Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 910701

Shown: posts 1 to 11 of 11. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by Ladybelle31 on August 6, 2009, at 23:04:51

Hi, I am new to therapy and was just wondering what the normal boundaries in wanting to get to know your therapist? I have a wonderful male therapist who Im deeply attached to and find myself saddened that I dont know anything about him and wouldnt even know if it was his birthday.
Weve talked about the therapeutic relationship and now I feel like I am overanalyzing everything and wont allow myself to even ask basic questions about him and as a result feel unconnected to him. The dynamics of this relationship (that its all about me) seems so unbalanced and almost makes me uncomfortable. Can anyone give me advice? Thanks!

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by friesandcoke on August 7, 2009, at 0:22:51

In reply to Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Ladybelle31 on August 6, 2009, at 23:04:51

What a great question. I had a therapist for years and never knew her birthday. I love this question. And I am so shocked now that I never knew her birthday. I wish I had. I would like to know more about her horoscope.

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by Daisym on August 7, 2009, at 0:28:19

In reply to Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Ladybelle31 on August 6, 2009, at 23:04:51

I do know his birthday. I asked and he told me a long time ago.

I think it is OK to ask anything you want or are curious about but you should be prepared for him to counter with, "why do you want to know?" The exploration of this can be helpful.

That said, I think there are basic human curiousities that go no deeper than the question itself - we want to see how we are alike and different. If the question is typical and polite, seems like it would be easy enough to answer it.

Therapy is not like other social interactions -so you have to be brave and ask all the questions knowing that you might not get answers. And frankly, I think showing you care is really an OK thing to do.

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday?? Ladybelle31

Posted by obsidian on August 7, 2009, at 22:32:32

In reply to Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Ladybelle31 on August 6, 2009, at 23:04:51

you know it's funny...I thought about that question the other day, but I didn't ask

I think I will, we'll see :-)

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by sunnydays on August 7, 2009, at 23:05:17

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday?? Ladybelle31, posted by obsidian on August 7, 2009, at 22:32:32

I know it's in the middle of February sometime, but I don't know the exact day. I only know because he went on a trip one time for his birthday with his wife and he told me where he was going and why. It sounded like fun. :)

sunnydays

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by Weekends on August 13, 2009, at 5:29:46

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by sunnydays on August 7, 2009, at 23:05:17

Hello, this seems like boundary issues. I have created a great deal of pain and chaos for myself when I shared a small in- expensive book with my therapist. It wasn't related to a holiday or birthday but he declined to accept saying he didn't accept gifts. I suppose it looked like a gift ( though no card or wrapping) but I wanted to try and explain something about what I was feeling by sharing this short book. I ended up feeling like I behaved badly, did something wrong and then was so ashamed I quit for a bit. Ever since, I make it a point never to find out anything my doc so I will never feel the need to extend myself in a social way. Even though I feel he is somewhat strict, I think he is so good and such a respectful professional I cant go through the 'search' for someone new. I will adjust---and knowing nothing about him helps me focus rather than caring too much about what is going on with him. Not sure this helps---but knowing personal information can sometimes lead to heartbreak.

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday?? Weekends

Posted by sunnydays on August 13, 2009, at 10:13:33

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Weekends on August 13, 2009, at 5:29:46

Yes, but it can also sometimes lead to a connection that makes it feel like it's ok to trust the other person (T) enough to talk to them and to share your deepest secrets. I have to know he's a real person, otherwise I would not feel ok to talk to him. It sounds like yours was more of an issue with feeling hurt by his boundaries, which is totally understandable and something I wish you could have explored with him, rather than knowing too much about your T. Of course you wanted to share something that was significant to you. I think it could have been very beneficial to explore how you felt about him not accepting the book, and I'm surprised he didn't bring it up.

sunnydays

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday?? Weekends

Posted by peddidle on August 13, 2009, at 12:35:45

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Weekends on August 13, 2009, at 5:29:46

> Hello, this seems like boundary issues. I have created a great deal of pain and chaos for myself when I shared a small in- expensive book with my therapist. It wasn't related to a holiday or birthday but he declined to accept saying he didn't accept gifts. I suppose it looked like a gift ( though no card or wrapping) but I wanted to try and explain something about what I was feeling by sharing this short book. I ended up feeling like I behaved badly, did something wrong and then was so ashamed I quit for a bit. Ever since, I make it a point never to find out anything my doc so I will never feel the need to extend myself in a social way. Even though I feel he is somewhat strict, I think he is so good and such a respectful professional I cant go through the 'search' for someone new. I will adjust---and knowing nothing about him helps me focus rather than caring too much about what is going on with him. Not sure this helps---but knowing personal information can sometimes lead to heartbreak.
>
>
>
>

I agree with Sunnydays. My T told me in the very beginning that she was going to learn a lot of things about me, so I could feel free to ask anything about her. I didn't "ask" too much, but that's just my anxiety issues, over 5 years, however, I learned a lot about her life, family, friends, etc outside of that room. She offered personal anecdotes if they were relevant, or if she thought they would be helpful, or even just on the side if they were amusing or interesting. I also gave her several gifts, especially towards the end, and she even gave me a book at [what turned out to be] our last session.

