In Session Today: Part V - Page 53 - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 12-21-2018, 12:40 PM #521
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

A snippet....

Me: (trying to jumble and mumble my way through how I feel)

T: (says something about a logjam)

Me: Yes! A logjam, that's exactly the right word. I come in here and have all of the words and can't get to the right one, than you pull out the exactly right word. This all feels like a logjam.

(pause)

Me: Logjams are dangerous. (meaning literal logjams--I grew up in logging country)

T (who knows that): Yes. They are.
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Old 12-21-2018, 12:42 PM #522
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

T yesterday. As I walked by him, he said, "Hi there!" Me: "Hi." Went back and sat down (he was actually wearing his ring this time). T: "So I saw you heard back from ex-MC." Me: "Yes. When I wrote to you to let you know, I kept almost including these other comments about the email, but then I realized that it would suggest that I wanted you to reply about them. So I left those out." T smiled. Me: "See, I'm getting it, right?" T: "Yes you are!" Me: "And I'm applying it to communication with other people, too, I think." T: "Good! So how are you feeling about the email?"

Me: "I don't know. I expected to have more of a reaction to it than I did. I mean, I teared up for a few seconds, and I thought maybe it was partly because I had to keep myself together, because H was working from home and I was meeting my dad for Christmas shopping in an hour. But it's not like I got emotional later, either. And in the past, I'd have had more of a reaction." T: "What do you think is behind it?" Me: "I don't know. I mean, his response was in the middle. Like between what I wanted, which would be a true apology, like 'I'm sorry I hurt you.' And it wasn't the other extreme, which would have been cutting me off, telling me no more contact. So it's not like I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy or that I feel really hurt." T: "So, it's like he gave you vanilla, you asked for ice cream and he gave you vanilla." Me: "Well, except I like vanilla ice cream." T: "OK, bad comparison. Then he gave you Neapolitan." (the kind where it's 1/3 vanilla, 1/3 chocolate, and 1/3 strawberry) Me: "Yeah, OK."

I glanced at the email from ex-MC that I'd printed out. "Hey, with the Neopolitan thing, that kinda fits, because part talked about me, part you, and part H, so like the three different flavors." T: "I'm not sure I want to know which flavor I'd be!" Me: "Probably not! And like, is it good strawberry with pieces of actual strawberries, or the fake strawberry?"

We got back to the email. I said how in mentioning H twice in the end, it was like he was trying to shift focus off of me. T: "Like he was being careful to assert boundaries." Me: "Yeah. Like it wasn't 'I enjoyed and valued working with you.' It was, 'I enjoyed and valued working with you and H.' Which feels different."

Me: "And he put a lot of emphasis on my seeing you, like he said the thing about it being a sign of strength I stuck with you." T: "He was probably trying to be positive and focus on where you are now." Me: "Yeah, but I wonder what he'd have said if I'd decided to switch T's?" T: "He probably would have said that he hoped the new T would work out for you." Me: "True. Or what if I'd decided to stop therapy and try, say, meditation? He would have said that was good, too?" T: "Probably." Me: "What about if I said I was switching to Scientology?" T: "That I don't think he'd be positive about!"

I said I wondered if this email could possibly be what I needed to get to the acceptance stage. Like a last-ditch effort to see if he'd truly apologize. T: "Could be." Me: "And when I got his response...I mean, it was nice enough, I guess. But I also didn't really get the 'fix' from it like we'd talked about last time." T: "You didn't? That's interesting." Me: "Yeah...and I feel like my not getting that would make me more reluctant to email him again, at least not anytime soon." T: "Until maybe you're feeling vulnerable again." Me: "I don't know, I still may not want to. I feel like I should take him off my mental list of supports." T: "I wouldn't do anything to shorten that list." Me: "Yeah, I guess maybe just move him much further down it." T: "Yes."

