Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 491935

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Re: So should we wait till Monday? Dinah

Posted by Tamar on May 13, 2005, at 18:39:20

In reply to So should we wait till Monday?, posted by Dinah on May 12, 2005, at 21:36:50

> Or start Sunday. I suppose I'd better start reading.

My copy hasn't arrived yet, though I ordered it ages ago. Sigh. But I can catch up.

 

Yikes, I better start reading (nm)

Posted by gardenergirl on May 13, 2005, at 18:41:54

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday? Dinah, posted by Tamar on May 13, 2005, at 18:39:20

 

Re: So should we wait till Monday? Tamar

Posted by Dinah on May 14, 2005, at 10:37:05

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday? Dinah, posted by Tamar on May 13, 2005, at 18:39:20

Rats.

I'd rather everyone had their books in, but I guess the intro and chapter one aren't that long, so anyone who joins us along the way can probably catch up.

In fact that's probably important for those friends who are just about to discover Babble... and us. We'd love to have them join in.

I'll try to post excerpts so you can follow?

 

Re: So should we wait till Monday? Dinah

Posted by Tamar on May 14, 2005, at 16:05:47

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday? Tamar, posted by Dinah on May 14, 2005, at 10:37:05

> Rats.
>
> I'd rather everyone had their books in, but I guess the intro and chapter one aren't that long, so anyone who joins us along the way can probably catch up.
>
> In fact that's probably important for those friends who are just about to discover Babble... and us. We'd love to have them join in.

Well, if my experience reading Yalom is anything to go by, I'll probably read Lott cover to cover as soon as I get it. Then I guess I can re-read it more slowly. So catching up shouldn't be a problem.

> I'll try to post excerpts so you can follow?

That would be great. Thanks.

I'm really looking forward to this!

 

How are we going to do this?

Posted by daisym on May 14, 2005, at 17:50:43

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday? Dinah, posted by Tamar on May 14, 2005, at 16:05:47

I've been rereading today -- and there are sentences or paragraphs that strike me. Are we going to post questions of each other or our observations? Or both? (Yes, I need my life planned out 10 years in advance and I need to get an A!)

Also, I thought it would be great if we could try to meet in Open and chat once in awhile. We could try to pick a time kind of in the middle of East/West Coasts. Or Saturday mornings. I'm open to suggestions.

 

Re: How are we going to do this?

Posted by Dinah on May 15, 2005, at 7:59:43

In reply to How are we going to do this?, posted by daisym on May 14, 2005, at 17:50:43

> I've been rereading today -- and there are sentences or paragraphs that strike me. Are we going to post questions of each other or our observations? Or both? (Yes, I need my life planned out 10 years in advance and I need to get an A!)
>
Not sure. Anything goes? Both or either or anything anyone else thinks to do?

> Also, I thought it would be great if we could try to meet in Open and chat once in awhile. We could try to pick a time kind of in the middle of East/West Coasts. Or Saturday mornings. I'm open to suggestions.
>
>

That sounds like a great idea! My new computer doesn't do chat all that well (something about Microsoft and Java), but I'm willing to give it a shot.

 

Re: So should we wait till Monday?

Posted by All Done on May 16, 2005, at 11:00:25

In reply to So should we wait till Monday?, posted by Dinah on May 12, 2005, at 21:36:50

Hmmmpfff. I've lost my book. I have one more place I can think of to check for it tonight. If I don't find it there, I'll get a new copy tomorrow and catch up with you guys then.

 

Re: So should we wait till Monday?

Posted by pegasus on May 16, 2005, at 15:12:22

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday?, posted by All Done on May 16, 2005, at 11:00:25

Oh, dandy! I've been off babble since I posted my approval of the idea of a book club. Fortuntately, I already have In Session, and have recently reread it. Plus my schedule has been recently freed up, so I should be able to check in every couple of days. Yay! Yay! I was thinking of this while I was babble-less, and hoping I hadn't missed all the fun. I'm going to go review chapter 1 and see what I might have to say about it here. What a great book to pick for the first one.

pegasus

 

The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by Dinah on May 16, 2005, at 19:29:08

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday?, posted by pegasus on May 16, 2005, at 15:12:22

I've included quotes for those who haven't gotten their books yet, but not page numbers because I think there's a paperback book out now, and the pages are probably different?

