Therapy Update

I suppose I’m due for an update post about what’s going on with me and therapy. I did you leave all hanging with my last post about my stolen therapy appointment.

I went to my next appointment and felt even more confused about the situation.
See, the explanation in my previous post was based on information my Dad relayed to me after speaking with the therapist. My Dad relayed the explanation to me with a lot of confidence and so I had a lot of confidence in the explanation.
The therapist didn’t seem confident that he knew what happened. He said ‘I may have double booked’. But he wasn’t sure.

I was (am) so uncomfortable about the idea of talking to him about how I felt that I quickly pushed the subject away and acted like I was okay.
But I’m not okay about it.

New therapy begins with an emotional distance. If it goes well that distance can decrease a bit. Unfortunately this situation built a tiny wall. The wall is big enough to see over, but it would take some effort to get past.
In a therapy where I have a stronger foundation I’d have reason to jump over the wall. Here, I don’t know if it is worth the effort. I can talk superficially across the wall and have gotten stuck with that.

Every appointment I go to I get anxious wondering if it will really happen. I feel relieved when it does, but don’t trust him to be there next time. How can I? He doesn’t even know what happened last time, so how can he prevent it?

He doesn’t know I’m being more closed off because I’m still upset over that first appointment. He has no way of knowing, he’s never seen me another way.

He seems basically nice. His office is fun. A lot of action figures around. He works mostly with children. The location is great, a short walk. My insurance is covering the appointments really well. I hardly pay a thing.
So I’ve continued going.

I’m not going because I get an actual benefit out of the therapy, I’m going because I’m terrified of what I will do if I have a freak out and don’t have anyone.

He has board games. I asked to play chess. He thought I was joking. I asked again. We played chess. He beat me in 4 moves. That’s inexcusable for me. My typical opening explicitly protects against that. I’d decided to test a modified set of opening moves with him and I’d botched it. We played again. The game was longer, but ultimately he won.

I’d had a fantasy for awhile about playing chess in therapy. Somehow I envisioned the multitasking would loosen my verbal inhibition. It didn’t work like that. I was too busy thinking about my next move to say any words other than “check”.

We stopped after the second game. It wasn’t because I’d lost twice. I lose at chess all the time. My brother plays competitively and has a respectable USCF rating. We learned the same day, but he’s been beating me all my life.
I stopped because I realized I just wasted half the session playing chess.
I appreciate that he didn’t let me win. I just hope he doesn’t think I stopped because I lost. I may have to play again just to prove that point.

I made a mistake that further built up the wall between us. When I learned about the book being written by the therapist who got me kicked out of school
I was upset. I called S.M. (the therapist who I’ve liked best, but has an office far away from me). I got everything out in the phone call.

I feel like I cheated on my current therapist with that. I went to see him the next day. I didn’t tell him about the phone call. I felt better, but too delicate to talk about the previous night. I haven’t talked to him while upset yet. I have no way of knowing if he will be helpful. I couldn’t risk getting upset again during finals season.
Later I mentioned the book, but I was over it by then. I was detached. My pain didn’t come through, only my aggression.

I thought once the semester ended I’d switch to twice a week therapy. Maybe that would help. The combination of him taking excessive amounts of vacation days and me being busy even during “vacation” led to me never asking him about it.

I like that he talks out his thoughts about me frequently. I hate when therapists sit quietly only to make a pronouncement weeks later based on misunderstandings. When they make more frequent comments tiny misunderstandings don’t get blown out of proportion the same way.
His facial expressions are also also easier to read which makes him feel more authentic. I can tell if I’ve thrown him off and he needs a second to think.

Some of his reactions have been strange though. I hate when therapists make a big fuss over my self injury. When I mentioned it to him he ignored it. The reaction was so lacking, I thought maybe he’d not heard me. He had, he’s just never responded to it. On one level this is great, but on another it makes me uneasy, because I don’t know what it means.

The largest problem is that he wants to talk about my family constantly. I realize choosing to go to a psychoanalyst and then complaining about talking about my mother seems strange. I also know it is weird for me to talk about how wonderful object relations theory is in the same session I tell him to back off about my family, but he goes too far.
Yes, things that happened in my early family life no doubt have a huge impact on my problems. My problems, however are happening today. He knows more about my family than he knows about me.
I’m fine talking about my family if the topic occurs organically.
Whenever there is a pause he drags the subject back to my family. I have many therapy pauses. I need some of my pauses. Given time some of my pauses will lead to me talking about harder things. When a therapist constantly directs the conversation, this helps me keep it superficial.