I think I said something about putting ex-MC behind me. T said with people who are securely attached (as in, not me!), they can hold another person's feelings with them and don't need the person there. And they can also hold stuff from past interactions with people, too. Like they can recall that they had that connection with someone, value it, and trust that they can feel it again with someone else. He said he hopes I could get to that place with ex-MC. I said I wished I could get there, too, to the point where I could fondly remember positive interactions between us, but I'm not there yet. And that I wanted to be able to feel good about the positive stuff and how the relationship really meant something to me and was healing to me at times, without having to feel that it was tainted by the ending. T said he hopes for the same.

We had maybe 15 minutes left. I said I wanted to address a conversation I'd had with H Monday about ex-MC. I said how I'd already shared my email to ex-MC with H, and Monday evening, I was telling him how I'd spent the whole session on ex-MC stuff, how stuff with him had been weighing on my mind, and I was sorry if I'd been kind of distracted the past week or so. I said I hoped he was OK with it, and H had said, "Well, it does bother me a bit that you're upset about not getting an email back from another man." T: "Oh!"

I told T I wasn't sure how to respond to that. (T and I had talked in the past some about how the ex-MC stuff was probably difficult for H.) Me: "Yeah, I'm not sure how to explain my feelings for him." T: "I'm not sure *you* even fully understand those feelings." Me: "Yeah..." T: "So that makes it difficult to explain to H." Me: "I want to explain how much of it is transference, like stuff from my past and my parents, it's a different sort of love. But I don't know that he understands."

T: "Well, you may have to put it in Man Speak for him." Me: "Uh, OK. Could you maybe help me with that, since, you know, you're a man?" T closed his eyes for a moment, thinking (he does that often). T: "OK, I'd suggest saying something like this. 'I understand your concern about ex-MC. But I want you to know that I don't love him. I don't want to have sex with him. I don't want to be married to him. The feelings I get from him, they're from something I didn't get from my parents. So it's more about that.'" Me: "OK, I think I just worry he'll wonder why I can't get those things from him." T: "Well, the stuff you missed from your parents is different. Like, wanting them to accept you, to be proud of you." Me: "Yeah, while I guess a spouse is more of a reciprocal relationship." T: "Exactly." Me: "Maybe I'll see if there's a good time to talk to him about it..." T: "see how it goes."

Me: "I guess I also worry that...does he think of every male in my life as 'another man'? Like, does he think of you that way? If I tell him something funny you said, is he thinking, 'She's telling me that another man made her laugh.' As opposed to if it was something ex-t had said, because she's female?" T: "Well, you could always just ask him." Me: "I'm kind of afraid to. I mean, I talk about stuff from session sometimes because I feel like I want to be open with him. And I feel like, if I'm not sharing something I would have otherwise shared, like a joke, then why am I hiding it? Like he talks about his coworkers, some of whom are female, and a couple I know who are attractive. But I mean, I don't have coworkers now, so."

T: "Well, you could use the same Man Speak thing here. You could tell him, 'I don't feel anything at all for Dr. T.'" I couldn't look at him when he was saying that or for a bit after. Because he knows that's not entirely true. Like, he knows I find him to be attractive (I've told him). And I've told him before that I care about him and have a bit of platonic love feelings. (Of course it's nowhere near the level that things were with ex-MC--that was astronomical and overly complicated because of all the paternal transference stuff mixed in, which I don't have with T. T doesn't hit my receptors the same way ex-MC did, and I don't think he ever could.) But no way was I opening up that can of worms with 3 minutes left. And he was just talking about what to say to H. So I just said, "OK."

Talked another minute or two and was time to stop. He asked if I could come in at 9:30 instead of 11:30 Sunday, I said was fine. He said I could bring along a caffeinated beverage, and I said I likely would. He said of course he'd have his coffee. Confirmed next Thursday.

Went over and paid. He stood up and walked around his chair toward me. He usually stays sitting, and I thought he'd forgotten the handshake. He held out his hand, and we shook hands as he said,"Have a good...what day is it? a good few days." Me: "thanks, you too." T: "I'll see you Sunday." Me: "OK." T: "Take care." Me: "You too."
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Old 12-21-2018, 07:40 PM #523
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

T asked about my holiday memories and I talked a bit about various foods from childhood. Later she made a comment about how most of my christmas stuff is focused around sweet foods. I felt ashamed that I couldnt share more personal memories yet and a bit judged, (i have food issies) I told her this and explained why.

