Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 226804

Shown: posts 1 to 14 of 14. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches?

Posted by Pfinstegg on May 15, 2003, at 9:07:49

I would love to hear how others deal with times when the transferences to their therapists seem to constitute an emergency in and of itself. I am presently seeing a psychoanalyst, twice weekly, to try to deal better with early maternal neglect and paternal abuse issues. This analyst specializes in severe childhood trauma, and seems to be very skilled at getting me to re-experience my early feelings of loss and terror- but in relation to him. This gives us a lot to work on, but at times it becomes very threatening, itself. Under stress, I don't seem able to remember that I have a compassionate, well-trained therapist helping me with these issues, but instead experience HIM as the source of all my pain. Then, I just want so badly to get out of that office! I don't let myself do that, but the only thing tht I have found that helps me calm down is to ask if I can just sit there with him in total silence- we do that, and it is reassuring and not tense. However, it's also a way of not dealing with extremely painful things. I don't think I have any "observing ego" at those times, to help me keep a bit of perspective on things.

Have others who have been doing this longer than me found additional ways to cope with these situations- and is what I've described something which you also experience?

Pfinstegg

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg

Posted by judy1 on May 15, 2003, at 11:52:11

In reply to What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches?, posted by Pfinstegg on May 15, 2003, at 9:07:49

I completely identify with your post. I think reparenting is critical in cases of child abuse, especially to create trust towards an adult that you have never experienced before. I think having those types of feelings towards your therapist are healthy and necessary- and if he has created the proper 'holding' environment, you will be able to work through them. I admire your courage- I have a bad habit of running (cancelling appts. when things get intense), but I know from my therapist that working through it would be a lot healthier. take care-judy

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on May 15, 2003, at 20:19:43

In reply to What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches?, posted by Pfinstegg on May 15, 2003, at 9:07:49

It sounds like you're doing great. You've identified what you need, and you're able to ask for it. I don't think you can rush dealing with these things. If you've got that strong a reaction, you might need to rest at that stage before moving on.

I'm glad you've built up that level of trust with your analyst, too.

I congratulate you an the really difficult work you're engaging in.

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches?

Posted by Pfinstegg on May 15, 2003, at 21:19:18

In reply to Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg, posted by judy1 on May 15, 2003, at 11:52:11

Thank you, Judy and Dinah-it's so reassuring to know that other people also get the way I do with their therapists. Those concepts of dealing with trauma- reparenting, trusting, containing and feeling contained, and learning to create safe spaces between ourselves and our therapists-are right at the heart of what we are all trying to do. I am always in a big hurry, thinking I've got to do it all NOW, but in fact it's a gradual, years-long process, and I guess there's no way around the fact that it does involve dealing with a lot of fear and terror. When I think of the "normal" face I try to put on with work colleagues, I know they would never believe the extreme fear and rage which explodes twice a week in a little office that nobody even knows I go to.

Pfinstegg

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on May 17, 2003, at 13:15:14

In reply to Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches?, posted by Pfinstegg on May 15, 2003, at 21:19:18

You know, I think it's great that you can be angry with your analyst. I have enormous trust in mine, but I find it very hard to express anger. I can tell him if he's doing something I don't like, but not with anger. It's not that I'm afraid he'll feel differently about me. It's more that I've found that being angry with someone makes me feel differently about them.

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Dinah

Posted by Pfinstegg on May 19, 2003, at 11:51:56

In reply to Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg, posted by Dinah on May 17, 2003, at 13:15:14

I think I know what you mean, at least generally. I have had the fear that my anger and rage were "killing him off", and have experienced feelings of aloneness and detachment after an angry outburst, as if, indeed I had done away with him. I will say that this therapist continues to remind me that the anger means that I am "engaging fully" in the therapy, and views my outbursts as a vital part of of the process. It's by far the hardest, though, and I do need to reconnect the more positive and loving parts of me to him before plunging back into such primitive rage. I am in awe of how these therapists withstand it.

Pfinstegg

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg

Posted by noa on May 21, 2003, at 18:50:47

In reply to Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Dinah, posted by Pfinstegg on May 19, 2003, at 11:51:56

This place is great. I mean there is really no where else I could discuss this kind of thing without people looking at me with head tilted and perplexed look on face.

