Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 251041

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Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by fallsfall on August 20, 2003, at 19:49:07

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall, posted by stebby on August 20, 2003, at 19:23:04

When I changed from my old therapist to my new one, I felt immediately better - not cured, but much less anxious. I know that I still have issues to work on (including my dependency - like I had on her) so I couldn't just quit. I did find it helpful to interview therapists - the process of talking about what was going on and getting different people's feedback was really valuable.

Your obsession with your therapist probably demonstrates one of your issues. In my case I thought my therapist was angry because I did something wrong - this parallels how I would feel with my dad. There is probably a connection with your past. My Psychodynamic therapist is so much better with this stuff than my CBT therapist was.

 

Is obsession with a therapist really transference?

Posted by jane d on August 20, 2003, at 22:12:28

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall, posted by stebby on August 16, 2003, at 13:47:29

> It does sound like we have a very similar situation. Do you still think about your old therapist much? Its been a year since we terminated, and I still look for her car where ever I go. She drives a blue Audi. Do you know how many blue Audi's there are on the road? 1,000,000's! I've almost gotten in car accidents trying to figure out if it was her driving by. Its so crazy, I wish I could make it go away.
>

I think it makes sense to spend most of your time thinking about a person and a process that offers, basically, to save your life. That's a real relationship in it's own right - I'm not sure whether it's a good or a bad one - but it doesn't need to depend on your previous relationships.

Jane, who knows that she doesn't understand transference

 

Re: Is obsession with a therapist really transference? jane d

Posted by Dinah on August 21, 2003, at 20:33:11

In reply to Is obsession with a therapist really transference?, posted by jane d on August 20, 2003, at 22:12:28

Absolutely, the feelings you have for your therapist can be based on that relationship alone, without any baggage from the past. (Or at least not without any more baggage than we normally carry around).

But I guess the difference is the intensity of the feelings we have for our therapists balanced with how little we really know them. I mean we don't really know them more than we do any other service providers in our lives but I don't think most people get as emotionally attached to their, oh.. darn. Can't think of an example.

So I think of transference as more attachment than can really be considered reasonable based on the level of reciprocal intimacy in the relationship.

Of course, the baggage from our past affects every relationship in our life. You know how I'm always afraid I've made my friends mad? I'm always afraid I've made my therapist mad too. I'm always afraid I've made everyone I care about mad. So ideally we could work on that in the therapeutic relationship more easily than other relationships. Ideally anyway......

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by allisonf on August 22, 2003, at 9:15:19

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf, posted by stebby on August 19, 2003, at 20:03:55

I can totally imagine feeling devastated by leaving your old therapist and still having the transference feelings for her. But I'm glad your new therapist is confident that she can handle the transference (and even said she was waiting for it to happen, right?) Did something specific happen in therapy recently that made you want to stop and just take the ADs? (I know...for me, not much has to happen. Once I had heard her spray perfume on herself while I was in the waiting room, then when I walked it, it was lingering in the air. Did she put on the perfume for my benefit? AS IF!)

Or is it related to the issues with your husband? With this...oh, I wish I had something more helpful to say, but I find I am often in the same sticky sort of situation. My husband is definitely jealous of my feelings for my therp, but I think b/c my therp is a woman, he is a little less threatened (tho he knows there is a sexual element, we don't talk about it much). Then again, I also don't think he realizes quite how deep my feelings for her go. He will tease me about it sometimes but then other times, he pressures me towards termination b/c he's afraid it's not helping me to be so obsessed with her. And there are times like you, I agree with him...if I spend a whole week with my head in the clouds over the perfume incident, how can that be helping me? I guess that's what forces me to be really upfront with my therapist about these situations when they happen so at least I can try to learn from them. But then again, just like you said, some of the situations are really too mortifying to disclose. Mostly, I think it's when my husband sees that I'm having such a hard time during an episode of some kind, and he experiences her helping me thru it (tho I know he's jealous that he's not as good at helping me thru it as she is) that he eases up on wanting me to quit. I think he also gets the theoretical concept of transference...but then again, I told him about a dream I had about my therp recently and he freaked. "You're dreaming about your therapist!" I didn't have the heart to tell him that I dream about her quite a bit.

It does seem like your husband has been trying to process a lot at once lately. I know it took my husband a *long* time to accept the use of psych meds to treat my condition (me too). And the cutting too, I know my husband gets really frightened by my suicidal thoughts or anytime I envision hurting myself. I think it is just such a foreign concept for him.

