Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 360159

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Re: Therapy and gifts TofuEmmy

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:48:19

In reply to Re: Therapy and gifts Miss Honeychurch, posted by TofuEmmy on June 25, 2004, at 8:41:02

That gave me a great laugh this morning, thank you, Tofuti!

I can just imagine this scenario. We would spend the next four sessions on my choice of message, why I chose a cookie. Watching him eat the cookie though is hilarious image. I'll think about that all day now. Thank you!

 

Re: Therapy and gifts Miss Honeychurch

Posted by All Done on June 25, 2004, at 10:56:29

In reply to Therapy and gifts, posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:23:17

Miss Honey,

I was just about to post about my one-year therapy anniversary gift dilemma myself. I see him on Saturday, which is a couple of days before the actual date.

I really don't think a card is a bad thing at all. I know you worry about it ending up in your file, but have him read it while you are there. That way, even if he has to put it in your file, the words will always be in his memory. I bet it means a lot to him. And also, I think I saw GG post that she kept a copy of a card or letter in someone's file. Maybe that's what he does too, so he can take your card home and put it on his mantle :).

I gave my T a card at Christmastime and I asked him to read it right away. He seemed genuinely appreciative. This time, I'm thinking of branching out to a gift. Actually, I already bought it. It's a small, handcrafted wooden box. It's about the right size to hold a deck of cards or a pack of cigarettes. (Gosh, I hope he doesn't smoke, though :(.) Anyway, I'm going to couple it with a letter thanking him for giving me a safe place (him) to keep my most innermost thoughts, concerns, joys, etc. I want him to have a nice place to keep his valuable things, too. Hmm...I'm still not sure I have enough courage to give it to him, though.

Sigh, sorry to ramble on. I really encourage you to give him a card. He's got to appreciate the sentiment regardless of where the actual card ends up.

Or maybe you can make him something? That way, it's not quite the same as "buying" a gift in terms of boundaries (I'm not positive on that, though).

It's hard to know what to do. One thing that kk told me about the box was that if he can't accept it, I need to remember that it's not that he doesn't want to - it's that he *can't*. So, if that happens, I'm going to keep it myself and it will be a nice reminder of him taking good care of all my "stuff".

Good luck!

Laurie

 

Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Aphrodite on June 25, 2004, at 11:43:40

In reply to Therapy and gifts, posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:23:17

Is that person by person, or is it some kind of APA rule? For Christmas, I gave my therapist a book about brain research that I had mentioned once that he seemed interested in. I handed it to him on my way out, and he seemed delighted and asked if he could open it while I was there. He was appreciative, and I did not pick up on any problems.

When is someone going to come out with the Therapy Rule Book?!?!?!? I really don't know how to be a therapy patient.

I like the idea of baking a treat. I always thought the image of Karen Kay bringing in goodies and both of them munching on it while they spoke was so neat and comfortable. (Of course, I know it caused her great anxiety to make the perfect treat!)

 

do i hear therapist cookies? Miss Honeychurch

Posted by karen_kay on June 25, 2004, at 11:43:49

In reply to Therapy and gifts, posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:23:17

now, i don't know if it's been mentioned or not but i make baked goods for mine... christmas, 1 year anniversary, and termintation... he loves them and we have a snack together...

this way, it's not really a gift, per se, but you showing appreciation to him. and i often brought in bagels too.

honey dear, men never turn down food. and it's not really a 'gift' since he doesn't take naything home with him (though the first tiem i baked bubba something, he did take them home and i have yet to see my tupperware!). try that doll, adn if you are worried about making something he doesn't like, try 3 different kinds (and sugar cookies are something everyone likes). what about choc chip, sugar and peanut butter?

let me know dear, but i do advise that you don't try a new recipe. that was my down-fall the first time..

 

Re: do i hear therapist cookies?

Posted by daisym on June 25, 2004, at 12:56:37

In reply to do i hear therapist cookies? Miss Honeychurch, posted by karen_kay on June 25, 2004, at 11:43:49

I'm a gift giver but I like symbolic gifts. I gave him one both at the holidays and at the one year marker. (But I also sort of figured that since we were working on me trusting that he wouldn't "reject" me, I was sort of safe around this for now!) I also like the idea of baked goods but since my appointments are usually middle/end of the afternoon, I've never seen him eat in his office and didn't know if he had "thing" about that.