My own experience is that some of the stuff I'm working on is so preverbal that it does come with these horrible, literally unspeakable, dreads, fears, panics about how destructive my feelings can be. I have experienced these feelings in sessions, and then am at such a loss for words in how to describe them, articulate them. They come from so down deep, and from such an all-encompassing, overwhelming earth-shattering dark power, and finding a way to say what it is I'm feeling has been a huge challenge. Over time, I and my therapist have found a vocabulary to use to describe and identify these feelings, but it was hard.

Some of it is about the belief that I am toxic to other people. That my needs are destructive and that my insatiability is destructive, and that my rage will destroy everything I come close to. That I am unlovable, disgusting, insatiable, toxic, and destructive to myself and everyone else.

I tend to withold my rage, not act it out, though. At least not toward my therapist. I have seen it slip out into little act-outs to strangers, poor hapless people that wander into the path of my rage! But these are still somewhat limited---I'm not in danger of fist fights or huge screaming matches, but I'm still not very proud of the rudeness or snideness, or snittiness, or general bitchiness that I can sometimes show.

But acted in or out, it sounds similar.

Yes, it is extremely hard work. Sounds like you have a good therapist.

 

Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? noa

Posted by Pfinstegg on May 21, 2003, at 21:59:49

In reply to Re: What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches? Pfinstegg, posted by noa on May 21, 2003, at 18:50:47

Noa - I love your posts because they are so articulate and honest. You have stated so clearly how complex these pre-verbal, primitive feelings really are- not only the rage, but the feeling that one is very destructive- to the therapist as well as others. That's so hard to face and deal with- I have the same feelings that you do.

I, too, often feel that words can barely express these feelings. Sometimes he talks more about what my body is expressing, and because he's a psychoanalyst, I have a choice of lying down on the couch, sitting in one of the chairs, or even on the floor. I can walk around if I need to. Sometimes, it helps more to let my body express these feelings, by trembling or curling up, and he is the one who puts words to the feelings. Then there are other times when these primitive feelings have quieted down, and I am able to work with him in a more adult manner. It's the earliest stuff that is the hardest, though, isn't it?

I do feel fortunate about my therapist; it sounds like you've got an excellent one, too. And I do agree- it's such a support to be able to come here and find other people who are going through the same harrowing, extraordinary experiences. There's no way I could express any of this to a friend, or even my husband, except in a very general way.

Pfinstegg

 

Re: How is it going? Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on July 8, 2003, at 23:55:37

In reply to What Do You Do With Tranference Crunches?, posted by Pfinstegg on May 15, 2003, at 9:07:49

I was looking for an old post of mine, and ran across this thread. Have you developed any coping strategies?

Looking through these posts has led me to the realization that things change so quickly. I would hardly recognize some of the things I've written as coming from me.

 

Re: How is it going? Dinah

Posted by Pfinstegg on July 28, 2003, at 14:53:24

In reply to Re: How is it going? Pfinstegg, posted by Dinah on July 8, 2003, at 23:55:37

Hi Dinah..thanks for inquiring; I was actually away on a month-long hiking trip across the north coast of Iceland with my husband, and just saw your post. I can't resist putting in a word about Iceland- it's got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. There are fjords, with water changing from blue to green to purple as the clouds go by, intensely green valleys, with lovely rivers flowing through them, farms with little Icelandic horses all over, many flowers and birds, volcanic formations with pools of hot water where people swim even in the winter, and enormous icecaps. If you go out whalewatching, you really do see whales- we saw hundreds of orcas (free Willys) jumping right out of the water, and one one-hundred foot long blue whale- a thrilling sight, as there are only about 1000 left in the world. The weather there was usually in the 50's or 60's, and each day usually had some rain, but briefly. The people are great, too- informal and friendly. There are only about 260,000 Icelanders, all descendants of Vikings- most adults still have red, golden, or sometimes even golden-white hair, rather than the kind that gets dark.

Well, to get back to the topic at hand- it was very hard to leave my analyst for such a long period of time. He said to do whatever would help me remember and miss him- that that was much better than feeling that he had somehow disappeared out of my life. So I said, anxiously, that it would help me to send him a postcard, but that I was afraid that might be a "boundary crossing". He gave such an interesting answer- he said that analysts now think that "crossings", as opposed to " violations" are an important part of therapy, on both the patient's and the therapist's part. I had never heard of that, and asked him to explain why, He replied that patients miss out on having as intense and full a relationship with their therapists as they could have if there are never any small benign "crossings" So, wouldn't you know, I sent him a postcard every two days (and had to use a lot of self-restraint on the in-between days)!

