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Re: How therapists think or feel (trigger) » daisym

Posted by Tamar on October 9, 2005, at 16:12:17

In reply to How therapists think or feel (trigger), posted by daisym on October 8, 2005, at 20:26:17

Hey Daisy,

I agree wholeheartedly with what Alexandra was saying about the theory.

And I also think your therapist isn’t angry with you.

But if you are worried, do you think you can ask him? Can you say that you have been reading literature that talked about therapists’ anger towards suicidal patients and you want to know how he thinks about it and what he makes of the theory?

I’ve always had the impression that your therapist is willing to allow you to name your experiences and he’s prepared to accept that your feelings are real and authentic and not some kind of attempt to manipulate him. I do think there are therapists who understand that people are sometimes suicidal because life is sometimes sh*t.

One thing about theory: it’s aimed at therapists, rather than clients; it’s written in textbooks and journals that require a formal academic style; and it pulls no punches. There’s nothing in the style that recognises the extent of the client’s distress (it seems to me). I’m sure I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. But I do understand that it can be very disturbing to read theory when it doesn’t appear to take adequate account of client feelings. I tend to hope that therapists reading the theory are going to examine their own practice honestly and openly to see if, for example, they have feelings of anger toward suicidal patients.

If you want to know where the answers are hidden, I’d suggest they’re hidden in individual relationships between therapists and clients. There’s probably something of the White Knight in every therapist and they probably want to believe they can help even the most suicidal of patients. The good ones know that they can’t rescue us but they can help us as much as possible therapeutically. The good ones don’t get angry or resentful, because they understand that we’re not yanking their chains; we have some seriously bad cr*p to deal with every single day. But it’s all in the relationship. My therapist might not be able to help *you*; your therapist might not be able to help *me*. The important thing is your relationship with *your* therapist.

Your ability to be honest about suicidal feelings probably depends on your level of trust in your therapist. If you’re having doubts about your therapist’s ability to understand you, then I really hope you will talk to him about it. It’s only through that kind of discussion that you can determine whether you can continue to trust him.

I hope very much that you will talk to him, because from everything you’ve said about him so far he has risen to the challenge of therapy. I like Dinah’s term: ‘fighting to relationship’. It is a struggle sometimes. I hope you get through this in a way that you find satisfying.





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