Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 875449

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I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 12:47:50

I realize why he had learned to be careful. I knew and he knew that I knew that he had felt burned by the fact that I (in his words) "bite".

But in the last little while our relationship has gotten to the point where I am not nearly so likely to feel hurt by what he says because I am secure in his positive regard for me. If anything, I think he thinks better of me than I deserve.

I've tried to convey this to him, and he promises to try to be more open. Yet when I ask him to explain something he says, the explanation is far too often that he knows how much I hate to hear whatever it is he isn't saying.

I give him lots of positive reinforcement when he *is* honest with me. I loved how he said it the other day. "Yes, I do think you're stronger than you think you are, but I would never *say* that to you because I know how much you hate that phrase." It was perfect! It acknowledged my feelings, expressed his thoughts, and used gentle humor. I also loved when he admitted to sometimes feeling bored with me - though I'm relatively sure he said that in an unguarded moment, not on purpose. And last session he was even a teensy weensy bit honest with me about my strong dislike of anger.

Yet he also admitted that his response to something else was guided by the fact that I don't like to hear something.

There have been turning points in our relationship before, and I always am ahead of him in them. Then I manage to say something that makes it click for him, and he incorporates the change. I can't figure out what he needs to hear for this to click with him. How do I make him understand that as long as he says something with love and caring, that I trust him enough not to think he means it badly? And that if I am hurt, I trust the relationship enough to think I can work through it with him, without undue damage to me or to the relationship?

I can't seem to find the magic words. And it *is* a case of magic words. I tell him things over and over again, then I say it just right so that it fits like a key in the lock of his mind and opens our relationship to a new experience.

I'm probably like that too. :) I'm sure it's common.

Any thoughts to inspire me to new ways of saying this?

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful Dinah

Posted by Phillipa on January 22, 2009, at 12:57:08

In reply to I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 12:47:50

Dinah can I share your therapist? Well my take is sometimes it take saying things not just to a therapist but to others as well and then the meaning just clicks and it's like Ahhh so that's what was meant. Love Phillipa

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful Phillipa

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 13:09:27

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful Dinah, posted by Phillipa on January 22, 2009, at 12:57:08

Well, I don't want to leave anyone with the wrong impression. My therapist is awfully stubborn and insistent in holding his positions. He doesn't let me totally bully him and he never lies. I just think that it would be good, at this point, if he felt free-er to talk to me without being so careful to avoid certain words or phrases. Or to talk about aspects of things that he believes about me but chooses not to talk to me about. Even if he still chooses to lead me to the conclusion he wishes me to have, rather than tell me.

I think you're right. It probably is true a whole lot of the time. It's just that I never know what will work with him. He and I argued for a very long time because he picked up his cell phone when it vibrated to look to see who called. He thought it was unreasonable of me to object. But one day I phrased it in terms of being disrespectful, he had an "ah-hah" moment, and quit looking. Now if I could just get him to move the darn thing to a soft surface so it doesn't vibrate across hard wood.

I wish I could clone him and ship one of him to you. :) He's not perfect, and he's not into brilliant interpretations, but he is very very good at what he does well.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 16:14:56

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful Phillipa, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 13:09:27

I think the idea of therapy is to work on ourselves. Maybe that would be better than worrying about how your T says something. It seems like you want control of your T, you have trained him to NOT upset the boat. He is giving you what you wanted, why not just get past it and work on your issues?
Why does your T need to change anything, he isn't in therapy, he isn't your patient. You are the patient, not him.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 16:17:42

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 16:14:56

I have found that when I am preoccupied with the actions of my T, I am avoiding working on my issues.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful SlugSlimersSoSlided

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 17:14:01

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 16:14:56

Because I think it will make it easier for me to work on myself if my therapist weren't so careful. :)

Therapy has stages. My therapist allows me to set the course of when to leave one stage and enter the next. I am ready to enter the next stage.

It *is* about me. It marks growth on my part, and an increased willingness to accept more than I was previously willing to accept since in general there is a time lag between what I realize about myself and what he realizes about me.

