Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 510706

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Would other people's therapists do better?

Posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 18:13:21

In the middle of session today, I was talking about part of me wanting to go back to school and how I thought that would be intellectually stimulating and would therefore actually increase my ability to work even though it took time. And that I deserved to do something that would make me happy.

While another part of me really didn't want to go back to school because I was already too overwhelmed with obligations.

I was trying to tell him something and I started getting dizzy and my head started pounding. So I did some relaxation exercises. Inhale 2,3,4; Hold 2,3,4; Exhale 2,3,4. Then I worked on relaxing all my muscles. And while I did that, my thoughts flattened. I described it as "my brain smoothed out". I forgot what I had been saying, what I was about to say, and why I was so upset.

This happens occasionally, and usually I don't really mention it. I just move on.

But this time I did mention it to him. I did my best to describe what it felt like was going on. And the exact sequence of events. I asked him what I was telling him right before it happened. He told me (but now I've forgotten again - something about not being happy or something), plus he said that when my head started hurting I said that I thought maybe I wasn't supposed to be talking about this. I think I remember that.

I told him how weird and a bit scary it felt when it happened. Not only forgetting, but the complete change in emotions from really really being upset to not being upset at all.

I was asking him all sorts of questions about what had happened from his perspective, and what it was that could be happening, and why it happened when I didn't really intend to do anything but relax, and if I didn't try to relax would it stop it from happening, and on and on. His basic answer was that he didn't know. That was his answer to everything. He said that only I could know, and that he didn't think it could be completely unintentional on my part, but that he could be wrong. And that was it.

I told him he was supposed to know more than I did. And he said he did know more than I did, but not about that. Because that was uniquely my experience. I asked him if he was able to help me if he didn't know anything. And he said that he would help me help myself or something like that. But I was trying to help myself.

It was terribly frustrating because I told him everything I knew, and he wouldn't give any input at all. Nothing.

Is that the way therapists typically respond?

When I have a panic attack, he tells me what it is, and what to do. When I'm experiencing OCD, he tells me what it is and what to do. Can he help me if he knows so little?

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by pinkeye on June 10, 2005, at 18:19:42

In reply to Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 18:13:21

Some therapists are not that insightful in some things. Do you feel he is generally insightful enough?

Everyones T is not Daisy's T. But does he work for you for the most part?

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better?

Posted by happyflower on June 10, 2005, at 18:34:56

In reply to Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 18:13:21

Wow, Dinah, that would have totally freaked me out! Sounds very scarey for that to happen (whatever it was). Do you think your T wants YOU to tell him what you think it was, or wants You to figure it out instead of him telling you his view on what it was? Sounds like a typical T answer to a question. They never answer but ask you what do you think? Thank goodness my T doesn't do this. I don't know, maybe I am just babbled out today.

 

A side question. Would you consider seeing new T? Dinah

Posted by pinkeye on June 10, 2005, at 18:39:17

In reply to Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 18:13:21

Hi Dinah,
It has been on my mind for sometime now, but I always wanted to ask you if you would consider seeing a new T? Just to get a different perspective?

You have been with this T long enough (10 years), and maybe it would do you good to see someone else for a while? I think that might actually give some good perspective change for a time being? Or are you not totally open to that idea?
I think your T is very good for the most part, but a different style of putting things across sometimes helps us.

For me, my ex T was pretty smart - but he didn't understand emotions that much. He was more logical, and my new T is very good at emotional insight. So change of Ts actually helped me grow more. Can something like that help you?

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? happyflower

Posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 19:23:03

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by happyflower on June 10, 2005, at 18:34:56

It's possible, I suppose. But it's not really his style. He is CBT oriented, not psychoanalytically oriented, so he has more of a problem solving mentality. If I'm experiencing something, he'll generally be quite directive in telling me what it is and how to avoid it or encourage it.

I suspect he just doesn't know. And I'm wondering if that's ok.

 

Re: A side question. Would you consider seeing new pinkeye

Posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 19:24:35

In reply to A side question. Would you consider seeing new T? Dinah, posted by pinkeye on June 10, 2005, at 18:39:17

No, never.

But from time to time I see consultants who have expertise in areas he does not. I'm wondering if this is a time I need to see a consultant. But he has told me in the past that he does have expertise in this area.

It didn't show today. :(

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better?

Posted by happyflower on June 10, 2005, at 19:34:27

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? happyflower, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 19:23:03

I don't think any therapist knows everything. But you know maybe he might come up with something by your next appointment. It seems to makes my T crazy if he can't tell me something that would help me, but later after he thinks about it, he tells me more.
I don't want to worry you, but what if what happend is something physical and not mental?

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? happyflower

Posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 19:41:48

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by happyflower on June 10, 2005, at 19:34:27

I know it's a form of dissociation. I'm very good at that coping mechanism. But this time I was trying to break it down and find out what was happening, why, and how I could control it better.

I mean, sometimes I like it, and it's effects. But this time I really didn't intend to do it, or want to do it, or even understand why I was so upset as to do it.

I just didn't feel like he was able to help me much with that. And he has told me in the past that he has a fairly extensive background in the area.

Now... The neurologist who thinks I have narcolepsy might somehow tie the experience into that. :) He seems to tie all my experiences to narcolepsy. lol.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on June 10, 2005, at 23:39:19

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? happyflower, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 19:41:48

Hi Dinah,
He may not know how to label what you had happen because it may not be part of his training, and other clients may never had reported anything similar. It's something that is more process related than content related, and I suspect your T is more content focused most of the time?

