Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 1090209

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trusting your T

Posted by rockerr on July 6, 2016, at 11:33:58

hi. i have had a number of T's over the years. the same issue seems to arise, that even after a few years of treatment with the same T, i do not trust them. i even imagine they are treating me with contempt even when they are not and it is not always possible for me to see through that feeling, meaning, i believe it.

most recently, after working w current T for 3 years, i express to him once again i do not trust him and i do not feel her cares much about me. he tells me this is not true and that he is concerned hearing this because a feeling of caring is required for therapy to progress and he states if he does not feel it from a therapist in his own prev treatment he would terminate the therapy.

i am not quite sure what to make of this as i believe he does care for me but i have almost zero capacity to feel this from him or anyone else for reasons that obv date back to my childhood. it worries me that he states he is concerned that i dont feel caring from him and this means i may not be able to progress. it makes me feel that i am not able to benefit from therapy. i realize this may be a leap but im wondering if anyone can relate and if after a number of years you too have felt that your therapist does not care about you despite on some level knowing that they do but you cannot feel it for the most part....and if you have felt that way did the therapy still progress somehow?


thanks so much.

 

Re: trusting your T rockerr

Posted by Dinah on July 6, 2016, at 22:55:55

In reply to trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 6, 2016, at 11:33:58

It's ironic, but sometimes I think the struggle to trust is what made therapy work for me. It was a constant struggle to connect, but in that struggle other work was done.

You don't have to trust first in order to start the work.

Of course, with me, interpersonal struggles and trust issues were not beside the point of my therapy.

 

Re: trusting your T

Posted by baseball55 on July 7, 2016, at 10:37:02

In reply to Re: trusting your T rockerr, posted by Dinah on July 6, 2016, at 22:55:55

Some people have what they call negative transference in therapy, where they bring to the therapy relationship all the problems in their previous relationships (i.e., lack of trust, feeling that people don't care about you, etc.) I can see why your therapist said that about ending therapy. If, after 3 years, you can't overcome your distrust and you have had this problem with other therapists and been unable to work through it, it may be that individual therapy isn't going to work for you. You might want to try group therapy, where you get a better sense of how you relate to others (non-therapists).

I don't know what your issues are though, what kind of therapy you do (dynamic, CBT?), what you are looking for in therapy.

Maybe, as Dinah said (Hi, Dinah!) the point of therapy is to learn to trust and that's the main issue you need to work on. I imagine that distrusting people and feeling uncared for effects your other relationships?

In Erik Erickson's stages of growth model, he locates trust/mistrust as the basic, first stage, established in early childhood.

Trust and feeling uncared for were my basic issues when I started therapy. After a few years, I told my therapist that I would like to give him something meaningful, something exquisite. He said I had already given him the most meaningful gift he could imagine - a relationship of mutual trust. It took a long time though and it was always clear to him (if not to me), that this was a fundamental issue we needed to work on.

For me, though, I had a positive transference, imagining him as the parent I had always wished I had.

 

Re: trusting your T

Posted by Dinah on July 7, 2016, at 18:39:36

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by baseball55 on July 7, 2016, at 10:37:02

I think Baseball (Hi, Baseball!) is right. It really does depend on your issues and on your specific relationship with your therapist. My relationship was based on a transference that was neither positive nor negative. There was a constant push/pull maternal transference. But then, trust and feelings of rejection were really a core issue for me.

What's really ironic was that after I learned to trust that he cared about me, he totally let me down. He told me after that he never would willingly have hurt me like that, and I told him that one of the worst parts was that I *still* totally believed he would never do what he did even while I acknowledged that that *is* exactly what he did.

Yet still, I think it was therapeutic to have learned to trust him. I think I may have learned that his behavior to me wasn't really personal, in some strange way. I learned (eventually - and only sometimes) some detachment. Which isn't a bad interpersonal lesson to learn. I'm not sure if I could explain that. Maybe that sometimes when people betray me, it really is more about them and their limitations than it is about me. That there is nothing more I could have done.

But that's me and my issues. It may be completely different for yours.

