Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 905200

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My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 1:44:02

I have been seeing the same therapist for almost 10 years. He has gotten me through some really major rough depression spots in my life. My depresson seems to by cyclic and so there are times when I "need" him more and sometimes less; he's always been helpful in adjusting my visits as I need them- one week, two weeks, etc.

In that amount of time we've developed what (I THOUGHT) was a close working relationship. We had some problems with my insurance and he told me not to worry, that he'd be there for me,even if the insurance wouldn't pay we'd work something out.

Monday I was DEVASTATED to receive a totally impersonal letter saying that since I hadn't rescheduled my last appointment he was assuming I was no longer going to be seeing him,blah-blah-blah. The letter was dated exactly ONE WEEK after I had canceled my last appointment. (I've been seeing him every other week for the past year or so.)

My husband canceled my last appointment because I was in the middle of a major meltdown. I asked him to tell them I'd be in on my next scheduled appointment (this Wednesday--we have a standing time) - but apparently he said I'd call them back to reschedule. In the meantime I was figuring I would just show up this week like always and he'd be there.

I immediately called his office and they rescheduled me (into my own still-empty slot). I guess I sounded a little unhinged (a lot unhinged was more like it) so he called back and left a msg on my voicemail that he hadn't meant to upset me.

OK. I believe he wasn't trying to upset me. But now I can't figure out what he IS trying to do. I just can't believe that this is really, truly about my not rescheduling. This is a small city. He is in private practice and shares a secretary/receptionist with three other doctors. I KNOW either he or the secretary had timme to call and ask me to reschedule.

All I can think is WHY IS HE REALLY DOING THIS TO ME? Is the appointment issue an easy out for him to dump me? Or does he think it's an easy out for me to dump him? I don't get it and I don't believe it. It was like a two sentence form letter after ten years.

I called back and canceled my reschedule and left a msg that I would be sending him a letter. I've written and re-written it so I think it says what I thinnk I need to say. I ended by saying if he thought there was anhyting to be gained by discussing the issue, to please have someone call me about rescheduling.

I don't want to squeeze myself in where I'm not wanted. THIS IS SO TREMENDOUSLY HURTFUL TO ME! I feel betrayed--he knows that I am going through some rough times in my life and starting to slip. Has he decided I'm too muchh trouble? I'm not a high-maintenance patient. I don't know what's behind this, it has to be something more, I just feel like it has to be.

He knows it took me close to a year before I could really open up and talk to him. I FEEL SO BETRAYED! I TRUSTED HIM TO BE HERE. HE SAID HE WOULD BE HERE.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Even if he reads the letter and wants to talk about it, I'm not sure I can feel the same security in talking to him. So I feel like I am screwed (sorry for the language) either way.

I am bouncing back and forth through all the stages of grief over this and I don't know what to do. I just don't. know. what. to. do.

It is very difficult to find a new therapist who accepts my crappy insurance and who isn't paranoid about my weird med combo (which isn't prescribed by my therapist--I have to see a PDoc for "medication management).

I can't start over with a new therapist. I won't. It's too hard for me to develop the kind of trust I need to have. It takes too long.

Now I wonder how much of the past 10 years have been a fake on his part. I know i"m going on, but I am SO HURT and now I'm left with NO ONE TO TALk TO ABOUT IT. --tears---sobs--tears--

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Dinah on July 6, 2009, at 7:16:23

In reply to My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 1:44:02

I think you ought to talk to him in person. You don't really know how your husband phrased your cancellation. A therapist has to accept a client leaving, if they believe that is what's going on. My therapist did it himself just a few sessions ago when he totally misunderstood what I was saying to him.

He immediately gave you your time back. He immediately expressed a desire to continue working with you. He had held your space open. He didn't fire you.

I don't know if the appointment you canceled after they scheduled you is still open, but if I were you I'd call and find out. You haven't actually seen your therapist or talked to him since this happened. You don't know how much this is a misunderstanding. Your account of what he's done since you called to reschedule and before your husband canceled do not sound like someone who is trying to fire you.

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by sassyfrancesca on July 6, 2009, at 7:48:04

In reply to My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 1:44:02

Oh, sweetie: That is terrible. A therapist is NOT supposed to terminate you, unless you are a danger to him or others.

The client is the only one who knows when it is time to leave

I hope you discuss this with him. After 10 years, you deserve better than that!!