How about flowers? Something cheerful like, say, Daisies?? Or a plant? I always like the idea of a living thing.

The other idea I've seen bounced around is a crazy pair of socks. Why? Because we stare at their feet a lot. Nothing remotely romantic about socks either.

I agree about the card. So what if it ends up in your file? I think everyone appreciates being thanked. I made a point in my card to say that it was difficult to find a way to express appreciation within the theraputic boundaries but "sometimes Thank You is just Thank You." He laughed.

Good Luck! I'll be interested to know what you choose and how it goes.

 

Re: Therapy and gifts All Done

Posted by daisym on June 25, 2004, at 13:01:13

In reply to Re: Therapy and gifts Miss Honeychurch, posted by All Done on June 25, 2004, at 10:56:29

Laurie,

I love what decided upon. How very symbolic. I bet he'll be touched. Don't be nervous, or maybe admit to being nervous right at the get go. That way he'll know how important this is to you.

Yalom, by the way, does not advocate "no gifts". He does however encourage an exploration of why the giver is giving the gift and why they chose what they did. So in this case you've already explained both of those things.

Good Luck! I'll be waiting to hear how it goes.

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Aphrodite

Posted by daisym on June 25, 2004, at 13:16:17

In reply to Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Miss Honeychurch, posted by Aphrodite on June 25, 2004, at 11:43:40

I think it is person by person and some "disciplines" are more open to it than others. I think the primary rule is how appropriate the gift is (too expensive, too suggestive, too personal) and what the expectation of the client giving it is. If it is something to be displayed to basically establish some proprietary ownership of the therapist's office (see, I'M his favorite!) then, it wouldn't be appropriate.

I too want THE rule book. I've said it a lot. I ask my therapist for it all the time because I want to get an "A" in therapy. He always just grabs books off the shelf and starts pitching them on the floor: Freud, Kohut, Rogers, etc. And says, these guys can't even agree, so just pick one. I tell him WOMEN wouldn't have set things up like this...

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by gardenergirl on June 25, 2004, at 13:38:18

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Aphrodite, posted by daisym on June 25, 2004, at 13:16:17

>
>
> I too want THE rule book. I've said it a lot. I ask my therapist for it all the time because I want to get an "A" in therapy. He always just grabs books off the shelf and starts pitching them on the floor: Freud, Kohut, Rogers, etc. And says, these guys can't even agree, so just pick one. I tell him WOMEN wouldn't have set things up like this...


OMG, I LOVE your T! That is such a funny image. And he has Kohut. How cool is that? And how would women do it? Funny, I haven't resonated with many of the great women psychologists, except some of Horney's stuff.

Thanks for the laugh! BTW, I planted a few hanging baskets while at my mom's. One of them I think of as a basket for a certain babbler. I must have had all of babble on my mind, because I put yellow daisies in it! It's so cheerful.

gg

 

Re: Therapy and gifts

Posted by shadows721 on June 25, 2004, at 15:20:15

In reply to Therapy and gifts, posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:23:17

This is a good question. How about a symbol that represents a healing aspect for you - light house (for safety), turtle (for pacing), a rainbow (for hope)or butterfly (for transformation)? This could be on a paperweight for his desk. It could be one of those shake globes with the snow flakes in it too.

If this doesn't sound okay, how about just a nice pen and paper pad?

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by LG04 on June 25, 2004, at 18:06:08

In reply to Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Miss Honeychurch, posted by Aphrodite on June 25, 2004, at 11:43:40

From what I understand, different therapists have different ideas about gifts. It might be worth talking about beforehand -- what's your therapist's view on gifts? -- unless you're really okay with your therapist not accepting it, just in case that's his viewpoint.

Your idea sounds wonderful. I think symbolic and/or handmade gifts are really special.

