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Hi RT... very well thought out poll.

My T does not do text although I have texted him 3 times in emergency situations and he has always responded. His choice is that I call or email and he has specific guidelines to avoid stress on both sides. His guidelines are generous to me and he has always encouraged me to contact him, especially after rough sessions or if he knows I'm facing something scary (as with my recent medical situation).

I want to add here that our calls are very brief (most are less than 5 minutes as he is between sessions) and used to check in or just hear his voice. And my emails are for reassurance and connection. We don't do processing via email. But just hearing from him regulates my emotions and lessens my anxiety. He feels that by spending a few minutes connecting out of session we have much better sessions. He also believes that by denying contact you increase the chances of the patient acting out and it decreases the ability to form a healthy attachment that is necessary for growth and healing. He says it's the paradox... the more you allow contact the less (over time) that the patient will need it.

Whatever the guidlines... it's important the they are discussed, they are clear and they are consistent.

Just my experience.

The limitation to the last three months made this poll interesting to me, because it would have been answered much differently even six months or a year ago.

The only time I've done a non-scheduled call to T and left a message (i.e. didn't hang up before it even rang on my end out of terror, lol), was when he wasn't answering scheduling texts and I really needed to know what was going on. We've had other phone calls in the past, but they were scheduled check-in calls or phone sessions. And those rarely happen anymore, only if a session is not otherwise possible or I'm in crisis.

As for texting, this seems to be T's preferred method of contact, because he can check and answer them promptly and is not likely to forget about them as he does with email (he travels between offices without a computer, so he would only have access by his phone on work days and couldn't send anything much longer than a text anyway). I answered 2-5 time a week. It's more on the five exchanges a week end of things, maybe a little more, but about half of them are scheduling related, because my sessions, while the same general day and time of day, are not the exact same time every week. For example, I'm his last session of the day on Mondays, and sometimes that is 7:00pm and sometimes 8:00pm. I also am not really counting texts I send to let him know I'm home safe and how I'm doing after the session. Because of the dissociation and driving having been a problem in the past, and because it's a connected feeling for both of us (my assuming he cares to know I'm home safe and his actually caring, lol), I still do it every session. OK, so it might be closer to 6-10, if you count scheduling.

I used to email journals to him about once a week, but I can talk to him so much more easily in session now, so I haven't been sending him any. It seems I'm sending him one every month or two when there's a topic I have to write to work through. We have only ever processed them in sessions. I do not get any replies. For a while, some of them went into SPAM and I didn't know he wasn't "up to date" on what was going on with me (creating some ouchy interactions), so on the rare occasion I email him, I send him a text to let him know now.

T has always been very encouraging of me to check in with him as much as I feel I need. It was his suggestion in the first place. He welcomes the attachment. He does not, however, have a set of expectations around it. I had to learn to tolerate a lot of discomfort with: 1) Needing to learn to ask for what I need (reply vs. not); 2) Inconsistent schedule availability to reply (sometimes quick and detailed replies vs. a long wait or a very quick one) and not reading into it meaning anything about his feelings toward me. It has been a growing experience, but it would have gone a lot smoother if T had just said up front that he does not always reply, I may wait up to a day for a reply, and I need to follow up and ask for what I need from him. I kind of had to figure that out from experience, people on this forum, and risking to tell him what came up from his replies (or lack thereof).

Now, I don't fret quite so much about the contact stuff unless I have something else coming up that is already making me feel disconnected and worthless.

Sorry, that was almost hilariously long.
My T works in a hospital clinic (until today Frowner), but nly 2 days a week. Calling is not practical as she is usually busy and the phone stays behind when she leaves.
Because I am transferring (hopefully) to her private clinic I now have that number and can text, she will rply when she is free.
She encourages me to e-mail because she says I am able to express myself vey welll in wwriting. I usually e-mail after every session and she replies some time during the next morning.Again she has no access to that e-mail on days she is not working.
In her private practice she will only work Sundays when Husband is caring for the babt and toddler. In between I can e-mail and she will always reply , but probably in evening when children are in bed. Phone is available but not practical when she is at home with 2 small children. I think I would text and she would call back when she could.
I really need some contact in between, especially as T works so little. Sometimes I feel she disappears, when she is at home being a Mum.
Dr. R. Tomato:

Big Grin

Responding to the addendum in your poll:

a) regarding how often I would LIKE to contact T outside of session. I've often thought every waking moment, on the hour might actually keep me stable. He might take issue with that though.

b) T has been very clear that he's okay with me reaching out anytime I need to, but I differentiate that from "welcoming" outside contact because he's clear that it's not an extension of our work "inside the room," only a means to keep hold of him between sessions.
Hi RT,
I always want tocontact T! Big Grin
Mainly after the session I think of all the things I did not say and wanted to. T now encourages me to write both a diary and to her. She has said there is an amazing difference between how difficult I find it to talk about feelings in session and how clear and expressive I am in writing.

She replies a few comments and always something positive and always end , we will return to this next time.

It has really helped me to open up and set the discussion for the next session.

If I have nothing to say I often send a picure.

She always says "Thank you for your e-mail" I laughed once when she said this an told that I aways picture her coming to work in the morning, checking her e-mail and say "oh no, what does she want now? She said that maybe how I see it, but it is not how she sees it! It felt so nice when she said that! Big Grin

She has said that when she takes her 5 weeks leave after giving birth we can keep in contact via e-mail and she will respond as much as she feel able, depending on her health and the baby etc.

This is why I am trying to stick with her despite all the stress her pregnancy has caused me!
Hi RT,
You reminded me of a story I told to T last week. once with old T I spent the whole session trying to bring up a particular subject, but just could not do it.I was so annoyed with myself because I knew I would torture myself thw whole week about it.
When I got to my car I pohoned T and said that I want to tell you what I wanted to talk about so you can start the conversation next time.
I then sat for 1/2 in the hospital carpark talking to T!

I told curreent T this last week after I sat and said nothing and she had suggested I send an e-mail when I get home.

She thought it was so funny. I said it is just easier when I can't see someones face.

She suggested that next session she goes and hides in the cupboard while I talk. Only problem is she is 7 months pregnant and does not fit in the cupboard!

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