Posts Tagged ‘Therapists’

           

            You know, I often think about what my therapist really thinks.  I’m pretty sure the majority of clients do that.  I’ve read a lot about the one sided nature of the therapist/client relationship, I’ve read about how attachment works, I’ve read about how the client wants to occupy a special place in their therapists life.  I’ve done a lot of reading.  It’s an interesting area of study.  This is why I love therapist blogs.  One in particular is What a Shrink Thinks.  It gives you a glimpse of what really goes on in the therapists mind.  It fulfills that craving I feel to know, to see, to really get into that mystical place that is the therapist brain.

            I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to work with some amazing female therapists.  A few of them were in person and another was online.  I never pass up the chance to say how much I like Discussing Dissociation.  Not that Kathy needs any advertising from me as you’ll see in this article but I don’t mind saying that her blog and one on one sessions I’ve had with her have been invaluable.  I’ve never had a male therapist so I have no idea what that relationship would look like or feel like.  I don’t know that I could even build that relationship.  But the women whose care I’ve been under for significant periods of time, well they’ve just been fantastic.

            I saw my first therapist when I was 15 and she continues to be a part of my life.  We’ve sort of segued into a hybrid sort of friendship but with boundaries sort of relationship.  I know that if I still lived in the same city as her I could call and seek therapy from her and she would be perfectly willing.  I also know that if I called and asked if she’d like to go for coffee she’d oblige me that way as well.  I know that I can send her a joke on Facebook just as easily as I can send her a private email asking about her health.  I know these things emotionally, intellectually.  I know them deeply.

            Another woman I worked with was quite the opposite of that first therapist.  She did not allow hugging or touching but still managed to develop affection for me and me for her.  She was very closed off about her personal life; it was not something we discussed at any great length at all.  But I grew to care deeply for this relationship, to depend on it for my very life.  When circumstances forced us to part ways when I left the city she told me that she would never forget me and that our experience changed the way she would conduct therapy in a profound way.  That made me feel so good.  It could have been a line she fed me but I really don’t believe that.  I believe she was being genuine and her declaration was heartfelt.  I have called her since leaving and she has been helpful in trying to find new resources for me.  Though she gently encourages me to rely more and more on the therapist I’m seeing now.  That is her style.  To push me in the direction I need to go however painful it might be is what she has always done.

            Anyway, what all this rambling is about is just to demonstrate that every therapist has their own style, their own way of dealing with the complexities of their job.  And to also talk about what it’s like to want to be a bigger, more important part of your therapist’s life.  What is it like to really get inside their minds?

            I haven’t yet developed that need, that attachment with my current therapist.  I feel as though I’m right there ready to take the leap. I just need one more push, one more reason, a teensy bit more reassurance that the leap will be worth it.

            I’ll be writing more about this subject again, but this is a good rough start.  Tell me what you think about the relationship you have with your therapist.  I know for multiples there are so many different levels and layers.  How do you deal with all of that?

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One of the things I love about my therapist is that she checks in with me every so often to make sure we’re on the same page.  Do I know what her goal is?  Do I know what my goal is?  Are they the same?  Are we in the right stage, going in the right direction?  Are we moving forward or standing still?  How do I feel I’m doing now as compared to a month ago, 2 months ago?

            Today was one such day where we kind of looked at each other like, okay wait, what are you saying?  Where are you going with this?  I told my therapist that I kind of felt like we were in a holding pattern.  She didn’t necessarily agree with that assessment.  So that is why we stepped back and looked at our game plan.

            To me it feels like I’m playing the waiting game… again.  Waiting for the consultation with the DID specialist.  Waiting to see if she accepts me as a full time client.  Waiting to see if I’ll be continuing with my current therapist in some capacity.

            My therapist explained that even if we do continue seeing each other she wouldn’t be digging into trauma work with as of yet.  She feels that I still have a ways to go in achieving higher functioning in my daily life.  After dissecting what exactly she means, I have to agree with her standpoint.

            The goal now is to achieve some sort of structure in my day to day life.  I don’t have much of a schedule that I follow right now.  And what little scheduling there is certainly doesn’t include things like exercise, getting out of the house, regular meal times etc.  I’m very isolated at the moment which is partly to do with the season but I have been making strides in that department.  I try and accept invitations from friends more often and even initiate an afternoon out for coffee.  But there are other things such as volunteering that I have yet to follow up on.

            So the idea is to make up a schedule of an ideal day/week that strikes a balance between those things we must do and those things that are pleasurable, and then add those things into my actual schedule.  That means scheduling a shower, doing the dishes, vacuuming, going for a walk, going to the dog park, spending meaningful time with my wife.  Scheduling absolutely everything.

            But everything has to start somewhere, so much against my all or nothing nature the one thing I choose to add this week is going to the dog park at least 4 times.  Should be doable right?  I’ll keep you posted.

            In the end, my session with my therapist was quite productive today.  I like knowing where we stand.  It gives me that sense of control over the process that I so desperately crave in my life.

            After all, that’s what therapy is about right?  Building a sense of mastery in one’s life.

Remember, it’s okay to ask in therapy, “Wait, what were we working on again?”

