Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 1018478

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What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by Daisym on May 22, 2012, at 20:05:32

My mother said recently, "I thought therapy wasn't supposed to last forever." She was talking about my son who has an anxiety disorder and has been in therapy for 10 years. I patiently explained to her why he keeps going, how important the relationship is, the transitions in his life right now, etc.

I freaked out completely in therapy today for myself. Do I NEED to still be going? or do I WANT to still be going? What would either mean about me? Am I pathetic or brave? Ug, ug, ug.

My therapist said he thought it was a great thing to think about and it would be a great thing to be able to give myself what I wanted...even if I didn't need it, exactly. Big and small things, he felt, were part of building a support system outside of therapy. But if you won't give those things to yourself, you fall apart, again and again. I'm learning, in therapy, how to help myself, outside of therapy. So this might be practice in allowing myself what I want. And then, of course, he just had to add that he saw plenty of need too...still. ug.

So - want or need? And what does that mean for your own therapy journey?

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by annierose on May 23, 2012, at 6:45:44

In reply to What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Daisym on May 22, 2012, at 20:05:32

I oouldn't imagine myself volunteeringly giving up seeing my therapist. I know I will have to at some point, but I am not pushing it. Maybe I hold her so close to my heart because I did quit years ago and waited 15 years to call her again - so I remember that grief that lingered.

I think I still want to go not only because my life is still a work in progress (very much so these days) but I did not grow up with the traditional sense of self that healthy children seem to have instilled inside of themeslves from their parents. Just yesterday my t pointed out how distrubed and sick my mother was - what kind of mother tells their daughter that she was "too much" and not pretty, and not protect her from a bullying brother, instead laugh at his cruel jokes.

My t is my kind and thoughtful voice in my head. She gives me permission to safely explore my feelings without judgment or jokes. I had never experienced that sort of loving kindness before I met my therapist. It is such a SLOW process - to untangle those destructive internal messages in our heads and replace them with gentler thoughts.

I wouldn't be moving towards a hopeful future if it wasn't for my therapist and supportive friends like YOU!! What a freakin' few months I have bulldozed through ....

Yes, give yourself permission to have a healthy relationship in your life, someone that always has your best interests at stake. Powerful!

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by emmanuel98 on May 23, 2012, at 19:31:40

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by annierose on May 23, 2012, at 6:45:44

I see a DBT therapist for an hour a week. Last summer, I met with her and my p-doc (whom I had seen for therapy weekly for 6 years) and they both felt she should be the primary therapist, him seeing me just for support until I could give him up. A year later, I have gone from seeing him for an hour weekly to seeing for a half-hour every other week. I feel we are no longer doing work together, just checking in, but I need him in my life. He is 73 and, though he has no plans to retire, will eventually retire or be forced to stop by health problems. He asked me what I would do if that happened and I said I'd just have to accept that loss in my life. I would just have to learn to accept it, but it would pain me terribly. So I see him because I want to and I feel I need to, but in truth I need to learn to let him go. I'm just not ready yet.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by Angela2 on May 25, 2012, at 19:03:22

In reply to What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Daisym on May 22, 2012, at 20:05:32

I've been in therapy for years. For me, it's both. I want it and I need it. I guess it just means I need extra support right now. How long "right now" will last, I don't know.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! emmanuel98

Posted by Twinleaf on May 25, 2012, at 20:27:22

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by emmanuel98 on May 23, 2012, at 19:31:40

I think it's great that you are keeping both of those relationships going for as long as you need them. I hope he can work into his 80's, as many therapists do, especially since he so clearly loves his work.

I sort of assume that as time goes on, your relationship with the DBT therapist will deepen, and fulfill some of the needs which your pdoc is meeting now. But I know your pdoc is so special to you. I do know how hard these issues of separation are when you have a background of neglect and abuse, as I am struggling with the same issues myself. I feel that I have accomplished a great deal with my analyst, but the thought of leaving him is truly terrifying! We do discuss it a lot, but it is an area which still I have very little mastery of. I would love to get much stronger in this regard, and hope I will be able to.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by sleepygirl2 on May 25, 2012, at 21:03:56

In reply to What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Daisym on May 22, 2012, at 20:05:32

Trying to stay sane, as usual.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by Dinah on May 26, 2012, at 16:58:57

In reply to What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Daisym on May 22, 2012, at 20:05:32

I suspect that worrying about whether therapy is justified isn't good for mental health, for a lot of reasons. When something is threatened, it's natural to cling to it all the harder. And it's hard to feel free to "get better" when getting better means losing something important.