She replied that she hadn't meant it like she was judging me. She has given up sugar recently and it was more a reflection on how so much xmas food is sweet and she is bummed out not to be having it.

She looked me in the eyes an apologized .

She also said how impressed she was I had said something right away instead of shutting down.

I really like my t.
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Old 12-21-2018, 08:46 PM #524
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

We started ten minutes late, which is a bit unusual--he's often running from somewhere else on the hospital campus which makes him open his door a few minutes after the hour but not like this. It doesn't bother me, especially, because he always makes up the time at the end (though sometimes that means I'm a bit late for group afterwards).

HWMNBN asked what I had for the agenda. I said I'd had a good week, and felt like it might have had something to do with the fact that our last session had felt nice--like some part of me that had been screaming had been quieted, like some need of mine had been tended to. I also had to talk about a scheduling conundrum related to whether or not I should tell some people I'm working with that I've got a mental illness (all the people at my current workplace know, but I'll be rotating at a different hospital; it's complicated b/c I might want to work at the new hospital someday so I have a desire to seem impressive to them). He, of course, wanted to talk about what he so awkwardly phrased "dating updates." (Just to be clear, I don't think he has some kind of prurient interest in my dating life--he just wants me to be doing the sorts of things that other people my age are doing like dating and spending time doing fun things and that sort of nonsense. My annoyance is with his persistence and his sort of awkwardness in doing it.)

Anyway, I told him that that I classified the week as a good one mostly because I only felt really terrible once. (I had an upsetting meeting and felt really awful but managed to hang in there and go to a movie with a friend instead of cancelling or worse.) We talked about the dates I'd been on (one okay, one really kind of lovely).

Ack okay wow the NyQuil just set in--to be continued (hopefully tomorrow if this stuff makes me sleep through the night)
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Old 12-22-2018, 02:47 AM #525
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

Today was... Intense.

I had been considering talking to him about my wish that he would express more emotions, unlike when we first started working together when I communicated that it was very important to me to not do so.
But in the end I didn't need to.
Possible trigger:
but that Wednesday when I had been feeling really bad I started with writing a list of basically all the things I blame myself for in how I handled things as a child. Things I feel guilty about. Some of it was pretty mean to myself I guess.
But that I'd then gone on to make myself refute those beliefs and write more reasonable or fair interpretations.
He asked me about sharing the stuff I'd written and when I got through the third item
Possible trigger:

He stopped me at that point to tell me this was really hard for him to hear.
I asked him what he meant.
He said it hurt to hear me say those things about myself.
After pausing for what seemed like a moment of self reflection about why he was feeling or saying this he kind of carefully said something about it triggering something for him. I don't usually see his processing of his own thoughts and feelings in real time like that.
He compared it to feeling like he would
Possible trigger:

I didn't really know how to respond so I was kind of half jokingly like "so I'm going to guess that means you would find that upsetting." He sounded sad when he said yes, that would be upsetting for him.
He said he didn't mean that I shouldn't share it and he was glad I was talking about it, but he needed to tell me that it hurt to hear. I don't remember exact wording, but it was expressing that it was something he thought it was important for me to know, not about a need to say it for himself.
I kept myself from apologizing because I didn't want him to feel like he'd made a mistake by telling me that.

After a bit of silence I asked if I could read the rest and he said yes and I did.
He commented again on how difficult it was to listen to.
He said something about me being a child and emotions or something, and, as I always do when he brings that stuff up, I made an involuntary face of disgust and curled up tighter and turned my head away more. He pointed it out, as he's been doing lately.
He said something about what I'd think if it was any other child or something.
Oh and he said I would not say those things to the child. I admitted that, while I never would, part of me would want to lash out and hurt the child with cruel words. He said yes, but that would be because I'd want to make her shut up because it was too painful to face those feelings. He hadn't put it quite so bluntly before. I couldn't look at him.