It may just be that my T might be more on the lenient side as far as those kinds of boundaries are concerned, and your T might be more strict. For me, like Sunny said, it helps to know she's human [superhuman in my mind, but human nonetheless]-- I had to know that she has a life, and has sometimes has problems [though it's hard to believe] just like everyone else. It makes therapy feel more like a conversation than only a one-way dialogue with other person nodding or prodding for more information without offering any empirical feedback. I understand what you're saying though about this knowledge leading to heartache-- knowing about T's "private" life often made/makes me jealous of the people that she's spending time with, and makes me [irrationally] upset that she's not thinking about me, because I think about her ALL the time.

I can completely understand why you quit for that period of time-- I can't imagine how I would have felt if my T had rejected any of the gifts I gave her, though I assume it would have been extremely hurtful, to say the least. But, it's good that you went back. If you like him, and think that he is a good fit for you, then that is really all that matters. I think the "what makes a good T" topics have been explored enough to make it clear that everyone is unique, one person's idea of a great T can, and likely will, be the polar opposite of the next person's. :-)

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by LadyBelle31 on September 5, 2009, at 3:13:44

In reply to Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by Ladybelle31 on August 6, 2009, at 23:04:51

Quick update to share-thanks for everyones advice who responded! I finally asked him his birthday and he was like sure, do you want to know the year too or just date? I was originally asking about just the month/date but I said both. He was very nice and open and I told him I had been feeling bad about wanting to know but worried about boundaries. He was like, certain information is face value and it helps give us clarity (he used an example of a stop sign-you see a sign and know things by it by it's outward appearance and direction) I was surprised to find out he was younger than I thought and I found that to be a good thing to find out and increased my relatability with him. I should note when he told me his birthday it was a few months ago but the day for some reason stood out in my mind as significant although I wasn't sure why-I assumed it was a friends birthday or something major had occurred that day--so when I got home later I was looking through my diary from therapy and to my horror found out that my therapist's birthday had fallen on my first really "bad" day of therapy. I felt horrible and so guilty for being mean to him and the whole time I Had no clue it was his birthday... Anyways I have talked to him about this and it's helped our therapeutic relationship grow into a better place where I feel more like I can trust him and by him telling me litttle info about himself, it helps me see him as a real person who has a family and outside life from me. I also asked him about the hug issue because I told him it felt awkard that he never even shakes my hand- he was super nice and explained how he had stopped giving his female clients a hand shake because it seemed out of place and some women don't like the gesture-I could see his point and it made sense. The hug thing he was like that's a no. It's just not appropriate for a man and woman ( especially those who are emotionally unstable and seeking professional therapy) to be engaging in hugs/touch as the implications for both parties is at risk for making treatment worse for patients. He did say he knows of women therapist's who occasionally hug their women clients...but that he shared of knowing therapist's who have gotten sued for sexual related implied charges and that true or false any therapist who gets accused of things of this nature tend to avoid anything that might be ambiguously intterpretted. I really am so glad I made myself bring up the issues bothering me that seemed uncomfortable...it's brought us to a much better place and I even gave him a thank you card and small gift to cekebrate and acknowledge a short term goal I reached in my life through using therapy tools he's helped me with. He's so cute too and wrote me an email later thanking me for the thank you gift--but I was so happy he liked it and I have been trying to force myself to come to terms with while we have only a limited relationship in therapy--that to me is better than not ever meeting him. I wouldn't have an older male friend like him ever in my life to talk to( because of the obvious things like he's married and has his kids and work) our paths would have never crossed in our lives--so I am trying to look at it now in those terms so I can stop wasting my time with him "missing" him while he's right there sitting across from me! I really like him and I am so lucky to have him helping me. Sorry this is long and rambling post--I've been out of town past few weeks and forgot to check online-take care everyone:)

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday?? LadyBelle31

Posted by annierose on September 12, 2009, at 22:39:46

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by LadyBelle31 on September 5, 2009, at 3:13:44

Thanks for the follow up. I'm glad it went so well. So the next time you have a hard question or thought in therapy, remember that despite the difficulty in getting the question out in the open with your therapist, he will listen attentively and reply with kind words. For some of us, that is an opposite experience than what we grew up with.

I don't know my therapist birthday but I have a good guess. So on her "guess" birthday, I made sure I was especially nice and kind to her. So I do understand when you related your story about looking back at the date and realizing that you had a hard session. But remember that your therapist doesn't judge you as harshly as we judge ourselves. He probably didn't say to himself, "Wow Lady Belle ruined my birthday." Instead he probably thought, "Lady Belle was having a hard day today. I hope she feels better next time we meet."

 

Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??

Posted by mmealltalk on September 20, 2009, at 23:01:20

In reply to Re: Do you know your therapist's birthday??, posted by LadyBelle31 on September 5, 2009, at 3:13:44

I found out my therapists bday when I was coincidentally at the resteraunt on her bday and the waiters sang to her. We discussed my feelings at our next session and I made it a positive bit of info. Each year I make a little speach about my appreciation to her and my kind feelings to have her in my life. It became a special day for both of us.
Just sharing
Mel


This is the end of the thread.


Show another thread

URL of post in thread:


Psycho-Babble Psychology | Extras | FAQ


[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD, bob@dr-bob.org

Script revised: February 4, 2008
URL: http://www.dr-bob.org/cgi-bin/pb/mget.pl
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.