So, I feel for you about this issue and how it affects your marriage. I always end up opting to stick with the therapy (mostly b/c I'm too chicken to leave) but there are times I think I may be worse off for it.

Let us know...

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf

Posted by stebby on August 22, 2003, at 20:06:31

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by allisonf on August 22, 2003, at 9:15:19

It sure sounds like we have a lot in common. What did your husband say when you said you had sexual feelings for her? I finally discussed some of this with my husband over the last few days. He was seeing our marriage going down the tubes, and it was completely freaking him out that I was talking to people on line. So, I told him just what we are talking about which seemed to make things better. I disclosed that I am having the same obsession I went through with the last therapist. He is doing his best to understand, but he is definitely struggling with the fact that he thought he married a really "together" person, and he keeps finding ut all this new stuff about me.

The pefume incident you discussed would have done the same to me. I would have wondered if she was she putting it on for me as well. I have to say that I find that a bit strange. Maybe she enjoys feeling wanted by you. Have you read "In Session." I am reading it right now after hearing about it from Dinah. Its very helpful.

I regards to your question about why I want to get out of therapy, it was not just one particular incident..well maybe...I don't know. You see, when I went to my next session following the one when i disclosed that I am "in love" again, I sensed a real distancing from my therapist. I am so afraid of this info freaking her out like it did my last therapist. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Sometimes I just can't help feel that the situation continues to put you in a state of longing that can never be reciprocated. Is this somehow healthy? Unfortuabltely, I am so attached it would be devastating to leave. What a quandry! I imagine you must feel the same way. Is this really going to help me? It also makes me want my husband less...not good either. Maybe, I just can't do therapy! I'm on a major break from therpay here (three weeks). Part of me does not want to return because it will jsut re-intensify the longingsd again. Am I really going to "learn" something about myself from this? Are you learning about yourself from this experience? Maybe, I am learning that I have unmet needs and they aren't going to be met by her. Just great! Okay, I'm rambling again.

Are you feeling any better after your pills and alcohol incident? Is your therapist back from vacatron?

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall

Posted by stebby on August 22, 2003, at 20:11:06

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by fallsfall on August 20, 2003, at 19:49:07

Even if you find out that these infatuations relate to something from your past, does it really help you to understand that? Isn't it just creating more pain and re-living the old pain. Maybe its better just to get on with life as best as you an. (I'm just playing devil's advocate here). Do you think you are better off for going through transference?

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by fallsfall on August 23, 2003, at 9:01:58

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall, posted by stebby on August 22, 2003, at 20:11:06

My transference is not love/infactuation. My transference is terror. I am afraid that if he is mad at me that I am evil. Now, logically, I can see that his opinion of what I do is no more important than my opinion of what I do. But I can't FEEL that way yet. If I don't figure this out, then I am always susceptible to being in a position where I am frantic and terrorized - trying to meet the perceived wishes of someone else, rather than making rational decisions myself. I only have this problem with "important" people - my dad, therapists, bosses, sometimes friends, too. But I do run into that kind of people on a regular basis, and it would be nice if I wasn't terrorized.

I didn't address this for 40 years, and it gets progressively worse. I think I have to address it now. I do understand it a lot better now. In the past I was just miserable. Now at least I know why I'm miserable. Is it worth it to go through the transference? I won't know until I get to the other side - But I am intending to get to the other side.

Are you aware of ways that your issue that causes the transference impacts your daily life?

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall

Posted by stebby on August 23, 2003, at 19:33:45

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by fallsfall on August 23, 2003, at 9:01:58

I have had a lot of transference reactions to people in my life besdies my two therapists such as teachers, doctors, bosses...the same types of people. I know its an issue, but I question whether discussing it in therapy is going to resolve it. I already had a good idea of why it happens, and to go through it again in therapy is just a painful experience. I keep hoping that someone will say how therapy really helped them with these issues. Now you understand your transference, but you still feel it. I'm glad you have a positive attitude about it working for you, I'm sure that's half the battle. Have your feelings improved?

The whole tranference in therpay seems to just depress me more...always seeing and longing for what I can't have. Yes, well I didn't get something from my parents I needed, and I still can't have it...I'm just reminded daily of it now...that's the problem. Do you see why I question this?

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by fallsfall on August 23, 2003, at 21:39:05

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall, posted by stebby on August 23, 2003, at 19:33:45

Sure, I see why you question it. You've been there before and nothing has changed. Why will it change now? I don't understand how "working through" the transference solves the problem, but I have read enough so that I believe that it does. I figure that if my therapist knows how it works that we'll be all set. I haven't seen a clear description in a book of how it works, and I have looked pretty hard.

