Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 458460

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Yikes! Now I've done it!

Posted by Daisym on February 15, 2005, at 21:07:33

I mentioned to my therapist last week that when he referred to having "a client at 6 and one at 7" it bothered me...not that I didn't know he had other clients.

Today I asked him, "So how many of 'me' do you see?" He smiled and said, "There is only one you..." OK, that was a nice answer - - I said Thank you -- and "you know what I meant." He said, "Tell me what you mean by 'me' " -- so I said stuff like another client who taxes you, someone who comes as much as me...that kind of client. He said I don't tax him, etc. etc. And I said, "But you still didn't answer the question."

He thought about it and then said, "This is one of those questions that I want to explore it more...why you are asking, what you imagine the answer would be, what you might feel if the answer was different from what you expected. Let's spend some time on it tomorrow, if you still want to." (Our time was almost up.)

I said, "why I'm asking seems easy -- there is only so much of you and if someone else needs you more, than it is easier for me to move over a bit, let someone else have more of you." (eyes filling with tears here)

Him: That sounds like a bad thing for you.
Me: Maybe it is a good thing for you.
Him: We are talking about you.
Me: No, we were talking about you, you just keep turning it around.
Him: Yes, but this is your therapy.
Me: Yes, it is also my question.

Him: We really need to explore this more. Why don't you think of the possible ways I could answer that question and how they make you feel. I want to understand what you are really asking me.

Now I'm panicked. How many ways are there to answer that question: 1) I have too many clingy clients (so I would worry about him falling apart or taking a long vacation to recoup) or 2) You are the only one who is so clingy (OH GOD -- I knew I was. I'm the nightmare client every therapist dreads and they all write about...)

Why did I ask this? What do I really need to hear? (Please be gentle...I'm so fragile right now.)

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!

Posted by mair on February 15, 2005, at 22:03:18

In reply to Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by Daisym on February 15, 2005, at 21:07:33

God Daisy, just last week my T and I were discussing Q's I ask her and my need for her to answer them. She said conventional wisdom with lots of Ts is that the answer to any more or less personal Q should be "why is it important for you to know?" She's never answered me in that way, although I guess I could come up with some Qs that might generate that response.

There are lots of answers your T could've given you that would have sidestepped the issue and that you would probably have accepted. But it seems to me, that he's probably trying to get you to talk about your fear of being the "too taxing" client that he would love to divest himself of.

When we feel needy, I think the fear that we're more than our ts really want to deal with, is pretty common. It quite literally took me a couple of years at least before I stopped feeling that way on a regular basis - sometimes I'd just reason that she wanted to get rid of me but couldn't because she knew it would trigger so much bad stuff; sometimes I reasoned that she had blinders on and if she had more perspective, she'd see that she would be much better off jettisoning me while she could - sometimes i thought maybe I should just make it easier for her and quit. Frankly, I still sometimes think she'd love to have an "out."

This is what he does for a living. If it were me, I'd prefer a more direct answer from him because I tend to need alot of reassurance; on the other hand, lots of time i can't take in those reassuring messages anyway.

As far as I can see, your T has proven over and over again, that he's equal to the kind of conversation he wants to have with you, and I think it probably is important for you to put all of your fears about this on the table.

I just don't see him disappointing you at all.

Let us know how it goes.

mair

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Daisym

Posted by fallsfall on February 15, 2005, at 22:04:29

In reply to Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by Daisym on February 15, 2005, at 21:07:33

(((((Daisy)))))

Why can't you believe him when he says that you don't tax him?

Is is possible that he has just the right number/kind of clients? And that without you, the mix would be all wrong?

Some of us in this world have the honor of knowing you. He's one of the lucky ones! And so am I.

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Daisym

Posted by Shortelise on February 15, 2005, at 23:23:17

In reply to Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by Daisym on February 15, 2005, at 21:07:33

The question I would be asking myself is, why do I need to believe I am so taxing? What has happened to make me think that I am a "problem"? Why won't I allow myself to hear that I am not "too taxing"? What will happen to me if I am too taxing?