And in my therapy, although the goal is to help me, the help is provided by the relationship. The relationship involves two people, not one, and it involves growth and change on my part, and on his part too, and on the part of the third party in the room - the relationship.

I realize that is not true of all therapy, but it is true of my therapy.

I just need to figure out how to convey that properly to him.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 17:14:40

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful SlugSlimersSoSlided, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 17:14:01

To convey about my readiness to move forward on this matter.

The rest he of course knows.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 17:33:25

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful SlugSlimersSoSlided, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 17:14:01

It just seems like you want him to change in order for you to change. Why not just change or push yourself in the relationship, that would at least make it your success, not his. I would think it would feel more empowering for you if you did the move to change, instead of relying on him changing first. But that is just me, if it doesn't work for you, than just never mind. :-)

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful SlugSlimersSoSlided

Posted by 10derHeart on January 22, 2009, at 17:53:59

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 16:17:42

That's so interesting, because I've found that when I am preoccupied with his feelings, reactions, tone, habits, choice of words - whatever - that is *exactly* when I am beginning to work on an issue of mine. Or maybe when I realize what I'm 'obsessed' with (not that Dinah is describing being obsessed) is SO about me and not him, although I could have sworn at first it was about him.

I guess my issues come out into the open by the way I see myself reacting to all those things about him as a T. and person when he is in contact with me.

The relationship is healing, that I know.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by antigua3 on January 22, 2009, at 19:29:43

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful SlugSlimersSoSlided, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 17:14:01

Dinah,
I haven't read all the posts in this thread yet, but what you said below really caught my eye.

"in general there is a time lag between what I realize about myself and what he realizes about me."

Wow. You are so much more self-aware than I am. (I mean that sincerely, really.) True, sometimes I figure something out first and then explain it to my T or pdoc, and sometimes they agree, and sometimes they don't, and sometimes they get me to see it completely differently than I'm seeing it, or they add something to it that makes the whole so much more powerful than the single piece I've discovered. For me, that's the best kind of therapy.

But I never thought about it in the way you've described, and I do that a lot too. And I'm fierce when I'm defending what I think about myself.

I'm not explaining myself correctly. Sorry. I do understand how my T can tiptoe around something when I wish she'd be more direct when I know I'm right, but on the other hand, I have this hard charging pdoc, who sometimes I wish would be more careful.

Sorry to get off track. Just keep figuring it out--you will, that's your pattern.
antigua

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by seldomseen on January 22, 2009, at 20:49:14

In reply to I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 12:47:50

So, I think what I am hearing say is that your theraputic relationship is strong enough to withstand whatever it is he might have say.

But you think that your therapist isn't convinced of that fact and still is very much in the "therapeutic relationship nurturance mode".

You know, I have a really bad habit of telling people to just say what's on their minds - not to worry I won't get mad. But you know what? I get mad. In fact, I've really got to quit saying that.

Perhaps instead I should say something like, just tell me what's one your mind, don't worry I'm sure we can deal with whatever it is.

Maybe *that's* what you need to tell your therapist.

On the other hand, do you worry that you might actually be trying to bring you therapist regard of you to be more in line of what you think of yourself? You know you've indicated more than once (and it's stuck out to me each time) that

"If anything, I think he thinks better of me than I deserve."

Just a thought.

Meanwhile my therapist and I are in a really good place right now. He hasn't pissed me off in a good long time.

Although, I DID go to the office the other day AND the door WAS locked. I just let it slide....

Seldom.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:26:47

In reply to I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 12:47:50

I have to wonder if this isn't just another way to have an argument - to put a little fire back into your sessions.

I don't think this is something you can figure out how to say, but rather it might be done with persistance around a subject. For example, you have been talking about being more social - so keep talking about that. And talk about what you wish you'd done better, how etc. I think he'll get it, that you really want to talk about it.

You used to have a deck of cards, of subjects that you wanted to eventually talk about. What has happened to that? Maybe it is time to bring it out.

And I think it is great that you feel secure in the relationship again.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 22:11:32

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by SlugSlimersSoSlided on January 22, 2009, at 17:33:25

But if I hadn't changed already - at least on this topic, this wouldn't be anything I'd even want to talk about.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful DAisym

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 22:17:13

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:26:47

Hmmm....