I had brought this book to therapy on the same day we were talking about Babble and about how I sometimes say things about him here that would do our relationship no good whatsoever. He told me that he was glad that I had somewhere to process what happened in therapy.

It fit in perfectly with the introduction to this book. In particular one of the paragraphs I highlighted (I'm reading the book with a highlighter this time, and might use post it notes as well.)

"Being one-on-one in the therapy room could lead to a dizzying loss of perspective, an inability to trust oneself. Bringing another person into the room, even after the fact, could clarify matters. In fact, talking about our therapy together proved to be one of the most therapeutic aspects of the whole process."

Her descriptions of the unofficial gatherings after the official writers' group remind me so much of Psychological Babble. It's one of the things I like best about this place. I don't lose perspective anywhere near as much with a group of friends to talk about what can be really confusing. I also find I bring things up in therapy because I've already normalized them here.

I also really liked the descriptions of transference, while she also kept in mind that not all reactions within the therapeutic relationship *are* transference.

"A single question - "How do I know if it's me or my therapist?" - was the source of much of our agonizing within my writers group."

I was reading the other day somewhere else that research shows that clients react better if therapists admit that discord in a relationship might be partially due to them, as well as transference or totally due to the client. I think that's one of my therapist's greater gifts.

I also really liked what she writes about boundaries.

"Some of the most moving poetry ever written was composed within rigid forms."

That is very much in keeping with my own thoughts on therapy. That it is the limitations of therapy that we sometimes rail against that actually provide what we need. Friendship is a lovely thing, but the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship allow for a relationship unlike any others in our lives. One just as valuable and precious as the ones with less obvious and artificial barriers. (Since it's hard to think of any relationship with no boundaries at all. Just less obvious ones.)

I guess I didn't like this paragraph, which most of you probably endorse and understand, but that I still reject with vehemence. But that may say more of me and my developmental stage. :)

"There is something inherently tragic about the client-therapist relationship. The therapist can never bring all of herself into the room, the client will long for what she can never get, the relationship is doomed to end. But treating the bond as either ordinary friendship or as a strictly professional exchange of goods and services only diminishes its therapeutic potential and hurts the client."

I like that my therapist just brings the best of himself into the room. I don't want anything more than therapy (forever therapy, but no other sort of relationship). And if I'm lucky enough to die first, there's no reason for the relationship to be doomed to end.

I've always thought the story of Anna O. (chapter one) was such a sad one. Dr. Breuer so clearly offered so much more than he was willing to deliver that that particular relationship looked more like a monumental tease than a cure. Hence today's boundaries, I guess.

 

I promise I'll post on Tuesday

Posted by gardenergirl on May 16, 2005, at 21:27:49

In reply to Re: So should we wait till Monday?, posted by pegasus on May 16, 2005, at 15:12:22

(I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today!) :)

Spent the day unexpectedly at work and the evening with my hubby since he is going out of town. I didn't get to read yet. :(

I'm intentionally not looking at Dinah's post. I'll read and then read any posts and post my own tomorrow.

sorry,
gg

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by gardenergirl on May 17, 2005, at 22:01:58

In reply to The Introduction (In Session), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2005, at 19:29:08

> "Being one-on-one in the therapy room could lead to a dizzying loss of perspective, an inability to trust oneself. Bringing another person into the room, even after the fact, could clarify matters. In fact, talking about our therapy together proved to be one of the most therapeutic aspects of the whole process."
>
> Her descriptions of the unofficial gatherings after the official writers' group remind me so much of Psychological Babble. It's one of the things I like best about this place.

I was thinking the same thing! I also do this occasionally (not as much now) with a friend who sees the same T as me. Sometimes if both of us are struggling at the same time and not finding him as helpful as usual, it helps to hear it's not just me. And I do think that normalizing the therapy process and experiences is so useful. I almost want to refer my clients here, but um, I'll pass. :-D

So far the book is really making me think about my own behavior in sessions with clients. Like if I get a haircut and they comment on it, and times when I use self-disclosure...times when I react to something they have said immediately out of my gut...um, at least I'm being genuine there. And it's usually a validation of what they are feeling, too...at least I hope. What if I have dark circles or a cough? I never really think about this, but I realize that I do tend to notice if my T seems sleepy or distracted. Or if he is wearing something very different from his usual attire I wonder what's up....never felt the seat warm from another client, though. That would be really yucky!

