Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 365484

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A nice session to share

Posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

I've been feeling like maybe I don't need therapy twice a week, at least not when I'm feeling ok. And I've been a bit bored going twice a week.

But the very thought of not needing as much therapy scares me witless.

So that was the topic of today's session, and my therapist handled it superbly. He was obviously pleased at the idea of my growing strong enough and internalizing him enough not to need him as much. But he also understood that I found it terrifying, and why I found it terrifying, and why I found it terrifying even to talk about finding it terrifying.

And he was perfect in his response. Not too gung ho about being happy at growth. Assuring me that I could see him once a week if I thought I was ready, at least when I'm feeling well. Or I could continue to see him twice a week for as long as I wanted. Or I could see him three times a week, if I thought that would help me need him more. I'm pretty sure he was teasing me about the three times a week, but I like to be teased.

He reassured me that he's found that my progress took a very slow linear path, and that he foresaw me coming to therapy for many years to come. And that I don't *have* to grow up or get stronger if I don't want.

And I asked him if maybe he could challenge me a bit more in sessions, because I'd rather be mad at him than not need him. It was way less scary. And he told me that was wise of me. That he was just telling someone that anger wasn't something to be so afraid of, that it was sometimes something that helped rather than hindered a sense of connection. (So I told him about the angry therapist thread.) He asked me if I felt challenged by him at the moment, and seemed a bit surprised when I answered no, not really, and asked him if he was being challenging. (Because even though I was upset and crying, none of it felt like it came from *him*.) And he thought and answered with a laugh that no, he wasn't really being all that challenging.

And he's not angry with me for not wanting to need him less.

So even though it was a really upsetting session in some ways, it was also gentle and sweet and showed how very very much he understands me.

He made discussing it not as scary as I had been afraid it would be, even if he did remind me that there was a time when I would have never had the courage to even allow it to be discussed, never mind bringing it up myself.

And I wasn't bored once.

And maybe we can work it out so that I won't need him less, which would be best of all.

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by partlycloudy on July 12, 2004, at 20:08:55

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

Wow. That was like a perfect T dream! As much or as little as you like. Dinah, you have simply arrived!

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by DissociativeJane on July 12, 2004, at 21:58:46

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

Dinah,
I'm really glad your session went so well. Sounds like you are really working hard and I bet your therapist is quite pleased with your growth.

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by fallsfall on July 12, 2004, at 23:15:25

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

I'm proud of you. You talked about a very difficult subject.

And I'm glad he handled it so gently.

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by daisym on July 13, 2004, at 0:15:21

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

He did a good job of walking that fine line between what the little girl needs and the adult wants. And I'm proud of you for letting both have their say.

Now, don't let the adult make the little girl miserable about still wanting to need him and how safe that makes her feel. I know she is scared about this change but it isn't written in stone and she can still reach out when she needs him.

I'm glad you are doing so well. You were very brave today. Be gentle with yourself.

(((Dinah)))

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by tabitha on July 13, 2004, at 1:13:07

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

That's great-- he's accepted your rate of progress, acknowledged that he sees progress (I always love hearing that), and is willing to provide as much or as little support as you need to continue. Perfect. You've really done a great job of training him!

 

Re: A nice session to share

Posted by Miss Honeychurch on July 13, 2004, at 7:35:39

In reply to Re: A nice session to share Dinah, posted by DissociativeJane on July 12, 2004, at 21:58:46

Dinah, sounds like a great session! I absolutely love those!

I'm curious though, Is it frightening for you to need him less? What I got from your post is that even he wants you to continue to need him. Is this accurate?

 

Re: A nice session to share Miss Honeychurch

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 8:38:50

In reply to Re: A nice session to share, posted by Miss Honeychurch on July 13, 2004, at 7:35:39

Chuckle. I think I must have worded it less than well.

I *am* terrified at the idea of needing him less. It's still a loss, even if it's a loss initiated by me rather than by him. And I don't want that loss.

On his part, he was obviously pleased at what I was saying and was in a lighthearted mood all session. But he knows me well enough to know that when I'm scared of change, it's wiser to downplay the change and assure me that I don't need to make it. So by helping me realize I could fight needing him less and that he would help me, he was reducing my terror. And he was also making sure he wasn't tugging me in the direction of self sufficiency, which would have caused me to dig in my heels and cling. That was the reason for the tongue in cheek offer (though he would have honored it) that I could come in three times a week if I liked, and his reassurance that I would need therapy for years to come.

