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Old 12-18-2018, 08:51 AM
Echos Myron redux Echos Myron redux is offline
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Echos Myron redux Echos Myron redux is offline
Grand Poohbah
Echos Myron redux is tired
 
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Location: UK
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

This feels so stupid and I feel stupid posting it but this is what has happened between my T and me in the last 24 hours. Yesterday marked four years of working together. I sent him an appreciative email and, lightheartedly, a link to the Kristen Bell song about her therapist. (for anyone who hasn't seen it, here it is YouTube )

For context, there is nothing in this song that is far from my feelings and experiences towards him, nothing that I haven't expressed to him many times before. Historically, we have had a couple of ruptures where I have inferred that he somehow sees me as threatening, or something (which he strongly denies feeling) and the main one of these happened in 2016 where he wrongly thought I had found out his wife's identity through some illicit means, when actually, she had simply been on my university's list of approved supervisors. He called me "an online sleuth" and we had the mother of all ruptures. We learnt from that that the notion of me being a threat to him echoes my mother's involvement with a man, when I was young, who convinced her I was the devil and they would lock me out in the rain and buy themselves food but not me. But I digress. Needless to say, the idea of being seen as threatening or scary is very triggering for me.

Anyway, since then he has seemed much better about my feelings towards him, and I have been able to express love, longing etc to him without anything but acceptance from him. I have told him about googling for obscure pictures of him at conferences, and he hasn't batted an eyelid.

So I was surprised by his response to the song, which was "The song is scary. Funny, but scary." (it's a pity because the part of the email responding to my appreciation had been really nice).

I emailed him back and said I was sorry he found it scary. I hadn't found it so. At all.

He emailed back the one line "Not at all scary to you as a therapist?"

This INFURIATED me. I was like wtf is he trying to do here? This is not a therapeutic way to speak to a client. Not only had he touched on a huge trigger for me, but it was like he hadn't noticed, and plowed on, proceeding to talk like it was completely inconceivable that as a therapist, I wouldn't be scared of what seem to me to be pretty run of the mill curiosity and fantasy about a therapist. Instead of being open and curious about my feelings he acted like I wasn't being honest.

It hurt on so many levels. I thought he knew me? I'm not a different person as a therapist. My knowledge of what transference feels like doesn't fly out of my head the minute I leave my T's office. "As a therapist" wtf does that even mean? I feel what I feel as a person.

I replied through shaking and tears:
Quote:
No. The client is expressing curiosity and fantasy, not stalking or threatening the therapist. It's very relatable for a lot of clients. Being scared of curiosity and fantasy (which often has its roots in very young feelings) would feel out of proportion to me, and to express it to a client would be incomprehensible.
He didn't immediately reply (like he previously had) and I felt like he was going to pick this moment to stop replying, having opened the conversation up with that question.

A friend said to me that maybe he didn't understand the impact this had had on me, so I sent him another email in which I said that his response had hurt me, it was so contrary to my usual experience of him, and I had never known him to be argumentative or to question the veracity of my feelings before. I told him I wasn't sure if I am coming on Wednesday.

He replied that he was really sorry that his response had hurt me, and he realised it from my last reply and was wondering how to respond. He said "I very much hope to see you on Wednesday".

I will probably go. I don't feel like accepting his apology. Four years I have been trying to get him to understand what therapy feels like for me, and when I think he understands, and I let my guard down, feeling like he couldn't possibly hurt me, and something like this happens. If he's still scared after all this time then what are we even doing? And if he thinks I am going to be scared of feelings which are a normal response to therapy for a lot of people, does he know me at all?

Last edited by FooZe; 12-18-2018 at 09:41 PM. Reason: fixed typo at author's request
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