, I find things I like in his office- one painting in particular. And where are the offensive clothes? Did I imagine them? Now he seems to be wearing dark, conservative clothes, and looking good! Oh, my goodness.

I'm so glad to be through this rage and disorientation for the moment, and you are right- those moments of connection are priceless. It feels like they are what makes us well, doesn't it?

Pfinstegg

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by lookdownfish on November 14, 2003, at 3:26:01

In reply to Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 20:53:35

Thanks for your post. Totally inspirational. This is the kind of breakthrough I am hoping for. How long have you been seeing your therapist?

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by Poet on November 14, 2003, at 9:20:10

In reply to Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 20:53:35

Thank you for sharing. Therapy is so hard and it helps me so much to hear that so many others have the same struggles I do.

I have an intense fear of abandonment and a strong desire to be my therapist's favorite patient (I am, I am, I am!) I'm like Dinah, my therapist is my therapist/mommy. Though right now I'm mad at her. See my thread for details.

Poet

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... lookdownfish

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 14, 2003, at 9:25:21

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg, posted by lookdownfish on November 14, 2003, at 3:26:01

I've been seeing this one for eight months, although I did see a different therapist for several years previously- without feeling that it was helping much. This one is a psychoanalyst and he is wonderfully trained in all the complexities of transference, and how to help his patients get better by using it.

Psychoanalysts are much different now than what we all thought previously- very interactive and empathic. Some are M.D.s, but just as many are psychologists and social workers. A lot of the psychologists and social workers have had a numbers of years of psychoanalytic training, but may not have actually graduated from one of the Psychoanalytic Institutes. I don't think that matters, but I do think some analytic training is immensely valuable.

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Poet

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 14, 2003, at 9:38:41

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg, posted by Poet on November 14, 2003, at 9:20:10

Hi Poet. I did see your messages about your therapist and the referral to an eating disorders specialist. That's hard; I know I would feel threatened by a referral to anyone else, too. Like you, all my intense transference feelings are focussed on my own therapist, and a referral would feel like a rejection, somehow.

There's no hurry to actually do it, is there? Maybe talking as much as you can about how this referral makes you feel- the anger, fears of abandonment, etc., ETC. would be more helpful for you.

Pfinstegg

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In....

Posted by Joslynn on November 14, 2003, at 9:52:05

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... lookdownfish, posted by Pfinstegg on November 14, 2003, at 9:25:21

For me, it is not quite a sexual jealousy of my pdoc's wife (whom I have never met or seen). It is more of a romantic jealousy of her, that she is the one who gets to wake up snuggled up to him each morning, and that she is the one he chose. Then I wonder, what is her secret? How can I learn to attract an equally kind and smart man?

On a related note, several months ago when I was actively dating more often, a doctor asked me out and we dated for several weeks. He wasn't a pdoc (that would be too weird!) but he was another kind of MD.

Anyway, when I reported to my pdoc that I was dating a doctor, it gave me a weird sort of glee.
I felt like saying, "ok, so I can't date you, MY doctor, but I can date A doctor, nyah nyah nyah." LOL! It gave me a sense of confidence to let him know that I am capable of attracting one of his MD colleagues, although the guy was not a pdoc and not someone my pdoc would have met in the course of his job.

Well, dating that doc didn't work out, but that is another story.

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Joslynn

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 14, 2003, at 9:59:14

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Joslynn on November 14, 2003, at 9:52:05

I bet it felt good not to be in such a one-down position for a while! Let's hope we can all get there and stay there in time!

Pfinstegg

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by Poet on November 14, 2003, at 10:49:17

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Poet, posted by Pfinstegg on November 14, 2003, at 9:38:41

Right now she isn't making an issue of the specialist because I am controlling the bulimia.

I feel very threatened that she's abandoning me. I know it's for my own good, and I can see her, too, but I can't talk to one therapist openly and two would kill me.

I am in control, but I had a job interview, yesterday, and career failure triggers binges. See my thread Mad at My Therapist.

Maybe I should just quit therapy period, last time she talked me out of it.

Poet

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by DaisyM on November 15, 2003, at 0:29:02

In reply to Connecting and Taking In...., posted by Pfinstegg on November 13, 2003, at 20:53:35

I've now read your post 3x's and want to thank you for sharing.

I think I'm in the middle of the muddle myself right now. I feel like we are making progress but the more I trust my therapist with my feelings, the more anxious I feel. I'll admit this to him and then we do this whole discussion about what therapy is going to continue to feel like for me, because I have such issues around truly allowing my needs to show and trusting someone with them. I feel like an idiot for falling apart over what seems trivial compared to what everyone else around me is going through. And, at least every other day, I'm sure he is frustrated with me, or will be soon. This is my projection, I know, because he says this is how it works, we circle and circle the issues, gently and thoughtfully, over and over again.

It was nice to read about your break-through. It gave me hope.
-D

 

Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg

Posted by lookdownfish on November 15, 2003, at 8:30:15

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... lookdownfish, posted by Pfinstegg on November 14, 2003, at 9:25:21

My therapist is the psychoanalytic type. I completely believe that this is the right approach for me. she seems able to deal with my transference issues. We've discussed my feelings for her, but I keep saying, "yes, but how is this going to actually help me". so the news that you have actually found some relief is very encouraging. She is really pushing me to do 2 sessions / week at the moment, and I am resisting like mad, but I fear I might need that intensity to get further.

> I've been seeing this one for eight months, although I did see a different therapist for several years previously- without feeling that it was helping much. This one is a psychoanalyst and he is wonderfully trained in all the complexities of transference, and how to help his patients get better by using it.
>
> Psychoanalysts are much different now than what we all thought previously- very interactive and empathic. Some are M.D.s, but just as many are psychologists and social workers. A lot of the psychologists and social workers have had a numbers of years of psychoanalytic training, but may not have actually graduated from one of the Psychoanalytic Institutes. I don't think that matters, but I do think some analytic training is immensely valuable.

 

To Poet, Daisy M, and lookdownfish

Posted by Pfinstegg on November 16, 2003, at 21:30:33

In reply to Re: Connecting and Taking In.... Pfinstegg, posted by lookdownfish on November 15, 2003, at 8:30:15

I will probably dive deeply into the muddle again at any moment, but, before I do, I wanted to say that I have every one of the difficulties which you all wrote about- not to mention quite a few additional ones! Poet, I have had very frightening times when I felt that my needs and longings were far too intense and inappropriate: I was so ashamed of them, and it seemed like quitting and never having to deal with them, and the analyst, would be much safer than trying to stay. But these feelings do tend to come and go, according to how much trust I am able to muster.

I think trust does gradually grow, DaisyM, so that we are gradually more able to reveal the most private things about ourselves. But I, too, experience far more anxiety at this stage than I did earlier. It just seems that my whole life is at stake every time I enter the office! But I do also notice that I am getting stronger and better, although I rapidly forget that when I am in there.

I'm glad to hear that you have a psychoanalytically-oriented therapist, lookdownfish. I am so thankful that I have one, too. Why not keep an open mind about twice a week. I think it has been wonderful in helping me understand more about what is going on in me.

Pfinstegg


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