Hugs n Love, Sassy

P.S. And on top of that when you decide to terminate a therapist likes to have a week or 2 to go over everything, etc.......

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Phillipa on July 6, 2009, at 10:44:55

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by sassyfrancesca on July 6, 2009, at 7:48:04

I agree with the above information. Sounded like a misunderstanding. Phillipa

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by pegasus on July 6, 2009, at 10:58:58

In reply to My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 1:44:02

Hi Kim,

First of all, I want to let you know that it totally makes sense to me that you would be very upset. I would be too, after 10 years. And also, I agree with Dinah in that it doesn't sound to me like he's trying to fire you. What it sounds like to me is that there was probably a major misunderstanding somewhere, in addition to some poor handling of the situation. That is not at all the same thing as him wanting you to quit, or wanting to fire you, or even really thinking that you are done.

It seems like it might be helpful to keep in mind that there are lots of links in this communication chain: from you to your husband to the secretary to your doctor then probably to the secretary and back to you in the form of that letter. Also, I wanted to give you one possible alternative explanation that I can think of: I do know some therapists (especially in group practices where they have a secretary or other staff) that follow certain protocols that can seem insensitive. Maybe this letter that you received is some kind of form letter they send to anyone who doesn't schedule new appointments? I definitely have heard of Ts having a policy of not calling clients who cancel, because it can be seen as pressuring if Ts call clients about rescheduling. And pressuring clients is a no no. And I also have heard of Ts who always try to have some kind of resolution for clients who "disappear", if only to have a clear record in their files of their status with respect to that client. Put those two together, and I can imagine someone who is not very sensitive (or has never been a client) coming up with a protocol that would involve sending out the letter you received.

So, maybe your T didn't write it specifically for you, and just signed what his secretary prepared for him, following some ill-considered protocol? It's still not a good way to do business, and not very sensitive. But at least it might not be quite such personal a slap in your face?

Even if this scenario isn't accurate, I really do hope that you decide to talk to your T about it. At this point you just don't know what he was thinking, and trying to figure it out is clearly very painful for you. If you talk to him, you'll at least narrow down the possible explanations that you need to consider. And then, we hear over and over on this board from people who have had major breaks in their relationships with Ts for various reasons, and then sometimes come out of the situation with a stronger relationship than ever after thoroughly working through what happened. I really hope for you that that is where this ends up.

peg

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 19:01:48

In reply to My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 1:44:02

Thank you, everybody, for your taking the time to answer. I decided to take your advice and I called my therapist' office--they were out to lunch so left a message asking them to please call me if my appointment wasn't still open. They called back and said that it was, so I will see him on Wednesday.

I mailed the letter this morning, but I'm okay with that. I hope he gets it before Wednesday so we can spend more time talking about it. I will bring a oopy with me so he can read it just in case he hasn't received it yet.

When I wrote the letter I had been was very careful not to be accusatory--just to let him know how I felt: dismayed, surprised, hurt, offended, disappointed, upset, and betrayed. Especially betrayed. He knows more about me than ANYONE else does.

I haven't posted for several years, and I sincerely appreciate all your advice. I replied earlier today but for some reason it didn't show up.

I hate it that they always tell peple who are or want to be happy to avoid people who are depressing. Then they tell those of us who are depressed that we should be around happy people. Kind of contradictory, don't you think? Maybe that would make a good topic for the board. But first I have to get through this.

We moved before I began seeing this therapist so I lost all my support system - I don't have anyone who knew me "before" to be my friend, so I am especially grateful that you took the time to help.

Kim

I'll let everyone know what happens on Wednesday.

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP! Kim

Posted by LadyBug on July 7, 2009, at 0:05:40

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by Kim on July 6, 2009, at 19:01:48

You did the right thing by keeping the appointment with him. His letter is very confusing especially after 10 years?

 

Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!

Posted by Kim on July 7, 2009, at 3:12:42

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP! Kim, posted by LadyBug on July 7, 2009, at 0:05:40

You are so right about the letter, Lady Bug! Entire Text: "I am writing to you at this time because you canceled your last appointment and declined to reschedule. I assume that you have decided to stop seeing me at this time. If this is not correct,I assume you will call me if I can assist you. Because we are not scheduled to meet again, I wanted to drop you a brief note to express my best wishes to you and my hope that you have positive experiences in the future. I found it a privilege and a pleasure to work with you." I DESERVE MORE THAN THAT!