DaisyM, is it at all possible that you are not an "easy" client but that your T likes you, likes working with you? Maybe you are interesting, maybe your challenges are challenging to your T and maybe, just maybe, he finds that interesting.

I think we're all at different stages with our T's. I am at a fairly peaceful stage, no longer wanting to rip his office apart and accuse him of hating my guts. I am sure that a couple of his clients are in that stage, and a few others are completely different, working on things that challenge him very differently than I might.

I don't know what you want him to say. Maybe you'd like to hear is, Daisy, you're ok, and I'm ok with you. You don't need to worry about me, I can take care of myself. I won't abandon you, I won't hurt you, and we'll work through all of this together.

Would you like to ask him "if I am not too taxing, where is the boundary, and what would crossing it look like and what would happen if I did"?

You wonder how many clients he sees as often as he sees you? If he says none, how would you feel? If he says fifteen, how would that make you feel?

Maybe you need to ask him if you are burning him out. Maybe you need to hear that he is ok with you, ok with your feelings and the intensity of your therapy. Maybe you need to hear that he feels you deserve the attention he gives you, that you needit and he is happy to provide it.

Hugs,
ShortE

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! mair

Posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 0:01:08

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by mair on February 15, 2005, at 22:03:18

I think you are right, he wants me to think about my assumptions. He usually is willing to answer my questions in a pretty straight forward way.

I don't know why I asked right now. I'm not feeling particularly insecure. Or maybe I am. I did say last week, "I have this fantasy of you seeing me at work. I really am pretty capable and not at all the weepy sad person you see in here."

I think my fears are on the table, on the floor and all over the office. He knows...

Thanks for the support. I'm glad you found your way to trusting your therapist. Sounds like a hard fought battle.

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! fallsfall

Posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 0:07:51

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Daisym, posted by fallsfall on February 15, 2005, at 22:04:29

I think you are biased. :)

I don't know why I can't believe him. It seems to be the universal message that you need to be careful about how much you admit to needing your therapist, especially to them. It is subtle, but even here on the board, there is some disapproval of dependency and frequent therapy.

Interestingly enough, I had a pdoc appointment today. She said that given my life, I have every reason to feel anxiety, even with out working on past issues. She also said that it takes strength to do deep therapy work...going more does not necessarily mean you are unstable. She offered different kinds of meds but it was nice to hear that it wasn't "just" my internal resources failing...things actually are hard!

Still doesn't answer why I suddenly want to compare myself to my therapist's other clients.

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!

Posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 0:24:49

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Daisym, posted by Shortelise on February 15, 2005, at 23:23:17

<<<<<The question I would be asking myself is, why do I need to believe I am so taxing? What has happened to make me think that I am a "problem"? Why won't I allow myself to hear that I am not "too taxing"? What will happen to me if I am too taxing?
*********I don't know why I need to believe I'm too taxing...I just know it to be true. (Do I have to be the worst to deserve therapy?) I know that my training has always been be the care taker, not someone to be taken care of. If I'm too taxing, he will "leave me." Either completely or by emotionally backing off.

He has told me a thousand times he is OK with how much I need him. He encourages me to reach out to him between sessions if I need to. He is honest about when he is working, when he is busy and when he is tired. He is clear if he calls me that he has 5 minutes or 50. He knows I can't tolerate being intrusive or impolite, even on accident. (That makes me bad.) He pushes me to recognize that allowing myself to need him and to meet this need is the core item of my therapy. He tells me if I push a boundary, or even cross one, we will talk about it. The world won't end. He might even get mad, but more likely, I'll get mad at him. The world won't end then either. This is hard for me to believe.

He tells me often that he takes good care of himself. We talked about his physical health last week. I said I didn't expect him to really tell me, he said he absolutely would, given my history, because it would only be fair to me. I believed him. He has shared with me his support system. But still...

I think I've read too much lately about compassion fatigue and how hard it is to work with those of us who suffered sexual abuse and are trying to process those memories. So much of the literature warns against working with people like me...

I guess I feel out of control and I'm looking for reassurances. Maybe I want to be his favorite client (blushing) -- but I don't have romantic feelings for him. Mostly I think I want to make sure he can handle this new, deeper level of feelings we are in. How this connects to his other clients is beyond me.