I really have seen an improvement. We kicked up the transference again on Thursday. I was scared, and panicked, and angry. I was pretty miserable. But when I could get some distance from it I could rationalize it and that took the emotion out of it. I don't know if rationalizing it is a "good" thing to do or not (I have been admonished in the past for intellectualizing everything) - but it has made it so that I can get through this weekend.

Whoever figures out what this "working through" is first can tell the other!

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by Dinah on August 23, 2003, at 22:48:47

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall, posted by stebby on August 23, 2003, at 19:33:45

I think I've worked through it to some extent. Working on anger was a big issue. I'm beginning to believe that it is not the end of a relationship if people are angry with each other.

Abandonment we're still working on. But I have quit feeling terrified that he'll terminate me at any moment. I have quit having dreams where he terminates me. That's no longer my first question of the session. :)

I've learned to approach issues directly as they crop up in the relationship. And I'm getting much better about asking for what I need.

I don't know if those are transference issues exactly. But they are problems that crop up in all my relationships. And I'm getting better with them. We use our relationship to work on them since it's there. :) But we also use my relationship with my husband, and friends, and this board.

But the main thrust of our therapy isn't relationship issues or the transference. It's more shoring up my fragile coping mechanisms to last another week in teh real world. It's to keep me up and functioning. So there can be very real reasons to bother with therapy. :)

But it doesn't hurt to assess the benefits vs. costs from time to time. Unless of course the assessment is suggested by your therapist as mine did last week. Fortunately I had just spent some time thinking about the issues and so was able to come up with a cogent and compelling argument for why therapy did me more good than harm. I had just read the book:

"When to Say Goodbye to Your Therapist"
by Catherine Johnson

I really recommend it for helping you sort out your thoughts on this issue. And it has a decent discussion on transference as well. Not as good as "In Session" but pretty good.

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by allisonf on August 24, 2003, at 16:06:48

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf, posted by stebby on August 22, 2003, at 20:06:31

I agree, I think we do have a lot in common too. Especially when I saw that you had experienced this same phenomena with other people in your past--teachers, bosses, etc. That's why my therapist has linked this infatuation feeling with hypomania. Definitely, they do feed off each other--feeling these kinds of emotions really lead to hypomanic behavior in my case. Have you had this kind of thing happen just in your recent past or for a long time before you started therapy?

How have things with your husband been? I would think the fact that you've shared with him as much as you can--what you've written about here, your new obsession with this therapist--will really help once he spends a little time coming to terms with it. Has he felt better about things? My husband is better about it sometimes more than others...and about the sexual feelings, it's something we often dance around discussing. Sometimes, I actually think he's a little intrigued that I'm attracted to a woman and he teases me about it...then other times, I think he'll discount my therapist & I know it's b/c he's jealous. I don't know what the answer is--I try to deal with the erotic nature of therapy by writing about it and talking to my therp if it's necessary and possible (like I won't die of embarrassment). I've read that erotic transference is the most difficult to resolve. Again, we get back to what exactly is "resolution"?

I did read In Session. It is really the best I've read on the topic! I'm also reading that When to Say Goodbye book that Dinah recommeded and I think that the part about how your therp relationship can get in the way of your other relationships might be helpful--esp w/regard to the husbands. One other thing, even if the transference makes you feel like you want your husband less...I don't know...my therapist always sort of compartmentalizes this infatuation as something wholly different from the "real" relationship with my husband. Does that make sense?

Oh, I feel for you that you have a 3 week break. I just didn't do well with it this year. (But I am doing better since the pills/alcohol thing--thanks for asking. Just saw my pdoc and I'm starting a healthy dose of Geodon. Maybe that will do the trick?) But my best guess is that telling your therapist in your next session, all about your fears based on your last therapy experience, will help the most.

Have I been learning from the transference (the $64,000 question...)? Too soon to call. I'm hanging in even when it makes me crazy b/c everyone tells me that I'm supposed to. I know that these feelings stem from unmet parental needs & we've explored that...I know they are linked to hypomania...and with each situation, I learn something a little more specific about myself. But is it worth it? It depends on the day. Since my therp is back and so attentive, the feelings are back...I am sure something is bound to happen Tuesday! I will keep you posted & you too.

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf

Posted by stebby on August 24, 2003, at 20:01:45

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by allisonf on August 24, 2003, at 16:06:48

So you have had these infatuations with other people as well. My first infatuation began in 7th grade and I have had one after another ever since, some really strong, others not so strong. I find it interesting that your therapist relates this to hypomania. Do the transference feelings lead to hypomania, or does hypomania lead to these feelings. What other symptoms do you have in relation to hypomania?

