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Re: I'm crying my eyes out ~ my therapist Looney Tunes

Posted by Dinah on June 27, 2008, at 18:06:20

In reply to I'm crying my eyes out ~ my therapist, posted by Looney Tunes on June 26, 2008, at 21:48:02

I always hesitate to advise someone to ditch a therapist, since in this milieu it is difficult to see the entire picture. Certainly some of what you describe sounds problematic. At the very least in terms of forming a therapeutic alliance.

Is this a therapist you trust and respect? Can you see trust and respect developing? If you can't, then it doesn't really matter whether he's *right* or *wrong*. It just matters that this is not the right approach for you.

I talk a lot about fighting with my therapist. A lot of what I say is based on my own definitions of fighting. He would give a completely different account of the session. There are the bare facts, what exactly was said, etc., and then there are conclusions based on those facts. "He meant this" or "She meant that" are conclusions, and may vary a whole lot. Were my therapist to come to this forum and start posting about my sessions, I can guarantee you that no one would know that we were discussing the same relationship.

The therapy relationship is like any other relationship. A certain meshing of strengths/weaknesses/style/etc. is necessary. If you don't have this with this therapist, it might not be right for you.

Is this a relationship pattern you often find yourself in? Do you often find that other people accuse you of being more negative than you think you are? If so, and if you want to discuss this with this therapist, then here's a good opportunity to learn why you end up in a position you don't understand.

Would other people think your therapist must be insane, because what he is saying about you is so far from what everything else says about you that he is clearly mistaken, or else drawing from you an unusual reaction?

So maybe there are at least a few questions you can ask yourself? And I'm sure others can think of others.

Is this a relationship pattern you often find yourself in? Is this experience a not uncommon one for you?

Is this a person you respect enough to want to work with? Can you ever develop the sort of positive regard towards him you need for a therapist?

If you narrow your thoughts down to just your behaviors and set aside ideas that you're a horrible person, are there things about your behaviors that he is correct in asking you to stop? You said that he said something equivalent to "you can't get angry with me". Clearly that would be impossible. Every one gets angry with people in their lives often enough. And yes, with those who encourage transference if only from the situation, our reactions can be magnified. This does not make you a horrible person. But there are behavioral boundaries that any therapist might set. My therapist encourages my occasional anger towards him. But if I were constantly verbally attacking him, or physically attacking him of course, he probably would reach a point where he would set limits. Just as if I were sexually aggressive with him. He has been entirely clear that he does not consider it part of his job description to be on the receiving end of behavior that he does not feel is conducive to a positive therapeutic experience or growth on my part.

It has nothing to do with you being a horrible person. I am not sure if I believe that there are horrible people. There are behaviors that are problematic. Sometimes when I say "they said this, so I must be a horrible person" I am really diverting the underlying problem. I am beating myself up for being a horrible person, which is something I and everyone else would eventually conclude is not likely. And in doing so I'm *not* looking at what behaviors I might need to change. I have no idea if this is something you do or not. I'm only offering my own experiences.

If you do not see any reason for him to say these things, or set these limits, it might be useful for you to inquire about how he gained that impression. My therapist thought a lot of bad things about me at one point. But when we discussed *why* he felt this way, we were not only able to get past it, but I discovered what inadvertent messages I was sending. That helps me in other relationship.

It's hard, Looney Tunes. I have decided on several occasions that a mental health professional's style would not suit me. Perhaps each would have been a learning experience for me had I stayed. But there was nothing about them that called to me particularly and made working on those issues something I wished to do with them.

I want to be clear that I am just offering these questions as a way to frame your question of whether to stay or go. I have no earthly idea if there are any problematic behaviors on your part or not.

But I do think it might be useful on his part and yours to discuss this in terms of behaviors rather than feelings or judgments. Just my own Montessori mom thoughts.




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