> I also really liked the descriptions of transference, while she also kept in mind that not all reactions within the therapeutic relationship *are* transference.

I agree. She really makes transference clear, and also describes (at least so far) aspects of the real relationship that are important.
>
> "A single question - "How do I know if it's me or my therapist?" - was the source of much of our agonizing within my writers group."
>
> I was reading the other day somewhere else that research shows that clients react better if therapists admit that discord in a relationship might be partially due to them, as well as transference or totally due to the client. I think that's one of my therapist's greater gifts.

I know that with my recent struggles in therapy, I really NEEDED him to acknowledge some role in what happened in that really bad session. Even discussing that need that I felt and how I felt it was not met at first was good fodder for therapy, and it also tends to match a pattern I have with others.

This reminds me of how she talks about Freud's "stereotypical plates" "According to Freud, people had a tendency to unconsciously create and then globally apply these templates, which had been forged in early childhood relationships. These internal models shaped people's perceptions and expectations in all the signficant relationships that came afterward. They influenced how we picked our lovers, how we responded to criticism from an authority figure, how we interpreted the unspoken cues between strangers. In short, these templates provided the emotional rules for how to function in relationships." (from the introduction)

Boy howdy did this resonate with me. A lot of what I am talking about recently has to do with my reactions to authority figures, being very sensitive to criticism, and my father. It's all linked. I'm not sure I agree that these templates are as global as she states Freud described them, but I am starting to see similar "emotional rules" at work in my important relationships, particularly with men.
>
>
> "There is something inherently tragic about the client-therapist relationship. The therapist can never bring all of herself into the room, the client will long for what she can never get, the relationship is doomed to end. But treating the bond as either ordinary friendship or as a strictly professional exchange of goods and services only diminishes its therapeutic potential and hurts the client."

I reacted to this as well, from both sides of the couch. I have had heartfelt sadness and also happiness for a client when the client terminated after working with me for about a year. I always enjoyed sessions with this client, although I suspect that there was an aspect of the client trying to be "the good client" at work there. But at any rate, this is someone with whom I could imagine being friends with if the circumstances of our meeting were different. That feels like a loss to me, too. My T said something similar when I was very sad and also angry at him (irrationally) because I could never work with him as a professional due to our therapy relationship. He said it was a sacrifice on both sides, which was very touching, and one of the only times he has allowed his personal feelings into the therapy space. I treasure that statement--which fits with when Lott mentions the longing clients can have to really believe in the genuine caring that seems apparent in the relationship versus feeling as if the T is paid to care.

The Anna O story certainly is extraordinary, although for an experiment and a first attempt at "talk therapy", I suppose you can't expect what we do these days. It did remind of when my T and I were discussing increasing to twice a week, and how that had a big potential for more intense feelings on my part. I felt like all the cautions he was presenting were an atte,pt to warn me off of increasing. He admitted that he might be coming across that way because T's can be frightened about deepening with a client just like a client can, but it's up to the T to manage that fear in order to do the work. (I sure hope he wasn't really being scared off...maybe just leery?)

Enjoying this so far...

Anyone else?

gg

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session) gardenergirl

Posted by daisym on May 17, 2005, at 22:52:54

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session), posted by gardenergirl on May 17, 2005, at 22:01:58

"We felt the same urgent need to get every detail straight, every word right..."

I think this is why we all find Babble so valuable. We can write and rewrite until we have it the way we remember it. And long or short, accounts of sessions are eagerly embraced here. In other settings you have to watch yourself or you could begin to raise eye brows when you say too often "and THEN my therapist said!" On babble, we all want to know what your therapist said. (Thank goodness!)

"The so-called "boundaries" of therapy, the rules of the game, were also bewildering."

NO KIDDING! Which is why I've been insisting for 2 years that I need the rule book. I wish therapist understood better how hard it is for some of us to begin this process with no prior experience. In no other setting can I think of would you learn what to do or not do as you go along. How can you not feel judged or at least provincial as you try to navigate the maze?

