Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 362402

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

 

resuming after termination? please help (long)

Posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 1, 2004, at 20:18:16

Hi everyone,
I have only been lurking here for a few months but I already respect your opinions on many matters. I hope that some of you can help me through this situation.

I started seeing my T about 6 months ago after a series of family crises. I have been in therapy before for other reasons, but this time was very different. I learned over the months that he is actually quite brilliant and I grew very attached to him. He helped me work through a painful divorce situation as well as a criminal trial (I am the victim's mother); not real easy stuff. About 3 months ago I revealed to him that I feel strongly attracted to him and it was causing me some problems. I think he dealt with it quite well. He validated my feelings, we discussed a few things, and agreed to continue therapy. We went on to deal with my more urgent problems, but about a month ago we returned to the issue of my personal feelings. We spent 4-5 sessions delving into my thoughts and essentially we both agreed after some time that I am not merely experiencing transference. Although there is some transference in every relationship/attraction, we acknowleged that my feelings were based upon genuine attraction and respect. That made him uncomfortable. I know that he is a very ethical T; he quietly sets very strict boundaries. Never any touching, appearance compliments, momentos, etc. That being said, he is a warm and very sensitive person. Often he would cry during my sessions with him -- even tears of joy one time. I sensed that he also felt similarly attracted to me although he never went beyond telling me that he "takes [me] home with [him] after work." There was always a strong sexual tension in the room and at times we were reduced to simply staring at one another and saying nothing.

So the big problem is that last Monday we terminated. We agreed that my attraction to him, coupled with the unethical nature of an affair, now presented the biggest problem in my life. That being the case, he suggested that termination would be a good way to deal with it since we'd successfully resolved my other problems. I knew it was coming, but I was floored because I hadn't expected it so soon. Although he gave me the option to slowly ease out of therapy, I eventually decided (it turned into a 2 hour session) that I should simply stop that day. I felt that "easing out" would simply prolong the pain of losing the time spent with him. I now regret that. I wish I'd known it would be our last session so I could have planned something to say or do that would be a fitting end. Instead, our last moments together were spent simply crying and (for me) wishing I could say more of what I was thinking.

Morevoer, I have felt completely heartbroken since we terminated. I now think about him constantly and I keep replaying our last sessions over in my mind. I do not feel the happiness that someone should feel upon completing therapy. At the same time, I do not want to seek out another T. I would feel very uncomfortable discussing my feelings for this T, and I would be extremely reluctant to discuss my belief that he was also attracted to me. So if I can't be honest with a new T, I see no benefit in getting one.

I want very badly to contact him. I feel like I at least should be given the opportunity to terminate properly, whatever that means. But I also feel like an idiot. I cried my heart out that day thinking I'd never see him again. I wonder if I'm just indulging my desire to see him again or if I need a better termination experience? Or both? I have a legitimate reason to contact him (I'm challenging a parking ticket and he's my alibi) but I'm even afraid to do that.

Please babblers...what do you recommend?

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long)

Posted by tabitha on July 2, 2004, at 1:41:30

In reply to resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 1, 2004, at 20:18:16

That sounds like a painful romantic disappointment, plus a bad therapy termination all at once. No wonder you're floored by it. I don't think he did a very good job in that last session, if you ended up feeling unexpectedly terminated. It's like the worst possible therapy scenario. I got unexpectedly terminated from group therapy once, and oh man, that was awful.

My first thought was you need to find a female therapist and work through this loss with her. I just can't imagine going through it alone, or getting what you need for closure from him, or being able to open up to another male therapist at this point. I had a woman friend who found healing from a painful romantic attachment to a therapist, by doing just that.

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) tabitha

Posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 2, 2004, at 16:47:44

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by tabitha on July 2, 2004, at 1:41:30

Tabitha,

Thank you for the advice. I don't know if I can open up about this to anyone else, even a female T. But I certainly understand your reasoning. It seems so ironic that I can discuss this on the internet but not with a new T, huh?