Thanks for the hugs.

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!

Posted by Dinah on February 16, 2005, at 3:26:43

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Daisym, posted by Shortelise on February 15, 2005, at 23:23:17

Well, ShortE said exactly what I was going to, only far more eloquently. :)

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! daisym

Posted by fallsfall on February 16, 2005, at 7:45:31

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! fallsfall, posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 0:07:51

> I think you are biased. :)

*** Maybe he is, too...
>
> I don't know why I can't believe him. It seems to be the universal message that you need to be careful about how much you admit to needing your therapist, especially to them. It is subtle, but even here on the board, there is some disapproval of dependency and frequent therapy.

*** Need I remind you that allowing my dependency and *increasing* the frequency of my therapy is what has made the difference for me?

*** Some people do great with every other week CBT. Some don't. For those who do, that's great! But that doesn't mean that those of us who don't thrive with that type of therapy are "wrong". You are not a lemming. "Just because everybody else is doing it, doesn't make it the right thing to do."

*** Was I "bad" to get *worse* with CBT? Do you think less of me because I have found a therapy that is helping me? Am I "weak" for insisting that I will continue with something that is helping me? "Yes, but..." But what? If I deserve to have a therapy that helps, why don't you deserve it?

> Interestingly enough, I had a pdoc appointment today. She said that given my life, I have every reason to feel anxiety, even with out working on past issues. She also said that it takes strength to do deep therapy work...going more does not necessarily mean you are unstable. She offered different kinds of meds but it was nice to hear that it wasn't "just" my internal resources failing...things actually are hard!

*** Yes, things *ARE* hard. I'm glad that you heard that today.

>
> Still doesn't answer why I suddenly want to compare myself to my therapist's other clients.

*** And your therapist wants to explore this with you. You don't have to figure this out all by yourself. It isn't a test, where *you* have to come up with the answer. The whole point of therapy is that there is someone else there who is helping you to think things through. So, now you have a new question - you don't yet have the answer. Someday you will have the answer (if you allow the question...). That someday doesn't have to be today. You have time to figure it out.

Breathe, and be patient.

(((((...Daisy)))))...

 

Getting it done daisym

Posted by Shortelise on February 16, 2005, at 12:44:00

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 0:24:49

Daisy,

I projected, and still do I guess, my own feelings about myself all over my T.

Could you be worrying that YOU can't handle it?

ShortE

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! daisym

Posted by Shortelise on February 16, 2005, at 13:04:57

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 0:24:49

And then, well, are you so much expecting him to leave you that you are looking for the excuses before it has even happened?

I like your T and I trust him, just from what you have written.

Daisy, I think you're doing the work.

Old habits are hard to break, especially when we don't know if what we replace the old habits with will be enough.
I love analogies: it's like, here I am dangling with one hand from this frayed old rope that I've been hanging on to for years, and someone is holding out a hand to me saying, hey, you don't need that old rope anymore: take my hand instead. You won't fall, I promise. But my trustworthy old rope that has bitten into my hand, made me bleed, swayed me from side to side, smashed me into walls and kept me dangling over the abyss ... it's all I know, and that has its own safety.

Do you see what I mean? I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself well.


 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Dinah

Posted by Shortelise on February 16, 2005, at 13:05:30

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by Dinah on February 16, 2005, at 3:26:43

blushing with pleasure

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it!

Posted by gardenergirl on February 16, 2005, at 15:17:45

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Dinah, posted by Shortelise on February 16, 2005, at 13:05:30

Daisy,
I think this is an important question and that may be why it's so hard to answer. The replies you are getting seem to be helping and have some good insights into them.

I don't know why, but lately I read posts and I just don't have anything to add. Wish I had something for you. But keep chewing on it. You two will figure it out.

((((Daisy))))

gg

 

Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! Daisym

Posted by Aphrodite on February 16, 2005, at 18:41:39

In reply to Yikes! Now I've done it!, posted by Daisym on February 15, 2005, at 21:07:33

Just a view from the other side, for whatever it is worth. . .

