Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 815860

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New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!)

Posted by earthmama on March 2, 2008, at 23:30:52

Hi Babblers -

I've been lurking on this board for a few months, and I am SO grateful that you are all here. I started therapy for the first time in November, and I've been going twice a week (three times a couple of times) since then. I'm FINALLY starting to trust my T....I think!!

So, I have therapy tomorrow, and, as usual, I'm not sure what's the most *important* thing to talk about. For the first month of therapy, we mainly talked about how hard it was for me to even be there (having spent 30+ years being "independent" and "taking care of myself"). Over the next couple of months, I pretty much spilled my guts with a laundry list of my "secrets" - just "this happened to me, this happened to me, this other thing happened to me" - without really delving into any associated feelings (actually not feeling feelings is one of the reasons I'm in therapy). I think I was trying to get it all out, quickly, while he was still listening. There's A LOT there that I'm sure we'll have to return to eventually.

Last week, I saw him three times, and it felt like a "turning point" - we talked about nothing but what was happening there in the room - our therapy relationship, my giant laundry list of fears related to therapy, etc. It was good, and felt right. I felt like my trust in him went WAY up. We didn't talk about my history at all - just how I was feeling right then - and hey! I finally felt some feelings!

So, I have therapy tomorrow. I was planning all weekend on going in and picking up where we left off last week, especially because I started feeling the dreaded attraction to my therapist over the weekend, and that brought up a lot of issues. But tonight, I was reading a novel that TOTALLY triggered all of my PTSD stuff, and now here I am, up in the middle of the night, really anxious and dealing with that.

SOOOO, to get to my question. How do you decide what to bring up in therapy? Both topics seem really important. Is it more important to talk about what's happening in therapy itself....or to talk about this triggery stuff from the past?

I'm up way too late and I'm tired and confused.


Re: New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!)

Posted by Daisym on March 3, 2008, at 0:45:11

In reply to New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!), posted by earthmama on March 2, 2008, at 23:30:52

I think you are right - both topics are important. And I actually think they might drive each other - the more triggered you are, the more your need for your therapist flares up. So maybe lay it out for him the way you did here - that both seem important. I'm impressed that you can "just" jump back in on a Monday - it takes me a while to warm up.

Welcome to Babble, btw. I'm glad you posted instead of lurking. I know that feels risky sometimes but we are a pretty kind group. Where are you that puts you in the "middle of the night?" I'm west coast so I'm often up at this hour - but not to many of us out here...

I hope you post how it goes tomorrow. Good luck!


Re: New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!) Daisym

Posted by earthmama on March 3, 2008, at 6:06:50

In reply to Re: New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!), posted by Daisym on March 3, 2008, at 0:45:11

Thanks, Daisy. You're right, they probably DO drive each other. It's scary for me to "need" him, as I've spent my whole life making sure that I didn't "need" ANYONE, EVER.

About jumping back in on Monday...I feel like I have to, because I only go on Monday and Friday. It's hard, but I usually sit there for few minutes and feel the safety of his office (I tell him that his OFFICE feels really safe to me, even though HE'S there!! lol), and go for it. I'm torn between my fear and my desire to use up ALL of my alloted time.

AND thanks for the welcome :) I'm in Georgia, btw.


Re: New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!)

Posted by rskontos on March 3, 2008, at 9:20:09

In reply to Re: New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!) Daisym, posted by earthmama on March 3, 2008, at 6:06:50

Earthmama, I probably mix it up. With mine, he unearthed the past from me. And now, we talk about it as the flashback come up. If I will, some I do some are still too painful. So are still too blurry to really talk about. I journal them and finally shared my journal. YOu might journal your feelings too. It helps I think. For me it is hard just going and we often talk about that. But lighter sessions are good too and that too me a while to understand. Going slow helps get to the goal faster and that too me a while to understand too. It is scary to need them. That we ALL understand. I am still working on the needing. The other day, I said I need to tell Dr. X this. And I thought well I am getting there. I sometimes email him things I think I need to talk about so he will ask me about them in case I can't bring them up. Or I write lists in case I think about it before hand and then when I get there I draw a blank. I helps. Overall for me, it has helped not to get to worked up over what to talk about. Sometimes the best sessions have been the ones I go in with nothing.