I talked about my family ad nausium in my high school therapy. I don’t live with them now. I have distance. Yes, I am still messed up from their genes and environment interaction, but what about how I am suffering here and now? I don’t want to talk about every high school fight I ever had. It’s over. I still hate my mom, but rehashing the same stories about her to yet another therapist is exasperating.

He asks me to speculate too much about my family. “What would happen if you told your Mom about your youtube?” The real answer is I don’t know. I don’t want to find out. But if I take the bait and make guesses I feel awful. I don’t want him basing his information about my family on speculations. Individual anecdotes are far better. Those anecdotes need to come up organically, they can’t be forced.

The speculation is the worst part. I hate feeling trapped in something I guessed. It feels awful when he throws back words at me that I used in this guess work. His views of my family are so two dimensional and I blame how his speculative questions elicit generalities rather than specifics.

I’m really upset that he let me go on and on about how I think my brother has Asperger’s. I have a mound of evidence to support this, but I hate talking about guesses. He’s not been officially diagnosed. It makes me feel so guilty, to be saying these things when maybe I’m wrong. My brother is awesome. I hate that I was going on and on about his worst traits. I was upset over a recent disagreement and took it out like that.
It can easily become a ‘trash talk my family’ session instead of therapy.

I decided to look up my diagnosis code on his bill. I thought, ‘If he put down borderline as the diagnosis, I have an excuse to leave.’ He put Mood Disorder NOS. It’s hard to get a more benign diagnosis than that. Not a good excuse to leave.

I might switch to once a month. Then I’d not be alone, but wouldn’t have to make the time commitment. This next semester was supposed to be less busy than the prior, but it looks like I’ve made too many plans again. No time to waste on ineffective therapy.

3 thoughts on “Therapy Update

  1. I can tell you what I do (and perhaps give you a tip along the way).
    I write a dairy- yep the pen and paper kind (not a blog) .Where I write my thaughts ‘ feelings ect…
    I give it to my Therapist to read before the session

    This is helpfull to me in a couple of ways
    1 she gets to know my inner world with out me having to say much.Im generaly a shy and reserved kind of gal and find in difficult to open up. The dairy is my way of “taliking with out talking” (Yea I know Im stange ;) )

    2 She can choose from the dairy things that seem inportant to her and we talk about it.

    3It some how overcomes the akward silence moments (there are still afew silent moments still but not as many)

    Any way thats my 2 cents worth

    I enjoyed the post .I hope you update posts more often

    JG (from Israel)
    BTW its 21h34 in this part of the world so nite nite

    Reply
  2. I can empathize with your situation. It is very much how I felt at the beginning of my therapy experience. I felt like I couldn’t talk about ANYTHING. I would often say, “I can’t talk about that…..I can’t talk about that”.

    You’re well versed in the experiences of therapy so I feel odd suggesting anything, but sometimes when it comes from someone else, it has a stronger impact than if you are just thinking it in your head. I would suggest you bring up the first therapy appointment blunder. If there is something between you and your therapist, can you ever really build any sense of trust with them? You’ll find out really quick how he is going to handle crises and issues if you bring up something that was horribly upsetting for you. If he can’t answer, explain why this bothers you.

    If he sucks in his response, then keep using him as a backup while you get another one. If you have a crisis, you still have someone but you know that long-term this guy isn’t going to cut it.

    Just my 2-cents. Hope to hear more about how things are going with you. I love your posts and miss you between your postings. You’re such an asset to our little online community.

    Reply
    • I like the idea of using mentioning the first appointment as a way to test if he can handle a tougher thing.

      Still have to get myself to be able to mention it though. It’s easy to make excuses like how it’s the first week of school right now etc.

      I’m glad you enjoy the posts. I made a point of getting these last few out before classes start. Hoping I’ll still be able to squeeze some in here and there. I like getting stuff pout her in an organized way. I have a privater blog that’s much less coherent, not something I can feel proud of the writing in.

      Reply

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