Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 910638

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no hug

Posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54


I've been wanting a hug from my therapist for so long. I finally asked today. I was in a really scary car accident on Monday and was really wanting to feel comforted today. I asked him for a hug towards the end of session. We had been talking about how I feel like it's bad to say what I want out loud. He said that that was something he wouldn't do, that he guessed that was one way he couldn't be there for me, but that it had nothing to do with me and it was about what he believed about how to be a therapist.

I was ok for a minute, then my lip started quivering, I felt really young, and it felt like my world was falling apart and I started crying. After I calmed down a little, he said it was time to stop in a few minutes even though he knew this was a really hard place to stop. He said he really wanted me to hear that it wasn't about me. He said he tries to hold me with his words and his thoughts.

I know I'm completely mired in transference, and I feel absolutely upside down in terms of my whole life since the accident. But I just wanted to be comforted.

I'm sad.



Re: no hug sunnydays

Posted by TherapyGirl on August 6, 2009, at 17:54:19

In reply to no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54

I'm so sorry, SD. This is one of those times, in my opinion, where a little more flexibility in boundaries would be called for. But I imagine it's harder when your T is the opposite gender. Still, I wish he could have given you what you needed.



Re: no hug sunnydays

Posted by seldomseen on August 6, 2009, at 19:16:01

In reply to no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54

I'm sorry Sunnydays, I think he should have given you a hug. It would have been a very *human* thing to do.

I hate boundaries sometimes.

Is it okay if *I* give you a hug?




Re: no hug

Posted by morganpmiller on August 6, 2009, at 19:41:15

In reply to no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54

I'm so sorry to hear you are sad..That sucks your therapist won't hug you. He could at least do so one his wait out. I think man therapists are less likely than women to hug. My therapist is a women and she gives hugs. Sorry, I'm not trying to rub it in your face.

I know how hard therapy is. I think you are brave and courageous for going to therapy and dealing with the things you need to deal with.


Re: no hug sunnydays

Posted by Deneb on August 6, 2009, at 20:05:49

In reply to no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54

Aw, I'm sorry Sunnydays, that must have been disappointing to say the least.


Maybe he has one of those unbreakable type boundaries with hugging.


Re: no hug

Posted by peddidle on August 6, 2009, at 21:41:16

In reply to no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54

I agree with Morgan-- I've never been to a male therapist, but I think women are more likely to allow hugs. My T gives spontaneous hugs-- it may be that he has stricter boundaries for female clients to avoid any potential problems that could occur from those types of actions. I know it's hard to believe, and it doesn't make the situation any less painful, but I think he tries really hard to stick to the rules he sets for himself, and it really isn't anything against you, personally.

I know this isn't the same, but (((hug)))


Re: no hug

Posted by Daisym on August 7, 2009, at 0:18:15

In reply to Re: no hug, posted by peddidle on August 6, 2009, at 21:41:16

No matter how gently he says it, it is a terrible rejection. At least, I think that is how it feels at first. Allow those tears and I think you can mourn a little for what he can't give you. Because things like this highlight what your parents didn't give you and he can't completely make up for. This is a wound that runs deep.

And then, try and appreciate how safe he is keeping things. He has chosen, for his own reasons, to not hug. But I know you've felt held by him - with his words and his actions. You are in his thoughts too. So he can and does comfort you. Not hugging is not the same as withholding comfort.

I've struggled with this a lot. My therapist does not hug either - and he is pretty open about all the ways he shows his caring. We've talked about it and there are times when it feels like a hug would be the exact right thing to do. But the stuff we are working on would eventually taint those hugs and make him and that room feel unsafe. Nothing is worth that.

I'm sorry about your accident. I'm so glad you are safe and unhurt.


Re: no hug

Posted by friesandcoke on August 7, 2009, at 0:26:24

In reply to no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 6, 2009, at 17:46:54

i am really sorry this hurt you. when we love or really care about our therapists, our feelings can get hurt easily, can't they?


Re: no hug

Posted by moonshadow on August 7, 2009, at 6:59:47

In reply to Re: no hug, posted by friesandcoke on August 7, 2009, at 0:26:24

I'm sorry. I would be crushed if I asked my T for a hug and she said no. I think that's why I held off asking for years.

He seems like a kind, competent T, but one with really firm boundaries. That may be good in some ways, but it still hurts to be rejected.


