Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 376261

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Odd Therapy Experience

Posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 0:36:33

I had an odd experience today during my son's therapy appointment. He had an unexpected, full-blown panic attack last week so his therapist asked me to bring him in today so they could check in and figure out what was going on. In the past, I have sat in on sessions with him (he is 12) because he does better when he has me in the room. But for the past few months, he has been doing it himself and had actually moved to once per month. He was "down the hall" when his therapist came to get him, so he invited me in instead. When my son came back, we all just continued talking about what happened, why, etc., so I didn't leave.

About half way through, I floated away some and was observing what was going on while still sort of participating. I realized that I was the only one sitting on the couch (they were both in chairs) and I was holding on to the couch pillow, like I do during my own therapy sessions. And I realized that I could feel a great deal of sadness coming from my younger self, who is often "out" during my own therapy sessions. She definitely was missing our therapist and waiting her turn.

It is strange to think that I've trained myself to respond to the therapeutic setting so completely. At one point we were talking about something hard and painful...and my son's therapist asked me what I thought we should do. I heard this little kid voice say, "I have no idea." Now, I don't usually admit to having no ideas, especially where my own children are concerned (it is rare that I actually don't)...and I did recover quickly and make myself concentrate more on the conversation.

But driving home and even now, I feel this creeping sadness that is not connected to my son. I really think it is my younger self missing our therapist. She is hugely disappointed that she didn't see him today. I didn't expect this. I wonder what he will say about it tomorrow? I will add that I am horribly vulnerable this week as my therapist is leaving for vacation on Friday.

Anyone else had this happen? Has the setting or something else triggered your "therapy" persona?

 

Re: Odd Therapy Experience daisym

Posted by fallsfall on August 11, 2004, at 7:14:57

In reply to Odd Therapy Experience, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 0:36:33

I find that the feelings I get in therapy sometimes return in other situations where someone is taking care of me (with my financial advisor, for instance - sometimes with empathic friends). Maybe this is even why I avoid a particular friend when I'm feeling vulnerable - she knows a lot about therapy and life, and maybe I'm afraid that I'll slip into my super-dependent mode with her.

We aren't different people in therapy. Our "therapy-souls" are part of who we really are. I don't find it surprising that other parts of our lives would call forth those same feelings.

Your younger self is the side that "needs" therapy. Your adult self has it all "under control". It makes sense that your younger self is a bit apprehensive about your therapist's vacation. Can you give her a little space to have her say? Can you accept that she needs some transitional object to get through this? Can your adult self agree to provide her with some comfort during the vacation time - so she will not be so all alone?

If she needs someone to talk to who understands missing a therapist, I'll volunteer.

 

Re: Odd Therapy Experience daisym

Posted by mair on August 11, 2004, at 7:58:27

In reply to Odd Therapy Experience, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 0:36:33

I've had the experience you describe (at least fleetingly) when I speak with therapists I know in non-therapeutic settings. I think it has something to do with the words they use, and the manner they have towards other people.

My son has seen a therapist a couple of times this summer. Recently, I went to meet with her without him and in her office. I had to remind myself a couple of times that my role in this meeting was very different from the patient-role I play the rest of the time. So I had to concentrate harder to listen to her and what she was saying about my son, because sometimes in my own therapy, I feel as if I go on "auto-pilot" and my attention drifts. And a couple of times, I was aware that the therapy "me" would've answered a couple of questions very differently from the mother "me."

Like Falls, I agree that we're the same people, but I do think we assume somewhat different personnas in therapy and certainly we expose ourselves in ways that, for most, are very different.

Mair

 

Re: Odd Therapy Experience daisym

Posted by Dinah on August 11, 2004, at 10:47:41

In reply to Odd Therapy Experience, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 0:36:33

Well, I wouldn't call it my "therapy persona". :)

I haven't had the exact same sort of experience. But I'm an old friend of odd experiences of various sorts. I used to be absolutely obsessed with figuring out *why* I did the things I did. I just couldn't understand my reactions at all. They had no internal consistency. Now, I don't have that problem at all. I understand my reactions, and they make perfect sense.

It sounds as if you're understanding your reactions, even if they are disconcerting to you. I'm not sure they ever stop being a bit disconcerting, but understanding and listening are enormously helpful to me. Do you feel a bit more secure having a good idea *why* you're feeling the way you're feeling? And having some idea of what you can do about the feelings?

 

Re: Odd Therapy Experience daisym

Posted by Aphrodite on August 11, 2004, at 14:33:47

In reply to Odd Therapy Experience, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 0:36:33

Wow, what an experience. You seem to understand its origin quite well even if it's a new experience. Understanding the sources of your feelings sounds like great progress. However, I'm sorry your younger self is experiencing such sadness.

Your post made me realize that I really don't have a therapy persona. I've gone from "executive mode" to executive plus emotions and disclosures I would have a had with friends when I was in college. I am aware of my other parts, but they don't come out in therapy, only in my writing and in my head. I discuss it clinically with him.

Hope this week is good in preparing for your T's vacation, and I hope your son is feeling much better.

 

Re: Odd Therapy Experience

Posted by Klokka on August 11, 2004, at 19:55:57

In reply to Re: Odd Therapy Experience daisym, posted by mair on August 11, 2004, at 7:58:27

>>I've had the experience you describe (at least fleetingly) when I speak with therapists I know in non-therapeutic settings. I think it has something to do with the words they use, and the manner they have towards other people.

I had something like this happen at a women's retreat I went to this past April with my church. I caught so little of what the speaker actually said because, without fail, she would end up saying something early on which would get me thinking about some issues and I'd end up in "therapy mode" pretty quickly. It was so strange. Turns out that she works at a local cousnselling organization. I guess that explains it.


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