Yes, things with my husband seem to be better. I still haven't clued him into the erotic feelings yet. I really think he will have a hard time with that, but it probably should be addressed.

I do know what you mean about the "real" relationship with my husband being wholly different. I've sometimes taken my erotic feelings and tried to project them on him. That seems to be a good thing to do with them...he likes it anyway, but then I ask myself, is this ok? I mean, fantasizing about someone else during sex with my husband?

Glad to hear that you are doing better and life is stable again.

I will definitely look into that book that you and Dinah mentioned. The In Session" book was quite interesting, but at times it really made me think about whether or not therapy is useful (I'm back to this again). I mean, so many women reported unsuccessful therapy and even unresolved transference. On the other hand its discussion about what happens when boundaries are crossed was very useful, making me realize how it would never work out if that somehow happened in my therapy. It was good to have that re-enforced on me!

Hope all is well with you...

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? Dinah

Posted by stebby on August 24, 2003, at 20:09:40

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by Dinah on August 23, 2003, at 22:48:47

Thanks for your thoughts on this issue. It helps to hear the positives from people. I also appreciate the book suggestion. I will definitely get it. I learned a lot from In Session (thanks!), but at times it made me question therapy even more, I mean hearing all of those horror stories. I read it cover to cover in two days though, fascinating.

Hope you are well...

 

Re: Why bother with therapy?

Posted by stebby on August 24, 2003, at 20:17:40

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by fallsfall on August 23, 2003, at 21:39:05

Yes, that's the thing. Even in the book "In Session" the author never really describes how one resolves transference. Is it just that continually talking about it somehow takes the power out of it and it eventually goes away, or do you just give up hoping against hope and finding what you really want/need someplace else? I mean, one can only take so much of unrequited love until they give up in anger/frustration/shame. Right? I bet that's how it is "resolved." What do you think?

 

above post to fallsfall (nm) fallsfall

Posted by stebby on August 24, 2003, at 20:19:59

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by fallsfall on August 23, 2003, at 21:39:05

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by fallsfall on August 24, 2003, at 21:14:17

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy?, posted by stebby on August 24, 2003, at 20:17:40

I hope there is more to it than just talking it to death. I can't believe that frustrating us to death would be a good solution, either.

My new therapist did work on my transference. He talked to me, but I don't remember what he said - I know he was talking about the general topic of people being mad at other people (which is relevant to my transference). After that session I felt much better. That was the first time the transference pain was better after a session. The next session he asked me about how I felt about the transference, but I was in a fog and didn't understand his question. Then he was more blunt and asked if I felt better after the previous session. So he already knew that I felt better. Magic.

I want to know what is going on, but at the same time I kind of like the magic.

He brought on the transference this past session again. I believe (but I don't know for sure) that he did this on purpose. I think that he chose a topic that would make me think he was mad at me (and it worked). So, I guess I think he has the magic in both directions.

I could be all wrong, but that is how I see it today.

 

Re: Magic. That's what it is all right..... fallsfall

Posted by Dinah on August 24, 2003, at 21:22:08

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by fallsfall on August 24, 2003, at 21:14:17

I don't care what my therapist says, it's magic.

I go in feeling bad, I leave feeling better.

Magic.

 

Re: Magic. That's what it is all right.....

Posted by justyourlaugh on August 24, 2003, at 22:28:36

In reply to Re: Magic. That's what it is all right..... fallsfall, posted by Dinah on August 24, 2003, at 21:22:08

i go in feeling..freaked
leave feeling okay...
j

 

Re: Magic. That's what it is all right.....

Posted by Dinah on August 24, 2003, at 22:34:55

In reply to Re: Magic. That's what it is all right....., posted by justyourlaugh on August 24, 2003, at 22:28:36

> i go in feeling..freaked
> leave feeling okay...
> j


See? Magic.

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by allisonf on August 25, 2003, at 2:15:26

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf, posted by stebby on August 24, 2003, at 20:01:45

Same here, my 1st infatuation like this was with a teacher in 6th grade. It was sometimes hard to distinguish them from ordinary crushes b/c they understandably created some of the same energy. The hypomania part for me is that these crushes recently cause my sleep schedule to be completely disrupted--I can't settle down from all the racing thoughts I have about what to say to them (I might pace while I go over this out loud/pressured speech), what I think will happen with them (which involves some level of gradiousity), etc. Fantasies I have about them end up with me having *so* much energy--sexual energy yes, but also feeling agitated or needing to write or exercise. I'd write 20 pages/day in my journal easy over something like that perfume incident. Also, I have felt the need to run a couple miles in the middle of the night, or do 100 situps at 3am, etc.

