Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 964430

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Maybe it's not such a good idea....

Posted by Dinah on October 1, 2010, at 19:13:50

I talked about my emetophobia and its childhood links to my brother being sick all the time, usually weekend mornings. My therapist said lots of kids are sick on weekday mornings, because of school. He told me I wouldn't have liked him in first grade. Then he repeated it. I really wouldn't have liked him in first grade.

I don't need that visual image of my therapist. I just don't. I'm still not totally recovered from when he almost told me (before I put my hands over my ears and screamed at him to STOP!) about the time he threw up on himself in the car.

And the other day, we were talking about my terror of going to emergency rooms. He tried to assure me that of all the times he went to the emergency room with a family member, no one ever threw up - except his family member. I told him that meant that every time he went to the emergency room, someone in the emergency room threw up.

Sigh.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah

Posted by obsidian on October 2, 2010, at 12:26:58

In reply to Maybe it's not such a good idea...., posted by Dinah on October 1, 2010, at 19:13:50

oh geez, so that didn't help eh??
well, I suppose it wouldn't

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah

Posted by lucielu2 on October 2, 2010, at 13:20:46

In reply to Maybe it's not such a good idea...., posted by Dinah on October 1, 2010, at 19:13:50


Dinah, your T is really endearing in his humanity :-)

Lucie

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... obsidian

Posted by Dinah on October 2, 2010, at 18:13:57

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by obsidian on October 2, 2010, at 12:26:58

Not really. Particularly because the context for the ER "reassurance" was a discussion of his hoping that if I ever thought I was in danger, I shouldn't rely solely on him, but should go to an emergency room. Not that it made any difference to my thoughts on the matter, but he did prove my point.

I need to think of a polite way to tell him that no matter what desensitization work we do, it won't be helpful for that to include stories about him.

It's kind of funny when you think about it...

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... lucielu2

Posted by Dinah on October 2, 2010, at 18:14:53

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by lucielu2 on October 2, 2010, at 13:20:46

Lucie, that is such a charitable way to think of it. I try to hold on to that view myself. :)

 

Sometimes I get the idea,....

Posted by twinleaf on October 2, 2010, at 18:29:09

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... lucielu2, posted by Dinah on October 2, 2010, at 18:14:53

probably incorrectly, that lately you have felt that you have to "play his part", so to speak, because, if you leave it up to him, he won't do nearly as good a job at being the therapist you need as you could do, He'll fall short. But you do need to give him the space to do those unexpected, wonderful things, don't you, so you can have ruptures, repairs and moments of meeting? (You can tell what I've been reading about lately).

 

Re: Sometimes I get the idea,.... twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on October 2, 2010, at 19:47:03

In reply to Sometimes I get the idea,...., posted by twinleaf on October 2, 2010, at 18:29:09

You're probably right.

But he does let me down. He doesn't seem to try all that hard either. He admits he doesn't know quite what to do on many occasions.

We are very good at rupture and repair. Very very good. But eventually there has to be more, or we'll just be chasing our tails round and round and getting nowhere.

 

Re: Sometimes I get the idea,.... Dinah

Posted by twinleaf on October 2, 2010, at 20:39:18

In reply to Re: Sometimes I get the idea,.... twinleaf, posted by Dinah on October 2, 2010, at 19:47:03

I guess I must have been picking up on the frustration you feel at times. I just read an article by Fonagy and others about how, in contemporary therapy, transference issues have become much less important, interpretation usually fades into the background, and the real relationship between the two people not only takes center stage but is almost the only thing that matters. As far as the ruptures and repairs, he said that ruptures occurred readily enough but true repairs can be hard to achieve. Some of the things which were important were a willingness to apologize and a complete absense of defensiveness. He pointed out how hard that can be when both members of the dyad have become disappointed and angry. A true repair was supposed to be characterized by increased feelings of acceptance and well-being on BOTH people's parts, as well as a deepening of the connection. It's apparently strongly associated with getting better. Both people could usually look back and describe the experience as meaningful and important. Described that way, I guess it doesn't happen all that often. I'd say, for me, once or twice a year. Fonagy, in the paper, urged therapists to persevere until they had created the right conditions, but said that, after that, it was a serendipitious two-person happening.

