Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 794051

Shown: posts 1 to 15 of 15. This is the beginning of the thread.



Posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 3:56:15

I am awake, when I should be asleep- but it is out of happiness! People who have known me here will probably remember that I have had a pretty severe depression since my mother died, and that I had four years of psychoanalysis (lying on the couch most of the time) which ended horribly when my analyst suddenly kicked me out of his office.

I eventually struggled into another analyst's office, and although I was very wary at first- and really terrified of another rejection- the new analyst has been wonderful. I have seen him for eight months, twice a week, face-to-face, and I feel SO much better. I'm not depressed any more, and find that my self-confidence, and social confidence, are much, much better.

I'm really wondering what on earth has happened to make this particular encounter so helpful. I keep coming back to the feeling that there is something extremely good about the match between me and him. He keeps very strict boundaries- much more so than the previous analyst- so there is no social aspect to our meetings at all. If I should mention that it was cold out, or that the traffic was bad, I wouldn't hear a word. He describes himself as "bearing witness", and as being there for "moments of meeting" in our feelings.. He does this, not by saying much of anything, not by empathizing, but by listening intently and keeping his eyes fixed quite steadily on my face and eyes most of the time. He looks at me more than I look at him, but I am always "checking in" every few moments to observe his expression. His expressions vary a lot- sometimes they are thoughtful, sometimes humorous- although the most common one seems to be a tender, attentive expression- the one a mother might have when her infant is not feeling well. At first, I found this silent intensity rather terrifying, but, gradually, that fear has dropped away. In it's place is a quiet, growing intimacy. Sometimes I mention that- I still need to say everything that comes to mind, as that's standard for analysts!-the most he will do then is nod, or perhaps say, "I feel that, too".

The immense power these non-verbal communications have makes me think a lot about how important getting a "good match" with a therapist really is. I thought I was a good match with the previous analyst, but it was more of a verbal good match- that is, when it was good. That relationship didn't seem to have the potential to really cause good changes the way this one does. I almost feel that much of this therapy could be conducted in silence, and by attending to one anothers' emotional expressions- it would probably come out well even if we dispensed with words altogether! Well, perhaps not really, but almost.

Many times, here on babble, people talk about the importance of a good emotional fit. I think the people writing about this are ones who have actually found it- often after several tries. It can be so hard, when you are in the middle of therapy, to wonder whether you have it. But, painful though that is, I think it is so worthwhile to search until we have found the right therapist for us. It's worth the pain and uncertainty of making a change, and of interviewing several, or more than several, therapists. I found that part- struggling through a number of initial interviews- all the while telling your story and simultaneously trying to gauge whether the therapist you are speaking to is right for you- close to unbearable. But it led, somehow, to the wonderful one I have now. I would wish this for everyone!


Re: wonderment

Posted by arora on November 9, 2007, at 8:01:57

In reply to wonderment, posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 3:56:15

Ah, I'm really pleased for you, Twinleaf- it's nice to hear a positive Therapy experience! I've not had much luck in that area, so your story does give me hope, because I've been feeling very cynical recently about the whole therapeutic scenario- wondering if and when it's ever going to work for me.

That's great, that you and your T are working well together.
Have a great weekend!



Re: wonderment

Posted by Phillipa on November 9, 2007, at 10:46:14

In reply to Re: wonderment, posted by arora on November 9, 2007, at 8:01:57

Twinleaf yes that is wonderful that you found such a good match and hope you continue to do well. Congrats to you. Phillipa


Re: wonderment

Posted by rskontos on November 9, 2007, at 12:29:08

In reply to wonderment, posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 3:56:15

Twinleaf I am so happy for you. I am more like you I don't necessarily think my T and I are an emotional fit. Because if we were she would be a basket case and that would scare me. My emotions are all over the place when I let them out. She is in control and seems to be able to help me make sense of mine. that is a relief to me. She is able to coach out of me how I am feeling in a way that I will actually talk so again a good thing although afterwards I am so easily set off like last night. But that is another thread.

I am just glad you are doing so well!!!!! You deserve it!! rk


Re: wonderment

Posted by I need a hug on November 9, 2007, at 13:21:10

In reply to Re: wonderment, posted by rskontos on November 9, 2007, at 12:29:08

Thanks for sharing a wonderful story with a happy ending. I've been seeing my T for nine years and many times she can tell by just one look or one word what I'm thinking or feeling. It's a beautiful thing and like you, I wish this for everyone.


Re: wonderment

Posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 20:29:15

In reply to Re: wonderment, posted by I need a hug on November 9, 2007, at 13:21:10

Thanks so much, everyone, for your so supportive and heartfelt responses. I think my experience can give hope to anyone, as I really didn't improve at all with the previous analyst- and this was going four or five times a week for four years. Once I got with this new one (after a series of very stressful trial interviews with four other therapists), things began to change for the better almost from the first day. This has made me to think that if you are not improving much, and are getting discouraged, it might be very helpful to at least explore other therapists by way of trial interviews. Each one is so different, and the relationships that we are able to form with each one are really one of a kind.

Today, when we were talking about this. (I was telling him how much better I was feeling). he said, "it really underscores how important it is that patients in therapy feel 'kept in mind' by their therapists." I think that's just one good way to evaluate how you feel your therapy is going- that you do actually feel held in his/her mind.