I think maybe I didn't explain it well. I don't foresee it as an argumentative thing at all. More like a "Look Mom. I've grown (not grown up)! You've seen me every day, so you didn't notice. But pretend you just saw me after the summer. See how much I've grown?"

Funny thing is that when I took those cards out they seemed so out of touch with what's going on with me now. Time has changed, and the cards didn't. He had me make a list the other day, and I did. I've even been reporting my progress on those things as I make it. (Since we're just talking about a couple of weeks that's pretty good I think.) Hmmm... Maybe I'm in a growth spurt? :)

Or maybe not. I really am Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde these days.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful DAisym

Posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 22:21:07

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 21:26:47

Exactly. But what do you want him to say?

It may be one of those cases where you don't say much - like when one of your kids is suddenly brushing their teeth without reminders, because if you do, they'll get put out about it. You just note it and are glad for the change. Your therapist sees the changes, but isn't saying much. We humans tend to be a bit stubborn about doing what is actually good for us when it is someone else's idea.

You sound like you might want to be pushed - do you know about what? If you can define what you want him to be more aggressive about, that would probably help. But I think he is already pretty honest with you and I don't think he is going to be anymore blunt than he already is. Which makes him a nice guy and a good therapist.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful 10derHeart

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 22:21:37

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful SlugSlimersSoSlided, posted by 10derHeart on January 22, 2009, at 17:53:59

The relationship is definitely healing. I've been using the imagery from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" when the spells from Harry's wand and Voldemort's wand met, and it created a golden cage of energy.

On those days when he contributes his share of energy, and I contribute my share, we can create something magical and healing.

(Not that Voldemort saw it that way of course.)

I'm definitely not obsessing about it. It's come up now and again over the past year or so. It came to mind again because of the examples of both ends of the topic came up recently. He did a wonderful job of being honest with me on one occasion, and admitted to avoiding saying things on another. It makes me think the time is right to broach the topic again.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful DAisym

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 22:34:12

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful DAisym, posted by DAisym on January 22, 2009, at 22:21:07

I agree. He's definitely never going to become blunt or confrontational. He *is* a nice guy. He doesn't even say bad stuff about other people (at least not in my hearing).

But I know that in the past I've been touchy about some things. And maybe there is one that I'm still touchy about, and I suppose I could mention that one. And he has modified his style in the past so that, in his words, he presents things in a way that I can hear it. Which basically means he avoided saying things that would bog us down in arguments for a year or two. But the thing is that now I hear the caring and affection in his voice, which makes things sound totally different.

I'm still not ok with talking about growing up. Or termination. Ok, that's two rather than one.

But everything else would be ok.

The specific context was dissociation. He mentioned last session that he had been reluctant to discuss it because I got upset at certain terminology. And I was actually surprised that he didn't realize that he could now talk about that with me without me getting mad at him. Because it would sound different now than it did before.

If that makes sense?

Hmmm... I suppose I did scare him not that long ago by putting my hands over my ears, saying "no no no no no no no", and bursting into hysterical sobs when he talked about something about vomit and him. But that's different. I didn't want that imagery in my mind.

Sigh. Maybe I'm fooling myself about my grown-ness. :)

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful antigua3

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 22:46:43

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by antigua3 on January 22, 2009, at 19:29:43

> True, sometimes I figure something out first and then explain it to my T or pdoc, and sometimes they agree, and sometimes they don't, and sometimes they get me to see it completely differently than I'm seeing it, or they add something to it that makes the whole so much more powerful than the single piece I've discovered. For me, that's the best kind of therapy.

That's isn't really my therapist's strength. He doesn't do the deep insight. His approach is more the slow sculpt. The river on rock, molding, and smoothing. He'll introduce something and explain it, then say it may or may not apply, then sits back and a very long time later I'll incorporate all his small observations into myself. Well, not that absolutely. But we do more of the dance of ideas - introductory bow, retreat, circle, approach, dip, embrace. The ideas flow to and fro and become shaped and changed as they go along so that what we finally end up with isn't his or mine, and we both see things a bit differently perhaps. Maybe that's why the relationship itself is so important?

