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Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by gardenergirl on May 17, 2005, at 22:01:58

In reply to The Introduction (In Session), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2005, at 19:29:08

> "Being one-on-one in the therapy room could lead to a dizzying loss of perspective, an inability to trust oneself. Bringing another person into the room, even after the fact, could clarify matters. In fact, talking about our therapy together proved to be one of the most therapeutic aspects of the whole process."
> Her descriptions of the unofficial gatherings after the official writers' group remind me so much of Psychological Babble. It's one of the things I like best about this place.

I was thinking the same thing! I also do this occasionally (not as much now) with a friend who sees the same T as me. Sometimes if both of us are struggling at the same time and not finding him as helpful as usual, it helps to hear it's not just me. And I do think that normalizing the therapy process and experiences is so useful. I almost want to refer my clients here, but um, I'll pass. :-D

So far the book is really making me think about my own behavior in sessions with clients. Like if I get a haircut and they comment on it, and times when I use self-disclosure...times when I react to something they have said immediately out of my, at least I'm being genuine there. And it's usually a validation of what they are feeling, least I hope. What if I have dark circles or a cough? I never really think about this, but I realize that I do tend to notice if my T seems sleepy or distracted. Or if he is wearing something very different from his usual attire I wonder what's up....never felt the seat warm from another client, though. That would be really yucky!

> I also really liked the descriptions of transference, while she also kept in mind that not all reactions within the therapeutic relationship *are* transference.

I agree. She really makes transference clear, and also describes (at least so far) aspects of the real relationship that are important.
> "A single question - "How do I know if it's me or my therapist?" - was the source of much of our agonizing within my writers group."
> I was reading the other day somewhere else that research shows that clients react better if therapists admit that discord in a relationship might be partially due to them, as well as transference or totally due to the client. I think that's one of my therapist's greater gifts.

I know that with my recent struggles in therapy, I really NEEDED him to acknowledge some role in what happened in that really bad session. Even discussing that need that I felt and how I felt it was not met at first was good fodder for therapy, and it also tends to match a pattern I have with others.

This reminds me of how she talks about Freud's "stereotypical plates" "According to Freud, people had a tendency to unconsciously create and then globally apply these templates, which had been forged in early childhood relationships. These internal models shaped people's perceptions and expectations in all the signficant relationships that came afterward. They influenced how we picked our lovers, how we responded to criticism from an authority figure, how we interpreted the unspoken cues between strangers. In short, these templates provided the emotional rules for how to function in relationships." (from the introduction)

Boy howdy did this resonate with me. A lot of what I am talking about recently has to do with my reactions to authority figures, being very sensitive to criticism, and my father. It's all linked. I'm not sure I agree that these templates are as global as she states Freud described them, but I am starting to see similar "emotional rules" at work in my important relationships, particularly with men.
> "There is something inherently tragic about the client-therapist relationship. The therapist can never bring all of herself into the room, the client will long for what she can never get, the relationship is doomed to end. But treating the bond as either ordinary friendship or as a strictly professional exchange of goods and services only diminishes its therapeutic potential and hurts the client."

I reacted to this as well, from both sides of the couch. I have had heartfelt sadness and also happiness for a client when the client terminated after working with me for about a year. I always enjoyed sessions with this client, although I suspect that there was an aspect of the client trying to be "the good client" at work there. But at any rate, this is someone with whom I could imagine being friends with if the circumstances of our meeting were different. That feels like a loss to me, too. My T said something similar when I was very sad and also angry at him (irrationally) because I could never work with him as a professional due to our therapy relationship. He said it was a sacrifice on both sides, which was very touching, and one of the only times he has allowed his personal feelings into the therapy space. I treasure that statement--which fits with when Lott mentions the longing clients can have to really believe in the genuine caring that seems apparent in the relationship versus feeling as if the T is paid to care.

The Anna O story certainly is extraordinary, although for an experiment and a first attempt at "talk therapy", I suppose you can't expect what we do these days. It did remind of when my T and I were discussing increasing to twice a week, and how that had a big potential for more intense feelings on my part. I felt like all the cautions he was presenting were an atte,pt to warn me off of increasing. He admitted that he might be coming across that way because T's can be frightened about deepening with a client just like a client can, but it's up to the T to manage that fear in order to do the work. (I sure hope he wasn't really being scared off...maybe just leery?)

Enjoying this so far...

Anyone else?





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poster:gardenergirl thread:491935