When I got back, he gave me such a warm welcome, coming all the way out into the waiting room to shake my hand! He said a bit later that he was glad that I felt secure enough to send all those cards, and that he thought the places I had gone were beautiful!

Well, since then, we have entered into an entirely different aspect of the transference. The rage and fear have calmed down a lot, although they definitely do make re-appearances. I mostly lie down on the couch now, and seem to enter a sort of dream-like, regressed state. He feels so close, both physically and emotionally, and although we are not always speaking, when we do, his voiced is very quiet and tender. It doesn't feel like he's doing this because it would be a good idea; rather, he is free-associating silently along with me, and using his own emotional reponses as I am experiencing this incredibly wonderful reparenting, and his responses come from what is occurring between us. It's absolutely real on both sides- I feel sure of that.

I have scanned this board and see that there are some wonderful conversations about this very topic- I'm looking forward to reading them more carefully.

Pfinstegg

 

Re: How is it going? Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on July 28, 2003, at 18:00:55

In reply to Re: How is it going? Dinah, posted by Pfinstegg on July 28, 2003, at 14:53:24

Pfinstegg, Iceland sounds absolutely fabulous. What a wonderful adventure!

And it sounds as if your therapy is no less a wonderful adventure. I'm so glad you landed in such a great place. Gentleness is the key with me in therapy, I think. The prodding that so many therapists use for change makes me dig in my heels. But gentleness causes me to dig deep, try my hardest, etc. Sometimes even try to change. :)

You're making me rethink my ideas of traditional psychoanalysis. It doesn't sound like your therapist is a withholding blank slate at all.

It's great to see you back. I've missed you.

 

Re: How is it going? Dinah

Posted by Pfinstegg on July 31, 2003, at 16:47:16

In reply to Re: How is it going? Pfinstegg, posted by Dinah on July 28, 2003, at 18:00:55

Thanks, Dinah. It's really good to be back in touch with you, too, and I do appreciate your encouraging remarks about the therapy I have embarked upon. I'm discovering that psychoanalysis has undergone a tremendous change in about the last ten years. There are still a lot of those "blank slate" type analysts, but they tend to be older, and are now becoming thought of (behind their backs, of course) as 'fossils"! The newer ones expect that everyone who has significant problems with depression/anxiety in adulthood has had a childhood with major deficiencies in good parenting, and, of course, many have suffered from abuse in addition. They consider the most important part of their work to be enabling the patient to regress back to the earliest times, and, then, to have a new and much better experience with the therapist, who is involved, empathic, emotionally close, very gentle and never pushes you. I agree with you completely- when someone pushes me, I get stubborn and don't want to do anything! In a way, I think the analysts are now catching up to therapists in general. A wonderful book on this general topic is "Relational Psychoanalysis" by the late Stephen Mitchell. It was that book which made me realize that psychoanalysis had something very new and valuable to offer, and I'm certainly finding that to be so. But I don't think that you need an analyst for that- you just need an excellent therapist- like yours, for example!

Pfinstegg

 

Re: How is it going? Pfinstegg

Posted by Dinah on August 1, 2003, at 8:15:07

In reply to Re: How is it going? Dinah, posted by Pfinstegg on July 31, 2003, at 16:47:16

I'll have to look into that book. I have to admit that my view of psychoanalysis was of the old sort. My therapist also shares the reparenting goal, although I don't think his goal is to have me regress too much during therapy. But I think that's because of his estimation of my ego strength. He also doesn't want me to get hypnosis, is leery of EMDR, and has forbidden me to go to encounter groups or marathon weekends. (Although I don't know where he thinks I'd find an encounter group or marathon weekend to go to!!!) I'm glad we've both got terrific therapists.

 

Re: How is it going?

Posted by kyp on August 4, 2003, at 11:16:13

In reply to Re: How is it going? Pfinstegg, posted by Dinah on August 1, 2003, at 8:15:07

I have really enjoyed the discussion about therapy and the process it involves. You all have articulated my feelings well. Thank you.


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