At one point in my relationship with my therapist, I was bringing her "too many" gifts and we had to talk about it. So now I regulate my gift-giving to her. It's been helpful for me to understand my issues around giving gifts.

Everything in therapy can be grist for the mill, can't it? so annoying.

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 21:27:37

In reply to Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Miss Honeychurch, posted by Aphrodite on June 25, 2004, at 11:43:40

I just have one question -- do you take gifts to your gynecologist as well? Yes, your therapist knows you in a way no one else does, but it is their job.

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by lifeworthliving on June 25, 2004, at 21:49:05

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 21:27:37

>>>>I just have one question -- do you take gifts to your gynecologist as well? Yes, your therapist knows you in a way no one else does, but it is their job.>>>>>

this wasn't directed at me but i'll answer anyway. no, i don't gift my gyno but maybe i should? perhaps something silver... a speculum!!! i believe there is a difference between sharing my heart and "sharing" my vagina. my therapist shines a light into my soul, my gynecologist shines a light into my hole. i know what my therapists job is, and with her help my life is worth living. ok, the ugly truth: i don't gift my gyno because i spend all of my extra money on therapy, gifts, stalking items, tissue, antidepressants, etc.

 

Huge grin! thanks (nm) lifeworthliving

Posted by gardenergirl on June 25, 2004, at 22:30:25

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by lifeworthliving on June 25, 2004, at 21:49:05

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Believe

Posted by daisym on June 25, 2004, at 23:07:54

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 21:27:37

Yes, as a matter of fact I do. She delivered my babies and has been my MD and my friend for 19 years. I tell her nearly as many personal things (though different things) as I do my Therapist. We were preganant at the same time (our middle kids) and I gave her a music box for the baby. She still has it and that "baby" is 17. We actaully talked about it last time I saw her.

I also give gifts to my kids pediatrician, and his nurse. At one time I believe we had a chair in the waiting room with "our" name one it. (I have a kid who was diabetic at age 3 so we were there A LOT)

I used to also give small holiday gifts to the school bus drivers, our phamacist and other important people (my dry cleaners!) in our life. Just because they get paid to provide a service doesn't mean they don't like or need to be recognized and thanked.

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 23:22:15

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue? Believe, posted by daisym on June 25, 2004, at 23:07:54

But do you know your therapist like you do the people you mentioned? The therapeutic relationship is a one way relationship. If it isn't, then (IMHO) the therapist is having counter-transference issues. Better to spend your gift giving energies on a real relationship. One that you don't have to worry about 1) what if they retire? 2) what if they move? 3) how many patients do they have? 4) what if they see me driving past their office?

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by lifeworthliving on June 26, 2004, at 1:29:35

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 23:22:15

>>>>>But do you know your therapist like you do the people you mentioned? The therapeutic relationship is a one way relationship. If it isn't, then (IMHO) the therapist is having counter-transference issues. Better to spend your gift giving energies on a real relationship. One that you don't have to worry about 1) what if they retire? 2) what if they move? 3) how many patients do they have? 4) what if they see me driving past their office?>>>>

i don't know about anyone else here, but i'm so in love with my therapist that i think i'd forfeit my us citizenship and follow her to the ends of the earth. this is where i would agree to be her personal slave and shopper (but not until after i turn over my savings acct and add her to my checking). in fact, i'd be honored to wash her feet with my tears and dry them with my hair. i've spent hours thinking of and longing for her... if i understand your post/question, i'm thinking you want me to believe that my energy and resources could be better spent elsewhere? BAHAHAHA, i don't think so. she can wipe her butt on my sleeve if she ever runs out of toilet paper. i can't believe u don't think i'm capable of sorting this kind of mess out.

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by lucy stone on June 26, 2004, at 3:09:03

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 21:27:37

> I just have one question -- do you take gifts to your gynecologist as well? Yes, your therapist knows you in a way no one else does, but it is their job.
>

When I had a hysterectomy I took baskets of cookies to the people in my gyns office. Yes, they were doing their jobs but they did them with kindness and caring that went beyond what they were paid to do. I used to have a job that touched people's lives in a very deep way. It was an honor to do the job and although I was paid I cared deeply about my clients. A client would often bring a gift or a card to us and we were always touched. Just because people are paid for their jobs it doesn't mean that they also put themselves into them. I think good Ts try to understand why clients give them gifts. Exploring that can be a part of therapy.