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) steelmagnolia25

Posted by tabitha on July 2, 2004, at 23:00:09

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) tabitha, posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 2, 2004, at 16:47:44

not so ironic.. talking to strangers can feel very safe. You don't have anything invested in the relationship, and they don't have any preconceived idea of you. Besides where the heck else can you talk about painful therapy experiences? I don't know anyplace.

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long)

Posted by LostGirl on July 4, 2004, at 21:55:39

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) steelmagnolia25, posted by tabitha on July 2, 2004, at 23:00:09

I had a messy ending with a male therapist where there was definitely a strong chemistry between us. It tore me apart. I saw a female therapist to work it out. It was somewhat humiliating to talk about how attached I had been to him and I was afraid she'd think I was some nut case who was now going to attach to her. But not at all. She was objective and supportive. If anyone understands about the nuts and bolt of the therapy relationship, it's another therapist. I, too, would urge you to see a female therapist.

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long)

Posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 5, 2004, at 11:17:21

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by LostGirl on July 4, 2004, at 21:55:39

Thank you so much ladies. I know that I don't post here often and it's been somewhat hurtful to see only a few responses. I truly appreciate your input. The more I reflect on everything that happened, the more I wonder if T actually validated my feelings as non-transference just as a way to flatter himself? Or perhaps he wasn't equipped to deal with the "real work" of working through this issue even more? I mean, is it possible in only 4-5 sessions to discriminate whether feelings are tranference, not transference, or both?

Something happened today that is definitely pushing me in the direction of seeking another (female) T. I decided yesterday that I would send a very professional email to T regarding the parking ticket situation. I suggested that he simply write up the appointment slip that I needed, leave it with his receptionist, and I would pick it up Tuesday. I thought my email would be a good way to (1) solve a practical problem (the ticket) and (2) open the door IF he wanted to ask how I'm doing, etc. Well, the response I got was pretty weird. First, he responded that he'd "like" to help, that he would write the slip, but that he would prefer to send it to me in the mail. This despite the fact that the deadline for my ticket appeal is Tuesday (?!). I'm pretty angry now. I feel like his response was the "professional" response that will keep him safe since email is not private, but it pretty clearly communicated to me that he wants NO contact. And most importantly, he didn't ask how I'm doing -- nada! I found that to be extremely hurtful since he'd told me that I could contact him in the future if I still needed to talk. This was a very far cry from the response I expected or wanted.

I tried several drafts of an angry email back to him and finally decided that email is just not the venue for venting anger. Especially when I know he'll just limit himself to one of those ultra-professional responses. So then I called the after-hours number and I'm sitting here steaming and waiting for him to call me. I half suspect that he won't. If he does, I am very tempted to let out all of this anger and just ask for a different therapist.

Any thoughts on this crazy development?

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) steelmagnolia25

Posted by gardenergirl on July 5, 2004, at 17:25:45

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 5, 2004, at 11:17:21

Wow, that sounds like a complex situation. In some ways, I think you may be right, that his response to the transference was more about him than you. Whether he was struggling with real feelings or who knows what other issues, for some reason, he feels he cannot treat you appropriately. In some ways, although it hurts, it's better for that to happen earlier rather than later.

About the parking ticket thing...It DOES sound like he would rather you not come in. I don't know why that is. Again, I would suspect it is something to do with his own issues rather than yours. I'm sorry that is affecting you, though. It seems like a perfectly reasonable request given the deadline, for you to pick it up in person.

Good luck with finding a new T. That process can be stressful as well. There have been posts in the past about interviewing T's if you have questions or want some additional info. I don't have a link, but if you search the archives, you may be able to find it.

I hope that when you do get a new T, that she (or he, but I think she is good choice) will be able to help you with your feelings about all of this.

Take care and please let us know how you are doing.

gg

 

Re: Did he call back?