He just understands me really well. Telling me that it was great that I needed him less and did I want to reduce sessions right away would have been a huge mistake. By assuring me it was ok to stay the way I am, he made it easier for me to move a bit. Which is not saying I *will* move a bit. I prefer not to, and will exhaust all other possibilities first.

It's very scary to think of needing him less.

 

Re: A nice session to share tabitha

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 8:41:16

In reply to Re: A nice session to share Dinah, posted by tabitha on July 13, 2004, at 1:13:07

I really have, haven't I? ;)

I consider that his greatest strength. His trainability. Or if I want to put it in more flattering terms, his ability to learn what does and doesn't work with me, and to implement it flexibly. :D

 

Re: A nice session to share daisym

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 8:42:41

In reply to Re: A nice session to share Dinah, posted by daisym on July 13, 2004, at 0:15:21

Believe it or not, it was needy me who was wondering if I needed him less. So it wasn't intra-Dinah warfare this time. That's what made it so scary.

 

Thanks :-) , Falls, Jane and partlycloudy

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 8:45:04

In reply to Re: A nice session to share Dinah, posted by partlycloudy on July 12, 2004, at 20:08:55

And a special thanks to you Falls, for encouraging me to talk about it. We're going to add in to the envelope of big issue cards if I can think of a way to word it that I'm willing to write down.

 

Re: A nice session to share

Posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 13:26:21

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

Hi Dinah,
You have been going to therapy for nearly 8 - 9 years right?
I feel 8 - 9 years is a long enough time to start cutting down.
How long can you go on with having therapy to meet your needs? After all, it is a pseudo relationship right? So it might make sense to cut down and start looking for REAL ways to fill you.
Pinkeye.

> I've been feeling like maybe I don't need therapy twice a week, at least not when I'm feeling ok. And I've been a bit bored going twice a week.
>
> But the very thought of not needing as much therapy scares me witless.
>
> So that was the topic of today's session, and my therapist handled it superbly. He was obviously pleased at the idea of my growing strong enough and internalizing him enough not to need him as much. But he also understood that I found it terrifying, and why I found it terrifying, and why I found it terrifying even to talk about finding it terrifying.
>
> And he was perfect in his response. Not too gung ho about being happy at growth. Assuring me that I could see him once a week if I thought I was ready, at least when I'm feeling well. Or I could continue to see him twice a week for as long as I wanted. Or I could see him three times a week, if I thought that would help me need him more. I'm pretty sure he was teasing me about the three times a week, but I like to be teased.
>
> He reassured me that he's found that my progress took a very slow linear path, and that he foresaw me coming to therapy for many years to come. And that I don't *have* to grow up or get stronger if I don't want.
>
> And I asked him if maybe he could challenge me a bit more in sessions, because I'd rather be mad at him than not need him. It was way less scary. And he told me that was wise of me. That he was just telling someone that anger wasn't something to be so afraid of, that it was sometimes something that helped rather than hindered a sense of connection. (So I told him about the angry therapist thread.) He asked me if I felt challenged by him at the moment, and seemed a bit surprised when I answered no, not really, and asked him if he was being challenging. (Because even though I was upset and crying, none of it felt like it came from *him*.) And he thought and answered with a laugh that no, he wasn't really being all that challenging.
>
> And he's not angry with me for not wanting to need him less.
>
> So even though it was a really upsetting session in some ways, it was also gentle and sweet and showed how very very much he understands me.
>
> He made discussing it not as scary as I had been afraid it would be, even if he did remind me that there was a time when I would have never had the courage to even allow it to be discussed, never mind bringing it up myself.
>
> And I wasn't bored once.
>
> And maybe we can work it out so that I won't need him less, which would be best of all.

 

Re: Gee Thanks. So glad I shared. (nm) pinkeye

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 14:01:09

In reply to Re: A nice session to share, posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 13:26:21

 

Re: A nice session to share pinkeye

Posted by pegasus on July 13, 2004, at 14:25:02

In reply to Re: A nice session to share, posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 13:26:21

Hi pinkeye,

I'm assuming that you meant to be helpful here. I just want to point out that personally I don't see my relationship with my therapist as a pseudo relationship at all. It's a unique one, for sure. And it certainly has limits. But it's totally real. I'm a real person, she's a real person, and we really talk about our real thoughts about real things. She may have different rules for me than she does with friends, family, etc., but that doesn't mean our relationship is in any sense fake or pseudo.

Also, personally, I have no problem with the idea of someone staying in therapy for as long as they find it helpful. For some people that's 2 months, and for others it's their whole life. Trying to say that some particular time period is the right time to cut down, just because of the amount of time that has passed, seems very simplistic to me.