It's a long story (actually you know it, Daisy), but through no fault of my own, my T "exposed" me to at least 2 other of his um . . . needy clients. They both intruded on my time, and I pressed him until I got details about why this was OK. It was very, very clear that these 2 clients were in bad shape and quite dependent on him. He shared, because I pressed, that one he talks to 7 days a week to keep her OK and that he had to reduce sessions down from what used to be several hours.

So, I know without ever asking that he has a difficult caseload. I was so morbidly curious as to what was going on with these patients who intruded on our sessions.

My therapy has never been the same since. I would give anything to not know about this. The spectre of these other clients invade my boundaries and space. I wonder, did he have one of the patients today? Did they break down again? He looks tired -- I should tell him I'm OK so I don't overwhelm him. I can't tell you how much I close up in a desire to take care of him.

It has gotten so bad recently, as I often know if one of the two patients come before or after me, that he has had to completely redo my schedules so I don't pass them because it affects so much of what I do (or don't do) in therapy.

My advice is this: you may *think* you want to know, but you really don't. You need to trust that he has a caseload he can manage. I worry about it all the time and would give anything to have this information stricken from my mind. I worry for the patients, I worry for him, and in so doing, my therapy suffers.

But I understand the desire to want to know. It was very powerful for me, too.

 

Re: Getting it done Shortelise

Posted by daisym on February 16, 2005, at 23:18:27

In reply to Getting it done daisym, posted by Shortelise on February 16, 2005, at 12:44:00

TOTALLY!!!

 

The Discussion

Posted by daisym on February 17, 2005, at 0:03:24

In reply to Re: Yikes! Now I've done it! daisym, posted by fallsfall on February 16, 2005, at 7:45:31

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. I thought about everything everyone said and felt sort of prepared when I went in today. He brought it up right away...asking me if I want to keep talking about it. I said yes, I had been thinking about it. He said he had too...in fact, he realized that there was no way to answer the question that wouldn't be hurtful to me in some way. He said he felt put in a double-bind because he also said he would answer my questions whenever possible. (I said I was glad to know I could sometime put him on the spot...evil grin.) Ultimately we agreed that underneath the question was really another question about his ability to be there for me -- to be available and strong -- since we've revolved back into a story telling phase. And when I tell him the stories I get terrified that he is finally going to just "have enough" and pull away. We also talked about my need for him to be flexible from week to week about appointments, either in person or on the phone. He said he was still fine with that -- we do have set times each week and we can continue to fill in around it like we had been doing. I was very relieved and I didn't even realize I had been worrying about that. It has been especially hard lately because of the complexities of scheduling around my friend.

Am I still curious? Sure...I told him I had a bunch of other questions but for now I was OK with hanging on to them. I thought a lot about Aphrodite's experience and I can see myself doing the same thing. Plus, I have a good friend who has this very complicated therapy situation with her husband and her therapist. They started as a couple, she kept going as an individual for 2 years, he recently developed a critical need for help, so she "gave up" her spot to him (since there was a trust already established and she was terrified he wouldn't seek help). The therapist seems OK with this (I'm horrified - a total projection) but what upset me today was that my friend had an emergency appointment with the therapist last night and they talked about her husband. (did you follow all of that??!) I told my therapist that I knew I didn't need to say this, BUT "don't ever do that to me. Please don't talk to my spouse about me and PLEASE don't take him on as a client..."

He promised (after being very generous about different kinds of therapy and different boundaries for therapists) and we explored the ongoing need to keep secrets and how vital it is for me that therapy is safe. He wondered if part of my question about his clients was also trying to figure out if there was a person who would make it unsafe for me. I hadn't thought of that but given the difficulty lately, it fits too.

And believe it or not, we did all of that in the first 20 minutes. The next 33 minutes were deep and painful but that is a different post.

 

Re: The Discussion daisym

Posted by Shortelise on February 17, 2005, at 13:53:38

In reply to The Discussion, posted by daisym on February 17, 2005, at 0:03:24

Thanks Daisy, for writing all of this. It's really good to hear that he is there, right up front, no holds barred, there.
Hugs,
ShortE


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