I think the most important thing that she wrote in the introduction is that therapy done well is a profound gift to the client. She states
"For all its flaws, I do not believe we have yet found the alternatives to replace psychotherapy--not in psychotropic medication, not in self-help programs, no even in the currently popular spiritual movements." What a relief to know that this powerful and incredibly painful process I'm going through is the right thing to be doing!

I think we should debate what she wrote about therapists' authenticity. She offers that much of her group worried that their therapist was different outside the consulting room. And later, she goes on to say that "good therapists are able to bring the essence of their real selves into the therapy room without having their needs compete with the client's. They are able to be authentic while maintaining clear boundaries." I agree that they should keep their needs out of the room. But, does it matter if they act differently outside of the consulting room if they are consistent with us? If so, why? Aren't we different outside the therapy room than we are in it? Don't we put on our "therapy patient" hat, just like they put on their "therapist" hat? Don't you think we all, to some degree, play roles in certain settings? And, do you think men are better at this than women? Universally it is believed that men can go to work and leave their personal lives at home, unlike women. Do you think this applies to therapists as well?

 

I won't be able to post in this thread. No book daisym

Posted by pinkeye on May 18, 2005, at 13:23:27

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session) gardenergirl, posted by daisym on May 17, 2005, at 22:52:54

Guys,
I enjoy reading your posts. I just skimmed throught this book and read all the relevant parts in a fast paced - 2 hour rush in Barnes and Noble. And I don't remember each of what she had written except that the book was awesome.

I enjoy now reading all your posts.

But I am no way going to buy this book and bring it to my home. I have enough problems wiht my hsuband as it is. He sees me reading a book like this - I will be getting a divroce the next week. So I will refrain from posting here.

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by pegasus on May 18, 2005, at 17:10:18

In reply to The Introduction (In Session), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2005, at 19:29:08

Yes, such interesting things to discuss here. Daisy, I tend to agree with your comments about therapist authenticity. I guess as long as they are consistent with each client, it is fairly irrelevant to the client whether they act differently away from the office. But I think to the therapists themselves it might make a difference. My thinking is that if they're putting on a persona in the office that isn't their natural self, it'll show through in some way or another and the therapy will suffer. I think to be a good therapist, one would need to be pretty authentically themselves in some form in the office.

Dinah, oh, I have to disagree with your stance on the paragraph about therapy being tragic! I've always felt that way very strongly. It's part of what charges the relationship for me. Maybe the difference between us is that I do expect to one day stop seeing my therapist. If only because of lack of money. My life isn't stable enough to sustain therapy forever. And anyway, I think the therapists generally do expect to terminate with each client eventually, for one reason or another (your therapist excepted - I know he expects to see you forever, so you're safe). So, that being so, I wish they could more often acknowledge the tragedy in forming such a close relationship that is expected to end.

The thing that hit me hardest about the intro is the discussion about how all the literature about therapy is from the therapists' point of view. I always thought that was a bit goofy. Who better to comment on the effectiveness, or even the effect of therapy than the client? I don't have the book in front of me, but she mentions at one point how therapy theories are often proposed and implemented without checking in with the clients who've experienced those methods. Whatever evaluation is done is based on external metrics that are observable by the researcher, not on what the client says about their therapy. What an oversight!

Makes me think about Irvin Yalom's book "Every Day Gets A Little Closer", where he and a client write notes about their sessions independently. I loved reading both sides. In particular, the client writes her notes *to* him, and he writes his notes to himself. Says volumes.

pegasus

P.S. I just read Yalom's new novel "The Schopenhauer Cure". It's essentially about an idealized therapy group, where every member is a perfect, idealized group member. (Well, allegedly it's about a collision between Schopenhauer's philosophy and modern psychotherapy, where therapy wins, of course.)

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by Daisym on May 18, 2005, at 19:24:46

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session), posted by pegasus on May 18, 2005, at 17:10:18

Do you think that the reason, up until very recently, clients didn't write about their experience is because they weren't sure if their experience was more or less typical? I mean, what if *I* am the only one that can't handle my therapist going on vacation? What does that say about me?

I think what she says about how dizzy the experience makes you is so very true. How can someone who feels pretty competent in most arenas turn into such a blithering mess in the consulting room? And feel so Da*n dependent!? All of that would be hard to admit to the world at large. I think the internet has changed things dramatically, which is a question I intend to pose to Ms. Lott...now that we all talk to each other, do you think therapists are more aware of how clients really feel about things?