 

Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?

Posted by lucy stone on June 26, 2004, at 3:14:50

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 23:22:15

> Better to spend your gift giving energies on a real relationship. One that you don't have to worry about 1) what if they retire? 2) what if they move? 3) how many patients do they have? 4) what if they see me driving past their office?

My T would not be happy to hear our relationship discribed as not real. It is asymetrical by definition but it is real. Exploring the above questions with my T has been an important part of my work. He is not the only person I have had transferrance issues with and sometimes they have harmed me greatly. In my therapy I am learning why I do this and what I am looking for in these relationships. I am at the point where I think I will never have that kind of harmful transferrance realtionships and that will make my life better. It is one of the things I needed from therapy.

 

The Perfect gift... Miss Honeychurch

Posted by tinydancer on June 26, 2004, at 4:19:15

In reply to Therapy and gifts, posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:23:17

This has been quite the source of discussion many times. I've talked to my T about how I must give the perfect gifts because if they aren't perfect, its not reflecting the love I have for the person recieving it. I talked about how I could shop until I was shaking and sweating but would not give up until I found the gift that "magically" spoke to me and I felt a click inside that "this" was it.

I have given my T one gift. It was kind of a big one, but it was really special. I framed this picture:

http://www.villastjean.com/images/Little%20Prince%20Images/lp30.gif

You see what I mean about PERFECT gifts? I like the ones that sort of tear your heart out and make you weep. Ha! Now I have to top myself because our one year is coming up. I love the snowglobe idea.

 

When *getting* gifts has been an issue

Posted by Racer on June 26, 2004, at 4:53:19

In reply to Re: Yikes, are gifts really a boundary issue?, posted by Believe on June 25, 2004, at 23:22:15

My first example involves the first non-profit I was involved with. I was both on the board and in the trenches -- we were running on such a short budget we defined the phrase "working board." (Our board members were required to perform a minimum number of hours each year volunteering for our program, as well, which I've always thought was a great policy for any org that has volunteers.) The first time I sat through the volunteer training, and the issue of gifts from clients came up, I was thinking, "oh, how silly, never be an issue." I continued to think that every time I gave the training, too. The training did explain why we were never allowed to accept any form of gift and suggested a few ways to deflect them, but I'd never seen it on my own sites, so didn't think it was really an issue. Then, one year, during my volunteer time, I had just finished with a client who was both excited that she wouldn't be back because of a new job that meant she'd no longer need us and no longer qualify for our services (special blessings for that employer, who did hire a lot of our clients away from us with excellent wages, training and benefits), but she was also sad since she'd been coming to us for years and knew and liked a lot of us. She was even someone I recognized, despite the limited contact I'd had with that site. When we were done, and I had congratulated her on her new position, and she had walked away, I got up to get a soda from the vending machine. I didn't notice her come up to me until she said, "Oh, please, let me buy that for you -- you've always been so nice to me!" It was a very difficult moment, because our rules really did have to be very strictly enforced on the subject, which was a matter of some discussion at board meetings, but I didn't want her to feel rejected by my saying no. I ended up doing that, "hey, it doesn't make any sense but THEY say we can't accept anything like that, I wouldn't be able to come back if any of THEM find out." It didn't feel good, although it did seem to work in that she didn't feel rejected by me. Our rules had to do with tax law, and because of a very specific policy of that agency regarding immigration status -- basically, don't ask, don't tell -- we were a little paranoid about investigations. (We were also providing a very similar service to a federal program which DID do immigration checks, so that fear was probably well founded.) Had anyone involved with our program ever been proven to have accepted even that thirty five cent soda from a client or former client, we'd have lost our non-profit status, some of our board could have ended up in jail or losing licenses. There are times when someone really may be unable and not unwilling to accept a gift, but not able to tell you why.