My therapist is probably more like your therapist than your pdoc. His laid back nature is what I need I guess, even it if it's occasionally frustrating. Even if he were to feel absolutely free to say whatever entered his mind, he'd still be more like your therapist than your pdoc.

Which is just as well, given who *I* am. :)

Yes, I think I will figure it out. I'm figuring things out in the bouncing of ideas here on Babble.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 23:14:22

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by seldomseen on January 22, 2009, at 20:49:14

> So, I think what I am hearing say is that your theraputic relationship is strong enough to withstand whatever it is he might have say.
>
> But you think that your therapist isn't convinced of that fact and still is very much in the "therapeutic relationship nurturance mode".

Yes, except that I wouldn't say precisely nurturance. I'd say more "I'd better not say that or I'll never hear the end of it." Like the great schizotypal argument of 1998-2000. :)

But it's different now. Then when I heard schizotypal, it was overlaid with "She's really odd. She dresses oddly. She never makes eye contact. She doesn't maintain deep relationships with other people. She engages in magical thinking. She wishes she had married her dog, for heavens sake." And I might mention that I was right in thinking he thought that, because as you may know, I'm semipsychic and could feel that he felt a bit of contempt and a lot of irritation towards me.

Now if he says schizotypal, it would be overlaid with "She's wearing her braids again. She is very afraid of being hurt because she has been hurt in the past. She has such a funny way of expressing herself sometimes. That is so "Dinah". I'm so pleased she has found people who can appreciate her for who she is." Because as you may know, I'm semipsychic and can feel that he is very fond of me, and cares about me very much.

It would be totally different, you know?

> You know, I have a really bad habit of telling people to just say what's on their minds - not to worry I won't get mad. But you know what? I get mad. In fact, I've really got to quit saying that.

lol. I never would say that precisely. I don't know that I want to know what is on anyone's mind at any given moment. And that would include my therapist. I still prefer my truth beveled and polished. But I would say that I am willing to hear anything said with love. (That may mean that sometimes everyone - my therapist, husband, and son included, should keep their own counsel.) And I trust that most of what he would say to me would be said with love.

> Perhaps instead I should say something like, just tell me what's one your mind, don't worry I'm sure we can deal with whatever it is.
>
> Maybe *that's* what you need to tell your therapist.

Yes, I think that may be a good thing to tell him.

>
> On the other hand, do you worry that you might actually be trying to bring you therapist regard of you to be more in line of what you think of yourself? You know you've indicated more than once (and it's stuck out to me each time) that
>
> "If anything, I think he thinks better of me than I deserve."
>
> Just a thought.

An interesting thought. Is it possible I might wish to encourage him to tell me less positive things because I think he's thinking too well of me? Or maybe he doesn't think that well of me, but just wants to encourage me. I think I'd feel fake encouragement though. It always makes me want to do the exact opposite of what I'm being encouraged to do. Admittedly, it does make me feel anxious. The tyranny of high expectations.

>
> Meanwhile my therapist and I are in a really good place right now. He hasn't pissed me off in a good long time.
>
> Although, I DID go to the office the other day AND the door WAS locked. I just let it slide....
>
> Seldom.

That is wonderful!!! I was wondering how you were doing with your therapist. It's amazing that when we're in a different place, the same situation can mean something else entirely.

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful

Posted by antigua3 on January 23, 2009, at 9:56:14

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful antigua3, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 22:46:43

> He doesn't do the deep insight. His approach is more the slow sculpt. The river on rock, molding, and smoothing. He'll introduce something and explain it, then say it may or may not apply, then sits back and a very long time later I'll incorporate all his small observations into myself. Well, not that absolutely. But we do more of the dance of ideas - introductory bow, retreat, circle, approach, dip, embrace. The ideas flow to and fro and become shaped and changed as they go along so that what we finally end up with isn't his or mine, and we both see things a bit differently perhaps. Maybe that's why the relationship itself is so important?
>
I loved the imagery in this. Just beautiful. Also goes to show how different therapy can be for each of us--there's no retreat when it comes to my pdoc! Well, not exactly true. If I can really convince him, he'll back off, but he's not very good at conceding defeat.

