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Old 02-11-2019, 09:05 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by JaneTennison1 View Post
I love that your T picked up on how much therapy bleeds into your real life and is trying to look at that with you. It sounds sometimes like you could use a break from it and I hope you find it.
This resonated with me too. I think you have a good T and a very strong relationship with him. I think it can sometimes be difficult to navigate how much emergency we are putting into using therapy to help improve our real lives and when therapy is taking over our real lives. That’s something I struggled with when I was in therapy. When I felt like I wasn’t getting “enough” from my T, sometimes it was because something wasn’t going right in the therapy and sometimes it was because I was trying to use the relationship with T to fill something that was missing IRL. I never did manage to figure out how to get therapy to improve my RL, but I have seen others do it. For me, I always kind of “obsessed” over therapy to the point it became a greater source of emotion than my RL relationships and simply ending therapy was the right choice for me. For others though who have Ts with good boundaries (like yours), I think there are ways to focus on how therapy can help you make improvements IRL without getting so wrapped up in the T relationship that you lose days a time. I just remember so vividly how this used to happen with me, so it stands out. I wish there were more resources that helped clients with this. Like, what should a client DO when this kind of preoccupation is happening? Maybe your T has some helpful suggestions for you.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:27 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by JaneTennison1 View Post
I love that your T picked up on how much therapy bleeds into your real life and is trying to look at that with you. It sounds sometimes like you could use a break from it and I hope you find it.

Yes, I think it's good he realized this as well and was concerned about it and is trying to help me do something to change it.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:29 AM   #53
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LT- as much as you may doubt this now, I think your t is a good mixture of hard-***/but compassionate and that I think is the kind of t you need. He at the same time can understand your transference (I think he really gets it) and affirms those feelings, but keep boundaries and not become enmeshed as he noted you and mc seemed to get tangled in. I think consciously or not you sense that from him, and you get afraid and want to find another t who you may feel you have a little more control over, or somebody who seems a little more “emotional.” If you are going to stick with therapy I really think current t is the right guy. I think you two will do great work together. However, as always just another opinion take it or leave it

Thanks. I'm actually thinking lately that you're right--that he is the kind of T I need. I think he definitely understands the transference/attachment better now than when I first started seeing him (but kinda wish he had more background in it). I think I realize that he may be completely what I *want* in a T, but he's what I *need* in a T. Hm, maybe talking to that other T helped me realize that...
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:33 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by scorpiosis37 View Post
This resonated with me too. I think you have a good T and a very strong relationship with him. I think it can sometimes be difficult to navigate how much emergency we are putting into using therapy to help improve our real lives and when therapy is taking over our real lives. That’s something I struggled with when I was in therapy. When I felt like I wasn’t getting “enough” from my T, sometimes it was because something wasn’t going right in the therapy and sometimes it was because I was trying to use the relationship with T to fill something that was missing IRL. I never did manage to figure out how to get therapy to improve my RL, but I have seen others do it. For me, I always kind of “obsessed” over therapy to the point it became a greater source of emotion than my RL relationships and simply ending therapy was the right choice for me. For others though who have Ts with good boundaries (like yours), I think there are ways to focus on how therapy can help you make improvements IRL without getting so wrapped up in the T relationship that you lose days a time. I just remember so vividly how this used to happen with me, so it stands out. I wish there were more resources that helped clients with this. Like, what should a client DO when this kind of preoccupation is happening? Maybe your T has some helpful suggestions for you.

Thanks, it helps to hear how you characterize your past experience with T (I read much of it at the time, but it's often different looking back). It's easy to get sucked in when a T can seem so caring and supportive. I agree that there should be more resources for this (aside from PC!) and that T's should be more aware that it's happening AND know what to do to help clients with it. I mean, ex-T would comment on how much I seemed to think about therapy in general and ex-MC in particular, but it didn't seem she had any suggestions for me in how to stop doing that. I mean, "Stop thinking about it so much" isn't particularly helpful! Ex-MC certainly didn't seem to do anything to shift it either...


Hm, this seems like a potential thread on PC...
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:38 AM   #55
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T Monday. Spent first 5 minutes ranting about the winter weather that had closed schools that day. Me: "OK, think I just needed to get that out!"

I said I'd felt OK about things since Thursday's session. Me: "But I guess you assumed that because you hadn't heard from me." T: "Actually, I wasn't sure. I thought maybe you just didn't want to email." Me: "Ah OK. No, I do feel OK about what we talked about in session." T smiled: "Good." Me: "And I don't really feel the need to see the consulting T again." T: "Are you worried about hurting my feelings?" Me: "Uh...no...I just don't feel the need to see her again for now. Like I think I got what I needed and feel OK about things here for now." T: "OK, just making sure." Me: "I mean, maybe I'd want to see her again in the future? But not right now."

