Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 376556

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Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support

Posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

To all members of the Therapist on Vacation Club (TOVC): HELLLLPPP!

My therapist leaves for his vacation on Friday. I will see him tomorrow for our last session. It has been 2 weeks of struggling with my emotions around him leaving. He opened the topic last Monday and asked me if I wanted to have something of his to hold on to while he was gone. We settled on him leaving me a voice mail that reassures me that he is, indeed, coming back. (The little kid part of me still wants to take the couch pillow she hangs on to :( )

Today I tried to avoid the subject by talking about the issues with my son and work and how swamped and stressed I am. HE, of course, wouldn't let me get by with that and brought up the fact that he is leaving in 2 days. OK, so fine...I'm sad and upset and finding myself immersed in old feelings of abandonment. My younger self wants to act out all over the place. He said he can totally see why, we are in the middle of all this really hard stuff and she is terrified that I'll never let her out again. He said he'd love to see me tantrum or try a major manipulation (but not hurting myself) to get what I want. He wanted me to know no matter what I did, or how I acted, he would be back. Then he did something completely unexpected.

He offered to call me half way through his vacation. Said he had thought about it very carefully, that he would just be checking in, not doing a session, but he thought I might really need to hear he was still out there and still planning on coming back. I was doing so well up until that point, holding back the tears. I managed to choke out that I was completely conflicted about him calling me. OF COURSE, I want to talk to him. But I feel so guilty and needy. This is a good example of what I want and what I think I should do being on two totally different planets. It also crossed my mind that if I had get all these intense feelings shut down, would hearing from him in the middle of the vacation open them up again or calm down a growing fear?

So, I'm throwing it to the club. I have to tell him tomorrow if I want him to call me or not. What do you guys think?

(just an aside...I do love that he offered! I guess he does understand how hard this is for me.)

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support

Posted by Shadowplayers721 on August 11, 2004, at 19:49:51

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

I would go for the call thing. I think it would help. Also, you could write some letters to him while he is away. These letters could be about how you are feeling and bring that up in the next t session.

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by Dinah on August 11, 2004, at 20:18:10

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

Hmmm... just me, of course. But I think the offer would be sufficient, and I wouldn't take him up on it. He always tells me I can call his cell phone and he'll check his messages and call back late in the evening. I never do, but it helps that he offers.

But that's just me. I don't think you should feel *bad* if you take him up on it. He's obviously thought it out, and he's a big boy. If he's ok with it, you should be too. Then it's just a question of what's best for you. It's possible that a check in call would actually feel bad, depending on his phone skills, because it's not what you're used to from him.

As an aside, it's a rare vacation that I don't check in at work, if only indirectly. I don't consider it a major problem and it doesn't disturb my vacation overmuch.

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support

Posted by BigFish on August 11, 2004, at 20:25:15

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

Hi DaisyM,

If I were you, I'd take the phone call. My T is on vacation for the first time this week since we started therapy and I'd do anything for a phone call. Anything. I've been on the verge of tears for most of this afternoon. My $.02 is take the phone call!

BigFish

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support

Posted by gardenergirl on August 11, 2004, at 20:37:20

In reply to Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by BigFish on August 11, 2004, at 20:25:15

Daisy,
Do you get tired of hearing what a wonderful T you have? :) I can relate to the conflict over being grateful for the offer but then feeling needy and dependent. But I know he wouldn't have offered, and especially tell you that he has thought it over first, if he wasn't okay with it.

My thoughts on whether or not to take him up on his offer??? I don't know. I think you are right, it could go both ways. What if you had him call your voicemail, at a time when you would not be there? Then, he has called, but there is no chance of it being like a session. You can even keep the message saying he's okay and still planning to return to play whenever you need it. I know you had asked for this prior, but maybe another call like that halfway through would be meaningful and reassuring?

Take care,
gg

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by mair on August 11, 2004, at 22:00:13

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

Wow this is a tough one. I agree that you shouldn't feel at all bad if you decide to take the phone call. He wouldn't have offered if he wasn't ok about it, and haven't you been working alot on asking for what you need?