Thanks for the thread.
antigua

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful Dinah

Posted by raisinb on January 23, 2009, at 13:44:58

In reply to I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 12:47:50

I know what you mean. Unlike you, though, I'm torn between whether I want my therapist to be honest and open and spontaneous, or whether I want her to consider my feelings before she says things.

Maybe go with the old standby: "When you consider things so carefully before you say them, it makes me feel..."

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful antigua3

Posted by Dinah on January 23, 2009, at 17:34:29

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by antigua3 on January 23, 2009, at 9:56:14

I always say my therapist is warm and receptive, with a solid, firm core. I could add yielding too. But he yields on the small stuff, never on what he considers important. That firm core. :)

 

Re: I want my therapist to be less careful raisinb

Posted by Dinah on January 23, 2009, at 17:35:36

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful Dinah, posted by raisinb on January 23, 2009, at 13:44:58

Well, I suppose in some ways I'm torn, in that I did end up having areas that I'd like him to continue as is. :)

 

I think it went pretty well

Posted by Dinah on January 23, 2009, at 18:12:08

In reply to Re: I want my therapist to be less careful, posted by Dinah on January 22, 2009, at 23:14:22

Thanks to having worked out my thoughts here. :)

At first he seemed a bit sleepy and uninspired by the topic. He said that he may change the words, but he says what he wants to say.

But I pressed on, giving him recent examples of when he did and didn't speak openly with me.

I pretty much said what I said here. Which is also a bit different, I guess, because ordinarily I might try to change his mind. This time I told him I was trying to change his mind, trying to find the magic key. I told him about this thread, and what I'd said and what others said.

As luck would have it, he really appreciated "The Great Schizotypal War of 1998-2000" so when he stopped laughing, and pointed out that the initial skirmish had come from my pdoc, I was able to suggest to him what I figured he probably told my pdoc then, and what I think he would tell him now. To his credit, he admitted that I was correct (except that he wouldn't have told him I wanted to marry my dog). That he wasn't being mean or laughing at me, and that he would have told my pdoc those things to help me as best he could, with my interests in mind. I knew that of course. But I pointed out that if he were talking about me now, he'd say those things completely differently. For example, he now appreciates my way of expressing myself. I think he *really* got that. So he was able to understand that conditions had changed, and he could change his unwritten rules.

I pointed out recent times when he had been honest (with being bored sometimes or about my being stronger than I think I am) and I had responded very well.

We worked on the details. He promised not to say anything about my looking like a woman or growing up. (And assured me that of course he would never have reason to say those things.) And that he would be delicate in areas surrounding the T word. (More below.)

We clarified that I recognized that as a therapist he has always and will always think before he speaks. And that I am not foolish enough to ask him to be honest about every passing thought all the time. He is welcome to keep his thoughts to himself when he's not feeling particularly caring. (He thinks that's a very sensible stance.) We worked out the details.

With five minutes left, and no real time to start something new, I joked to him that it was also ok for him to express his views about home decoration. (He had said something recently then stopped in his tracks when I expressed a contrary point of view.) I said he didn't need to build rapport with me by avoiding mentioning views contrary to my own. And I learned something. He said that that was a reason, but the biggest reason would be to not influence a client's judgment even about small matters, since some clients might feel the need to please a therapist by agreeing with him. I pointed out that though I might wish to please him, I was unlikely to do so by agreeing with him. :D We ended up talking politics (and he was careful to continue to be honest if we didn't agree).

It really was infused with warmth and laughter. And while I suspect that at first he was uninterested, by the end he was fully engaged.

As I left I asked if I had found the magic key. He replied that he did have a better understanding now, but that only time would tell if it was the magic key.

My therapist is so very cool.

 

that is awesome :) (nm) Dinah

Posted by raisinb on January 24, 2009, at 0:15:30

In reply to I think it went pretty well, posted by Dinah on January 23, 2009, at 18:12:08


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