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Wow, Attachment Girl, thank-you so much for sharing that. It feels like you really got to the heart of something.

So many folks struggle with transference and in the back of my head, I'm not always sure that they're getting the kind of connection with their therapist that's required for healing. So, it's nice to hear how your therapist is with you, that he is truly there for you. I get that.

I wish I could describe what a good connection feels like for folks. I feel like I haven't adequately answered River's question on what it looks like when a therapist is emotionally available for a client. So, it's another reason I like your post, because I get the feeling your therapist is maintaining good boundaries but still being present and emotionally available to you.

Wish you well,

Shrinklady
AG, your last post is an incredibly wonderful revelation! Some of what you describe I have been conscious of and some I haven't but you have described a lot of how I feel way more eloquently than I ever could have!

I am right there with the not wanting to ask for what I need for fear of being refused. I have that problem with everyone, not just my T. My needs were virtually invisible to my parents and as an adult I have heard too many yes's that have never materialized to be able to trust anyone with what I need. I don't ask, I can't ask. It is the hardest thing for me to do. It is hard for me to trust that people ever really mean what they say. Once after she was away on vacation I confessed to my T how much I had missed her. She said she missed me too and I see that as her being emotionally available by expressing her feelings about me. However, even though I honestly don't think she would lie to me I have the hardest time believing it. I guess I can't internalize it. I don't understand how on her vacation she would think of me, actually miss me in some way. She has many clients, I can't believe that she misses us all while she is on vacation!

No, I haven't talked to her about this but I may when she returns from the seeming endless vacation she is on now. These have been the longest two weeks of my life since the last two weeks of my pregnancy five years ago.

(I don't think time has ever moved more slowly than that last month of pregnancy!)
Hi Antoni, thanks for your question. I actually prepared an answer and I wanted to reflect on it for a bit but now I can't find it...so, I'll have to give it another go. It's a challenging issue that relates to both the political and the personal.

I'll get back to you on that.

Hi River, I noticed your comment about your therapist. I don't think I'm much different than other colleagues of mine, but thoughts of my clients float in and out of my mind whether I'm at work or not. I have relationships with these folks and like others I have relationships with, I think of them from time to time. So, I could easily imagine that you had crossed your therapist's mind here and there.

Shrinklady
quote:
I needed to be loved, I needed to be cherished, I needed to feel like I was someone special, and I needed to feel like my needs were important enough to be met. That's still difficult to say. I didn't get those things and its incredibly painful. I'm letting myself feel what it felt like and it hurts and leaves me grief stricken...


Wow, this is my experience to a T. I think I just experienced transference for the first time on Friday when I became totally upset and freaked out when my T announced he'd be gone for this week and forgot to tell me. I felt betrayed, heartbroken and scared to death, not to mention furious.

He completely welcomed these feelings toward him and acknowledged his mistake and apologized. He even equated his mistake and my response to it to a recent experience with my father where my father wandered off without me while my family was on vacation. At the time I just thought it was my dad doing something kind of odd, but my T pointed out that it was yet another instance of my dad walking away from me, essentially abandoning me. (Abandonment is a feeling I've totally repressed my whole life.)

So I think in mentioning this, my T was actually inviting me to realize that my feelings toward him were actually pulled from feelings I've had about my dad for years but was unable to feel or express them.

Then a really freaky, disturbing thing happened last night; I had a dream about my T. He came into my room while I was going to sleep, put his hand on my shoulder and apologized for his mistake. Man, this TOTALLY freaked me out. I sure hope this is transference, and I sure hope he'll be able to help me through it to the other side.

I just found this site yesterday, and I can't tell you helpful it's been. Thanks for everyone here.

Russ
Welcome Russ, your post was spot on. It sure sounds like transference and it also seems like you're on your way to the other side...I know from both my personal and professional experience, when we get to a place where we are owning and feeling (not just cognitively knowing) where the feelings originally arise from, the power of the transference starts to lose its edge.

It was great to hear your therapist being right there for you. That dream was like your brain was re-working the old memories using the good connection with your therapist to resource you through those early feelings of your dad.

Thanks for your post,
Shrinklady
Hi Shrinklady,

Thanks for your input. The insights in your posts here are really wonderful.

I was reading Attachment Girl's post about her wanting to throw things at her T's head to get some kind of emotion out of him. This sounds familiar. My T betrays very little emotion and sometimes I feel this as a real lack of compassion and support from him, which really bothers me. I told him this once and he just sort of agreed and then steered the discussion toward what it was about words of encouragement that I find comforting? This triggered a bout of sobbing on my part, which felt good, and feeling emotions that are just beneath the surface is a main goal of our work. Before therapy, I don't think I'd cried for about 15 years, despite my enormous stock pile of sadness, anger and loneliness. No wonder I developed an anxiety disorder.