I'm pretty miserable on the phone, and i think a phone call with my therapist that wasn't supposed to be like therapy wouldn't be a comfortable call. In all likelihood, I'd be so conscious that she was on vacation and that I shouldn't turn it into a therapy session that I'd probably just mouth a bunch of platitudes and get off as quickly as I could. And if the call was unsatisfactory in some sense, I might feel worse. However, I have a tough time talking to my therapist on the phone about anything, so I'd probably just be ok with the offer.

Good Luck

Mair

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support mair

Posted by crazymaisie on August 11, 2004, at 22:09:39

In reply to Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym, posted by mair on August 11, 2004, at 22:00:13

hey

my T calls me quite often (obviously i ask her to) and sometimes i feel much much better after talking to her, but sometimes worse. i get conscious that she doesn't have much time so i don't always work things through with her if something does come up and can hang up feeling worse. what works, though, is if i know what it is i need her to say (reassurance about some point in the previous session for example) and in your case, you do seem to know what you would want to hear. i would try to discuss it with him pretty clearly in advance, though. if you're anything like me, the wrong word could spark a frenzy. i don't think you should feel bad if you ask him to call, though. if he's offering then i'm sure he means it and wouldn't mind at all.

that's just my experience. good luck with the break in any case

CM

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by Klokka on August 11, 2004, at 22:37:26

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

Wow, that really sounds tough. I think it could go both ways, and you'd need to weigh carefully which would be most likely to be helpful. Maybe something like gg suggested would be ideal? Personally I'd go for the call, but that's in large part because of my situation (and probably because my pdoc doesn't tend to do things like that at all, so I don't really know what it's like.)

Hope the session goes as well as possible. Last sessions before a break aren't fun. :( Mine went really well and I still needed tons of comfort afterward. I must say I admire your courage in talking about how you feel about your T's vacation. I couldn't get out anything which wasn't phrased as, "well, I feel _____ about everybody being gone," as much as my pdoc tried to bring it up. (For some reason all of the people I feel I can trust were away for at least the first two weeks of my pdoc's vacation.)

Good luck!

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by thewrite1 on August 11, 2004, at 23:53:46

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

What an amazing T you have! Wow. Each person is different but I think for me, the fact that the offer was made would be good enough. Talking between sessions without the hope of any kind of session could be more difficult. I would probably prefer another voicemail. That way, he checks in with me but without actually speaking to him, I wouldn't be disappointed there wasn't more or whatever.

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by lookdownfish on August 12, 2004, at 7:06:05

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

I would rather just have a voicemail I could play back if I wanted to. A quick phonecall would probably just make me feel disappointed - because it just wouldn't be enough and would remind me how much I was missing the T.

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by fallsfall on August 12, 2004, at 8:11:47

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

I vote for the voicemail, too. That way you KNOW that he is still OK and coming back. And you can replay it as many times as you want.

I don't know that I would want to talk to my therapist - I think that I would hear his voice and know he was hearing me and I would completely crumble. A voice mail seems more like "shoring up".

Take a transitional object (or two, or three) from his office (with his permission, of course). Did you ask him for a picture yet??

We are here. Babble folk (including you!!) were very helpful to me during my therapist's vacation.

And he will come back. He wants to come back.

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support

Posted by lucy stone on August 12, 2004, at 8:52:34

In reply to Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym, posted by fallsfall on August 12, 2004, at 8:11:47

Is there any chance that he will give you a number where he can be reached while on vacation? When he is away my T gives me his card with a contact number written on the back. I have never called it but it gives me great comfort knowing that in a REAL EMERGENCY I could get in touch with him. I also like the fact that he trusts me enough to give me the number. He knows I won't use it without a very good reason. I have the card to keep with me and the knowledge that if could have contact if needed.

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by Pfinstegg on August 12, 2004, at 10:19:01

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

I really like the fact that your T. thought so carefully and then came down on the side of feeling it would be the most helpful to call you. If I remember your previous posts correctly, he has always welcomed your feelings of dependency and need for solace- my T also welcomes and encourages them, and feels that they are a vital first step towards secure attachment and growth. I think he has your inner children in mind, and perhaps feels that they won't understand the interruption as well as the adult you does. You and he have been working so hard to bring the children into your interactions; he is probably really encouraged by that, and doesn't want them to retreat. Also, I think your previous phone interactions with him have been quite positive and helpful, haven't they? I'd take him up on it!