 

Re: trusting your T

Posted by baseball55 on July 7, 2016, at 20:08:05

In reply to trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 6, 2016, at 11:33:58

> i am not quite sure what to make of this as i believe he does care for me but i have almost zero capacity to feel this from him or anyone else for reasons that obv date back to my childhood. it worries me that he states he is concerned that i dont feel caring from him and this means i may not be able to progress. it makes me feel that i am not able to benefit from therapy. i realize this may be a leap but im wondering if anyone can relate and if after a number of years you too have felt that your therapist does not care about you despite on some level knowing that they do but you cannot feel it for the most part....and if you have felt that way did the therapy still progress somehow?
Also, I think worrying about whether your T cares about you is a fundamental problem in therapy. After all, you are not part of their non-professional life and have to pay them to see them. It helped me some that I had a friend who was a therapist and realized that she really cared a lot about her clients. Also, as a teacher, I care a lot about my students, even though I do want to be paid to teach them and my relationship with them is limited. Both my T and my therapist friend said that therapists can't work with clients if they don't care about them. That you have to find something to love and respect in a client to work with them effectively. It helped me a lot to talk through this (over and over and over)with my T. Do you bring it up in sessions frequently and talk about it?

 

Re: trusting your T

Posted by Rockerr on July 7, 2016, at 20:53:16

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by baseball55 on July 7, 2016, at 20:08:05

What's ironic about all this is that I am a T and I care deeply about my clients yet struggle to believe that others care about me. I often think I am not fit for one on one therapy and at the same time I feel like I can provide that service quite well and effectively to my clients.

 

Re: trusting your T Rockerr

Posted by Dinah on July 7, 2016, at 23:27:12

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by Rockerr on July 7, 2016, at 20:53:16

There is a lot more power in being a therapist than being a client. It's hard to trust when you're vulnerable.

Would you feel safety and trust if you knew for certain that your therapist cared about you to the same degree you care about your clients?

 

Re: trusting your T

Posted by rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 6:58:02

In reply to Re: trusting your T Rockerr, posted by Dinah on July 7, 2016, at 23:27:12

ive been thinking, i do know for certain he cares about me. i dont know if he cares about me as much as i care about my clients. that's hard to assess but i do believe he cares about me quite a bit. but what i've been thinking is that i am much less concerned with him caring about me, since i have thought about it i realize he clearly does care about me. the issue is that i dont think there is anything in me worth caring about. i know this isnt true and i certainly dont feel this way all the time. the feeling is of being so hurt that there is no chance ill let anyone care or connect with me.

i was annoyed when baseball wrote "If, after 3 years, you can't overcome your distrust and you have had this problem with other therapists and been unable to work through it, it may be that individual therapy isn't going to work for you." when you(dinah) wrote that you agree with him that also annoyed me. it hurts to think i may not be well enough to benefit from therapy. im not sure its really fair for either of you to make a statement like that. its scary to think i cant be helped by therapy. it makes me feel really alone and damaged to consider not being able to connect to another person enough to benefit from a therapy relationship.

 

Re: trusting your T rockerr

Posted by Dinah on July 8, 2016, at 9:30:53

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 6:58:02

I think what both of us were saying (or I was agreeing with at any rate) is that it's difficult to judge from a distance what's best in any particular case. I was seeing my therapist for five years before I made the first tiny step in trusting him. But because trust and rejection issues were at my core, it wasn't wasted time at all. But in other cases, a lack of trust could indicate that this isn't the right therapist for you.

However, you say you do trust that he cares about you, and it's more that you don't trust yourself as someone who is worthy to be cared for. I think that if you tell your therapist that, it could possibly be very helpful in clarifying what you mean when you tell him you don't trust that he cares for you.

My therapist and I had a good number of those conversations in those first five years and beyond. It helped to keep him from being discouraged in a sometimes frustrating relationship.

I don't think you can't be helped by therapy, or that you can't connect to others. If this is the right person to hang in there with and, as I always put it, "fight to relationship" with, then you and your therapist should commit to doing that. The reason my therapist *was* the right one wasn't based on his innate goodness of heart or loving selflessness or towering therapeutic skills. It was based on his willingness to commit to sticking in there with me even when one or both of us were wondering whether it would work. Some therapists might not have recognized that as a therapeutic virtue. :)

I should add that I got a lot of help here even when I felt misunderstood. Trying to explain my thoughts to others helped me clarify how I felt to myself. I would tell my therapist what I figured out, or even bring in posts for him to read.

 

Re: trusting your T rockerr

Posted by Dinah on July 8, 2016, at 9:40:17

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 6:58:02

I saw on a post above that you find your therapist harsh and judgmental? Do you still? I must say that my therapist was never as warmly supportive as some, and I wouldn't have been able to tolerate him if he was. But I also wouldn't have been able to tolerate someone who was abrasive.