I don't remember exactly what preceded the transition, but I told him that he'd prefer the second half/find it better. He said "I hope so."
I believed him. It really did seem to have bothered him. I'm not sure if today was worse than usual for some reason or if he just wasn't intentionally not letting it show.
I read the second half.
It was things like
Possible trigger:

after, he said he was glad I wrote the second half. When I was finally able to look at him again he looked and sounded less upset and more relieved. I half jokingly asked if I had been right that he'd like the second part better. He said yes.
I told him I knew it was stupid and I already knew what he'd answer, but did this mean that he didn't agree with the stuff in the first half?
He said yes, he didn't agree with it.
I asked if he thought I deserved to hurt myself, and he said no.
I asked if he thought I was a bad child. He said no. I said it really really feels like I was. That there's just this deep sense that I was bad and wrong. He said that's common for children who are abused. That it didn't make it true. I may have wiped away a tear at that point.
I'm still not used to him calling it abuse. It feels like that's overstating it.

Also I can't remember at what point these things were said, but he said something about me protecting my safety and I said I knew I wasn't in danger and he said it wasn't emotionally safe for me to be vulnerable.
I also expressed the fear/belief that everyone on some level thinks like my mother and will think less of me for being vulnerable or emotional. He said he hoped I didn't include him in that belief and I was like ... um ... Sometimes.
At some point when he was saying it was hard to hear me say this stuff about myself I said it wasn't exactly fun to feel either. That sometimes I really really hate myself. And it's a bad feeling. I don't remember how he responded. Probably something about progress and changing that.
At some early point we talked about my feelings of detachment and numbness and how at those points the earlier feelings don't feel real and I feel like I must have been faking it or exaggerating.
He said I had learned to shut off and suppress the emotions because I couldn't handle them at the time.
He made a personal disclosure, which he does very sparingly and with minimal detail, about an experience he had involving very intense emotions that were too much for him to handle and that it felt like a dream, and that he was always aware of the fact that that was because his brain was protecting him from those emotions, and he never thought that must have meant he was faking it or something.
In a way it helped, but in a way it was also much more understandable for the experience he was describing.

I still don't really know what to think of all of this. I don't know why me saying those things about myself that I've said a million times before was different today. And if the difference was in how he felt about it out in what he showed. I do know that it helped though and I think I needed that. But now I have to wait 13 days until my next appointment and I'm seeing my father for two days right after Christmas. So it's definitely bad timing and I'm worried that I'll move several steps backwards.
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:13 AM #526
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

That sounds like a powerful and important session, LabRat. I'm glad your T shared his feelings with you.
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Old 12-22-2018, 04:42 PM #527
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

LabRat, tears welled up in my eyes reading your session- it gets to the heart of what I love about therapy. Thank you.
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Old 12-22-2018, 05:13 PM #528
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

Quote:
Originally Posted by SalingerEsme View Post
LabRat, tears welled up in my eyes reading your session- it gets to the heart of what I love about therapy. Thank you.
Thank you for saying that.
I feel stupid and ashamed for caring so much, like I'm way too vulnerable and none of it should matter that much to me, like I'm being pathetic for having found it so emotionally intense and meaningful.
Your reply helped.
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Old 12-23-2018, 04:20 PM #529
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

Quote:
Originally Posted by chihirochild View Post
We started ten minutes late, which is a bit unusual--he's often running from somewhere else on the hospital campus which makes him open his door a few minutes after the hour but not like this. It doesn't bother me, especially, because he always makes up the time at the end (though sometimes that means I'm a bit late for group afterwards).