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support daisym

Posted by Aphrodite on August 12, 2004, at 11:57:29

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

I'm probably too late on this one.

What did you decide and did it match your original gut feeling? I'm keeping you in my thoughts.

(((Daisy)))

 

Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support

Posted by pegasus on August 12, 2004, at 13:30:10

In reply to Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by daisym on August 11, 2004, at 19:21:39

Daisy, I think you should let him call you. He's obviously comfortable with it, and probably even would prefer it. He's probably worried about you, or at least understanding how hard this will be. It might even help him to have some contact with you. Not that that should factor into your decision; he needs to take care of his own self separately from your therapy. But maybe it will help you feel better about saying yes to the call, to realize that he'll probably feel better about you, too, if he checks in with you.

My therapist offered an actual phone session before she left on vacation. I haven't been with her all that long, and we weren't in the middle of big things, so I said no. So, I'm wondering whether it might be somewhat accepted to do that type of thing.

Let us know what you decide, and how the conversation goes. I also love the idea of him leaving you a voicemail that you can play over while he's gone. I would *love* that.

pegasus

 

The Decision and Last Session

Posted by DaisyM on August 12, 2004, at 19:41:22

In reply to Re: Urgent Dilemma, Need TOVacation Club Support, posted by pegasus on August 12, 2004, at 13:30:10

Today started with my therapist calling at 8am to remind me to please come, even if I thought it would be hard. I had mentioned that I might not be able to make myself come and say good-bye. Plus I had a really big presentation to make and he knew that the timing was bad so he was offering support.

I did go and we talked for a while about my presentation. He finally said, "I'm leaving tomorrow." I said I was painfully aware of that. He asked how I was doing with it all and the tears started to come and my little kid-self asked if she could say that she didn't want him to leave. He said of course, she can say anything. But she needed to know that he wasn't leaving her...he was going away and coming back. This is hard for her to believe, given her history. I did ask if all his clients were having such a rough time and he said no, but they weren't working on the same things we were or at the same place. Not to worry, it was normal to miss your therapist.

We talked about the phone call and I told him my thoughts (and all of yours). We do have great phone conversations so I'm not worried about it going badly. But I think it will be hard to open up the sadness again. He liked the compromise of leaving me a voice mail that he is still out there, thinking of me and doing fine...and coming back. So he is going to do that for me, as well as leave me one tomorrow saying... "I will be back!"

I got very quiet, holding in the tears. He asked me if I would hold something for him until he came back. He gave me his talisman and said it was given to him by a good friend for spiritual protection and he wanted me to hold it until he came back. It is a little worn, leather pouch that holds a turquoise stone. It fits in the palm of your hand. I was very touched. I think he knew that it was impossibly hard for to allow the child in me to have something but she really wanted a tangible reminder. He said it would protect me until he came back. And that now I knew he had to come back, because he needed his talisman.

After I left, I sat in my car and opened the little pouch to look at the stone. Guess what? He had tucked a tiny picture of himself in the pouch for me too. I've never asked him for a picture...but I was so glad to have it. I burst into tears. He's the best...no doubt about it!

As I drove home, I continued to cry and accidentally ran a red light. And got pulled over. The poor policeman...he could see that I was crying and he asked what was wrong. Imagine me, tears everywhere, wailing at him, "My therapist is leaving for vacation and I can't see him again for 12 days!" He was so shocked and didn't know what to do that he let me off the ticket IF I promised to stop crying before I started driving again.

So right now I feel wrung out and sad and sentimental. And warm and glad, in the knowledge that he understands and cares. It is going to be a long 12 days. I'll be looking for help, a lot.