But I know people who were excellent fits with what I would find an abrasive therapist.

And of course, sometimes I perceived my therapist to be something he really wasn't. In both directions.

Do you think objectively that you're a good-enough fit?

 

Re: trusting your T rockerr

Posted by Tabitha on July 8, 2016, at 12:29:31

In reply to trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 6, 2016, at 11:33:58


Doesn't it give therapists a lot of power if clients assume that not feeling trusting toward them indicates that the client has a 'trust issue' and needs more therapy to cure it? Maybe his behavior just really isn't conveying caring to you. Does that make your trusting mechanism faulty?

Is it a general goal for you to be more trusting in general? Why?

I could be reading it wrong but I think you are afraid that if you're insufficiently trusting that you can't be helped by therapy. And I'd take your therapist's comment (about he'd have to leave therapy if he felt that way) as adding to your own fear. But then you are in a position of having to deny your own actual feeling of caution in order to believe in the possibility of progress in therapy. Having gone down that route myself, I would not recommend it. All it leads to is dependence on the therapist, and the cognitive dissonance of trying to deny your own perceptions.

 

Re: trusting your T Rockerr

Posted by baseball55 on July 8, 2016, at 18:50:58

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by Rockerr on July 7, 2016, at 20:53:16

> What's ironic about all this is that I am a T and I care deeply about my clients yet struggle to believe that others care about me. I often think I am not fit for one on one therapy and at the same time I feel like I can provide that service quite well and effectively to my clients.

So my two cents about transference and Erikson is not news to you. May I ask why you feel the need to be in therapy?

 

Re: trusting your T

Posted by baseball55 on July 8, 2016, at 19:06:14

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 6:58:02

I certainly didn't mean you weren't well enough to do therapy. But if you've been in individual therapy for many years with multiple therapists (which is what your first post indicated) and encountered the same trust issues, then you surely have to question whether INDIVIDUAL (and presumably dynamic?) therapy is right for you at this point in your life. If the issue is, as you said, that you know you he cares about you, but you can't fully believe that anyone cares about you, then have you brought this up with him? I felt the same way when I first started therapy. I just couldn't believe that he really cared and I felt despairing sometimes about this. But, like Dinah said about her therapy, we just kept talking and talking and talking about it. As far as you caring for your patients, I was very loving to my husband and daughter, but gave and gave and asked for nothing in return because I didn't really trust that they cared about me. My T said that people who didn't receive love as children could still give love, but often couldn't believe in or accept love from others .
So my two questions for you are (1) why do you want to be in therapy and (2) do you discuss this issue regularly with your therapist?

> i was annoyed when baseball wrote "If, after 3 years, you can't overcome your distrust and you have had this problem with other therapists and been unable to work through it, it may be that individual therapy isn't going to work for you." when you(dinah) wrote that you agree with him that also annoyed me. it hurts to think i may not be well enough to benefit from therapy. im not sure its really fair for either of you to make a statement like that. its scary to think i cant be helped by therapy. it makes me feel really alone and damaged to consider not being able to connect to another person enough to benefit from a therapy relationship.

 

Re: trusting your T rockerr

Posted by SLS on July 8, 2016, at 19:31:22

In reply to Re: trusting your T, posted by rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 6:58:02

> ive been thinking, i do know for certain he cares about me. i dont know if he cares about me as much as i care about my clients. that's hard to assess but i do believe he cares about me quite a bit. but what i've been thinking is that i am much less concerned with him caring about me, since i have thought about it i realize he clearly does care about me. the issue is that i dont think there is anything in me worth caring about. i know this isnt true and i certainly dont feel this way all the time. the feeling is of being so hurt that there is no chance ill let anyone care or connect with me.

Perhaps adding CBT would help you during these times. It would prompt you to do some reality testing as you navigate through cognitive distortions. I'm not very well-versed in psychotherapy, but it seems to me that CBT has become maligned by some people who subscribe to psychodynamic theory. Some people claim that it can hurt more than it can help. I have a hard time believing this. I liked it, and found that it enhanced interpersonal therapy.

Just a thought.


- Scott

 

Re: trusting your T Tabitha

Posted by Rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 21:00:15

In reply to Re: trusting your T rockerr, posted by Tabitha on July 8, 2016, at 12:29:31

Tabitha what you've written is so interesting.
I said exactly this to my therapist. If I do not trust or believe you then I need to discount my own perceptions in order to be helped. And yes him saying he would leave made
Me really question why I stay.
Question for you- when you went down this road what happened and what road did you go down that felt better?