HWMNBN asked what I had for the agenda. I said I'd had a good week, and felt like it might have had something to do with the fact that our last session had felt nice--like some part of me that had been screaming had been quieted, like some need of mine had been tended to. I also had to talk about a scheduling conundrum related to whether or not I should tell some people I'm working with that I've got a mental illness (all the people at my current workplace know, but I'll be rotating at a different hospital; it's complicated b/c I might want to work at the new hospital someday so I have a desire to seem impressive to them). He, of course, wanted to talk about what he so awkwardly phrased "dating updates." (Just to be clear, I don't think he has some kind of prurient interest in my dating life--he just wants me to be doing the sorts of things that other people my age are doing like dating and spending time doing fun things and that sort of nonsense. My annoyance is with his persistence and his sort of awkwardness in doing it.)

Anyway, I told him that that I classified the week as a good one mostly because I only felt really terrible once. (I had an upsetting meeting and felt really awful but managed to hang in there and go to a movie with a friend instead of cancelling or worse.) We talked about the dates I'd been on (one okay, one really kind of lovely).

Ack okay wow the NyQuil just set in--to be continued (hopefully tomorrow if this stuff makes me sleep through the night)
Okay, I'm back--that stuff is stronger than I remember!

I'd forgotten to add that about five minutes after the appointment was supposed to start, HWMNBN stuck his head out of his door and said, "I'm sorry, I've got a situation and I'm going to be late." And then at ten minutes after this other patient left, and HWMNBN came to fetch me. He apologized and I said, "it's okay--people don't tend to fall apart on schedule."

Anyway, we talked about the guys I've been dating: M (the guy who I liked talking to but wasn't really attracted to) and J (the guy who at the time of the session I was really starting to like... though I've since gone on a third date and decided he's not for me, but that's a different story). HWMNBN commented that I was making the guys work for it a little (e.g. not responding very promptly sometimes). I said that yes, I knew I was doing that--I feel, in some part, un-loveable and un-wantable. Every time I go on a date I am a little shocked that they don't flee as soon as they catch a glimpse of me. (He looked really sad when I said that--looked like he had tears in his eyes.) I feel more secure if I have evidence that they actually like me and want to spend time with me. I'm not, like, playing hard to get, but I do recognize myself allowing the guys to pursue me a little.

And then things went wrong. I don't remember anymore how we got onto this topic but he said something about how I wouldn't have stayed in therapy with him if I had thought that he was only working with me out of professional obligation. I wondered aloud what feelings he might have towards me outside of professional obligation. He gestured towards me to indicate I ought to answer, I rolled my eyes and said something that I've now forgotten. It was very difficult to say but I eventually spat out that I wanted him to care about me as a person. I didn't say I wanted him to say that to me, I just said that I wanted it to be the case. (We were also talking about other stuff like how I care about my patients outside of professional obligation etc.)

His response to this really didn't feel good. He said that this conversation felt something like me asking for a hug (which, just to be clear, I have NEVER asked from him, and don't even want from him; that's something that I've wanted from other therapists and talked with him about). I startled a little when he said that and he asked why. I said that was because conversations where I ask therapists to do something that might qualify as "meeting needs" tend not to go very well or feel very good.

Aaaaand it didn't. He basically was like, "I don't think I should tell you how I feel." His reasons included, "I don't think that how I feel is important" (to which I wanted to scream, "COUNTERTRANSFERENCE CAN BE USED AS A TOOL TO BETTER UNDERSTAND PATIENTS YOU DING-DONG"), "can't you tell how I feel?" (which is just stupid), and some other stuff I don't remember. He said that this was an awful way to end a session to which I agreed but I had to leave because I was late for group.

I was still feeling hurt all through group. I told the group what had happened, that it feels like every time I start to feel safe with him and say something vulnerable, I end up getting hurt. The group leader said she really thought that our sessions needed to be audited (that's not the word she used, but that was the idea of it), and she was going to make that happen. (HWMNBN and the group are both part of a bigger program so they work closely together--like, she watches some of my sessions, and HWMNBN watches some of the group sessions.) She didn't say it in a punitive kind of way, but said something like, "we all have blind spots, and we all sometimes fall into re-enactments." I think she's right.

(LT, I thought of you during this last part of the conversation--similar to that conversation you had with your therapist a while ago about wanting him to say, "I care about you.")

