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Old 04-19-2019, 10:40 PM #1
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Default Therapy isn't helping me right now

The therapist has done a few things that I have found hurtful and/or unhelpful recently. We have talked about a couple of them, but not all. I did not find the discussions that we did have helpful in resolving how I felt about each situation. I was actually surprised (and displeased) to find that I was affected by the therapist's actions to the extent that I felt hurt by some of them. This does not seem like a good thing to me - to give the therapist the power to hurt me. Here are the things that have occurred recently that I am talking about:
  • When I was depressed and had trouble getting started in a session last week, she asked me why I had come if I wasn't going to talk. This was less than 10 minutes into the session. Then she suggested that if I "didn't want to be here" (which I had never said), that maybe C could come instead. This struck me as really insensitive since she knows I struggle with jealousy towards C.
  • She ignored a text I sent her explicitly asking if she had laughed at me about something. I do admit that I was too vague about what I was referring to. However, I still think she should have taken the time to at least indicate that she didn't know what I was talking about, and requesting that we wait and talk about it in our next session. I was extremely distressed when I sent the first text, and the fact that she ignored it (which she insists on calling her "not responding" instead) was pretty upsetting. The question I was asking, although apparently unclear to her, was if she found the details of a traumatic incident I had once told her funny. I had also texted this question to her following the session in which I had disclosed the details, and she had responded, so in my mind her lack of a response was indicative of something bad.
  • She has forgotten the only ****ing incident in my trauma history that I have actually relayed to her. I have suspected this for a while, but got confirmation in the session after she ignored my text asking if she had laughed at my trauma. She tried to say I've told her lots of things, but that's absolutely not true. I've only told her the details of one thing, and apparently, it went in one ear and out the other. Then she had the nerve to ask me to tell her again. I informed her that if she couldn't remember, I certainly wasn't going to tell her. I mean, what would be the point? I'm actually getting really worked up right now because today we talked about my fear of her laughing and how that stops me from sharing. But you know what, that's not the only thing. I might as well share with a rock as with her if she's going to get amnesia about it. She couldn't even remember the one thing I told her! Wtf!
  • She either doesn't understand profound and severe depression, or she just thinks it's something that can be changed by willpower. This shows in some of the things she says.
  • She called me by C's name and I had to correct her.
  • Today she pretty much told me not to text her except for appointments.

The last one might be the straw that breaks the camel's back for me. I don't text her often. She hardly ever responds, and usually I don't require one. I respect her right to set her own boundaries around between session contact. I'm just not sure having no options between sessions is going to work for me. I'm not really sure what to tell C, either. This will confirm the fear she developed the last time she texted the therapist, which was more than a month ago. She had been in a legitimate crisis and had really wanted to hurt us after some drama at our old job that culminated in her handing in our resignation.

C has a lot of shame around being needy, hardly ever contacted the therapist outside of session, but thought that the circumstances were surely enough this time that the therapist wouldn't be annoyed. Unfortunately, the therapist's response consisted of the single sentence "We will talk about it tomorrow" (in the session). Is that cold or what? C handled it better than I expected, but she vowed to never contact the therapist outside of session again and she hasn't trusted her since. C and I have a lot of relationship problems, but I felt really bad for her in that instance. All she had wanted was a kind word to help her get through the next 24 hours. Not a back and forth over text, just some expression of concern or something (C likes that kind of thing).

Anyway, what's kind of confusing for me is that she never mentioned her "preferences" before. She said she "doesn't usually do back and forth texting with her clients." That pissed me off for a couple of reasons. First, I wish she had said that a long time ago because I feel like an idiot. Also, that makes it sound like I'm asking her to provide therapy over text. I've never done that. Looking over my texts, I've sent four kinds: informative, venting, yes/no questions, and, unfortunately, a few manipulative threats. The first two don't even require a response from her. The third type only happened a few times, and literally only needed her to say yes or no. The fourth type is not good, obviously. I was very fearful of the therapist when I first started talking to her and felt threatened by the things she was saying. So I would text her that she had to admit that I had never been abused or I would never speak to her again. I think that was after the first or second time I talked to her. I did also tell her I never wanted to speak to her again after she had ignored my text last week for a whole day. I can't remember if I actually meant it or not.

The thing is, my complex about the therapist laughing at my traumas is so enormous it's almost like I become psychotic or something when the paranoia is triggered. I don't mean this in the sense that I should not have to control myself in texting her. I could control myself (I think. Probably. Maybe. Probably.). My concern is that I'm not really sure that she is the right person for me to pursue doing trauma work with if I'm not going to be allowed to occasionally obtain confirmation between sessions that she does not find what I tell her funny. I would certainly monitor myself so that obtaining such a reassurance did not become routine, but the intensity of this fear is such that it could probably be considered a phobia. If I had not been able to obtain what I had asked for from the therapist (by threatening to never talk to her again), I'm not sure if I would have been able to bring myself to talk to her in a session again.

Anyway, I feel like my negative transference has reached a boiling point. I call it transference because the amount of emotion is out of all proportion and not what I am accustomed to feeling. I'm having pretty vicious thoughts, tbh. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing of a violent nature, at least not directed towards her person. I do keep having thoughts of trashing her office, though. Slashing open all the furniture and stuff. Maybe carving some choice expletives into her desk. I am at the point where I have started to insult her in my mind. That doesn't seem good.

Whatever trust I had in her seems to have been lost over the past few sessions. The crazy thing is she doesn't have any idea how angry I am. I've been feeling so bad lately that I just haven't been up to confronting her about things. Today when she said the stuff about texting, I just felt defeated and like it had become the new normal for my sessions to accomplish nothing positive.