Re: wonderment twinleaf

Posted by RealMe on November 9, 2007, at 22:25:13

In reply to Re: wonderment, posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 20:29:15


I am happy things are going well for you with your therapy. I wish I could say the same. Well the therapy is fine; it is my current life at home that is becoming really traumatizing for me. As I start to do better, my husband becomes more trying to deal with. I then end up spending my time in therapy dealing with how this impacts on me, and though I realize it is not a waste of time, it takes away from what I went to therapy for in the first place. I wish you well.



Re: wonderment RealMe

Posted by Phillipa on November 9, 2007, at 22:38:15

In reply to Re: wonderment twinleaf, posted by RealMe on November 9, 2007, at 22:25:13

Maybe he needs a therapist too mine said my hubby could benefit from one also for himself. Phillipa


When one person changes...

Posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 23:59:13

In reply to Re: wonderment twinleaf, posted by RealMe on November 9, 2007, at 22:25:13

Thanks, RealMe. I understand what you are talking about. As I began to feel better, I apparently appeared different to my husband, and he reacted with uneasiness and quite a lot of anxiety and anger- I was kind of being punished for getting better! The old depressed twinleaf was at least known and familiar. My analyst picked up on this, and suggested therapy for him. He began a few months ago- not too much has changed, yet, except that he is more thoughtful and reflective about what is happening between us. A start. Could something like this happen with your husband?


Re: When one person changes... twinleaf

Posted by RealMe on November 10, 2007, at 3:57:48

In reply to When one person changes..., posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 23:59:13

My therapist has mentioned it, but I am not sure my husband would do it. I will talk to my therpist about recommending someone. He asked me once if my husband would meet with him, not for therapy, but so he could meet him. I think he wants to get a sense of him to know who might be best for him to see, etc.

I am sure glad your husband was so agreeable. This whole senario happend after my treatment at Menninger's. My husband didn't know how to deal with a different me. I think I have slipped back to that other person in my relationship with him. Time to shift gears again.



Re: wonderment twinleaf

Posted by antigua3 on November 10, 2007, at 9:55:05

In reply to wonderment, posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 3:56:15

I'm really happy for you. Sounds like you've found a winner. It was a very thoughtful post and thank you for making me think about what really is a "good match." I definitely struggle with that w/my pdoc, but I know my T is the right match.

It's so nice to see success and dare I say happiness? from someone who has been working so hard. It's worth it, I know, but it's difficult.
all my best,


Re: wonderment twinleaf

Posted by Dinah on November 10, 2007, at 10:41:10

In reply to Re: wonderment, posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 20:29:15

I'm so happy for you.

You're the second person who has spoken to me very recently about this very phenomenon. And I think it's sooo true.

I think it *is* possible to go to therapy for years, feel an intense connection, and yet stagnate or even get and stay worse. I think it's possible to flounder desperately in a morass of feelings. Boundaries might not be appropriate (in one direction or another), empathy and attunement might be off. Or maybe the therapist doesn't know what to do, or brings his own issues to therapy, or just is incapable of providing a strong enough guide on the path.

I think that it's wise every once in a while to step back and assess things. Of course, when you are enmeshed in a relationship, finding the detachment necessary might not be possible. :(


Therapist seeing your sig. other RealMe

Posted by Wittgenstein on November 10, 2007, at 15:51:45

In reply to Re: When one person changes... twinleaf, posted by RealMe on November 10, 2007, at 3:57:48


I think it's fairly common for therapists to ask whether your sig. other would be willing to join a session - my therapist suggested this fairly early on but only once - I imagine it helped give him some insight into my home situation. For me it was useful in the long run although I felt really detached during that particular session (it felt like I was watching them through double-mirrored glass).

If you decide to do this, I hope it proves helpful and I'm sorry things have been so hard for you in this respect lately.



Re: wonderment twinleaf

Posted by Wittgenstein on November 10, 2007, at 16:13:45

In reply to wonderment, posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 3:56:15

What a touching post - thanks so much for sharing this Twinleaf. I'm proud of you for finding the courage to return to therapy after having had such a negative experience - that must have taken tremendous courage - and I'm happy for what you now have with this wonderful therapist.

I want to relate what you describe to what I myself experience with my therapist but am not sure how to write it - I know that feeling though - his caring, utterly accepting eyes, those special moments of shared silence that surpass anything spoken.

I also see my T twice a week - face-to-face (well the chairs are angled 90o apart but you know what I mean) - I have tried the couch a couple of times but didn't feel so safe or connected. I like to be able to see him (although I don't usually dare to let him catch my eyes for more than a second or two).

I like the way your T talks about these moments - that you analyse them together.



Re: Therapist seeing your sig. other Wittgenstein

Posted by RealMe on November 10, 2007, at 18:13:44

In reply to Therapist seeing your sig. other RealMe, posted by Wittgenstein on November 10, 2007, at 15:51:45


Good to hear from you. Yes you are correct; my T brought it up early on when we first started meeting in May after my disaster therapist. So many of us seem to have this.

So far, I am also sitting up though I am contemplating using the couch. I haven't said anything yet. My last session was okay. Much of it was spent talking about med's and how he thinks I should just stay with what I am on now. Also spent time on why did I get so triggered by him mentioning discussion of meds. So, he was more verbal than is typically the case. Just a different type of session, but afterwards I thought about some things related to closeness, my abuse, and my feelings for him, and I emailed him. I feel like an idiot now, and I am not so sure what he will think as I have discovered how to make him laugh and said something about this and feeling more comfortable with him that way. Unfortunately it also means that I perceive myself as being less vulnerable and more in control, and so now he knows this too. No more laughing I suspect.


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