 

Re: Sometimes I get the idea,.... twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on October 3, 2010, at 1:04:15

In reply to Re: Sometimes I get the idea,.... Dinah, posted by twinleaf on October 2, 2010, at 20:39:18

Yes, we've had that experience. And yes, it is very powerful.

Maybe after one has had the experience enough times, a person becomes more confident in it, or more filled or something.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea....

Posted by pegasus on October 4, 2010, at 10:07:00

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... obsidian, posted by Dinah on October 2, 2010, at 18:13:57

> I need to think of a polite way to tell him that no matter what desensitization work we do, it won't be helpful for that to include stories about him.
>

Yeah, this seems to be an important point.

My new T likes to tell stories about himself, too. He likes it a bit too much, actually. It seems to be a real art.

I had a T once who was very good at self disclosure, and it (almost) always was beneficial to my therapy. This new guy has said that sometimes at the beginning it's helpful in putting the client at ease for him to talk about himself, so we can get to know each other. But there's this fine, fuzzy line between assisting the therapy, and simply enjoying blabbing about himself. I think the trick is to keep track of the first even as the second arises.

Your T seems to be losing track of the first around this tricky issue.

- Peg

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... pegasus

Posted by Dinah on October 4, 2010, at 12:07:33

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea...., posted by pegasus on October 4, 2010, at 10:07:00

It's probably generally true about my therapist. Sigh.

The more I think about what I'm feeling, the more I recognize that a lot of my actions lately have been as much about his looking sleepy and droopy eyed as they are about anything else. I admit I'm also bored myself, but it's possible that my boredom has as much to do with the energy he's bringing to the room as anything else.

He's even interrupted me a few times, not only when I was talking about the emetophobia, but some other time I can't now recall, to ask totally meaningless questions that he uses to fill time. Or once, even, something about a totally off topic thing he'd read.

I think he ought to be doing a bit of self examination about his own countertransference right now. But he won't, so I must.

How are you dealing with your therapist's tendency to talk about himself?

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah

Posted by twinleaf on October 4, 2010, at 18:13:09

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... pegasus, posted by Dinah on October 4, 2010, at 12:07:33

Oh Dinah, that's hard to deal with. If he's sleepy, interrupting you, bringing up irrelevant topics, you are right in thinking that unexamined countertransference topics are interfering with your normally good relationship. I'm assuming this must have happened before, and that up until now you both found good ways to resolve it.

What would happen if you spoke to him just as you have to us? And didn't allow it to rest until you felt the situation was at least partially resolved?

You both have such a long history of wonderful moments together. Surely there's a way now.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea....

Posted by floatingbridge on October 5, 2010, at 2:15:03

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by twinleaf on October 4, 2010, at 18:13:09

> Oh Dinah....
> What would happen if you spoke to him just as you have to us? And didn't allow it to rest until you felt the situation was at least partially resolved?
>
> You both have such a long history of wonderful moments together. Surely there's a way n

twinleaf, that seems so sensible.

Dinah, I don't think I'd like what you've described. W/ my self-esteem and lack of understanding therapeutic terms, I'd assume disinterest, one of the most painful things I can experience.

I'll need to Google counter-transference....

 

Pointing out things we don't like

Posted by pegasus on October 5, 2010, at 11:10:47

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... pegasus, posted by Dinah on October 4, 2010, at 12:07:33


> How are you dealing with your therapist's tendency to talk about himself?

Just waiting until he's done talking, then asking to change the subject. I don't know if he's caught on yet that I think he enjoys blabbing about himself a bit too much. Once I know him a little better, I'll point it out, I'm sure. Then I'm guessing we'll have a big discussion about transference and projection. ;-) But so far, he seems willing to own up to stuff, so I'm hopeful.

