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Old 02-01-2019, 08:08 PM #31
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Default Re: LT's thread

I think this idea of a therapist as an authority figure is an interesting one. I do see my T as an authority on psychology and relationships, given her training, experience, and what I assume is a natural knack for dissecting human interactions. My sense of her authority in that domain comes from years of hearing her observations and predictions and then comparing them to my real-life experiences. She has accurately explained people in my life that she has never met, so I do weight her opinions about certain things pretty heavily, probably more than anybody else's except my own.

Aside from my estimation of her expertise, I also see her as an authority figure in the traditional sense. But I see that as power that I have given her in the context of our relationship, and I retain the ability to revoke my consent and either leave therapy or change the parameters of our interactions. I give her that power because I can't experiment with being vulnerable and trusting somebody to take care of me without putting her in a position of authority to do that. This is all reworking childhood stuff, which is where I personally need to be. I could see other people not needing to play out that dynamic, though, and thus seeing their therapist more like a consultant or a trusted friend or somebody who is paid to sit there and stay back.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:52 PM #32
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Default Re: LT's thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by stopdog View Post
"Something about PC came up and some of the feedback I'd gotten on here, both about myself and about him. T: "I get the sense many people on there think I'm an @$$hole." Me: "Yeah, some do seem to have that impression. And I suppose you do have your moments...You do have some fans though!" T said he's said before how there's the spectrum of T's with the more warm, fuzzy ones on one side, and then the more detached, sort of behaviorists on the other side."

I think he sounds like an asshole, but not because he is not warm and fuzzy nor is it because he is more detached. I am not saying you shouldn't hire him if he works for you for some reason. I am saying I would never had hired a therapist who acts the way you describe him.

Oh I agree that he can be an asshole at times (apparently you can just use that word on here). But he's also receptive to my calling him out when he's being one. (Maybe not in those exact words, but something to that effect.) Which I think is an important quality. And is giving me practice in calling people out...
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:56 PM #33
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Default Re: LT's thread

LT

That's one thing I liked about my T as well, he allowed that and he in turned called me out. It was really powerful for me.

It is odd that you can say that here but not certain other things
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:01 PM #34
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Originally Posted by DP_2017 View Post
LT

I really HOPE you remember all this. I know it's hard but try not to panic about things with him so much. He's been very patient with you and he's not the kind of T to not say something if it's bothering him.

It was interesting to me that he said he hadn't had a talk about boundaries like that before, my T said the exact same when I used to ask about texting boundaries.

I am surprised he considered himself always on call. Kinda sad, it comes off as work is more important than family, or that he can't separate his personal and professional life. I don't know anyone who would be on call for their job that much

Why would you think there is a rule about happy birthday wishes? I've never heard such a thing. Mine said it to me. Many others have talked about it here. Not any different than saying Merry Christmas. I'm glad you asked him how to help you stop seeing him as an authority figure, working on changing that mindset will really help you. I think you will feel such a sense of relief.

Thanks, DP. I'm trying to keep all of what he said in my head. And he's been true to his word in telling me if something bothers him, even if it's just a little bit. So I need to trust that he will. And realize that even if I'm bothering him, he's not going to kick me out.


That's interesting that your T hadn't had a boundaries talk either. In a way, it makes more sense with your T because he hadn't been practicing that long. Mine has been for over 15 years, so you'd think it would have come up at some point. Though it could be he's sort of revised his policy over that time (as part of it was with another practice, he's been solo for I think 9 years). And maybe most clients either didn't email much or just accepted any charges without questioning it.

I was actually surprised at his on-call comment, too, because I thought ex-MC was like that (for him, more like 24 hours, because he answered the phone in the middle of the night once, while my T has said he doesn't do that). But it feels like T has more boundaries set, like the reason he wants clients to only text about scheduling is that he always has his phone with him, so if one were to text about something else, it could interrupt family or other time. While his email, he chooses when to check that, so it's not, as he'd say, "intrusive." (He said texting about scheduling, he can just reply without having to think about it, as compared to a client texting him about an issue they're having.) Same with calls, he generally would only do them if scheduled, but said he can talk briefly in a crisis (if not in middle of night).

I guess the birthday thing, it would just be like I'd mention the next day was my birthday to ex-T or actually last year to current T (I'm going to a concert tomorrow on my birthday), and to me, a friend or coworker would just be like "Oh, happy birthday!" While it seemed like they just wouldn't say it. So I think I figured maybe there was some sort of thing about it, but maybe it's just them...though turns out I guess it's not a thing for current T anyway. Maybe ex-T was just weird...
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:11 PM #35
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Default Re: LT's thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectricManatee View Post
I think this idea of a therapist as an authority figure is an interesting one. I do see my T as an authority on psychology and relationships, given her training, experience, and what I assume is a natural knack for dissecting human interactions. My sense of her authority in that domain comes from years of hearing her observations and predictions and then comparing them to my real-life experiences. She has accurately explained people in my life that she has never met, so I do weight her opinions about certain things pretty heavily, probably more than anybody else's except my own.

Aside from my estimation of her expertise, I also see her as an authority figure in the traditional sense. But I see that as power that I have given her in the context of our relationship, and I retain the ability to revoke my consent and either leave therapy or change the parameters of our interactions. I give her that power because I can't experiment with being vulnerable and trusting somebody to take care of me without putting her in a position of authority to do that. This is all reworking childhood stuff, which is where I personally need to be. I could see other people not needing to play out that dynamic, though, and thus seeing their therapist more like a consultant or a trusted friend or somebody who is paid to sit there and stay back.