Anyway, I just wish the guy would offer a word or two of encouragement once in a while.

At the same time, his insights are really excellent, so I guess you have to take the good with the bad in therapy.

Thanks again.
Russ
"Hi Antoni, thanks for your question. I actually prepared an answer and I wanted to reflect on it for a bit but now I can't find it...so, I'll have to give it another go. It's a challenging issue that relates to both the political and the personal.

I'll get back to you on that."

We read a book called 'Street Lawyer' by John Grisham a while back. It was all about this rich lawyer who decided to work with street people as their lawyer (it took place in USA where I believe they have larger 'issues' than in Canada on this in terms of the systems available etc) Anyhow, as we are planning to take training as an Art Therapist, and eventually work in the field, the issues of 'money for therapy' is one we think of often, in terms of if people will (eventually) be able to 'afford' us ... and also the personal cost for therapy is a continuing issue. However, I believe that if people see the benefits, and have the resources to search out therapies (i.e., social workers lean them towards that) then it can be a win for all involved. I think that in any work one does there should be an aspect of volunterism. That is to say, one has to make ends meet (financially speaking - get the $$) but also there is some intrinsic value in volunteering ones time or decreasing the $$ in some cases. When we worked in the childcare field (day care) we were also 'sunday school supervisor' at the church we were in...volunteering plus $$ for working... we would like to be able to work with 'troubled kids' on a volunteer basis as well as 'working for pay'.

I hope some of this made some sense (cents Wink )

later,
Antoni
quote:
Originally posted by the dude:
quote:
I just wish the guy would offer a word or two of encouragement once in a while.


could you elaborate on what you mean? I think if a T isn't giving encouragment on the work you've been doing them something is missing.

Antoni


I guess what I mean is that he's not a "hey you're doing great, hang in there" kind of guy.

When I feel wretched, I go in there and I go off on how I am never going to get better, how this therapy is useless, how I should be better by now, that I'm helpless in the face of my symptoms etc, etc.

When I do this, instead of words of encouragement, he generally points out - in his way - that (1) I *am* slowly but surely getting better and (2) that the part of me that is going off on the negative comments is the part of me that is responsible for my symptoms; the critical me, the gremlin, my inner bastard, whatever you wanna call it. And, this thing is just getting the better of me that day, and that IS NOT the actual, true me.

He's also very good at getting me to FEEL the emotion behind my symptoms - the stuff that my anxiety is trying to keep me from feeling. So I'll end up sobbing, which almost always makes me feel MUCH better.

So, while it's not your typical encouragment, it does feel good to get this perspective and to get some of that poisonous emotion out.

Hope this makes some sense.

Russ
Russ,

This is the part of your post that really struck me:

quote:
My T betrays very little emotion and sometimes I feel this as a real lack of compassion and support from him, which really bothers me.


I totally understand the need for this kind of encouragement. If my T didn't show me any emotion I would feel like I was talking to a wall and not a person. It is very hard to be the only one in the room experiencing any kind of emotion when discussing very emotional things. When I feel her sympathize and empathize and in general just act natural and normal I know she is getting it. She doesn't get carried away or anything but rather it can feel like she is traveling along side me not just watching from the sidelines. I really appreciate her willingness to do this. It is at these times that I feel most encouraged and hopeful.

Unfortunately, the feeling fades after a day or two so I guess this is way I wish I saw her more often. I wish I had more people in my life willing to travel "along side" me in the journey which is really my ultimate goal for being in therapy in the first place.
River,
Thanks so much for your response to my last post, it is always good to realize that other people feel the same thing. Although I wish we were sharing feelings that were more pleasant to have. Smiler But thank you for the encouragement. And I agree, there is NO space of time longer than the last month of pregnancy!! Even missing a T doesn't compare, hang in there.

Shrinklady,
Thank you so much for your comment, it is always so encouraging to hear from you. And you're exactly right, my T is completely available emotionally while being extremely careful about the boundaries, allowing me to hear both heard and safe. I think a major part of the epiphany was recognizing the things that I am getting from my T that I need so much versus what I want from him that I'm not getting and how good it is that I'm not. His ability to be available and accept all my feelings and let me discuss them is what has allowed me to see the underlying issues and how its really been about avoiding the pain of my childhood and the need to feel it and mourn it. And his being available has also created a place in which I can do that. I am incredibly grateful to have found this man. And grateful that I've been able to do this work (see I'm learning, I'm taking some credit! Big Grin) I also agree with what River posted, when I am dealing with really difficult stuff and the emotions are really strong, I can feel my T right beside me every step of the way, sometimes he will ask about one of my reactions almost before I can consciously register it, that more than anything else has communicated how much I matter and how much he cares.