Posted by Dinah on July 7, 2004, at 13:19:15

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 5, 2004, at 11:17:21

And how did it go?

Please don't be hurt by the lack of responses. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm still reeling from the recent contretemps on the board, and am just now getting back to reading the posts.

It sounds like a difficult situation, but perhaps a clean break and processing it with another therapist (possibly female) might be your best bet. For whatever reason, he wasn't up to handling this professionally. Sigh. I *am* sorry.

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) steelmagnolia25

Posted by mair on July 7, 2004, at 20:32:44

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 5, 2004, at 11:17:21

I'd like to know if he called too. I think you really need to process all of this, but not with him - I can't see anything that will be gained, and I think any response you get from him will be unsatisfactory - I hope you get together with a new T soon.

Mair

 

Re: resuming after termination? please help (long) steelmagnolia25

Posted by daisym on July 7, 2004, at 23:32:15

In reply to Re: resuming after termination? please help (long), posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 5, 2004, at 11:17:21

steelmagnolia25,

Sorry I'm so late to respond. Your post hit a little too close to home for me this week. I struggle A LOT with my feelings about my Therapist. They aren't romantic but they are intense, needy, little kid feelings. I go through periods of being petrified that eventually he will be overwhelmed and terminate.

I'm sorry this has happened to you. It must be unbelievable painful. I agree with the advise of others here -- having help to process all these conflicting, hurt feelings seems important. You can't blame yourself. It just seems that some Therapist believe that termination is the only answer. I guess the way malpractice suits have gone and the cost of insurance makes male therapist especially gun shy. We all lose because of this.

One last thought. Asking for another therapist from the same group may not be the best idea. She might have a difficult time since it is a colleague and you might run into him in the building.

 

Re: Did he call back? Dinah

Posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 10, 2004, at 18:49:36

In reply to Re: Did he call back?, posted by Dinah on July 7, 2004, at 13:19:15

Now I have to apologize...I've not been checking the board for several days. :(

He did not call right away; I learned that he was out of town and since I wouldn't deem this as an "emergency" he didn't get the message until he returned the next day. Even then, I didn't wait for a call back. I was still very angry so I called him about 2 minutes after his office opened and vented to him over the phone. I basically told him that I felt the termination had as much to do with his feelings as with my own, and that instead of feeling like I'd graduated from therapy I felt like I'd been "suspended" due to my attraction. He was extremely professional, which was somewhat maddening, and he asked if it would be "useful" for me to see him again. In response, I told him that I know (1) that I need to continue counseling with someone, and (2) that I'm still very angry with how he handled the situation. I told him that I needed to vent even more, and the only question is whether he could handle it or if he would recommend someone else. He said he'd like to see me again to work through it.

I went to see him a few days later and the session, unbelievably, went well. He was much nicer in the therapy room and he stated that he agreed the termination several weeks ago went horribly and he'd doubted himself concerning that. I felt very strong because I was able to look him in the eyes and say, "my top priority is my mental health. Anything that threatens to get in the way of my health needs to removed or dealt with." We agreed that I would begin seeing a different therapist, a woman, and I will only go to see him 3 more times. We already have a set date for the official termination and I think there's a possibility I may even meet with the new T before that.

Overall, I'm happy with the result.

 

Re: Did he call back? steelmagnolia25

Posted by Dinah on July 10, 2004, at 21:42:55

In reply to Re: Did he call back? Dinah, posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 10, 2004, at 18:49:36

I'm so glad it worked out as well as it could, under the circumstances. At least you'll get a chance to process it. Do you know anything about your new therapist, other than her gender?

 

Re: Did he call back?

Posted by gardenergirl on July 11, 2004, at 0:50:07

In reply to Re: Did he call back? Dinah, posted by steelmagnolia25 on July 10, 2004, at 18:49:36

Good for you for stating your priorities so clearly. It sounds like termination may go smoother now. I'm so glad.

Yeah steelmagnolia!

gg


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