It sounds to me like something called "signal anxiety". This is a psychodynamic (or maybe even analytic, I forget). But it's when a person is approaching something from the unconscious that is scary or difficult somehow, and the body or brain sends a "signal" like a red flag or something. This leads the person to somehow back away from the scary topic usually unconsciously. You might change the subject and not realize it, you might get confused or lost in your thoughts, you might dissociate or have some other physical sensations. The whole idea is that unconscious is saying "whoa, Nelly! We're not going THERE!". Most of the time the person does not even notice it.

I've run across this in myself before when I was free associating and just all of a sudden it was like a steel door rolled down and just shut off my thoughts. And other times I start to feel something anxious-like, often in my belly, and I can't figure out why I am feeling anxious about what I am talking about. I think sensitive folks tend to notice it happening more. It's good that you reported it. And knowing what the topic was when it happened is very helpful. I hope your T remembers that.

gg

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? gardenergirl

Posted by Dinah on June 11, 2005, at 10:00:40

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah, posted by gardenergirl on June 10, 2005, at 23:39:19

Thanks, gg. It helps a lot to have the experience normalized.

I've printed out your response (without the title header - grin), and will bring it Tuesday. I told you guys my therapist likes Babble input because he has to think less!!!

It does bother me that he seems so at sea with stuff like this. It makes me wonder whether he's truly up to snuff on this stuff. I wish he would take his continuing education in things like this. :(

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by littleone on June 11, 2005, at 17:59:53

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? gardenergirl, posted by Dinah on June 11, 2005, at 10:00:40

> I've printed out your response (without the title header - grin)

When I first read your post, I misread and thought you had left the title header *on* and I laughed and laughed.

The only thing I could add would be that sometimes I guess T's look for patterns. So maybe if you continue to tell him about it each time it happens he may start to see a pattern about it that you're not seeing.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? littleone

Posted by Dinah on June 11, 2005, at 19:47:02

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah, posted by littleone on June 11, 2005, at 17:59:53

Yes, that would probably be helpful. This is the first time I ever brought it up with him directly, although he may have noticed it in the past. Or maybe not. If I can train myself to point it out each time, it might give important information.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better?

Posted by Jazzed on June 11, 2005, at 20:22:25

In reply to Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 18:13:21

That seems so odd for your T Dinah, from what you've told us about him, he usually seems so on top of it. He really must have been at a loss, or maybe was off his game that day.

Jazzy

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by daisym on June 11, 2005, at 23:45:40

In reply to Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by Dinah on June 10, 2005, at 18:13:21

My therapist would probably nudge a little "seems like we touched on something scary" and then do what yours did, remind me of what we were talking about. Because we've talked before and I want him to pursue things a little, he will ask about the emotions coming up "tell me what is happening, right now" or "what are you feeling." He will check in, "is it OK if we keep talking about this?" and usually he will begin to put words to what I can't.

Dissociating is an escape mechanism for me. It alerts me that the anxiety is high and I should try to stick with the subject even if I have to struggle a bit.

I like what GG wrote, it sounds like my experience. But I wouldn't be too hard on your therapist, it sounds like he wanted to try to understand your individual experience more than overlay a text book explanation on it.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Jazzed

Posted by Dinah on June 12, 2005, at 2:27:31

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better?, posted by Jazzed on June 11, 2005, at 20:22:25

Unfortunately not so odd for him. :)

It just doesn't bother me that much usually.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? daisym

Posted by Dinah on June 12, 2005, at 2:30:50

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah, posted by daisym on June 11, 2005, at 23:45:40

I'm guessing that when I'm feeling most scared and confused, I'm looking to him to appear more powerful and in control. I guess I figure one of us should know what is going on.

I really don't care if he lies. Or I really don't care if he says that he knows we can figure it out together in his most confident and reassuring tone.

But telling me that only I can know what's going on in my head is not number one on the top ten ways to give a client confidence - not in him, and not in myself.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by Jazzed on June 12, 2005, at 5:38:08

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? daisym, posted by Dinah on June 12, 2005, at 2:30:50

> I'm guessing that when I'm feeling most scared and confused, I'm looking to him to appear more powerful and in control. I guess I figure one of us should know what is going on.
>
> I really don't care if he lies. Or I really don't care if he says that he knows we can figure it out together in his most confident and reassuring tone.
>
> But telling me that only I can know what's going on in my head is not number one on the top ten ways to give a client confidence - not in him, and not in myself.

Sounds reasonable to me, maybe you should tell him exactly this.

Jazzed

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Jazzed

Posted by Dinah on June 12, 2005, at 7:07:13

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah, posted by Jazzed on June 12, 2005, at 5:38:08

Of course, you are right. Thank you.

I find it sort of amusing that it took me so long and so much working through for me to realize that that was why I was angry. :) I had thought I was angry at incompetence.

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by Jazzed on June 13, 2005, at 8:37:23

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Jazzed, posted by Dinah on June 12, 2005, at 7:07:13

> Of course, you are right. Thank you.
>
> I find it sort of amusing that it took me so long and so much working through for me to realize that that was why I was angry. :) I had thought I was angry at incompetence.


LOL, been there many, many times! Just needed a sounding board.

Jazzed

 

Re: Would other people's therapists do better? Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on June 15, 2005, at 0:38:01

In reply to Re: Would other people's therapists do better? gardenergirl, posted by Dinah on June 11, 2005, at 10:00:40

Glad to help,

gg


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