Good luck and I am glad you are here. Welcome.



How did it go? (nm) earthmama

Posted by DAisym on March 5, 2008, at 19:50:29

In reply to New with a question - therapy topics?? (LONG!), posted by earthmama on March 2, 2008, at 23:30:52


Re: How did it go? DAisym

Posted by earthmama on March 7, 2008, at 6:24:14

In reply to How did it go? (nm) earthmama, posted by DAisym on March 5, 2008, at 19:50:29

Thanks for asking, Daisy :)

It was THE most gut-wrenching, intense, heartbreaking session. I read a book Sunday night after I posted and something in that book totally triggered me. I knew I was upset after reading the book, but wasn't sure why. Monday morning, putting laundry in the dryer, I realized "it's because I know how that feels". That sort of hit me in the gut, but I was okay. Then, in the shower, before I went to T, I had a full-blown panic attack - my first. I was so scared, I realized that I could only breathe if I concentrated and forced myself to, my heart was racing, I was dizzy, thought I was going to pass out and die. My husband has had panic attacks in the past, so I knew intellectually what it was, but I was so scared. It all related to an attack that happened to me years ago - I knew that it happened, I knew WHAT happened, and I knew the beginning and the end of what happened, but couldn't remember the details of the middle. Now I remember :(

SO, I went to T, REALLY shook up, tried to tell him what happened, and had another attack. I can't remember the beginning of the session (but he told me yesterday that the part I can't remember isn't that long), but I do remember him helping me. He talked to me in such a soothing voice, told me I was with him, I was safe, it WASN'T happening now. He got me a cup of cool water and while I held it, talked to me about feeling the cool cup, about seeing the sunshine coming in the window, about hearing his voice. We leaned across the room and touched fingertip to fingertip to I could feel that he was "real", and there. I told him about the middle of what had happened that I remember now :(

So....I guess my topic choice sorted itself out on it's own...

I had T yesterday, but it was really hard for me to stay "in the room" - I just wanted to dissociate, because I was so scared it was going to get even worse than Monday. He worked hard to keep me there with him, and in the end, it felt like such a pointless session. ALL we did was work on me staying in the room.

Now, I'm thinking of quitting T. It's too much to have needs and have someone helping me. I'm not used to it, and it's a total "RUN!" feeling that it brings up. I talked to a friend of mine last night and she convinced me to at least go today and tell him I want to quit. I love my T, and the thought of leaving him hurts, but the thought of staying is scary too. I'm not sure which is worse.

Whew! Thanks for asking, Daisy. Guess I needed to get that off my chest.


Re: How did it go? earthmama

Posted by sunnydays on March 7, 2008, at 9:26:03

In reply to Re: How did it go? DAisym, posted by earthmama on March 7, 2008, at 6:24:14

You know.... staying in therapy and working on the run feelings might be most beneficial to you in the long run... but I think you already know that. It is hard and painful, but I can tell you have a good T and he won't let it get to be too much for you. It takes a lot of courage, but I believe in you that you can keep going and get through this.



Re: How did it go?

Posted by Daisym on March 7, 2008, at 22:25:40

In reply to Re: How did it go? DAisym, posted by earthmama on March 7, 2008, at 6:24:14

That "run" feeling might be old - part of the memory that came up. It seems to me that there is a level of safety that you've reached, which allowed the memory to make itself known. Scary as that is, it is huge progress. You need a witness to your pain and suffering for healing to really begin.

Some how I bet if you'd revisited the memory outright, you wouldn't have had to work so hard to stay in the room. Often we are avoiding ourselves as much as our therapists. And sometimes after an intense session it is Ok to take it easy. In my therapy we often talk about how it felt to tell him or be vulnerable with him around a memory, instead of telling about the memory again. I've found it works for me.

I really do know how scary it is to need your therapist and to feel dependent and close. Talk to your therapist before you just decide to quit. Maybe cutting back to 1x a week is needed but together you should decide. For me, it was to increase, not decrease.

I hope you can rest and have some fun over the weekend.

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