I said how part of it was that I realized talking to her felt more like talking to a friend in some ways, maybe because she was laughing so much? Me: "Or maybe because she's only 2 years older than me? But then you're only 7 years older, so..." I said how a someone had said maybe the friend thing could be good vs. authority figure. T: "It would be a different dynamic. What do you think?" Me: "I don't know. I could see that point. But really, I think what would be better would be to figure out how not to see you as so much of an authority figure. OK, what would really be good is to change how I think about authority figures in general." T pointed at me (one of his things): "Now you're talking." Me: "Yeah. Because I'm going to keep encountering them in life."

This led to a bit of discussion about PC. I mentioned how I hadn't shared Thursday's session until that morning. T: "Wow, that's a change." Me: "Yeah, I think I wanted to be sure about how I felt about it before sharing it." T: "How did that go?" Me: "I think it helped." We discussed how my sharing stuff about session more quickly, before I'd had time to process, could be problematic with me. Because if I wasn't sure how I felt, then I might be swayed by what other people said. T said waiting could help me better use the "LT filter." Where I'd be filtering what other people said through my own feelings. Which could help me be less affected by others' thoughts. We then talked about how PC as a whole, like a consensus of people's opinions, could almost be like an authority figure. He talked some about "group think," but I forget what all he said. So I think I'm going to wait more to post sessions.

Also talked very briefly about how I feel some friends could be like authority figures to me, specifically mentioning the person I considered my best friend in high school and in my 20s. He found that interesting. I said I needed to think more about what made someone an authority figure in my mind. Me: "That might be a good thing for me to kind of explore the week you're away..." T agreed.

Somehow we ended up talking about email. I said how my intention was to not email him while he's away (next week, like this Saturday to next Sunday). He reiterated that it was fine to email him then. I said I knew I was at a certain level of emails, so I imagined he'd charge me if I emailed then. T said I was approaching that point, that maybe he would charge if I emailed that week (not because he's away, but because of the amount I've emailed in past month or so). But how if I waited a couple weeks, could all reset.

I asked for more specifics. He said again how he hadn't really gone into this email policy in this detail with anyone, so he hadn't thought it through on that level. Me: "I guess I'm the only client who has asked for this much detail?" T: "Well, I have some clients who don't email at all. And those that do tend to fall into two categories. Some would an email that obviously requires a longer response, so it would be obvious that I'd charge for that. (he generally charges for replies taking longer than 15 minutes). And then there are some who just send me a shorter email occasionally, like once a month, so those I wouldn't charge. But you're kind of a mix of all three." Me: "Oh, OK. So I'm the confusing one, then!" (or something like that.) I forget what he said to that.

At some point we also discussed coping mechanisms, how some can be good in moderation, but then too much can be bad. He gave example of alcohol (which is one of mine). I said how emailing him could maybe be the same way. He gave me a look like "Yep, you're getting it!" I talked about maybe creating an actual list of coping mechanisms I could use, things to try if I'm struggling. He said it's a good idea, that it can be hard to think of them in the moment. And that's part of why he gave me that COPE inventory a few weeks ago, that maybe I could use that as a starting point for a list, then add other stuff to it that's not on there.

Also talked briefly about if I were to see one of his backup T's next week when he's away, would they expect me to be in crisis? And be like, "What is she doing here?" if it's just that I'm having a really rough week. T said at this point, he's let them know I might contact them, and it's fine if I see them if I'm just having a rough week, that it doesn't have to get to crisis level. I said my intention was to not use them unless things are going really bad.

Confirmed time for Friday (he asked if I could come an hour earlier than scheduled) and scheduled for week he comes back. I said I was having some doubts about seeing him Friday, which is the day before he goes out of town. Me: "I'm just worried that if we have some kind of conflict...I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to email you the night before you go out of town." T: "I could still respond to you then." Me: "But yeah, I'd feel bad. Do you still have anything Thursday?" T told me the couple times he had available and said to just text him if I wanted to change. Which I did, switching to this afternoon. It's also in part that I'm going to a concert tonight and will be home late, and he'd asked me to switch to 10:30 a.m. So this sort of makes sense on a couple levels, and I just keep having this nagging bad feeling about seeing him Friday (thanks, OCD and anxiety!)--so I feel that could have affected my session.

Felt like it was a productive session, with the authority figure discussion. No tears on my part. Anyway, when we parted ways, shook hands as he said "Good luck out there." Me: "Thanks, you too." T: "And good luck on getting that third thing done." (I'd told him at start of session that I'd had 3 work things due that day and had already turned in 2--I was impressed he remembered that at the end.) Me: "Thanks!"
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:10 PM   #56
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Hey LT, it sounds like waiting to share your sessions might be a good idea. I know I sometimes need time to sort out how I'm feeling after a session. Some times it takes a day or so to settle, sometimes longer. It depends how much time I've given myself to be by myself and let stuff set. Sounds like it was a really good session. HUGS Kit
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:33 PM   #57
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I find this whole authority figure thing very interesting because it is so different from how I relate to people. I really like to get feedback from people I respect in many different areas but, for me, that does not put them in roles of authority, more just advisors. Same for a T that I would respect.