And I'm going to tell him so on Wednesday. (Probably, maybe, I think.)

I'm still having panic attacks whenever I look across the room and see that tan stationery--
I guess the "positive experience" is that I only have a panic attack and don't run out of the room screaming . . .

 

Re: My therapist fired me - follow up

Posted by Kim on July 8, 2009, at 22:09:42

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me-long but PLEASE HELP!, posted by pegasus on July 6, 2009, at 10:58:58

I saw my therapist today.
He said hi, called me into his office I just didnt say anything. Still feeling hurt and angry. Sat down and just looked at him. He said, Can I got first? And I said, Please.

Basically, he apologized all over the place. You were righthe showed me the message from his secretary and it said that I had called and canceled my appointment and didnt want to reschedule. Reality: It was my husband who called and he said I would call to reschedule. T said he was very surprised, but when he asked secretary about message she didnt remember anything about it.

His monthly appointment with his supervising therapist (do they all do that? Hes been in practice for over 30 yearsonce when I was suicidal and he let me leave with a promise that I wouldnt do anything, she told him that under the circumstances she wouldnt have let me go--) was the day after my next appointment would have been (3 days after I canceled) and he said they spent about 20 minutes talking about it and thought that if he called me or anything it could be seen as pressuring (you were right) and that since were all psych patients sometimes we do things for our own (strange) reasons and he should just accept it. He said that even though the letter was short (and curt) that he had spent probably an hour thinking about how to phrase it. (Of course I showed him my 5 pages of handwritten drafts, with arrows and boxes and notes all over them).

I just sat and listened for the most parthe hurt me and Im not ever malicious, but I just let him squirm. I guess I thought if he didn't see my reaction to what he was saying maybe hed feel a little bit like I did when I got his letter.

I listed all the reasons that it was a particularly bad time for me to get the letter, and that pretty much took up the whole hour; we never did talk about anything in the letter directly. He offered me appointments tomorrow or Monday, but my cars in the shop so Im not sure Ill have transportation until Wednesday, so we made an appointment for then a week earlier than usual.

He said he would never have written the letter if hed known it was my husband who called and not me. I told him I hoped he had asked his staff to be more careful about writing down who actually called and he said he would. (Ironythe secretary who screwed up the message is his daughter-in-law; not sure ifhe knows that I know that.)

So Im feeling less rejected but still disappointed that he would think Id leave without saying goodbye. I guess well discuss some of that next week.

I told him the only reason I rescheduled was because you had said I should, and he said to tell you all Thank you. He asked if I thought we could fix it, and I said I guess well have to see when I talk to him next week.

Thanks from me, too, if you hadnt taken the time to answer me I wouldnt have rescheduled and he wouldnt have known why. Im glad
you were more rational than I. Its made me realize how much people on this board really can help (most of my other posts have involved medications). So I will try to do more towards helping other people here.

Kim @--/---

 

Re: My therapist fired me - follow up Kim

Posted by annierose on July 9, 2009, at 7:07:05

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me - follow up, posted by Kim on July 8, 2009, at 22:09:42

Mis-communication (between his secretary and your husband) stirred up a lot of confusing feelings. Although this situation was unnecessary and unpleasant, maybe it is an opportunity for growth too.

I do think therapits accept our decision to "quit" therapy for good reasons (on their end). The child in us wishes they would call and beg us to come back.

You did the right thing in rescheduling and seeing him. I'm glad it worked out.

 

Re: My therapist fired me - follow up Kim

Posted by Dinah on July 9, 2009, at 8:59:32

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me - follow up, posted by Kim on July 8, 2009, at 22:09:42

I thought it was likely a misunderstanding. :)

Although I think it would have been equally correct for him to call and see if he was understanding you correctly.

 

Re: My therapist fired me - follow up

Posted by Kim on July 10, 2009, at 5:22:57

In reply to Re: My therapist fired me - follow up Kim, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2009, at 8:59:32

He did say that if he had received my letter - in which I told him about my husband canceling the appointment - he would have called me even if I hadn't rescheduled.

I don't know why, but I'm still feeling upset about the whole situation (although not nearly as much as I was before I talked to him).

I guess I thought I was a Jessica. Or maybe I am a Jessica. He told me he and his ST agreed that it would be inappropriate for him to write a letter telling me how he felt about me (?) Just to clarify, absolutely NOTHING inappropriate going on.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, all again.


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