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Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday?? Weekends

Posted by peddidle on August 13, 2009, at 12:35:45

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Weekends on August 13, 2009, at 5:29:46

> Hello, this seems like boundary issues. I have created a great deal of pain and chaos for myself when I shared a small in- expensive book with my therapist. It wasn't related to a holiday or birthday but he declined to accept saying he didn't accept gifts. I suppose it looked like a gift ( though no card or wrapping) but I wanted to try and explain something about what I was feeling by sharing this short book. I ended up feeling like I behaved badly, did something wrong and then was so ashamed I quit for a bit. Ever since, I make it a point never to find out anything my doc so I will never feel the need to extend myself in a social way. Even though I feel he is somewhat strict, I think he is so good and such a respectful professional I cant go through the 'search' for someone new. I will adjust---and knowing nothing about him helps me focus rather than caring too much about what is going on with him. Not sure this helps---but knowing personal information can sometimes lead to heartbreak.

I agree with Sunnydays. My T told me in the very beginning that she was going to learn a lot of things about me, so I could feel free to ask anything about her. I didn't "ask" too much, but that's just my anxiety issues, over 5 years, however, I learned a lot about her life, family, friends, etc outside of that room. She offered personal anecdotes if they were relevant, or if she thought they would be helpful, or even just on the side if they were amusing or interesting. I also gave her several gifts, especially towards the end, and she even gave me a book at [what turned out to be] our last session.

It may just be that my T might be more on the lenient side as far as those kinds of boundaries are concerned, and your T might be more strict. For me, like Sunny said, it helps to know she's human [superhuman in my mind, but human nonetheless]-- I had to know that she has a life, and has sometimes has problems [though it's hard to believe] just like everyone else. It makes therapy feel more like a conversation than only a one-way dialogue with other person nodding or prodding for more information without offering any empirical feedback. I understand what you're saying though about this knowledge leading to heartache-- knowing about T's "private" life often made/makes me jealous of the people that she's spending time with, and makes me [irrationally] upset that she's not thinking about me, because I think about her ALL the time.

I can completely understand why you quit for that period of time-- I can't imagine how I would have felt if my T had rejected any of the gifts I gave her, though I assume it would have been extremely hurtful, to say the least. But, it's good that you went back. If you like him, and think that he is a good fit for you, then that is really all that matters. I think the "what makes a good T" topics have been explored enough to make it clear that everyone is unique, one person's idea of a great T can, and likely will, be the polar opposite of the next person's. :-)




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