Regarding your first part, my T has said he feels it's a partnership, where he's the expert on psychology and I'm the expert on LT.

What you say about giving her that power in order to be vulnerable and trusting rings true. I don't think I included this, but in one of the authority figure discussions with T, I said how I think part of why I see him that way is that I've been so vulnerable with him, that I've told him some things I haven't really shared with other people, let him see me be really emotional, etc. And I'm trusting him to still accept me despite what I tell him, which is something I wanted but didn't/don't so much get from my parents. So even though I don't have the same paternal transference for him that I did with ex-MC--like I've never thought "I wish he could have been my dad" or things like that--there's still some parental stuff at play in the dynamic. I think this is a conversation I need to continue with him, so that maybe I can figure out how to shift the dynamic, or at least for us both to understand it better. Because maybe that could help me with the dynamics of other authority figures in my life (whether now or in the future).
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:52 AM #36
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What popped into my head reading your last session and the fears about arbitrariness in response and him taking things away is how young those fears sound. I wondered if you were an only child, because for some reason this pings for me as perhaps more profound for only children. When you have siblings, I think you have an "outsider" perspective about how the parent/child relationship changes naturally as children "achieve" developmental stages, like pottying, weaning, and so on including lots of independent things like dressing, feeding, reading by themselves . . . .

Less from my childhood, but more from my son's, who is an only child. We were quite "attachment" oriented in practice without buying into the theory wholesale. It was clear to me that he perceived certain stages of independence with some fears, like what will it mean that mom and dad won't help me with ___ anymore? I think he associated, and at almost adult age still does, doing things for him as love, and if those were no longer done, then the love was draining away. At some point he expressed that he was afraid to read by himself because then we wouldn't read to him anymore.

I've never read the book, but many people I know talk about "love languages" and about what love (could just as easy be support or caring) means. Maybe it was mentioned in your marriage counseling. Just wondering if your feelings and fears about emailing and what not are related to something in the neighborhood of this idea.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:36 PM #37
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Default Re: LT's thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonesomeTonight View Post

I guess the birthday thing, it would just be like I'd mention the next day was my birthday to ex-T or actually last year to current T (I'm going to a concert tomorrow on my birthday), and to me, a friend or coworker would just be like "Oh, happy birthday!" While it seemed like they just wouldn't say it. So I think I figured maybe there was some sort of thing about it, but maybe it's just them...though turns out I guess it's not a thing for current T anyway. Maybe ex-T was just weird...

I thought that not saying happy birthday was some sort of therapist thing too! Whenever I’ve casually mentioned my birthday, none of my Ts have ever said happy birthday. Almost like if they said it they would be imposing their own view of birthdays onto the client? I always thought it was kinda strange since like you said, if it was a friend or really anyone else, they’d just say it casually.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:47 PM #38
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Default Re: LT's thread

There has been a thread here before about birthdays and therapy, and it seems like a decent number of therapists have said happy birthday. Mine has, at least twice that I can remember.
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Old 02-02-2019, 01:02 PM #39
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Default Re: LT's thread

My T has wished me happy birthday before as well.
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Old 02-02-2019, 02:45 PM #40
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Default Re: LT's thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anne2.0 View Post
What popped into my head reading your last session and the fears about arbitrariness in response and him taking things away is how young those fears sound. I wondered if you were an only child, because for some reason this pings for me as perhaps more profound for only children. When you have siblings, I think you have an "outsider" perspective about how the parent/child relationship changes naturally as children "achieve" developmental stages, like pottying, weaning, and so on including lots of independent things like dressing, feeding, reading by themselves . . . .

Less from my childhood, but more from my son's, who is an only child. We were quite "attachment" oriented in practice without buying into the theory wholesale. It was clear to me that he perceived certain stages of independence with some fears, like what will it mean that mom and dad won't help me with ___ anymore? I think he associated, and at almost adult age still does, doing things for him as love, and if those were no longer done, then the love was draining away. At some point he expressed that he was afraid to read by himself because then we wouldn't read to him anymore.

I've never read the book, but many people I know talk about "love languages" and about what love (could just as easy be support or caring) means. Maybe it was mentioned in your marriage counseling. Just wondering if your feelings and fears about emailing and what not are related to something in the neighborhood of this idea.
I am an only child, so you could be onto something here... I can definitely tell some of the fears with T come from a young place and mentioned that to him. It's like my mom expected perfection (with lots of things, academically, friendships, financial stuff, etc.), and now this emailing thing, where I'm no longer at "green" I think is triggering that. He said that even if I hit red, I can then go back to green.

Whereas with my mom, if I messed up in some way, she wouldn't let me forget it for years. Forgot a homework assignment and got a zero on it? She kept reminding me of it and how hard it was to claw myself back to an A. Even getting a speeding ticket in my mid-20s (from a speed trap on a highway, going along with the traffic, not being reckless), she was still telling me years later "stay out of the fast lane" if I said I was driving somewhere. And, I mean, a large number of people get speeding tickets at some point in their lives (including my T--we discussed it once). So I think maybe I need to delve into all of this stuff more with T--we've talked about it some, but if it's triggered so easily like this...there's clearly more to work through.

And to tie it back into your original comment, I think being an only child played into that, because my mom just had me to focus on. And I had no ally in dealing with the pressure.


ETA: I have looked at the love languages book (and taken the test online--ex-MC seemed to think it was BS) and considered it in relation to my H but not beyond that. Trying to remember what I came up with for me...maybe I'll take the online quiz again. I think maybe the words of affirmation, or something to that effect? Definitely not physical affection or "acts of service."
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