 

Re: trusting your T Tabitha

Posted by Rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 21:05:38

In reply to Re: trusting your T rockerr, posted by Tabitha on July 8, 2016, at 12:29:31

I should clarify, the issue with my T was he said that there needs to be a feeling of caring from therapist to client and client needs to feel T cares for them in order for therapy to progress. It was me who used the word trust not T.
I don't really care if I trust people more my main goal is to trust myself more and to be more understanding and tolerant of myself.
I'm afraid if I don't believe in my therapists ability to help me I can't be helped that's my main issue. If every T I have had seems like someone who doesn't really get it and is just doing a job and tries to care and understand but can't really and doesn't really then how can I be helped if I feel like every T I have had has let me down. That's how the thoughts go.

 

Re: trusting your T Dinah

Posted by Rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 22:40:10

In reply to Re: trusting your T rockerr, posted by Dinah on July 8, 2016, at 9:40:17

That's what I struggle w Dinah I don't know if objectively
We are a good enough fit. I've literally had 8 therapists in 20 years all lasted at least a year one for 5.
It's so hard for me to trust my assessment of a good enough for when I feel like so many are bad fits. There are some who have been terrible fits and I have left after one or fewer sessions or just didn't meet w them after a phone call.
I referred a friend of mine to my therapist and after 8 months my friend dumped him because he thought he was a dick but he also respected him and felt he was very smart.
I told my T it's not only me who thinks he is harsh my friend did too and T said don't refer anyone to me again it's too loaded for you. That's him being harsh but also protective. I can be harsh too. ita just hard I feel mistreated by every T I have and was mistreated in my young life and they all tell me it's transference and I say no you're an *ss and they say it's transference and this is when all my therapies end.

 

Re: trusting your T baseball55

Posted by Rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 22:52:26

In reply to Re: trusting your T Rockerr, posted by baseball55 on July 8, 2016, at 18:50:58

I'm often anxious riddled w self doubt, not in a relationship and want to be and generally want to feel better and get more out of life than I currently do.

 

Re: trusting your T Rockerr

Posted by Tabitha on July 9, 2016, at 12:51:51

In reply to Re: trusting your T Tabitha, posted by Rockerr on July 8, 2016, at 21:05:38

> Tabitha what you've written is so interesting.
> I said exactly this to my therapist. If I do not trust or believe you then I need to discount my own perceptions in order to be > helped. And yes him saying he would leave made
> Me really question why I stay.
> Question for you- when you went down this road what happened

During my last therapy, I had frequent doubts about whether it was helping or not. Even if I assumed that it was helping, I wasn't sure if it was worth the downsides-- it cost more than I was comfortable spending, and it was isolating since so much of my life was bound up in it, yet I wasn't comfortable talking about it or even admitting I was in therapy with most people. Plus the therapy itself created a lot of emotional distress. I'd cry through the sessions, I'd cry after the sessions, I'd miss work the next day due to being emotionally exhausted. When it got really bad, I'd need to process the sessions with third parties. The archives here are full of my struggle.

At the time, I felt miserable and desperate and believed therapy was the only viable route to lasting self-improvement. And of course my therapist encouraged me to think therapy was necessary, and that my struggle against it was resistance. So at some point I decided to just assume that she knew better than I did, and go with her recommendation which was to stay in therapy and believe it was helping even when it didn't feel like it was helping.

The ultimate result was the situation went on for 19 years, and my struggle with it only got worse. Even when I had decided I no longer wanted to play, I wanted to terminate, I stayed for many more years because she wouldn't agree with me that I was "done". By then I was afraid to terminate without her approval, since I had believed she knew better than me for so long. I ended up wasting a lot of time and money (10-20% of my gross income for many years).

Plus in hindsight I think it impeded my growth as a person because she so often pressured me to doubt my perceptions, beliefs, and values. She and I are just very different people, and trying to navigate life the way she does would not work for me. She was not able to help me identify my values, strengths and weaknesses and work with those. Instead, it was all about me moving from "unhealthy" to "healthy" where those evaluations were sort of a mish-mash of ideas from her training as a therapist and her personal qualities. She was eclectic and intuitive in her approach, and though I admired that in the beginning, it was ultimately damaging to me to be expected to emulate her style of thinking.

> and what road did you go down that felt better?