And as I type that, I think, my therapist has always seemed so aware of how I might feel or react. He normalizes things for me; he just doesn't alert me ahead of time about some things. But I can remember when he was changing his furniture and he told me ahead of time, and I was kind of outraged that he thought *I* would react to such a "minor" thing. But he was right. It was weird and uncomfortable for awhile. It must be part of his training and orientation, but I also think it is his experience. It would be interesting to see if "new" (younger?) therapists are more or less aware of these things. Is it age, or experience? And (or?) is that since therapists are required to undergo therapy now, not analysis, perhaps they don't have the same intense experience that we do. Just some thoughts...

I also agree about the tragic nature of the relationship. It is hard to know that you are investing heavily in something that is time limited. I bring this up now and then. He never tells me it won't end, he just says, "I don't think we're there yet." And then goes on to reassure me that he will be around as long as I need him. Which for now, is enough.

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by Dinah on May 18, 2005, at 19:41:53

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session), posted by gardenergirl on May 17, 2005, at 22:01:58

> > It did remind of when my T and I were discussing increasing to twice a week, and how that had a big potential for more intense feelings on my part. I felt like all the cautions he was presenting were an atte,pt to warn me off of increasing. He admitted that he might be coming across that way because T's can be frightened about deepening with a client just like a client can, but it's up to the T to manage that fear in order to do the work. (I sure hope he wasn't really being scared off...maybe just leery?)

I had never considered that. It certainly true that it is a completely different experience and a bigger emotional investment on our parts. It had never occurred to me that it also was on his. He always seemed open to letting me set the frequency of our sessions. Although he has admitted that five times a week is a bit intense for him sometimes. But other times we've done fine at that pace.

I'm currently craving the greater intensity of more frequent therapy. At twice a week, we don't do the weekly catching up or chit chat we did at once a week. We tend to just continue the topic from the prior session as if we hadn't broke off. But the intensity still has to build each session.

Hmmm... My therapist is very much one who believes that I am in charge of my own therapy. I can't see him in any way influencing me as to how often I want to come in, or even discussing it to any significant degree.

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by Dinah on May 18, 2005, at 19:44:47

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session) gardenergirl, posted by daisym on May 17, 2005, at 22:52:54

> I think we should debate what she wrote about therapists' authenticity. She offers that much of her group worried that their therapist was different outside the consulting room. And later, she goes on to say that "good therapists are able to bring the essence of their real selves into the therapy room without having their needs compete with the client's. They are able to be authentic while maintaining clear boundaries." I agree that they should keep their needs out of the room. But, does it matter if they act differently outside of the consulting room if they are consistent with us? If so, why? Aren't we different outside the therapy room than we are in it? Don't we put on our "therapy patient" hat, just like they put on their "therapist" hat? Don't you think we all, to some degree, play roles in certain settings? And, do you think men are better at this than women? Universally it is believed that men can go to work and leave their personal lives at home, unlike women. Do you think this applies to therapists as well?

Hmmm... I agree completely. From what my therapist has said, he's way more patient and, well, therapeutic in the therapy room than outside it. And that's perfectly ok with me. My husband is known for his great interpersonal skills at work, but they're rarely seen at home. I don't mind being on the other side of that phenomenon. :)

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by Dinah on May 18, 2005, at 19:53:03

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session), posted by pegasus on May 18, 2005, at 17:10:18

> Dinah, oh, I have to disagree with your stance on the paragraph about therapy being tragic! I've always felt that way very strongly. It's part of what charges the relationship for me. Maybe the difference between us is that I do expect to one day stop seeing my therapist. If only because of lack of money. My life isn't stable enough to sustain therapy forever. And anyway, I think the therapists generally do expect to terminate with each client eventually, for one reason or another (your therapist excepted - I know he expects to see you forever, so you're safe). So, that being so, I wish they could more often acknowledge the tragedy in forming such a close relationship that is expected to end.