I am tempted to leave a message over the weekend with the receptionist to cancel my appointments for next week. It would be kind of awkward to ditch the therapist without a word since my psychiatrist works in the same suite, but I guess I could get a new psychiatrist, too. I don't know. I'll see how I feel after the weekend, I guess.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:05 AM #2
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

Did she really ask why did you come to the session (i.e. implying that you really shouldn't come) or was it rather so that she was actually trying to point out something? Also, you wrote that you were silent because of depression but the rest of your post expresses quite an anger, so I'm wondering whether maybe the silence was also angry and oppositional?

I full well understand the difficulty of not understanding whether she is a right person for you. Do you have any part whom you can trust a bit to have a sort of objective understanding of the whole situation? Maybe you could ask that part whether in general the T seems trustful and good enough, even though for you right now it seems that she does everything wrong.

I remember the time a while ago (was it year or two?) when I was happy for the 6 week break my T is taking every summer because I had become increasingly afraid to go to my sessions. I did not feel safe in my sessions because I had no idea what could happen. Almost anything (in bad sense) felt possible. I honestly felt like truly smashing all the furniture and kicking my T into the b...s and I felt there was no way I could ensure that it doesn't really happen. I simply hated him so much, I felt he was impotent to help me and him sitting with me through all this rage and suffering felt insulting and humiliating. It was an extremely difficult period but at the same time a part of me in the background always knew that what is happening is not the whole truth and in reality my T and his consistence and his willingness to stuck with me makes him perfectly suitable for me to work with him.

I don't really have any advice. Let me just say that I think I understand pretty well what you are going through and I know that it's damn hard.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:21 AM #3
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

She literally asked me why I had come. I had already told her I was feeling really depressed. I was not feeling angry or oppositional. I had actually been planning to have a fun little argument with her that day, and had even asked for suggestions on the couch for a good opener. But when I walked in, I just felt sad and not like myself. So I just sat there after briefly saying I was too depressed to even get up to any tricks. When she asked me why I had come, her voice was impatient, like I was wasting her time. I remember staring at the door frame and wishing I had the energy to get right back up and leave. Just felt so hopeless.

The only other one here who is old enough to have a say in things is C, unfortunately, and she's not doing well due to the time of year.
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:37 AM #4
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

Can you maybe talk to her about that you felt she was impatient when asking why you had come or in general why she had asked this question? My experience is that when things are difficult then it is better to go to (sort of) meta level - to try to talk about how you perceive the things she does or says and hopefully she will also chime in and explains what she really intended. This way a bit more room and safety could be created.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:00 AM #5
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

I guess I could, but it feels vulnerable, and I don't trust her. I don't feel like giving her any insight into how I feel. I don't want to give her an opportunity to add insult to injury. It seems like that's what has been happening lately. Fool me once and all that.

I am sad that the diversion of therapy seems to be over for me. It was nice being called by my own name. The therapists are the only ones who have ever done that. But things can go back to how they were, and I'd live with it. I do hope all this increased emotionality goes away if I stop. I don't care for it at all.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:29 AM #6
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

Yiikes. I know I wouldn't do well with that therapist. Trust is so very important, and I can see why you just don't trust her.
I think, when dealing with complex trauma, a therapist who is well-trained and up-to-date with trauma-informed therapy is absolutely crucial. From all you have said about your T over the months I honestly don't think she is qualified to help you, C and the others through this.
I am very picky about my Ts and I have been through a few that were not up to the tasks I need them for. The difference in the amount of progress you can make with a properly trained T vs one who isn't is ENORMOUS. It's the difference between trust, safety, engagement, and healing vs distrust, game playing, ruptures and being stuck. A properly qualified and experienced therapist is a game changer.
I hope you and C can find a way to change the game.


Hello, I want to add that our therapist is awesome. She calls us by our own names and respects everyone in the system. She helps us to respect and appreciate everyone too, even the ones who are really different to us and want really different things. I hope you can find a good T who can really help you all too.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:29 AM #7
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

I'm also wondering about that your title says that therapy isn't helping you right now but what do you even mean by therapy helping? How do you imagine the therapy or the therapist should help you?

One thing I've learned is that therapy is almost never pleasant and it isn't even meant to be pleasant. It's meant to help you in the long term perspective and not necessarily to make you feel good or satisfied in the moment. Sure, it would be nice if it would be pleasant and if the therapist would do things exactly as I want but that's not going to help. Therapy is by design quite unpleasant, uncomfortable and humiliating experience.

Of course, you are not expressing the wish it to feel good in the moment but somehow it seems that you are equating the unpleasantness of it with not helping you?
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:11 AM #8
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

What I meant is that I am not seeing progress at this time. Therapy is not helping me achieve anything, so there doesn't seem to be a reason to continue subjecting myself to it.

I don't think I've ever found therapy pleasant. My very first discussion with the therapist was very combative on both ends and consisted of her informing me that I was abusive and wrong. That is not a criticism, as it needed to happen, I am just trying to explain that she has never been the type to make my feelings a priority over getting things done. She has certainly never sought to do what I want or satisfy me. Therapy has been helpful in the past, but not lately.

I am not unhappy because I am unhappy, I am unhappy because of the specific things that have occurred coupled with the fact that I'm not getting anything out of it.
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:58 AM #9
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

Im hearing you feel disrespected, which to me sounds like family of origin carp. Are you seeing family this week because of the holidays? That used to mess me up sooooo bad. I am only starting to get used to enjoying the season of spring - it was a season of dread almost my whole life.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:05 PM #10
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Default Re: Therapy isn't helping me right now

Do you think she's frustrated?

What comes to mind is projective identification, where she may be experiencing feelings of helplessness that you may have about therapy but are unable to access right now.

I don't mean to say it's your fault or excuse for her behavior, but I know this has happened sometimes in my therapy, as it's pretty much inevitable with those of us with trauma histories.

I hope things turn around for you.
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