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Old 04-26-2019, 06:58 AM #591
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Default Re: Couch 194: The Floral Couch

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Yes! Exactly this. How does one find a therapist who works this way? I blundered into one, but I still don't understand why some therapists can help with this kind of thing and some can't.
The therapist needs to have a good understanding of, well, basically what FKM just said. Not all Ts are trained that way or even have the capacity to understand that. The therapist also needs to have a solid sense of self, self-trust and willingness to reflect on themselves deeply. They also need to be willing to go on a bit of a journey with the client, which will involve feelings being raised for them too. They need to have the capacity to tolerate that, and also not to lose their own grounding. It's hard. I'm also very lucky in that respect.
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:50 AM #592
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The therapist needs to have a good understanding of, well, basically what FKM just said. Not all Ts are trained that way or even have the capacity to understand that. The therapist also needs to have a solid sense of self, self-trust and willingness to reflect on themselves deeply. They also need to be willing to go on a bit of a journey with the client, which will involve feelings being raised for them too. They need to have the capacity to tolerate that, and also not to lose their own grounding. It's hard. I'm also very lucky in that respect.
Yes, this seems exactly right to me too. I just don't know how one would find it in the first place. I didn't have a sense of what any of this meant until several years into working with my T, when we finally got to this depth/type of work. I'm actually getting pretty good at seeing this kind of person in my life now too (I can predict reasonably accurately who is going to say "me too!" when I mention being in therapy), but I wouldn't have been able to identify it before I started this kind of therapy with this kind of therapist. So how does somebody know how to find it in the first place?
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:17 AM #593
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Yes, this seems exactly right to me too. I just don't know how one would find it in the first place. I didn't have a sense of what any of this meant until several years into working with my T, when we finally got to this depth/type of work. I'm actually getting pretty good at seeing this kind of person in my life now too (I can predict reasonably accurately who is going to say "me too!" when I mention being in therapy), but I wouldn't have been able to identify it before I started this kind of therapy with this kind of therapist. So how does somebody know how to find it in the first place?
I think you do have to be hugely lucky. One thing I did was to read my T's book (or at least some of it) before I went to see him, so I had an idea that he understood transference, cared about ethics, and was self-reflective. But I only knew I needed those things because I had experience of a therapist who wasn't! So for someone starting out in therapy (particularly where they might not be sure of their own needs) it really is a matter of chance...
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:21 AM #594
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A T could also be well-trained in all that and talk the talk about things like transference and the importance of working through it and you can buy into that and you see them for years and only in retrospect can you realize that they didn't know what they were doing and likely did more harm overall than good. Referring to ex-MC here, who is psychodynamically trained and spoke seemingly knowledgeably about transference and such things. So it can be really hard to tell...And there could also be a T who isn't particularly trained in those things but who could just be really good at handling that stuff (I am *not* referring to my T here, just hypothetical).
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:25 AM #595
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I think this therapy thing might be working! I was initially a bit upset by something my T said in his response, then (on my own) I thought about it some more and saw how it could fit into a bigger picture, like not just about this specific thing or about him/our relationship. How I could use this as a jumping off point to examine other things in my life, assumptions I make about people, etc. So...progress?
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:25 AM #596
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A T could also be well-trained in all that and talk the talk about things like transference and the importance of working through it and you can buy into that and you see them for years and only in retrospect can you realize that they didn't know what they were doing and likely did more harm overall than good. Referring to ex-MC here, who is psychodynamically trained and spoke seemingly knowledgeably about transference and such things.
The most important thing to remember about MC is that he was your marriage counsellor, not your therapist. I think his number one failure was not keeping to the purpose of why you were there to see him.

I think he also didn't have that other thing I refer to above - the capacity for self-reflection and to tolerate difficult feelings (yours or his own). Training can't teach that.
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Old 04-26-2019, 08:32 AM #597
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The most important thing to remember about MC is that he was your marriage counsellor, not your therapist. I think his number one failure was not keeping to the purpose of why you were there to see him.

I think he also didn't have that other thing I refer to above - the capacity for self-reflection and to tolerate difficult feelings (yours or his own). Training can't teach that.

Yes, I sometimes wonder how things would have gone if he'd been my individual therapist. Is it possible he could have helped me and we could have worked through the transference? Or would everything have just blown up much more quickly? I think the latter is much more likely because, as you said, he doesn't seem very good at self-reflection, as evidenced by what happened in our ruptures. He didn't seem to realize the effects that his wildly inconsistent boundaries had on me. He seemed able to tolerate many feelings of mine, but apparently (romantic?) love was not one of them. And he also wasn't able to handle it when I called him out on his inconsistent boundaries, as that led to him nearly yelling at me on the phone, being highly defensive, gaslighting me, and then shifting another boundary on me.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:56 AM #598
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A T could also be well-trained in all that and talk the talk about things like transference and the importance of working through it and you can buy into that and you see them for years and only in retrospect can you realize that they didn't know what they were doing and likely did more harm overall than good. Referring to ex-MC here, who is psychodynamically trained and spoke seemingly knowledgeably about transference and such things. So it can be really hard to tell...
Yes! This is absolutely true. I have had stages where I have been doubting my T and wondering about this exact thing. And then it's like, is this doubt just more of my stuff around trust or whatever, or am I ignoring a real red flag? I think one thing that's helpful is bringing up the doubt and seeing what happens: is the T defensive, do they try to coerce you to stay, do they ponder the meaning and then offer possible interpretations about why you feel this way, etc. It's this really delicate thing where the T needs to be solidly invested in working with you, but not so invested that they try to get you to stay to meet their own needs (financial, emotional, etc).
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Old 04-26-2019, 10:23 AM #599
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Yes! This is absolutely true. I have had stages where I have been doubting my T and wondering about this exact thing. And then it's like, is this doubt just more of my stuff around trust or whatever, or am I ignoring a real red flag? I think one thing that's helpful is bringing up the doubt and seeing what happens: is the T defensive, do they try to coerce you to stay, do they ponder the meaning and then offer possible interpretations about why you feel this way, etc. It's this really delicate thing where the T needs to be solidly invested in working with you, but not so invested that they try to get you to stay to meet their own needs (financial, emotional, etc).

I agree on your comment about the doubt. Ex-MC tried to convince us to stay, to work through things with him (I suspect it was partly to meet his own needs as well). I stayed longer than I wanted to because he made me feel it was important to work through it. It did feel a bit like coercion.

While my current T (who I know has his flaws), whenever I've expressed doubt about him, he's just accepted it (not gotten defensive or anything), and we've discussed it. He's said if I realize I need a different T, he understands. And he's fine with my consulting with another T (and I did just that) or taking a break and going to see a different T for a stretch of time, that he's not going anywhere if I want to return to him. That he wants what's best for me. There's this part of me that wants him to be like, "I want you to stay with me," but I also know the right thing for him to do is to just let me go. So I appreciate that.
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I am going to try to make a whitepot pudding with gluten free bread.
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