It's always hard to point out these things we don't like. Even (especially) if we know them well and have a good relationship. I'm planning to point out another thing he does that I don't like. He sometimes leans back and puts his foot up on his other knee, which blocks my view of his face. I'm going to tell him that I need to see his face. But even that, obvious, important thing seems a bit scary to point out. But only more so if I wait, I think.

- Peg

 

Re: Pointing out things we don't like pegasus

Posted by Dinah on October 5, 2010, at 16:21:45

In reply to Pointing out things we don't like, posted by pegasus on October 5, 2010, at 11:10:47

You're likely right. Saying it casually in terms of what you *would* like ("I like to see your face when we're talking") might be less scary than you anticipate, and would be unlikely to be perceived as criticism.

It may not seem like it from what I write on Babble, but I do try to frame things in ways that he's not likely to see as criticism. Usually at least. My therapist, too, tends to own his own stuff. Almost always. :)

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... floatingbridge

Posted by Dinah on October 5, 2010, at 16:26:03

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea...., posted by floatingbridge on October 5, 2010, at 2:15:03

It's more or less the same thing. Well, not disinterest perhaps. I do understand that he cares about me within the boundaries of the relationship, and is interested in general in my wellbeing. But he does definitely get bored sometimes. He'll even admit to having been bored in the past, though he won't admit to being bored at the moment.

I might possibly remind him of someone in his past. I think that's happened in our relationship. Or... we might just be grasping at straws to find something to talk about. I think I'd be more engaged if he put some energy into our sessions. But even then, perhaps we've just run out of material that we're both interested in covering.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on October 5, 2010, at 16:31:00

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by twinleaf on October 4, 2010, at 18:13:09

I can't believe I'm about to say this.

Relationships change whether we want them to or not. There have been changes in our relationship, more of a shifting to more equality. Part of that may be *gasp* my growing up. And part of it may be some disclosures about himself that he maybe oughtn't have made, and that have me seeing him differently. I don't know. Certainly the more you know about the other person, the harder it is to hold onto transference. Thus the blank slate.

I think it probably could be repaired. It probably depends on me to do the repairing, because it always did. It was always me who cared enough to fight to relationship. He cared enough to be involved, but not enough to initiate it.

I'm not convinced that it should be repaired or that I should invest the energy.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah

Posted by twinleaf on October 5, 2010, at 17:42:43

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... twinleaf, posted by Dinah on October 5, 2010, at 16:31:00

Yeah, I know just what you're saying. My T and I are the same as the two of you in some ways- we are much more comfortable. and he's more real. There are less opportunities for transference-type things now. Also maybe less need for me to have them

I just meant that he sounded exasperating just now! But, yeah, you shouldn't have to be the one fixing things up. He DOES sound extremely laid back!

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea....

Posted by emmanuel98 on October 5, 2010, at 19:36:58

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... floatingbridge, posted by Dinah on October 5, 2010, at 16:26:03

Dinah - If you're bored and he's almost nodding off, then maybe it really is time to start cutting back. There's a limit to how much new or interesting or challenging material you can bring in after years of therapy.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on October 6, 2010, at 9:08:51

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by twinleaf on October 5, 2010, at 17:42:43

That he is. He's also really busy right now. It's hard to find alternate times to see him, which has never been true before. I suspect he's skimping on things like sleep, which probably also affects his energy level.

I say he self disclosed more than he ought to have done. I'm not sure that's true. I think this might be some diabolical plan on his part to bring us to this precise point. He denies it, but it wasn't something he did before, so I'm wondering if he thought I was ready.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... emmanuel98

Posted by Dinah on October 6, 2010, at 9:13:16

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea...., posted by emmanuel98 on October 5, 2010, at 19:36:58

Yes, that's precisely where I'm at.

I just need to quit having meltdowns when I put it into conscious practice.

On the other hand, I don't mind at all if circumstances interfere with our sessions. It's the act of dropping one of the times that bothers me.

Hmmmm.... I wonder if it's part of his diabolical plan that it's so difficult to schedule alternate times. Or at the very least, I'm sure he can tell it's not a matter of urgency to me.