Thanks for all the opinions and support. You guys are the best!
Daisy

 

Re: The Decision and Last Session

Posted by Lulula on August 12, 2004, at 20:01:05

In reply to The Decision and Last Session, posted by DaisyM on August 12, 2004, at 19:41:22

You're right! You do have an awesome therapist.
Very thoughtful and kind. And you ran into a
sympathic policeman on top of it ... nothing like honesty to throw them off guard. I'm glad he gave you something to hold too, as well as a photo. I too have 11 more days to go ... and it's going better than I thought. Good luck and continue posting.

 

Re: The Decision and Last Session DaisyM

Posted by Dinah on August 12, 2004, at 21:18:26

In reply to The Decision and Last Session, posted by DaisyM on August 12, 2004, at 19:41:22

Wow! I am sooo impressed. What a sensitive therapist you have there, Daisy.

 

Re: The Decision and Last Session DaisyM

Posted by Klokka on August 13, 2004, at 0:00:22

In reply to The Decision and Last Session, posted by DaisyM on August 12, 2004, at 19:41:22

Wow! Your therapist is wonderful. I'm glad that the session went as well as it might have under the circumstances, and that the police officer was sympathetic. I can't even imagine how difficult the break must be for you. Do you have any plans for coping? Hope it passes without too much trouble. Take care of yourself and good luck!

 

More

Posted by DaisyM on August 13, 2004, at 2:07:59

In reply to Re: The Decision and Last Session DaisyM, posted by Klokka on August 13, 2004, at 0:00:22

It's pretty late and I'm feeling sad and upset. I think the reality that I'm on my own is setting in. I took out the talisman and took out the picture. I hadn't noticed before...he wrote on the back of the picture..."I'll be back"

Now, that made me really cry.
This is too hard. How do I get through it? And it is not even day one. I feel like a weak, pathetic mess. And so very alone.

 

Re: More DaisyM

Posted by Aphrodite on August 13, 2004, at 6:53:59

In reply to More, posted by DaisyM on August 13, 2004, at 2:07:59

My thoughts are with you. I hope things improve each day as it gets closer and closer to his return. What a wonderful gesture and surprise to find his note on the back! Your tears show how close you've grown to him. You and the inner child have needed that. You will certainly have a lot to discuss about this separation when he returns.

 

Re: More

Posted by gardenergirl on August 13, 2004, at 7:36:50

In reply to Re: More DaisyM, posted by Aphrodite on August 13, 2004, at 6:53:59

Daisy,
You are in my thoughts. I am so impressed and in awe of your therapist. I love hearing about your work with him because it inspires me. Thank you for sharing that with Babble.

It sounds like a lovely session despite how hard I'm sure it was. And I would imagine that your emotions might be quite tender, whether feeling alone, sad, or warm and cared for.

Remember, he will be back, and he did not leave you. He will be back.

Take care,
gg

 

Re: More DaisyM

Posted by fallsfall on August 13, 2004, at 11:44:43

In reply to More, posted by DaisyM on August 13, 2004, at 2:07:59

It can be so helpful to have a nice last session like you did just before your therapist goes on vacation. I found that I could draw on memories of my session to comfort me during his vacation.

The picture is wonderful, and the writing on the back is even more wonderful. Allow yourself to need and use his talisman for comfort. Clearly, he cares about YOU.

You want him to take care of himself (because you care about him, and because you want him to be able to take care of you). That is what this vacation is all about. He is taking care of himself.

He will come back, he is not leaving - he is going on a vacation, and vacations are temporary. Allow yourself certain things while he is gone that you might not want to do on a longterm basis (i.e. I took Ativan fairly regularly at night and even twice during the day - when he is here I try not to take it at all). Realize that this is a temporary situation, so think up some temporary solutions to help you through.

He will come back. And we are still here.

 

Re: More DaisyM

Posted by Dinah on August 13, 2004, at 13:32:32

In reply to More, posted by DaisyM on August 13, 2004, at 2:07:59

Awww, what a terrific thing that was for him to do! When you're feeling alone, please remember to read that note and realize that not many therapists would do that for clients. He may be away, but he's not gone, and you're not alone. You're surrounded by many who care for you. Your therapist, your family, your friends, and Babblers.


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