I'm not sure of the answer to the chicken/egg question about the hypomania/transference. I know that I do experience symptoms of hypomania in other contexts, which is why I don't really believe my diagnosis is too far off. But I do know that times when I am depressed or just normal, the infatuation with my therapist isn't nearly as intrusive. When I am in a hypomanic phase, I think they work in tandem--I'm primed to interpret what she does a certain way, then she does it, I'm full of energy reliving the conversation, we have another phonecall where she says something else...it just kind of feeds on itself, know what I mean? Have you had this kind of experience?

I do think it's common to fantasize about all kinds of things while you're having sex with your spouse--maybe even other people. But your therapist? I have the same doubts as you. Despite my earlier post, I haven't really gone that far.

You know, I just cked out In Session again tonight, and you're right, not a lot of "how tos" on getting past this thing. How did you resolve it with all the other crushes you had in your life? Mine were best resolved by walking away from those people. But then I was not as invested in those relationships nearly as much as I am with my therapist.


 

Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall

Posted by stebby on August 25, 2003, at 19:44:42

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by fallsfall on August 24, 2003, at 21:14:17

Magic! Just like that...ok, I guess I know what you mean. I have felt that magic after a session on occassion, but it doesn't last long as I return to reality. Usually after therapy I spend two or three days obsessing over everything we discussed and can't concentrate on anything else. Sometimes, that drives me crazy. Does that ever happen to you?

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf

Posted by stebby on August 25, 2003, at 19:55:56

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby, posted by allisonf on August 25, 2003, at 2:15:26

OK, so you haven't fantasized about your therapist while having sex w/ your husband...now I feel even wackier than everyone else...

Getting over these other transference situations has involved moving on to someone else or moving on in life in general. Mostly, I have just been forced to get over it because I moved to a new locatio or entered another school...life just changes.

Your descriptions of hypomania are interesting. I have definitley lost lots of sleep over obsessing about my last therapy session, but I have no desire to get up and do 100 sit-ups. At one point my pdoc suggested that I go on Lithium, and I declined saying that I am definitley not bipolar. I certainly obsess a lot, but don't have these energy bursts you talk about.

Gotta run tonight...

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by fallsfall on August 25, 2003, at 21:42:54

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? fallsfall, posted by stebby on August 25, 2003, at 19:44:42

With my first therapist, I would see her on Tuesday at 11. I would spend the next 6 hours trying to process what we had said. I couldn't do anything. I couldn't talk to anyone (I couldn't form sentances). Tuesday evening I could start to talk to friends. I didn't feel like I could do anything significant (grocery shop, clean, pay bills etc.) until Thursday evening. That was when my brain would start to function.

I see a different therapist now, and I don't have that same problem. I can talk to people within an hour or two of my session (I still like to get some ice cream by myself first).

I think that what was happening with me and my first therapist was that seeing her was kicking up such transference agony that I couldn't think. It took a long time to settle down from that. My new therapist (even when he does kick up the transference) doesn't affect me as much. My life is definately easier/better than it was with my first therapist.

I don't know how therapy impacts other people, so I don't know if I'm typical or not. What you are describing sounds more like what I had before. I'm really hoping that I don't end up there again.

You might want to describe in detail for your therapist what happens during those two or three days and see what he says.

I'd be interested to know.

 

Re: Why bother with therapy? stebby

Posted by allisonf on August 25, 2003, at 22:21:46

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf, posted by stebby on August 25, 2003, at 19:55:56

Ok, I just do not accept that you are any wackier than me! Please don't think that I haven't fantasized about my therapist when I am sexually involved...just not as much with my husband as when I am not with him. And there is a fair amount of that kind of fantasizing going on. Whew. I cannot believe I just said that.

I think you are right to decline the lithium & bipolar diagnosis. My therapist is quick to dismiss the intensity of my feelings as hypomanic. But hearing what you are going thru makes me realize that there is something much deeper going on in my own case. I am confronting her about it tomorrow, I swear!

 

Just kidding about the wacky thing! :-) (nm) stebby

Posted by allisonf on August 25, 2003, at 22:58:22

In reply to Re: Why bother with therapy? allisonf, posted by stebby on August 25, 2003, at 19:55:56


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