ETA: He also said something about the fact that our sessions are very intense, which tbh I hadn't noticed, especially. (I mean, yes, they can be intense in the way that therapy often is... but not more so than other kinds of therapy I've had.)
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Old 12-24-2018, 11:52 AM #530
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Default Re: In Session Today: Part V

T yesterday at 9:30 a.m. Went back and he told me to wait before sitting down. He wiped down where I usually sit with Lysol wipes, saying his previous client had a cold and he didn't want to take any chances with me getting it. Me: "Uh, thanks." I sat. He was wearing not penguin socks, but the black ones with big red roses on them. Me: "I've been awake less than 2 hours, so no guarantee how my brain will be working." T: "OK." Me: "Oh, and I'm totally sober right now--I usually have a beer before session." T: "Does that mean we should schedule more sessions at this time?" Me: "I don't know, let's see how things go..."

Discussed some stuff about D. T then asked how I was doing processing the ex-MC stuff. Me: "I'm still doing OK, actually." T: "You sound surprised by that." Me: "I am. I really thought I'd be reacting more. I'm kind of confused." T put his hands around his mouth and whispered, "Maybe it's that you're getting well." Me: "Maybe? I guess I just was dealing with stuff with him from most of the time I was seeing him and then since the rupture and termination. Maybe I just needed the email and the last few sessions to process it?" T: "I think you've probably been processing it all along." Me: "Hm, good point, even if some of it was subconscious."

I checked clock--we had almost a half hour left. Me: "So...there's something I kind of want to bring up, but I told myself I wouldn't." T: "OK, you don't have to talk about it." Me: "I know, but if it's something that I'm worried about talking about, maybe that means I need to talk about it? But then I'm thinking, it's almost Christmas, so..." T: "It's up to you." Me: "OK." T: "Do you want to say what the topic is? You don't have to." Me: "Well, it's partly the fact that I feel like I can't talk about certain topics, that I worry about how you'll react to them. And I hate that." T: "You don't have to worry about how I'm feeling." Me: "I'm more concerned about what you'll say to me about it." T: "Why do you think that is?" Me: "I don't want you to feel uncomfortable with me." T: "You don't need to consider my comfort." Me: "It's more my reaction to what you'd say about it." T: "OK."

Me: "Like with the stone...I hate to bring that up again, but." T: "It's fine." Me: "When you said that it felt creepy or weird, that made me feel really bad." T: "I want to clarify that I wasn't saying that *you* were creepy or weird. I want to make sure you know that I don't think that about you. Because I don't." Me: "OK, thanks. I guess I just don't want you to think about me in a negative way." T said something about nothing I've done made him think that way. Me: "Maybe that I use too many tissues?" T laughed.

Me: "I guess the thing I want to talk about is from something you said last session, like when you were suggesting the Man Speak stuff to say to H." T: "OK." Me: "Maybe I shouldn't talk about it..." T: "It's up to you." Me: "OK, I probably should if it's on my mind. So you said what to tell H to make him feel better about ex-MC. Things like I don't love him. But...I'm not sure if I'd be lying? I mean, I'm not sure that I love him anymore, but a year ago, I did. Though I guess I'd just be talking about what I feel now, so..." T: "OK."

Me: "And then...what you said I could say about you, where you said, 'I don't feel anything at all for Dr. T." T: "I don't recall saying it in those words, but OK." Me: "OK, maybe just something similar. But I realized I couldn't look at you when you said that. I think because it's not entirely true. And I know I've brought some of this stuff up with you before...and you seemed OK with some of it. So...I guess I was just afraid of what you meant when you said that. Like were you trying to send a message or were you just suggesting something to say to H." T: "Just something to say to H. I didn't mean anything else by it. You know, you often give me credit for having put more thought into something than I did." Me: "OK, so it was just something to show H you aren't a threat?" T: "Exactly." Me: "OK."

Me: "Because, I mean, like I said, it's not like I don't feel anything. I can be more specific if you want." T: "There's no need for specifics, we can leave it vague." Me: "OK. I mean, it's not like I'm in love with your or wish I was married to you or something." I started laughing. Me: "OK, that came out a bit more harshly than I meant it to!" T (smiling): "It's OK."