What felt better was finally terminating therapy (against her wishes) and relying more on medication to manage my emotional distress. And getting more involved in social groups that aren't therapy or recovery or support groups, and relationships with people that aren't therapy-style relationships. In short it felt better to just shed the whole enterprise and explore other options. If I still need to vent or "process" I do it with writing, not by paying someone to listen to me talk.

> I should clarify, the issue with my T was he said that there needs to be a feeling of caring from therapist to client and client needs to feel T cares for them in order for therapy to progress. It was me who used the word trust not T.
> I don't really care if I trust people more my main goal is to trust myself more and to be more understanding and tolerant of myself.
> I'm afraid if I don't believe in my therapists ability to help me I can't be helped that's my main issue.

I understand that's a very scary place to be. It can seem like there's no place to go for help if therapy doesn't help.

I joined group therapy (three times) and stuck it out when it was utterly miserable, because I thought group therapy was my only chance to learn social skills. In hindsight it seems absurd that I thought that, but I did. Group therapy teaches you to fit into group therapy. It doesn't necessarily teach you anything about blending into normal social situations.

> If every T I have had seems like someone who doesn't really get it and is just doing a job and tries to care and understand but can't really and doesn't really then how can I be helped if I feel like every T I have had has let me down. That's how the thoughts go.

Well, even if therapy can't help you, that doesn't mean you can't be helped. People are resilient, they grow up with or without therapy, and there are always other resources to draw on.

Over my long long time in therapy, I assumed that people who weren't in therapy couldn't grow and change (I really thought this). I had a friend who wasn't in therapy, who seemed to grow up as much or more than me over the same years. How could this be?

Then I met my husband who had never had therapy or done recovery or any of the therapy stuff. He seemed to have no significant conflict with his family. I assumed he must have some secret issues he hadn't faced. That anger must be under there somewhere. Now I think his family was just a notch more stable than mine, and he hadn't been pressured to think his family had damaged him and that he needed to work to dig up some anger toward them. I am embarrassed that it took me some time to accept that he didn't need my "help" digging up the hidden dysfunction in his family or his groups of friends. There are other ways to navigate relationships than what I had learned in therapy.

My conclusion is that there is more to life than therapy. I think therapy is more akin to religion than health care. It's fine if you find one that fits and works for you (and you can afford it), but it's is not the only road to happiness and functioning and it does not hold the ultimate truth about people.

 

Re: trusting your T Tabitha

Posted by Rockerr on July 9, 2016, at 13:49:57

In reply to Re: trusting your T Rockerr, posted by Tabitha on July 9, 2016, at 12:51:51

Tabitha you're brilliant and amazing I commend you and admire you for all you've surmounted.
I agree with everything you've written. My dilemma is, I also think therapy has such limitations, and can make things worse for people even if it helps some. So my dilemma is that I became a therapist after my being mesmerized by various therapists over the years. Grad school, career change, the whole bit.
Now I wonder if I drop therapy and conclude I was not helped by it in important ways and harmed in others and yes helped in some ways too.....can I still be a therapist...and an effective one. I wonder...

 

Re: trusting your T Rockerr

Posted by Tabitha on July 9, 2016, at 17:00:09

In reply to Re: trusting your T Tabitha, posted by Rockerr on July 9, 2016, at 13:49:57

> Tabitha you're brilliant and amazing I commend you and admire you for all you've surmounted.
> I agree with everything you've written.

:-) thanks for reading and for the compliment. I don't feel brilliant though, I feel like a big dum-dum for staying stuck in the situation for so long.

> My dilemma is, I also think therapy has such limitations, and can make things worse for people even if it helps some. So my dilemma is that I became a therapist after my being mesmerized by various therapists over the years. Grad school, career change, the whole bit.

Yikes, you're really invested in it. It's almost funny to me-- I considered becoming a T at one point, too. It seemed like the most meaningful aspect of my life, so I started to consider it. I wonder how many T's were long-term clients when they decided to become therapists themselves.

> Now I wonder if I drop therapy and conclude I was not helped by it in important ways and harmed in others and yes helped in some ways too.....can I still be a therapist...and an effective one. I wonder...

What a tough question. There are (hopefully) a lot of therapists that are helpful to a good portion of their clients. But once you acknowledge that therapy can also end up being useless or harmful, would it feel OK to continue to practice?

For me, I think it might have been inevitable that therapy would feel harmful. I didn't have enough self-possession to see it for what it was and navigate the relationship. But I imagine lots of clients lack the necessary self-possession, which is one of the factors driving them to seek help.

I'm interested to hear how things go for you from this point.


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