I'm afraid that Dinah might feel put down by the way you phrased those things. So I just want to support Dinah and say that I have great confidence that she's making appropriate choices for her, and I see every evidence that her relationship with her T is very real. And from having read your posts in the past, my guess is that you didn't meant those things to come out the way they (may have) sounded.

pegasus

 

Re: A nice session to share pinkeye

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 15:51:43

In reply to Re: A nice session to share, posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 13:26:21

Hello, Pinkeye. I'm sorry to have been snippy in my response to you. I was rather caught by surprise. While I was rather expecting a post exactly like yours and knowingly made the choice to post knowing that I could get such a reply, because I wanted to share a really nice session with those other than the people I had off board contact with, I was also rather expecting the post I expected to come from a different poster.

So I was rather hurt and surprised to open a post from you and see a post like that. As Pegasus has said, I've read many of your posts and as you aren't given to posting unkind remarks, I'll assume that you either don't understand long term therapy relationships, or didn't at all mean what your post appears to imply.

So here goes:

> Hi Dinah,
> You have been going to therapy for nearly 8 - 9 years right?
> I feel 8 - 9 years is a long enough time to start cutting down.

I think that that decision is best made by my therapist and I, who have an intimate knowledge of my reasons for being in therapy. I know it's difficult for those who have no familiarity with therapy, or who are only familiar with short term models, to understand the dynamics of a long term therapy relationship.

> How long can you go on with having therapy to meet your needs?

I don't go to therapy to meet my "needs" as in all my needs. I go to therapy to meet my need for therapy. I have a husband to meet my needs for a husband and intimate, a son... well, I'm put here on earth to meet his needs not vice versa. But he certainly adds meaning and joy to my life. Therapy helps me be a better wife and mother.

> After all, it is a pseudo relationship right? So it might make sense to cut down and start looking for REAL ways to fill you.

As I said, I have "other" ways to fill me. But that doesn't mean that the therapeutic relationship is "fake" or not REAL. It's just different and meets different needs. I hardly have an impoverished life, and I hope that isn't what you meant to imply. I have a husband who is also my best friend, a charming and delightful son, hobbies and interests, and family and friends, a job that I hate, but that is challenging and that I am very good at.

I'm sorry you don't understand the purpose of a long term therapeutic relationship. And I understand if it's not something you desire in your life. But please don't denigrate my choices or make presumptions about my life outside therapy just because they wouldn't be your choices.

 

Re: Thank you. :) (nm) pegasus

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 16:20:27

In reply to Re: A nice session to share pinkeye, posted by pegasus on July 13, 2004, at 14:25:02

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 16:28:08

In reply to Re: A nice session to share pinkeye, posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 15:51:43

Hello Dinah,
I am sorry to have come across as rude. I didn't totally mean it.
I was meaning to be supportive of your decision to cut back and was trying to give you reason why it was a good choice.
I didn't even read my post after I wrote it. I am really sorry.
I was just trying to say that if you have had enough therapy, and feel ready to go on your own, it might be good to take the plunge now by starting to cut back.
Pinkeye.

> Hello, Pinkeye. I'm sorry to have been snippy in my response to you. I was rather caught by surprise. While I was rather expecting a post exactly like yours and knowingly made the choice to post knowing that I could get such a reply, because I wanted to share a really nice session with those other than the people I had off board contact with, I was also rather expecting the post I expected to come from a different poster.
>
> So I was rather hurt and surprised to open a post from you and see a post like that. As Pegasus has said, I've read many of your posts and as you aren't given to posting unkind remarks, I'll assume that you either don't understand long term therapy relationships, or didn't at all mean what your post appears to imply.
>
> So here goes:
>
> > Hi Dinah,
> > You have been going to therapy for nearly 8 - 9 years right?
> > I feel 8 - 9 years is a long enough time to start cutting down.
>
> I think that that decision is best made by my therapist and I, who have an intimate knowledge of my reasons for being in therapy. I know it's difficult for those who have no familiarity with therapy, or who are only familiar with short term models, to understand the dynamics of a long term therapy relationship.
>
> > How long can you go on with having therapy to meet your needs?
>
> I don't go to therapy to meet my "needs" as in all my needs. I go to therapy to meet my need for therapy. I have a husband to meet my needs for a husband and intimate, a son... well, I'm put here on earth to meet his needs not vice versa. But he certainly adds meaning and joy to my life. Therapy helps me be a better wife and mother.
>
> > After all, it is a pseudo relationship right? So it might make sense to cut down and start looking for REAL ways to fill you.
>
> As I said, I have "other" ways to fill me. But that doesn't mean that the therapeutic relationship is "fake" or not REAL. It's just different and meets different needs. I hardly have an impoverished life, and I hope that isn't what you meant to imply. I have a husband who is also my best friend, a charming and delightful son, hobbies and interests, and family and friends, a job that I hate, but that is challenging and that I am very good at.
>
> I'm sorry you don't understand the purpose of a long term therapeutic relationship. And I understand if it's not something you desire in your life. But please don't denigrate my choices or make presumptions about my life outside therapy just because they wouldn't be your choices.