I think total relaxation on the topic contributes to mental health. I think if we can feel totally relaxed about being able to go as long as we need to, it drains the energy out of the attachment.

What I'm not sure is whether that's a good thing or not. It might be healthier, but it also involves loss. Need leads to a far stronger bond than want.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! Dinah

Posted by annierose on May 28, 2012, at 7:38:11

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Dinah on May 26, 2012, at 16:58:57

>>>Need leads to a far stronger bond than want<<<

I love that sentence - we were just talking about this in therapy the other day in reference to myself. Going through the divorce process brings a lot of un-wanted and "wanted" attention from unattached men. My therapist said, "What I wish for you more than anything, is not to need or want their attention. I want you to be okay no matter what - so your mood isn't swaying back and forth based on who is flirting with you or who isn't. You need to be solid first, then from there you can build healthier relationships." I do find that if I "need" attention from a certain person, it has a desperate quality attached to it. Once I worked through where that desperation was coming from, and have let go of that fantasy, it has freed me up emotionally - - - and I can just "be" myself. These are difficult emotions/feelings to put in words - no dobut.

I do understand what she is telling me - and I wish that too and hope I am moving in that direction. But I also think when you have felt tortured in a marriage, the new attention is something I have been craving for decades and it does feel good. Like many things, it's a fine line to walk, but I hope I get there.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by Twinleaf on May 28, 2012, at 11:50:52

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! Dinah, posted by annierose on May 28, 2012, at 7:38:11

This is not such a terrible problem to have! It's great that there are men out there and interested! But joking aside, I know your therapist is right - feeling that we are fine just as we are is probably one of the central things we all hope for from our therapy.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! Twinleaf

Posted by annierose on May 28, 2012, at 16:44:33

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Twinleaf on May 28, 2012, at 11:50:52

Thank you Twinleaf! It is all so new for me - these feelings about myself and for others - at times I find it surprising. What I have learned so far is that men like to flirt (as do I) and text. So I don't know if they are seriously interested in dating me once I become officially available (my husband and I are still working through the divorce process - painfully slow) ... or if they are just playing with me. But it's nice nonetheless.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!

Posted by Twinleaf on May 30, 2012, at 12:28:03

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! Twinleaf, posted by annierose on May 28, 2012, at 16:44:33

As someone who has been married for 30 years, I don't think I would even know where to begin if I found myself widowed or divorced. So I am very admiring of the casual flirting and texting! The fact that you moved so quickly into that seems to me to be a testament to the confidence you have developed from your therapy. It might be nice to keep things light and casual while you explore these new waters; if you should find someone just right, things will get serious automatically, won't they?

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! annierose

Posted by Dinah on May 31, 2012, at 1:27:35

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! Dinah, posted by annierose on May 28, 2012, at 7:38:11

I think what you're experiencing sounds terrific, given the circumstances! A rebirth of sorts.

With me, I think I need the extra intensity of need as opposed to want because I tend to have trouble connecting on deeper levels. I'm always afraid I'll just float away. There certainly are situations where it's prudent and safer to have a higher level of detachment. Therapy's wonderful, even given all its clear limitations, at being a safe place.

I'm trying to remember if I ever knew how to flirt. :)

 

Want vs. Need Twinleaf

Posted by annierose on May 31, 2012, at 7:34:28

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?!, posted by Twinleaf on May 30, 2012, at 12:28:03

Well ... the fact that I moved so quickly into flirting is causing much worry for my therapist. This gets back to the original thread - want vs. need.

And yes, my therapist has been beyond supportive during this process - - and it has been a LONG process as I have been unhappy for years (as my babble friends could atest and have witnessed). But the added boost of confidence came from an unlikely source - my workout instructor. He has a military background. I mention that because he always pushed me beyond my comfort level so that I learned that uncomfortable feelings don't last, that I could do anything I set my mind to, that I was stronger than I knew, never give up and so many other wonderful life lessons. My therapists said, "He accomplished in one year what we have been working on for five." Not to downplay my work with my therapist - because she is the ROCK - but I needed his hand holding, and what I like to call "active encouragement" [he could actually touch me, hug me, and get in my face] vs the therapy setting of passive support (albeit deep) ... if that makes sense. And of course, I developed a deep attachment for my trainer which complicates everything. He recently got married so we both had to readjust and redefine our relationship and boundaries. I learned I fell apart just walking away from him - and I think he struggled too. I returned to his gym and his training and I am happy to have his support once again, and he is happy to be training me. But there are no more flirty texts with him!! :( However there are 2 other men ... and with my therapists encouragment, I am trying to shut a lot of this down until I am on more solid ground.