I said how at one point, I *did* feel those things about ex-MC. T said it's not surprising because of how caring he was toward me. I said was a bit confusing because some of it was paternal and some was like, "Well, H isn't giving me this but MC is." T: "It makes sense that those are qualities you'd want in a parent or a partner or anyone you had some sort of relationship with." Me: "Yeah, I mean, I know I was idealizing him. Because he couldn't be like that all the time in everyday life. I think I told him once that if he was, it would probably be annoying!" T: "Yeah, like 'stop holding me with your voice!'" Me: "Exactly." T: "If you know someone in real life, you learn more about them. Like everyone has bad breath, everyone has to sit on the toilet." (Me, in my head: I will not think about my T pooping...) Me: "Yeah, with ex-MC, when I was first meeting with him to discuss transference, a friend suggested I ask him to tell me all his gross habits. He said he could tell me, but I opted not to know." T: "It would have been an interesting thing to have held over him." Me: "Yeah. And ex-T had told me, I probably could have spent 10 minutes on the phone with his wife--she was still alive at the time--and I'd learn what it's really like to live with him."

I said how I felt I didn't have the idealizing thing with T. T: "Maybe it's because I haven't always been accepting of you." Me: "Hm, that makes sense. I feel at times how that's actually probably better for me. Because with ex-MC, he was showing an unrealistic example of a relationship. Like I'm not going to probably find someone who is that accepting of everything and caring all the time in the real world. So then that just left me attached to him and not wanting to leave."

T said that from the outside, it seemed inevitable that ex-MC and I would have had a major conflict. Because all relationships have them at some point. T: "And most people are able to work through them, just as I think we have." Me: "Yes." T said the thing he's said before about how working through conflicts can make a relationship stronger because you know you can get through it. That he hopes I realize that with our relationship, too. That we've worked through things before and will work through them again when something else comes up. I said I guessed that could help me more with outside relationships, and he agreed.

T said how he thinks I've been dealing with conflict better recently, whether with him or other people. And that I seem less affected by people saying negative things to me, like on PC threads. How before, if someone made a comment, I'd be more likely to agonize over it. While now, I'm less likely to take it to heart. Me: "Yeah, I think you're right. Is that the LT filter you've talked about?" T: "Partly, I think so." I said I felt like I'd been doing better handling conflicts with H and with friends, too, and he agreed. How it's partly that I'm not assuming I did something wrong. Me: "Yeah, sometimes I realize it's the other person, too." T: "But it doesn't have to be anyone doing something wrong. People are just different, so they have conflicts. I can't think of anyone in my life who is exactly like me. So I'm going to have conflicts with them, just because of the differences." Me: "Hm, I hadn't thought about it that way before." T: "Some people choose to avoid difficult topics, and they end up with rugs that are really high because they swept everything under them, and with elephants and gorillas sitting around the room." Me: "My mom is kind of like that..." T: "But it's generally better to talk about it." Me: "Yeah or the elephant or gorilla just keeps getting bigger." T pointed at me: "Exactly."

At some point in the middle of that, after we started discussing therapeutic relationship, T asked me, "Does all this feel OK?" And I said yes. Then he checked in again with me at the end. Which I appreciated. And it really did feel OK.

When we had 5 minutes left, he was still talking about the conflict stuff, referencing Gottman (who did research on marriage) and some other things. I said a couple times I knew we had to stop soon, but T kept talking and wasn't making moves to stop. So I went with it. We finally stopped at the hour mark, and I still had to schedule and pay. He confirmed Thursday, said he'd be in some Sunday and Monday, that I could just text him to schedule. Me: "I know, because we're over time." T: "That was my fault." Me: "OK." Went over and paid. Shaking hands, T said, "Happy Holidays!" Me: "Same to you." T: "I hope Santa brings you whatever you want." Me: "Thanks! Uh, you too?" T: "Take care." Me: "You too."
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