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Frustrated and unhappy with T

Posted by girlnterrupted78 on September 7, 2007, at 8:57:43

Sorry if this is long..

I am extremely frustrated, annoyed and unhappy with my current T. She's a woman--probably in her mid-forties. I'm a woman in my late twenties. I've been seeing this T for 3-4 months; we see each other once a week for 45-minute sessions.

The reason I feel frustrated is that, so far, after almost 4 months, I don't feel we have begun any actual therapy. And the reason for this is nothing other than my T and her behavior, which I simply find impossible to deal with.

The first few weeks I simply narrated my entire childhood to my T; the problems and traumas of my upbringing, and how I thought I had developed depression.

However, once I was done giving her my background, we became stuck. Stuck in a situation where I had nothing else to say to my T, and where I actually did not even want to continue to talk to her. She did realize this, and so this is where the bigger problems began.

First, one of the reasons we became stuck is that I was no longer the sole 'talker' and my T was absolutely reluctant to talk. Second, I began to realize that my T's insecurity and anger issues were getting in the way of my building a sense of trust, comfort, and a healthy relationship with her.

I will obviously give my side of the story in here, but the facts are the facts, and I found that certain behaviors she displayed were simply unacceptable, which made me lose respect for her and be unwilling to continue to talk.

First of all, my T seems very unwilling to communicate openly. She speaks as little as possible, and she does not like to give feedback. She also doesn't like to begin the sessions. She will say "hello, how are you?" and then she will proceed to sit in her chair and stare at me, or smile, always with a look on her face that clearly says "I am waiting for YOU to begin the session. It is NOT my responsibility."

These behaviors infuriated me, because I do not feel it is *my* responsibility either, and I don't even know how to begin a session. I believe it is her responsibility, and I also believe she should be giving me some kind of feedback. Otherwise, what on earth am I paying for? If she's barely talking and just making irrelevant comments about my life, such as "that was a difficult childhood", or "yes, your father was mean." Those things are just repeating what I had just said. How is that therapeutic? Fine. That was the least of the problems with this T. The bigger problems were really not mine, but her own issues, which she brought into the therapy room, and which shortly, began to wreck havoc.

As far as I am concerned, a therapist should act as a SECURE BASE who will listen to the patient's mental health problems and help explore the reasons that are causing the emotional distress--in order to improve the patient's condition. However, I don't feel this T is anything close to a "secure base." In fact, I consider her very insecure, and far from a base.

In the initial process of building a relationship with my T, she displayed a number of behaviors that completely turned me off from building trust in her. I simply did not feel any respect for her, and when I don't feel respect for someone, I tend to despise them.

In several occasions, while I was talking about the specific issues in my life that caused me distress, T would say nothing. I felt a bit uncomfortable about her silence, so I would try to get her engaged in the conversation by turning a question around to see what her response was. T would be CLEARLY annoyed at my attempts to engage her; her voice and body language would show clear discomfort and annoyance, yet she would never be open enough to discuss the reason. I was puzzled and uncomfortable, wondering: What did I do wrong?

My T's sudden displays of hidden/secret anger and annoyance, along with her reluctance to be open about what was bothering her, began to have an impact in me. As a patient, I began to feel annoyed myself; I felt disrespected, and I did not build any trust in my T.

Regardless, at some point I asked my T why was she annoyed? I felt that open communication was essential in therapy and expected my T to think the same. Yet, her response was "I am NOT annoyed." I was shocked, as it was obvious that she was. I insisted, and said it was very clear to me, that in more than one occasion, she had been annoyed during our session, and that I was interested in knowing why.

She seemed frustrated with my question, and finally responded with another question: "What does it matter if I am annoyed? What is the significance of knowing whether I am annoyed?" At this point I could not believe my ears. Not only was my T annoyed, but she was denying it, and then she was asking me why would it matter if she were? I mean, how could it not matter? It is my therapy!! It makes me uncomfortable. Was my T suggesting that her behavior during my therapy has no bearing on me as a patient? YES, that's what she was implying! And of course, I fully disagreed. Her behavior had a huge impact on me, as it was her behavior what was making me reluctant to trust her. Her lack of honesty and her bringing her personal problems into my therapy made me lose respect for her, and this made it almost impossible to have a healthy relationship with her. I felt this was not right, and if she is angry, she should say so and openly explain why.

My view of therapy is that it is an open space where both, therapist and patient, need to be open and honest. So, it was very important for me as a patient to know why T was annoyed, because her behavior was beginning to affect me and to make me so incredibly uncomfortable that I began to feel completely reluctant to continue to speak to her. How could I talk openly and intimately to someone who is hiding anger from me right in my face, even though that anger was evident?

When we reached a point where we realized things were going nowhere because I did not trust her or felt like continuing to speak to her, I decided to address the issue, because of course, she would not:

Our relationship was simply not working out. I told her that I felt very uncomfortable. I told her I could not trust someone who was not being honest with me. I told her I felt she was not being honest about certain things in therapy (the fact that she was annoyed during our sessions, while she was also denying it.)

Her only response to this is that she felt it was "hostile" of me to call her "dishonest." So what did she want then, if I was being honest about what was NOT working out for me? What kind of message was she sending by saying this? Did she mean to say I should keep things to myself to appear friendly to her? While pushing the real problems under the rug? And continue to pretend that everything was fine, when it clearly wasn't? What kind of therapist is this? What is she telling me by saying that my honesty and my openness in therapy were nothing but hostility? I mean, I was merely bringing up the REASON why things were not working out, for god's sake. She'd rather have me continue to waste my therapy away than be honest and try to address the problems that were interfering with my therapy? This made me even more uncomfortable and I began to lose more and more respect for her.

After this, I used 3 sessions in a row to be brutally honest. I told her I felt uncomfortable, didn't trust her, did not understand why she would not discuss things openly. At some point, after I pushed, being very straight forward and assertive, she admitted that she had, in fact, felt uneasy when I claimed she had been annoyed. She said she felt hostility on my part. I don't believe I was being hostile; I simply requested her opinion in a matter of my life where I was desperately confused and needed someone else's point of view. My attempt to get her to talk was a way for me to engage her. However, it was interpreted by her as hostility, because (and this is my opinion) she appears like a very insecure person who cannot give her opinion on anything.

Later she finally explained that "she did not ever provide opinions during therapy—her style was simply to guide." FINE!! Why then, I thought, didn't she SAY SO earlier, or at the moment of the incident, instead of acting annoyed and hiding it for so long? Why did it take ME so long to get HER to talk about her therapy method? Was I the therapist here? Or the patient? Isn't the therapist's responsibility to explain to the patient how their method works? At least I'd think it's a better approach to be open about that, than to show silent anger or a negative attitude with an utter reluctance to openly speak about it—leaving the patient dumbfounded and, in my case, disgusted at such lack of honesty in the therapeutic atmosphere. This had a negative impact on me as a patient.

But yet, it seems like the T's feelings and issues were above her patient's, so she won't be open or honest. This, in an attempt to protect herself, her pride, her anger and her issues.

To be continued…

Sorry about the length, if anyone made it to the end, any input would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks a lot




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