So I received some news this past week that I haven’t shared yet.  My therapist tried contacting a colleague of hers to see if she had any experience treating someone with DID.  Her colleague did not but pointed out that there is a new psychiatrist in town that specializes in trauma.  My therapist just happens to have other clients that go to this psychiatrist so she felt comfortable enough contacting her about me, minus the revealing details of course.  IT turns out that the new psychiatrist worked in a large city and was involved in a women’s program that dealt extensively with trauma which inevitably included patients with DID.  Imagine that! A psychiatrist in our little city with such experience.  It’s like winning the lottery in a way.  My therapist was glad to find this out so she set up a referral for me.  The new psychiatrist has agreed to do a consultation to see if she’d be willing to take me on as a full-time client.  She is now in private practice which allows her to be selective about her caseload giving her more control over her schedule.  I understand this.  I just find it quite miraculous that I’ve finally found someone who has seen this disorder before.

My current therapist is a social worker with 20 years under her belt dealing with all manner of things.  She understands trauma and has been really good for me so far.  The new psychiatrist indicated that she would only consider taking me on if I was fairly stable and had a good sense of grounding and being present.  So my current therapist and I are working on making sure I have the grounding down pat.  As we went through a few techniques together I was actually surprised at how much I knew already.  Of course knowing it intellectually and putting it into practice are two totally different things.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this new development.  It will likely take a couple of months to get the actual appointment but that’s better than the years I waited for my current treatment.  I’m so very thankful for my current therapist.  If you are reading this… please know that.

Until next time,

ppp

So let’s talk therapy.  There are so many different kinds of therapy.  Different theories, different modes, different styles.  How many different kind of therapy do you think you’ve been exposed to?  I’m trying to remember.  There’s been individual counselling as well as a few couple sessions.  I’ve done several different types of group therapy.  I’ve done online chatting both individually and as a group.  I’ve also done forums and of course this blog I would also consider therapy, albeit self-directed.

I’ve been taught CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy).  I’ve had one counsellor that described her style as coming from a feminist perspective, another as a family systems theorist.  There’s client centered healing, oh  and my latest read was based on a Janetian theory which pays much attention to hierarchies of action systems.  There are many things you do in therapy like processing memories and learning practical skills.  There are countless theories and approaches.

I look at this and I think, “I should be the healthiest person around!”  There are a thousand types of therapy I’ve not been exposed to as well.  Do you know what theories your therapist is partial to?  Do you think yo have the right to know?  when I was younger it didn’t even occur to me to ask.  When I was moving to escape the bad guys I did ask that therapist what her main perspective came from so that I could tell any future therapist what I had worked with in the past.  Then I read this article by Kathy Broady and she talks about her approach at great length with her clients.

I have a great deal of respect for Kathy.  I discovered Discussing Dissociation when I was without a therapist after i moved.  i found all of the articles so informative and so in tune with what my experiences were.  Kathy is very knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to DID.  I know there has been some controversy out there about her but from my own personal experience, she’s been great.  A life saver even.

Anyway, I just wanted to p[ut these few questions out to see where you all stand.  Do you know what theories your therapist ascribes to?  Do you have a particular approach you feel you respond to better than others?  For any therapist out there, do you feel you are flexible as to what theory you use according to what client or do you stay rigidly within one or two?  Let me know what you’re thinking.

“Things are not what they seem.”

This is a triggery phrase for me. I didn’t realize how triggery until yesterday. I was watching a show on TV when one of the characters pronounced this line. It’s important to note that it’s a little different than what people normally say. The usual line is “Things are not always what they seem.” A one word difference. By removing the word ‘always’ the sentence becomes a statement of fact rather than a philosophical pondering.

Let me explain what this trigger is about. For yes, I do actually know what hides behind this one. I was talking to my therapist back in hometown about high school one day. Just sort of random memories, what it was like what I was like, how those years affected me etc. I mentioned a specific teacher and suddenly remembered a conversation we had when he pulled me aside after class one day. It seems he knew I was having great difficulties with a court case that was happening against one of my perpetrators. (Another teacher from elementary school was prosecuted for one incident that I, me, myself remembered) Anyway, my high school teacher told me as sort of an afterthought to this conversation, as if hesitant that things are not what they seem. I had no idea what he was trying to tell my little teenage brain. I thought maybe he was just trying to convey some conventional wisdom about life in general.

However… saying that phrase years later in therapy awakened a strange sensation. Almost a knowing inside. I discovered that this teacher was likely trying to tell me that my life was a little more complicated than I realized. I believe now that the teacher knew there was something more going on with me. Now whether he was on the side of dark or light, or merely a bystander, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps he was on dark and then saw the light, I don’t know. What I do know was that his message was to obscure for it to trickle down to where it needed to go. He told me something that day that would not come to fully realized until 15 years later.

I wonder what life would have looked like had I seen then what was actually happening to me. But wisdom tells me that I was not meant to know until I knew. Life unfolds as it should. Do I really believe that? I think maybe I do. Even if it leaves a sour, bitter mix of poison in my gut. Do you believe you were meant to suffer? Do you believe you were meant to be tested? Were you worthy enough to survive? You did survive, so maybe yes?