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Re: Frustrated and unhappy with T Wittgenstein

Posted by girlnterrupted78 on September 10, 2007, at 2:19:23

In reply to Re: Frustrated and unhappy with T, posted by Wittgenstein on September 8, 2007, at 4:20:49

> I agree with the other posters. Perhaps your therapist has her own problems, perhaps these are problems you are projecting onto the 'blank slate' - either way, her approach sounds like that of a fairly traditional analyst and this isn't the right approach for everyone.

Is it really possible for me to be confused enough to project my problems onto the therapist without realizing they are in fact MY problems and not the therapist's? And if that were the case, would my projections happen with every therapist, or only with a specific one that practices blank slate?

And if it happened only with a specific one, what does that say about that only one? She just happened to be the lucky one, or she might have some issues of her own?

Otherwise I imagine I'd be projecting my problems onto every other therapist. I have personally seen my therapist act annoyed and overly sensitive. What you (and others) are saying is that such annoyance and sensitivity might not exist, and might be my own projections on her, and that I simply am 'imagining' that she is annoyed and insecure, when in fact, she isn't?

And in fact, I might be the one who is annoyed and insecure? I'm not entirely sure what you mean by projection, so that's the closest I can get given my knowledge and imagination. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

> You asked whether therapists practice their own type of therapy or whether there are general types of therapy.

I know there are many approaches, but I was asking if my therapist, given my description of her behavior, was doing a specific type of therapy.

When I myself asked her how her therapy worked, she gave me a definition that came from psych 101! Something completely abstract that could mean ANYTHING. She said something along the lines of "Explore the issues of your life.. blah blah blah.." Yeah, that could mean anything and that's something EVERYONE knows about therapy.

If she had a school or an approach, I'm sure she would have mentioned it, but apparently she doesn't. So I told her I was looking for a more specific answer, and there she got stuck. WHY????

Why can't this therapist tell me what her method is? Could it be that her method is: "I sit, you talk, I say nothing, you pay, I earn." That seems like the most accurate description of her method to me. I even tried to help her by giving her an example. The "example" I gave her was what I had observed in her so far, so that's what I told her:

"Basically I will talk about my life, or my problems, and you will make a comment once in a while, such as the comments you've made so far, eg: 'yes, you had a tough childhood', 'your father was mean', etc.. That's the kind of answer I am looking for--which is what I've seen so far."

> I can see how this would be a real problem for some people - as it could feel like cold behaviour.

I wouldn't mind this approach, if the therapist were able to actually DO something for me and I could see the benefit, and if he were able to actually make me comfortable. There's all types of approaches, and if they show results, I'd take them any day. It is when I have a real sense that I'm wasting my time and feel that I am getting no benefit, that I start to get incredibly frustrated. Just as frustrated as I am now.

>Also, if I ask him a question, he will always offer a thoughtful answer - he doesn't just dismiss me. I wouldn't like it at all if he would say "so what if I am angry?" (actually that would destroy me) - a therapeutic relationship requires trust and honesty, so of course it matters deeply if the client senses hostility from their therapist whether that hostility is real or not, and I feel regardless of their approach the therapist should explore that openly with their client.

Exactly my point. I'm glad you can see it. Everyone else seems to see my therapist's behavior as perfectly acceptable, and just as a bad fit. But nobody seems to realize that it takes honesty to build a relationship, and that I asked her whether she was angry, and that she denied it, even though she WAS in fact angry (she admitted it later) and even though such question was a HUGE block in the way of building our relationship--a relationship I expected should be based on HONESTY.

Yet, my therapist was annoyed that I even asked the question!! And out of frustration and annoyance, she asked me: "What is the point of knowing if I'm annoyed? What is the relevance of knowing this??"
Do you realize how little she thinks her behavior will impact her patient? So little that she is capable of asking me what is the relevance of her behavior towards me? Isn't it clear she thinks she's free to do as she pleases, and I'm supposed to like her and trust her despite her behavior towards me, and despite the fact that she won't even be honest to me, and will dismiss me when I ask about something I need to know? And people don't think this is being unqualified.. it's just "an approach."