 

Re: A nice session to share pinkeye

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 16:42:59

In reply to Re: A nice session to share Dinah, posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 16:28:08

I'm sorry I misunderstood, Pinkeye.

Dinah

 

Re: A nice session to share

Posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 16:51:55

In reply to Re: A nice session to share pinkeye, posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 16:42:59

No you don't need to be sorry. When I read my post again, I can see easily how rude it must have sounded.

> I'm sorry I misunderstood, Pinkeye.
>
> Dinah

 

Re: A nice session to share pinkeye

Posted by Raindancer on July 13, 2004, at 18:30:13

In reply to Re: A nice session to share, posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 13:26:21

I don't agree, I'm afraid. The relationship between therapist and client *is* real (I am a trainee T and client too), just completely different from any other that we experience in life. Dinah and her T obviously have a great relationship - with deep understanding on both sides - which suits them both. Good Ts *do* care; that's why they are so special. R

 

Re: A nice session to share Raindancer

Posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 19:57:55

In reply to Re: A nice session to share pinkeye, posted by Raindancer on July 13, 2004, at 18:30:13

Maybe I don't understand the therapy relationship fully. I have had somewhat limited relationship with my T. I have only had 10 - 15 sessions over the span of two years. And most of my relationship with him was through emails.

I always knew it was a temporary one. And I always felt he kind of encourages me all the time to take things on my own without depending on him or anybody. Even when I am feeling very down, he encourages me to go on my own without relying on others for support. Maybe that is the experience I had in my mind when I said.

> I don't agree, I'm afraid. The relationship between therapist and client *is* real (I am a trainee T and client too), just completely different from any other that we experience in life. Dinah and her T obviously have a great relationship - with deep understanding on both sides - which suits them both. Good Ts *do* care; that's why they are so special. R

 

Re: A nice session to share Raindancer

Posted by Dinah on July 13, 2004, at 20:05:10

In reply to Re: A nice session to share pinkeye, posted by Raindancer on July 13, 2004, at 18:30:13

> Dinah and her T obviously have a great relationship - with deep understanding on both sides - which suits them both.

Thanks Raindancer! We've both worked really hard to develop a good relationship. It wasn't that falling off a turnip truck instant bonding sort at all. We had to do a lot of struggling, and it's good to see that it's obvious that it paid off. :)

 

Re: A nice session to share pinkeye

Posted by Raindancer on July 14, 2004, at 17:41:47

In reply to Re: A nice session to share Raindancer, posted by pinkeye on July 13, 2004, at 19:57:55

Counselling relationships vary quite a lot. I had a psychologist once who spent most of the sessions talking about his new partner and their relationship. Good Ts at the very least will make you feel that they are providing you with a safe space in which you can explore your feelings - the space and time is for you alone and you should feel special in the relationship. It is often quite important for us to be dependent on our Ts for a while until we grow strong enough to gradually move away and stand alone. This can take years and special kind of closeness can often develop between T and client . These feelings are real within the therapy room but have little to do with the world outside.

I 'm sorry your experience of therapy hasn't been more rewarding for you. Email doesn't really work I wouldn't think unless the difficulties are of a more practical nature. The T's tone of voice and the look in his eyes often say far more than his words. I do hope that you will find a therapist who is prepared to walk beside you for as long as you need. All the very best. R

 

Re: A nice session to share Dinah

Posted by Pfinstegg on July 15, 2004, at 20:08:24

In reply to A nice session to share, posted by Dinah on July 12, 2004, at 20:04:00

That was a nice session to share, Dinah! It's so subtle, complex and original that it's almost impossible to sum up in words the wonderful connection you and your T. have worked out together. It sounds as if quite a bit of what makes it great is non-verbal. Anyway, fun and encouraging for the rest of us to hear about!


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