Thank you for that exception!!! :)

As I said, I think that has more to do with my stage of development than anything else. My fear of abandonment is so enormous that literally all other work has to grind to a standstill when that is acting up. In fact, my therapist and I were talking about it today. It's reared its ugly head again, we're back to square one, and I was apologizing for being as annoying as I am about it. He was so nice about it. He said "Dinah (and he almost never uses my name), I don't think you realize how much you were abandoned when you were young. And the real tragedy was that you were made to feel special about it." It really made me want to cry. That he so much understood how scary I find abandonment.

I can't bear to see that tragic ordained outcome right now. Just the imagined thought of it with no basis in reality gives the relationship more than enough charge for me.
>
> The thing that hit me hardest about the intro is the discussion about how all the literature about therapy is from the therapists' point of view. I always thought that was a bit goofy. Who better to comment on the effectiveness, or even the effect of therapy than the client? I don't have the book in front of me, but she mentions at one point how therapy theories are often proposed and implemented without checking in with the clients who've experienced those methods. Whatever evaluation is done is based on external metrics that are observable by the researcher, not on what the client says about their therapy. What an oversight!

That's why I think all therapists but mine should read this board. And all therapists should read this book. Daisy's wonderful therapist is the exception, I fear. Mine hasn't a clue what's actually going on in therapy. At least not in this subset of the therapy client population.

> P.S. I just read Yalom's new novel "The Schopenhauer Cure". It's essentially about an idealized therapy group, where every member is a perfect, idealized group member. (Well, allegedly it's about a collision between Schopenhauer's philosophy and modern psychotherapy, where therapy wins, of course.)
>
>
Was it any good? Aside from Yalom's legendary idealization. :) Which I sort of like. I just bought it and it's on my soon to read pile.

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session) Dinah

Posted by pegasus on May 18, 2005, at 22:23:55

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session), posted by Dinah on May 18, 2005, at 19:53:03

Hmmm, well it was pretty readable. Not as good as his other novels, which weren't great literature to begin with. As usual, the most interesting aspect was the glimpse of the world from a therapist's point of view. Every other chapter is about Schopenhauer's life, which is moderately interesting. But when I started a new chapter, I was always glad when it turned out to be about the therapy group. The juxtaposition of the two wasn't done in the most skillful way. But I love everything by Yalom, just because he's so . . . into therapy.

Have fun reading it.

pegasus

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by cricket on May 19, 2005, at 9:01:44

In reply to The Introduction (In Session), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2005, at 19:29:08

I think this first chapter and all of your insightful comments on it made me realize how differently I experience therapy than most of you all and I guess pretty much everyone else who has had the wherewithal to write about the experience.

That difference in turn made me realize that I am probably not capable of real therapy. There just wasn't enough of any kind of care in my childhood to build anything on. I think that initially my therapist hoped that there might be.

He was always asking me to think about how I felt when I was just sitting watching my grandmother, what things I remember about her, what I used to tell her. I clearly remember the way my T's eyes lit up when I told him my grandmother was 48 when I was taken away from her, which is the same age my T is now. So I think he was actually trying to encourage a bit of transference to him but it's never really worked.

But now after 3 years, I think we've both kind of given up. He's said I don't ever have to talk again, and he'll just sit there with me once a week for as long as we're both alive.

There is no longing, at least that I am consciously aware of, for him. Mostly I just dread my appointments although I rarely cancel so there is some need there for him that I just don't understand.

Most of you talked about much your therapists understood you and how aware they are of your feelings and reactions. Not true for us either. I think my reactions take my T by surprise almost each and every time. I think that he would readily admit that he never knows when something is going to bother me or not. Part of this is due to our extreme differences in backgroud but also also due to the fact as he says that people like me rarely ever make it to therapy. With his other clients I am sure that he is very insightful.

I also never wonder about how he is outside of therapy. It's just never concerned me. I mean I hope he's happy and fufilled, but I don't want to know anything about it. So I don't worry about whether he's real or authentic with me. There is nothing real and authentic about 2 people sitting in silence every week.

Also, as far as going more than 1x a week, no how no way. It takes every ounce of will I have to drag myself there once a week.

So the question really is why do I go there at all? Part of me, a very non-verbal part, just really needs to sit there for an hour a week and pick at my coat and know that he's looking at me and sometimes praying, sometimes just smiling, once in a while asking questions even though he knows I won't be able to respond.

So I guess what we're doing isn't really therapy at all and this book won't be relevant to me but I am enjoying hearing everyone discuss it.