I wonder if it would be better to just drop the occasional session on purpose rather than dropping the entire day. Then I could ease into it. And since very few of his clients have standing appointments, it wouldn't affect his practice. He could fill in clients on the days I wasn't coming, without promising them the slot.

Hmmmmm.... That could work.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah

Posted by floatingbridge on October 7, 2010, at 3:38:23

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... twinleaf, posted by Dinah on October 5, 2010, at 16:31:00

> I can't believe I'm about to say this.
>
> Relationships change whether we want them to or not. There have been changes in our relationship, more of a shifting to more equality. Part of that may be *gasp* my growing up. And part of it may be some disclosures about himself that he maybe oughtn't have made, and that have me seeing him differently. I
don't know. Certainly the more you know about the other person, the harder it is to hold onto transference. Thus the blank slate.

I thought moving through transference was a *goal* of therapy. Is it? (I really
don't know.)

So this is good yet uncomfortable? But then, if so, is the question of what to do next.

Just ideas....
>
> I think it probably could be repaired. It probably depends on me to do the repairing, because it always did. It was always me who cared enough to fight to relationship. He cared enough to be involved, but not enough to initiate it.
>
> I'm not convinced that it should be repaired or that I should invest the energy.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... floatingbridge

Posted by Dinah on October 7, 2010, at 7:58:47

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by floatingbridge on October 7, 2010, at 3:38:23

I don't know if it's a good thing. When I asked my therapist he told a story. He does a lot of stories. I'm working from memory, and I'm not sure he ever told the story before, so I've probably got it wrong.

There was an old man who had a son. The son had an accident on the farm and lost a leg. His neighbors commiserated him and said how very bad it was. The man said he wasn't sure if it was good or bad. Only time would tell.

The government came by and was conscripting the young men of the district into the army to go fight in a war. They didn't take the man's son, because he had lost a leg. His neighbors told him how lucky he was. The man said he wasn't sure if it was good or bad. Only time would tell.

The theme kept repeating in the story. His point was clear, but the secondary point was that he wasn't going to offer an opinion. :)

What I do know is that, in this type of situation, when you gain something, you lose something as well. For me, what I lose is more valuable than what I gain. But the world would probably say the opposite.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah

Posted by floatingbridge on October 7, 2010, at 11:46:01

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... floatingbridge, posted by Dinah on October 7, 2010, at 7:58:47

My first thought is that sounds like grief or mourning. Mourning is positive and painful. I certainly don't have the knack.

Everyone's therapy is so intimate, personal. I can barely fathom the story's significance in your therapeutic relationship. I know it. I sounds remotely biblical which for me is unpleasant (no offense, please; it's childhood).

I know I don't get *it*, because your therapy is unique to you and I haven't followed along here. I would have asked what the h.e.double-toothpicks that story meant.

I am in my own process of not understanding my therapist. Something is shifting and I'm not getting it. It is like he's speaking in code to *give me a message*. I've not felt that before.

I'm awfully sorry for the discomfort Dinah. I went backwards last night and read your prior post about you wanting it to be your decision--not the world's. Made me smiled of course. And also think, more power to you. Go for it. You must be a kind of patient of a lifetime for a good therapist :)

Hope your day is a good one. Really.

 

Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... floatingbridge

Posted by Dinah on October 7, 2010, at 18:38:43

In reply to Re: Maybe it's not such a good idea.... Dinah, posted by floatingbridge on October 7, 2010, at 11:46:01

Most of his stories come from Eastern philosophy. That's one of the things I like best about him. Stories are a good way for him to get through to me. If he'd have said "I have no way of knowing whether this is a good or a bad thing" I'd have likely gotten mad at him for ducking the question. But through the story, I was able to see that he could actually mean what he said.

It suits me, but as you say, therapy is very individual.

I think I'm not going to push the idea of cutting back for a few weeks. I got a puppy today, and I also recently started getting hot flashes again after a break of a year or so. My sleep is going to be shot for a while, which always destabilizes me a bit. I'd better not rock the boat.


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