May I ask you about it, LT? Is seeing all these people (and groups) as authority something that you like and benefit from? If yes, what are the benefits? Or is it more something that just happens in your mind emotionally and can even get in the way?
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:28 PM   #58
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I share Kit's perspective that it's great you found it helpful to share your sessions on here. I'm also glad that consulting with the other T was good for you.

I love Xynesthesia's question, if you feel like answering it. I run towards the side of irreverent when dealing with people in authority, and some who have tried to assert it over me when I was younger and less experienced in my field used to tell me I wasn't "deferential" enough. I approach medical people as those with "authority" in the knowledge sense-- I'm doing some physical therapy on my hand right now, and the young young therapist cracks me up and I'll follow her advice.

I don't really have a boss unless you consider the people I work with my bosses on gigs, which isn't really accurate. If I am in a courtroom the judge is an actual authority figure, in the sense that you have to do what he says. And he has the power to throw people in jail for defying him.

But even when I was doing my graduate thesis, I didn't relate to my grad advisor-- now a confidante and friend in my life-- as an authority. He was objectively wise about certain things and gave great feedback; technically he controlled whether or not I'd receive a degree but that didn't create a power imbalance. Maybe with my early history with abuse-of-power male authority figures, working with reasonable people and developing positive relationships was easy.

It is interesting to me where seeing someone as an authority figure comes from, and whether it's connected to your personal sense and zone of power. Not trying to pressure you to reply, just stating my interest in the subject area.
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Old 02-14-2019, 02:58 PM   #59
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I find this whole authority figure thing very interesting because it is so different from how I relate to people. I really like to get feedback from people I respect in many different areas but, for me, that does not put them in roles of authority, more just advisors. Same for a T that I would respect.

May I ask you about it, LT? Is seeing all these people (and groups) as authority something that you like and benefit from? If yes, what are the benefits? Or is it more something that just happens in your mind emotionally and can even get in the way?

Oh it's definitely not something I like or benefit from. I mean...maybe there are slight benefits at times. I think it's something that comes from my mom, maybe? I was thinking about it a bit on the way home from session today, and I feel at times, I ascribe someone "authority figure" status because I feel inferior to them in some way. This makes sense in the case of, say, a teacher/professor, because they do have greater knowledge about a subject than me. But in the case of a friend (or, I suppose, a coworker on a similar level to me), I don't think it's such a good dynamic. I forgot to include how T said it seems at times I'm...I forget what word he used--deferential maybe?--to certain people, like walking on eggshells, trying to please them, and he doesn't want that for me. Because then I can't be myself.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:18 PM   #60
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I share Kit's perspective that it's great you found it helpful to share your sessions on here. I'm also glad that consulting with the other T was good for you.

I love Xynesthesia's question, if you feel like answering it. I run towards the side of irreverent when dealing with people in authority, and some who have tried to assert it over me when I was younger and less experienced in my field used to tell me I wasn't "deferential" enough. I approach medical people as those with "authority" in the knowledge sense-- I'm doing some physical therapy on my hand right now, and the young young therapist cracks me up and I'll follow her advice.

I don't really have a boss unless you consider the people I work with my bosses on gigs, which isn't really accurate. If I am in a courtroom the judge is an actual authority figure, in the sense that you have to do what he says. And he has the power to throw people in jail for defying him.

But even when I was doing my graduate thesis, I didn't relate to my grad advisor-- now a confidante and friend in my life-- as an authority. He was objectively wise about certain things and gave great feedback; technically he controlled whether or not I'd receive a degree but that didn't create a power imbalance. Maybe with my early history with abuse-of-power male authority figures, working with reasonable people and developing positive relationships was easy.

It is interesting to me where seeing someone as an authority figure comes from, and whether it's connected to your personal sense and zone of power. Not trying to pressure you to reply, just stating my interest in the subject area.

Funny, I replied including the term "deferential" before seeing your reply. I find this authority figure conversation rather fascinating. I'm going to have to think about it more (it was one of my plans during T's break). I think for me it's somehow tied into my wanting to please people. Like T talked about last session how it seems I seek praise from people I see as authority figures. I said partly that, but also how rejection or...lack of approval? affected me even more, but maybe those are kind of the same. He said it made sense that the latter bothered me more. I think it was partly that I found, say, doing well in school (which I was good at) got me approval and praise. So I got used to getting that, then if I didn't do well at something in school, college, or, later, work, it was really hard for me. It ties into my perfectionism in some ways, too. And fear of rejection and abandonment. Etc.
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