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session) cricket

Posted by Dinah on May 19, 2005, at 9:16:45

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session), posted by cricket on May 19, 2005, at 9:01:44

It doesn't necessarily mean any of those things. In my tumultuous first five years of therapy, I quit a million times. I was always honest with him, but never emotional. He didn't like me, much less understand me.

But like you, there was a reason that I always went back. And the reasons became so clear when I finally opened to him, after reading the book "The Myth of Sanity". Now I understand why he's so important to me.

If it is really not important to you to go, then you may be right. But if there is an internal pressure to go, something that yells "NOOOOOOO" when you think of quitting, then there is more likely something going on beneath the surface.

I used to wonder why on earth I did the things I did. It was my overwhelming obsession. And now I know! My therapist stuck through it with me in those first five years, even though he didn't much like me, and he was never unkind. I'm so glad he didn't do what he later admitted he sometimes wanted to do. Admit that he didn't know what to do with me and refer me on. Admit that he didn't think therapy was a help to me and refer me on.

It's a question only you can answer.

I'll admit that "In Session: The Bond Between Women and Their Therapists" was most helpful to me after those five years, but if it's available at your library you'll probably find it's an interesting read even if not all of it applies at the moment.

And I still really don't care what my therapist is like outside session, as long as he feels like himself within session. If I walk in and he doesn't feel like himself, if he feels distracted or not quite there, I'll do everything I can do to bring out "therapy him", and if that doesn't work I just tell him he doesn't seem all here.

 

Yeah, me too. I look forward to reading it. (nm) pegasus

Posted by Dinah on May 19, 2005, at 9:17:31

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session) Dinah, posted by pegasus on May 18, 2005, at 22:23:55

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session) Dinah

Posted by cricket on May 19, 2005, at 11:22:48

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session) cricket, posted by Dinah on May 19, 2005, at 9:16:45

Dinah,

There's definitely something that screams Noooooooo when I think of quitting and I do think about quitting just about every week.

I'm sure that my T would love to refer me on. But he hasn't yet done that. And he's certainly talked about therapy not being right for me but since I just keep coming he's not been talking about that lately either.

And, I have to say that last week, when I said that I wanted to talk to him but that I didn't know how, that I didn't have the words yet, he did lean forward and say with what seemed to be a real look of commitment on his face and in his voice "I can wait. For as long as we're both still alive, I can wait."

Hmm, "The Myth of Sanity". Now that seems like a book I should read. Did your T recommend it? Did it trigger you in any way?

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session) cricket

Posted by Dinah on May 19, 2005, at 12:03:09

In reply to Re: The Introduction (In Session) Dinah, posted by cricket on May 19, 2005, at 11:22:48

No, my therapist didn't recommend it. I probably saw it mentioned here.

I wouldn't say it triggered me, exactly. But I kept falling asleep the first few times I read it. :) Now I can get through it with no problem.

 

Re: The Introduction (In Session)

Posted by Tamar on May 19, 2005, at 17:41:53

In reply to The Introduction (In Session), posted by Dinah on May 16, 2005, at 19:29:08

Yippee! My book arrived today. I'll read it tonight and then post.

But having read what you guys have said, I was really struck by the idea of the therapy relationship as having a tragic dimension. The word 'tragic' is very significant to me (I read quite a few Greek tragedies a few years ago).

In classical tragedy there's often a collision between two things that are equally right but nevertheless opposing forces. Like Antigone, whose brother is killed in the process of attacking her city. She has a sisterly duty to bury her brother, but a civic duty to leave his body to the dogs. Both potential courses of action are right, but either will get her into trouble.

I do think the therapy relationship is tragic because one good thing (a real relationship) collides with a contrary good thing (professional boundaries limiting the relationship).

And the other significant thing is that tragic heroes (that's us!) often devote their lives to a search for meaning in suffering. If there were no search for meaning, it wouldn't really be tragic.

And furthermore, tragic heroes suffer because of circumstances entirely beyond their control - usually circumstances arranged by the gods, though not necessarily. Admittedly, tragic heroes are flawed, but who isn't? They are ultimately not fully responsible for what happens to them. I find this a comforting idea when considering mental health, and considering the therapeutic relationship, in which our only control is in how much we tell.

Hmmm... I'll go read the book now...


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