Re: no hug

Posted by sunnydays on August 7, 2009, at 8:38:30

In reply to Re: no hug, posted by moonshadow on August 7, 2009, at 6:59:47

I ended up sending him two sort of long emails and calling him and leaving a message within about two hours of our session. I just felt like my heart was breaking (and still feel that, in many ways). I couldn't decide if I wanted him to call me back, and I didn't end up saying to call me or not to call me on the message (it ran out before I got to that part of the message). But he did call me back. He talked to me for about ten minutes and was very nice. He acknowledged that a lot about my life is very difficult right now (no job, no friends to speak of, this accident, owing a lot of money), and that not much is going right for me lately either. He said that him saying that he wasn't going to hug me was nothing at all about me, and that it's not the same thing as him saying he doesn't care, because that's so far from the truth. And he said it doesn't mean that I'm not lovable. And he said that he thinks who I really am is coming out more and more the more we talk and work together (I had said I was afraid the real me was going to just disappear because of all these feelings and I would just be a shell), and that it might help to visualize myself as a whole person because I'm not breaking into pieces. And he said that he is glad that I said out loud that I wanted a hug instead of just alluding to it because it means that I'm starting to see that my needs and wants are important.

And then he asked me if I'm having any thoughts of ending my life. And I couldn't lie and say no, because I have been, and he asked some other questions. But I told him I wouldn't actually do anything, and I won't, because I don't think that would make me happy.

He was very nice and he said that even though he's gone this week and won't be checking email (I only have to wait one extra day to see him), to still write to him if it feels helpful.

He was so nice and comforting. And I still woke up this morning and I feel sad, don't want to do anything, and feel like the world is ending.



Re: no hug sunnydays

Posted by Dinah on August 7, 2009, at 9:05:59

In reply to Re: no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 7, 2009, at 8:38:30

My therapist (usually) responds with the same compassionate firmness when I run into a boundary. But those boundaries must be made of something very abrasive, because no matter how he tries to cushion the blow, they just hurt.

It is extra hard when the issue is one where therapists differ in where to place the boundary. I sometimes feel a bit hurt when I realize that my therapist would never ever do some of the things that other therapists do. And hugs are such an integral longing. Even for me, and I don't even like to be touched in general.

I do admire your trust and willingness to be vulnerable with him. I usually sound my therapist out about his boundaries before I anywhere near approach them. Your asking him appears to me to indicate a very firm foundation for your therapy. As does his response.


Re: no hug sunnydays

Posted by seldomseen on August 7, 2009, at 9:18:44

In reply to Re: no hug, posted by sunnydays on August 7, 2009, at 8:38:30

Oh sunnydays, I've had dry spells like that too. Everything seems to happen at once doesn't it? It's like if something *good* would just happen, one little thing to give me some hope.

I think logically you know that the world is not going to end, but I think anyone in your position would feel sad and depressed. Anyone.

I'm glad your therapist called and I'm glad that he reiterated how much he cares for you. It's entirely possible that a hug from him might not have been the good thing that you thought.

I know you may not feel like it, but perhaps you could try and make a little good news for yourself today. Do you journal? Perhaps you could splurge and get yourself a fancy new journal to write in. Your thoughts are definately worth it. New purses seem to give me a boost.

Sometimes I actually have to sit down, think and write down all the things that I am happy about and grateful for in my life. I always surprised at how long that list can get.

Lists of favorite things also help, or just puttering around my house re-arranging my stuff.

Sometimes I wish I had a weed-eater. I think using one would be very satisfying.

I hope you have a really really good day.

Take good care.



Re: no hug--sunny

Posted by Nadezda on August 7, 2009, at 11:38:13

In reply to Re: no hug sunnydays, posted by seldomseen on August 7, 2009, at 9:18:44

Gosh, Sunny, I'm so sorry your T felt that he couldn't hug you. I'm sure it's a policy that he believes he must honor and that he would feel wrong inside about violating it. But that doesn't help you, I know, with the sad sad feelings of loss and abandonment and need.

I wish we could explain to him that it's all right, and that maybe it was the time for an exception. But you know, there might have been many times that he wished he could hug you and make everything all right. And, as he says (I know it's not much comfort now, but I think someday you'll really feel it) that he tries to hug you in his thoughts and his caring-- because the boundaries are just something that he wouldn't be himself-- the person whom you value and care about-- without-- or if he let himself express things in a physical way. If you could see inside his heart you might feel a lot better because you would know, in a deeper, more believable way, of his caring.

Try to believe in the future, though. It takes time-- it can be a slow, painful process-- but you will feel that caring enough, over time. You'll come to know that it's there and that nothing can take it away--

Maybe if you try to think of a few things that you can be grateful for--as Seldom said-- being young and having a lot of time to work on these issues, not leaving it for later in life; even something as simple as geetting up in the morning and looking out the window and seeing the sun and the trees-- you'll feel a tiny bit better. It helps me sometimes-- and like Seldom, I'm often surprised at the things I do have that I take for granted.

It's hard to get through these times of feeling so lost and alone. I hope you can keep turning your mind, over and over, to more hopeful thoughts. Even if it's a struggle against the dark thoughts, I know over time, they won't win out.


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