The second example is much easier -- the only time a student ever gave me a tangible gift was when a couple of Japanese boys gave me a little gift before going home to Japan. They'd only been with me a short time, I was a little uncomfortable, but knew it was well meant and I still have it. (A little pin with horses on it.) If they'd been staying here, though? That would have been uncomfortable for me -- would their feelings have been hurt if I didn't wear it often enough? If I wore it too often would they think it meant something? What's too often? What's not enough?

You know the things that students and clients did give me, though? MEMORIES, and those I cherish. (Oh, and the crafts projects the little girls from summer camp used to give me! I still have every single one ever given me, and mostly still remember every single shining little face that gave it to me. Remember that every time you wonder if your T will remember you, OK?) I remember a woman who came to her first computer class with me afraid to touch the keyboard without someone next to her for fear she'd break it -- the last class session I was worried because I could see her beckoning me and someone else grabbed me before I could get there. No fear, she had learned that she wouldn't break anything that couldn't be fixed willingly, and figured it all out on her own! Seeing how much that chuffed her? Priceless, and something I'll never forget.

I've just deleted a long paragraph, because I realized I could go on with these memories all night -- insomnia -- but they're all the same thing: sure, I got paid for what I did. Sure, the relationship was not one of equality. Whether you look at it as me providing a service for a wage, or bestowing a service on a client who did not have access to a For Profit alternative, or have some other view on the whole student/teacher thing -- the relationship itself was *always* personal.

Thank you and good night...

 

Re: Therapy and gifts

Posted by bent on June 26, 2004, at 12:13:26

In reply to Therapy and gifts, posted by Miss Honeychurch on June 25, 2004, at 8:23:17

I think that giving a gift is ok as long as you keep in mind that it might not be accepted. And as hard as it might be to not feel rejected by that I think it's important to see it as the therapist's way of protecting you and your relationship. Maybe talk about it first? Tell the T you'd like to give them a little gift and feel out the situation.
I gave my therapist a little gift (like a stuffed animal) but it was very specific to my job (perhaps my subconscious way of wanting her to think about me more??). She took it quite readily. I didnt wrap it or anything just handed it to her. Of course we had to talk about what it 'meant', which was nothing other than I was thinking of her around the holidays. She was satisfied with that answer. It's in her office and I see it everytime I am there...or course I worry that she will throw it out when I am finished with therapy.
Sorry to go on. Just my two cents about gifts! If you are worried about it, talk about it first.

 

Re: Therapy and gifts

Posted by Believe on June 26, 2004, at 13:08:29

In reply to Re: Therapy and gifts, posted by bent on June 26, 2004, at 12:13:26

to me all this gift giving is either pathetic or pathological. like a really sad stalker.

 

Re: Therapy and gifts

Posted by lifeworthliving on June 26, 2004, at 14:43:30

In reply to Re: Therapy and gifts, posted by Believe on June 26, 2004, at 13:08:29

>>>> to me all this gift giving is either pathetic or pathological. like a really sad stalker.>>>

if giving a gift causes you to feel that bad, then i'm thinking it's probably something you shouldn't do. lucky for me (and my shrink?) i don't have those feelings... sure makes gift giving a lot easier!

 

Re: Therapy and gifts Believe

Posted by daisym on June 26, 2004, at 15:01:08

In reply to Re: Therapy and gifts, posted by Believe on June 26, 2004, at 13:08:29

...such a sad commentary on your outlook about people's motives.

I don't want to debate this with you, I just think you've labeled the whole lot of us in such a negative way. I could say a whole lot more but ultimately I guess I feel sorry for you that you don't "get" anything out of giving and see the theraputic relationship as a sterile, oneside, "take and not give" endeavor.

No offense intended. To each his own.

 

Re: Stalking comparison Believe

Posted by TofuEmmy on June 26, 2004, at 15:42:43

In reply to Re: Therapy and gifts, posted by Believe on June 26, 2004, at 13:08:29

Surely you don't mean to call these sweet people pathetic?

Their T's have helped them improve their lives, thus they feel gratitude. Many people when feeling this gratitude, like to express it. Some do it verbally, some do it other ways.

How is that at all similar to stalking behavior? Please elaborate on the comparison

Emmy


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