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Re: More group

Posted by Racer on July 7, 2004, at 20:34:58

In reply to More group, posted by tabitha on July 7, 2004, at 19:36:27

I've avoided responding to your posts about your issues with group and individual therapy, Tabitha, because I've been afraid that you'd be influenced by my story and make a decision that wasn't based on what would work for you. This time, though, I'm responding because you just sound so much more fragile than you have in the past, and yet also so much more -- I dunno, more centered in yourself, maybe? It sounds as if you really *do* know what you need, and so I'm less worried about influencing you.

Anyway, I finally dropped the "DBT group" that my Therapist Nightmare ran. It was devastating, I won't downplay it, and it was devastating for me for a lot of the same reasons it's so difficult for you: feeling as if I'd failed, feeling as if I *should* finish what I started, what's wrong with me that I can't respond "appropriately" to this wonderful treatment option, etc. At the time, I was still in therapy with Nightmare #3, so it took a while for the benefits of quitting the group to show up for me -- largely because she never understood *why* I'd be bothered by not finishing something, not seeing it through, not fulfilling an obligation. In fact, her only response was to tell me that she had decided not to do something that she had agreed to do because when it came time to do it, she "didn't feel like it." She said there were repercussions that were unpleasant, but she didn't want to do it and that was more important to her. Um... Dunno... Nope, not *me* if you know what I mean. Maybe her psychological makeup is a little -- humor me here, 'K? -- *different* from mine? You know, like "different" as in "not the same as?"

I did quit the group, though. And shortly afterwards, I quit therapy at that agency all together -- which was also devastating for me. No question about it -- I felt as if *I* had failed utterly and totally AGAIN, as if it was all my fault, as if there was just no hope whatsoever for me. Suicidal? Hopeless? Feeling helpless and beating myself up for feeling helpless when of course there was help for me -- I was just rejecting it? Oh, man -- you wouldn't have wanted to be in my head then.

Now, I didn't leave without another option: our marriage counselor, at another agency, set me up with a new individual therapist at her agency who would be able to start with me a few weeks after I quit. I arranged to have a "break" of a couple of extra weeks, because I was afraid that this trifecta of Therapist Nightmare Sisters would create so much distrust on my part that I wouldn't be able to start working with anyone at all anymore. (Remember: I was *very* depressed, and self-loathing, and UNMEDICATED.)

Guess what? Once I made the decision, and called to cancel therapy entirely, and got through the "Um, what part of 'I quit' didn't you understand?" conversation with Nightmare3 -- I started to feel better. I had *finally* done what I really did know I needed to do for myself, rather than buying into the message that "we know what you need much better than you do, because we're The Professionals." Turned out, I didn't need the extra recess time, because by the time the new therapist was ready to see me, I was ready to see her.

And you know what? I'm still depressed, still feeling pretty hopeless, etc, and I'm still unmedicated -- BUT I'm working with a therapist I'm beginning to feel some cautious trust for, and much more importantly: after feeling for months that I was allowing myself to be abused, and even cooperating with the abusive situation (a pattern for my life, by the way, which is why I'm using those terms), I made an active move to end the abuse. Guess what else? That last part feels very, very good. Instead of trying to force myself into compliance with something that was just *wrong* for me, I did what I needed to do *for me* and it was even worth the discomfort it caused me. (Although, at the time, I can't emphasize enough that it was absolutely devastating.)

It only took a couple of weeks -- maybe two -- for the relief to outweigh the distress, by the way. If you do choose to end the group, I'd strongly recommend finding a new therapist first. Make sure you don't have to go through any of that kind of distress without knowing that something new is opening up, you know?

Tabitha, I think that -- while I'm very impressed that you were able to step back and see that someone else's feelings were not your problem -- from what you've written here over the past few months, you know that it isn't working for you and you just don't quite trust *yourself* enough to make the decision based on that knowledge. If it helps, I give you my permission and approval for the decision you make -- whatever it may be. And I also give you permission to be very, very proud of yourself for *knowing* whether or not something is meeting your needs, despite what other people may be telling you.

Best luck, and hope for a sunnier time soon for you.




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