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Re: had therapy today it was so painful crushedout

Posted by fallsfall on April 7, 2004, at 7:59:29

In reply to Re: had therapy today it was so painful gardenergirl, posted by crushedout on April 6, 2004, at 23:49:52


You were very brave to talk to her about termination. I commend you on that.

You said: she thought I should stop if (a) I was having trouble feeling invested in the rest of my life (umm, yes) and/or (b) my feelings about her were making me feel so "dysregulated" that the only way I could cope with them was to cut (um, yes also).

So, in effect she is saying that based on HER criteria you should stop.

My situation 9 months ago had some similarities to yours. Perhaps you can learn from my experience.

I was in immense pain, and my old therapist was not dealing with that pain. I found out, at the end, that she did not have any clue of how much pain I was in for the last 4 months that I saw her. That was the final blow for me - she was not even aware of the most important thing in my life. When your therapist says that you need to work through a maternal transference - I am a little confused. I thought your transference was erotic. Aren't those different things? IS she aware of exactly what you are feeling? Or is she, like my old therapist was, seeing things in a different way than you are?

I saw her for 8 1/2 years - she was my first therapist. I believed that she and only she could understand me. I believed that I would die without her. I didn't start looking for a new therapist until I was suicidal - I decided that if I was going to take my own life if I stayed with her that perhaps seeing someone else couldn't be WORSE. My new therapist is very, very good. He understands me in a different way than she did, but I think that is a good thing. She and I were stuck in a groove. Changing therapists has allowed me to get out of that groove. I do feel very connected to my new therapist, and I think that we are making a lot of progress (on stuff that I never would have been able to work on with my old therapist). I do believe, now, that if something happened with my new therapist that I could find another therapist who could be very good for me (and yet different from either of my first two). I certainly did not believe this was possible while I was with my first therapist.

My old therapist brought my case to her supervision group. They said that if I was still as miserable in 3 months that she should terminate me. I agreed that if I went through another 3 months in that much pain that termination would be an appropriate thing. Please note that I had always envisioned "forever therapy". But even I knew that being in that much pain for 7 months couldn't be helping me. This started me thinking about the possibility of changing therapists, and suddenly there was some hope in my life.

I told her that I was going to look for a new therapist because I couldn't stand the pain any longer. She supported me in that, and said that I could see her until I was established with someone else. Later I found out that she thought I was leaving because "she had taught me everything she knew". We had completely different ideas about why I was leaving. This wasn't clear until a month after I told her I was leaving.

When I interviewed new therapists, I knew that I HAD to leave her. I think that was critical for me to be open to the interview process. I was surprised at how easily I could tell if I would have rapport with each candidate. After 8 1/2 years I knew what therapy was, and I had definate ideas of what I was looking for (some things I was looking for were things that my first therapist had, for some other things I was looking for something different). The interview process was not fun - but I knew that it was critically important.

When I was telling her about the interviews (I valued her opinion of who I should see - she knew me better than anyone else), that was when I found out that we had been on two different planets - that she didn't know I had been in pain, and that we had different ideas of why I was leaving. That was the last time I saw her. I figured that if she were that out of touch with me that she couldn't do me any good - and it broke my heart that she WAS out of touch with me.

I started with a new therapist, and after about 3 weeks he agreed with me that a "goodbye session" with her would not be constructive. What a relief. I didn't have to face her and tell her how much she had let me down. It has been 9 months now, and my pdoc's office is across the hall from her's. I see him today, and because of the timing of my appointment I may see her for the first time since that last session. I'm terrified.

So, with this long story (which I think I have told you in some sense before) I am hoping that you will see a couple of things that were true for me, and may well be true for you. First, just because I thought that she understood what was going on with me did not mean that she necessarily did. Second, no matter how strongly I felt that I couldn't live without her, I really can. Third, changing therapists has had really beneficial outcomes. Fourth, I had enough experience to identify and choose an appropriate new therapist. Fifth, a new therapist can make me feel as understood as my old one did (though perhaps in a different way). Sixth, the process was completely terrifying, but I did live through it.

YOU know best what you need.

P.S. I feel like I've told this story 17 million times. When you guys get tired of hearing it, please do me the favor of telling me so.




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