But to answer your question, the flirting comes back naturally. I have been in a dead relationship for a long time. Once my body "awakened" - I like [want/need] that attention from men. Flirting is safe because I don't have to act on the words.

 

Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! Dinah

Posted by annierose on May 31, 2012, at 7:44:09

In reply to Re: What are you STILL doing in therapy?! annierose, posted by Dinah on May 31, 2012, at 1:27:35

I couldn't agree more - therapy is a very safe place. I pretty much die of embarrassment talking about my feelings with my therapist at least once a week (as I go 2 - 3x a week). Therapists are very talented at making their office a safe place to explore all our dark secrets, our fantasies, our dreams and our fears.

But I do think, my therapist shakes her head at my current life and wonders what the heck I am doing.

She wants me to be okay being alone. And I think I am okay with that. I didn't bring about these men into my life - each of them started texting/calling me. I just respond back ... because I am lonely. My soon-to-be-ex-husband and I are still living in the same household until our attorneys sort out our finances --- so it's awkward at best. Since I don't talk to my husband, it's nice carrying on a texting conversation with another adult in the quiet evenings.

 

Re: Want vs. Need

Posted by Twinleaf on May 31, 2012, at 9:46:58

In reply to Want vs. Need Twinleaf, posted by annierose on May 31, 2012, at 7:34:28

I do get what you are saying. It's wonderful that there have been three other men there in some way, and it is probably helping your confidence a lot. Still, your therapist is right about not rushing into anything out of need, rather than out of desire and a sense of confidence and strength.

I met and fell in love with my husband in graduate school just three weeks after I had decided I was too choosy and would never marry anyone! It all happened very quickly during a time when I wasn't looking to date anyone, and was planning a single life. I have always thought that my self- reliance and relative absence of need at that time was what helped it all happen.

But it can be hard to regulate one's needs when you have men showing an interest! All you can do is try to aim for a happy medium in your own feelings.

 

Re: Want vs. Need Twinleaf

Posted by annierose on May 31, 2012, at 13:07:49

In reply to Re: Want vs. Need, posted by Twinleaf on May 31, 2012, at 9:46:58

Thank you! It's been a balancing act but I do think I am finding my way through the jungle.

I am sorry Daisy that this thread got side-tracked. It was helpful to me to YET AGAIN sort through my stuff.

 

Re: Want vs. Need annierose

Posted by Dinah on May 31, 2012, at 22:20:48

In reply to Re: Want vs. Need Twinleaf, posted by annierose on May 31, 2012, at 13:07:49

Hmmm... Maybe I'm just old, but I always figured flirting was the opposite of "too intense, too soon". It was light and fun, and not intended to be more than to indicate an openness to thinking of someone in that way. Flirting was a safe thing.

I wonder if your therapist isn't quite as comfortable with digital communication? It's that odd dynamic where more intimacy is possible because less intimacy is possible.

 

Dinah Want vs Need + the Internet; the Cloud..

Posted by 64bowtie on June 19, 2012, at 6:51:23

In reply to Re: Want vs. Need annierose, posted by Dinah on May 31, 2012, at 22:20:48

Very astute dear <<<Dinah>>>... Tension is removed because no one (currently) has to put on a special persona while typing in text messages... However, this relief will partially disappear when "Video Chat" becomes the "norm" during online communicating...

Its pretty sharp of you to have the vision that the very thing that dilutes the conversations can be a source of new strength in the very same conversations...

Said another way, your spirit can be freed up to say what you feel; really feel, because the impersonal setting on the Internet frees us all up to be as intimate as the medium of the Internet will allow us to be...

In the immortal words of Brother Dave Gardener, "tell that to a dog catcher!!!" (one soul who may not see the point to all those words)

Rod

 

Dinah more intimacy because less intimacy

Posted by 64bowtie on June 20, 2012, at 2:32:46

In reply to Re: Want vs. Need annierose, posted by Dinah on May 31, 2012, at 22:20:48

>>> It's that odd dynamic where more intimacy is possible because less intimacy is possible.

<<< Egad, that's so well said!!!

Rod

 

Re: Thanks 64bowtie

Posted by Dinah on June 27, 2012, at 9:30:28

In reply to Dinah more intimacy because less intimacy, posted by 64bowtie on June 20, 2012, at 2:32:46

It reminds me a bit of therapy, strangely enough. The same dynamic is in play. Sometimes even the same sort of transferences. :)


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