Don't people see how wrong this is?? I know you see my point, Witt, but nobody else here does. They all think it's just a bad fit, but not unethical in any way, while I think her dismissing my request is a way of telling me that her behavior is not to be questioned and that I should deal with it whether I like it or not, and that I must trust her with my life regardless. What kind of therapist does this? How can she think I will trust her when she can't even build an honest relationship with me, and when she is so selfish that she will behave as she pleases without any regard to my feelings, and even ask what do I care about her behavior?

And because she asked me such a question "what is the relevance of knowing whether I am annoyed?"
I was forced to tell her the truth. A truth that offended her (for obvious reasons): I said that I did not feel comfortable talking to her because I didn't even know why she was annoyed, and that I could not trust someone who was being dishonest to me and telling me she was not annoyed, even though it was pretty evident that she *was* annoyed.

She was offended by this and claimed I was "hostile." I was simply answering HER question honestly. It DID matter if she was annoyed. And it did matter if she lied about it. And it *is* true that I could not trust her knowing she was not being honest. Her response? "You are hostile" That's how my honesty is taken. As hostility. What did she expect? She expected me to lie? Either that, or she expected me to not question her behavior.

On the fourth session, she CLOSED the discussion by coming to the therapy FURIOUS, sarcastic, blushing, and more dishonest than ever.

Ever since that day, I don't dare say I'm unhappy again because I'm afraid of triggering her anger again. I also never ask anything that I'm not sure might bother her. That's what I got for being fully honest. I got a full session of anger and sarcasm with lies (lies as in: She starts the session claiming she doesn't remember what we spoke about in our last 3 sessions, using a sarcastic tone, and later she furiously says "OF COURSE I REMEMBER WHAT WE SPOKE ABOUT") And I can't say anything because she's angry and I'm afraid of making her angrier.

Could that be just her "approach" which could benefit other patients? This seems to be the consensus on this board. Maybe other patients would be ok with this and not need honesty and wouldn't mind if she seems annoyed one day, or several times.. I guess I seem to be rare in needing a fully open and honest relationship.

> The fact you have gone several months and feel so negative about the relationship you have with your T is a clear sign that things aren't right - you need to click with your therapist and it doesn't sound like this has happened. It's interesting that your therapist is not questioning the lack of a click - surely she also senses your negative transference - I would question her why she doesn't offer reassurance or respond to this - why the lack of a click doesn't worry her as clearly it has created a feeling of stalemate.

Exactly. I wish she worried, but in the back of my mind, I just think she might have ulterior motives. Personal needs related to her work. I'm not certain, though. But you make a great point there. She SHOULD be concerned, and she clearly isn't. All she said to make me stay in her therapy is: Therapy is VERY HARD. It will be VERY HARD. But she doesn't realize that what is hard is to talk to and deal with HER. Not to deal with my issues. The problems have NOT been related to my past and my current life problems, but with our relationship. She's trying to confuse me on that matter by saying that THERAPY, the therapeutic process, is very hard. I haven't dealt with anything. I narrated a few things, she made a couple of comments and we moved on. How hard is that? Piece of cake. Especially because she doesn't challenge me in any way, or explores further. She changes the topic (probably because she doesn't know what else to do.)

> Finally, you say you found a great therapist before with whom you clicked - which approach did he have - could you still find out? Could he recommend you someone who takes your insurance/whom you can afford? Or perhaps he offers a sliding scale? Is gender a significant factor here perhaps - some people prefer male over female or vice versa. I chose a male therapist as I would have big problems trusting a female T due to my past.

No, he used to be in the clinic where I am, but left and has his own practice. He did offer me a discount, but it isn't nearly as affordable as the clinic where I am currently--which also offers psychiatric care at sliding fee scale. So I'd be paying 3-5 times more if I were to see him, unfortunately. I have no clue about his therapeutic approach, but he was simply fully engaged in the therapy from day 1, seemed passionate about learning about my life, and very interested in making connections about my behavior and my reactions. He made me excited about therapy because of how interested he seemed--and you can't transmit interest if you barely talk.

> Good luck and hope you find a good therapist and the right therapy for you.
> Witti

Thanks a lot. Your post was great, very thoughtful and informative. I appreciate it.





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