Russ,
Welcome to the boards, I'm so glad you're posting! I know this is really difficult but it sounds like you're in a good place (as horrible as it feels). I'm really glad that what you've read here has helped. We've all found that having a place to be understood can really help you get through it.

Sorry this had been so scattershot, but I'm still on vacation and internet access is limited!! Thanks!

AG
Transference is just the most awful thing. It has consumed my thoughts and I can't stand not being able to stop thinking about it all day. Sitting in therapy is the most uncomfortable, embaressing, ridiculous experience. Why bother to explore all of these feelings I have to someone that I don't have a friedship with and never will?
Hi AG!
Been catching up on recent posts since I've been away for a few weeks. (Boy did I miss my T terribly. I had a wonderful vacation but missed being in her presence. I was so busy preparing for vacation that it didn't dawn on me how much I was going to miss her until it HIT me the day before I left and I just started crying. I called her on the phone and expressed my insecurities to which she was so attuned to.

It's funny how I can relate to so many experiences here and it's helpful to know that I am not alone. I especially relate to your statement "I woke up an hour later and realized that my mind had done one of those lateral slippages where it all finally comes together, that you've been working on it somewhere out of sight, unconsciously and I had one of those moments of insight where I experience the knowledge instead of just knowing it."
Those moments of epiphany are amazing!

It is painful not having our needs met in infancy and childhood and thus the desire (longing) for our T's to take care of our needs and to nurture us, to love us and understand us, to make us feel important & secure, and to hold us. Although they cannot do this directly they do so symbolically through this wonderful relationship we call therapy. I've learned that I can go back (mentally)and nurture myself at those crucial moments as they come up. I can even imagine my real parents taking part and becoming the ideal parents I never had, but fantasized about my whole life. It is truly a healing experience.

Anyway, just wanted to feel in touch.

JM
Last edited by justme 2
Hi Diane;
You may never have a friendship with your T, but you will find this to be one of the most significant, healing relationships you will ever experience. What makes you so uncomfortable about sitting in therapy? Do you share your inner most thoughts and secrets w/ your T or are you still developing the trust before you can give in to full exposure? Doing so is what will bring relief to the distress you feel about it.
Hang in there it is worth all the consuming thoughts, longings, obsessions, fears, embarrasment...it is all part of the process for you to heal all those uncomfortable feelings that have plagued you throughout life.
You can do it.
JM
Last edited by justme 2
i guess everyone's experience with transference is different. for me, i was pissed at my T for neglecting to tell me he was going to be out this week and later next month, but that being pissed converged with the river of hurt feelings i have about my dad and other people in my past...feelings that are always just below the surface...and it turned into heartbreak.

still, i have no desire for my T to be the dad i never had or my best friend. in fact, i like not knowing any thing personal about him. he just happens to be the guy who has been instrumental in helping me bring these feelings out and understanding them.

does this make any sense?
Hi Russ,
Yes, you DO make sense.

Oh I get mad at my T too! Twice she has dbl booked my appointment both times stating that this does not usually happen and appologizing. The first time I was more forgiving and gave up the appointment to the other client. The second time I was pissed and we spent the whole hour discussing it and how that made me feel forgettable and unimportant.
If I can say one thing that I appreciate through all that is I could not have had that sort of dialogue w/ a friend who dissapointed me that way or with my parents when I was a child. To be able to work out my feelings and relationship problems current and past as they come up and however they are triggered proves to be very healing for me. I learn that I can be disappointed by someone I love and care about and that it is not the end of the world or the relationship. I learn that my feelings are important and that I can express them (hopefully in a civilized manner). I learn that despite my childish expressions that my T will be there and (despite her human faults) she will continue to represent the secure attachment I need so that I can improve my other relationships in a more adult manner.
-I hope I make sense. =)
Has anyone here ever experienced transference with their medical doctor? I am and want to resolve it desperately! He treated me for cancer and has been incredibly caring, supportive, and available to me. He has crossed boundaries with me a few times (self-disclosure, expressed desire to save me) and acts completely differently towards me than he has in the past. It's been very confusing. I alternate between having sexual fantasies about him and wanting to be his daughter.

Needless to say, my father was completely useless during my childhood and beyond. He was not emotionally present.

I want to take care of this once and for all; I have done this with middle-aged authority figures for my entire adult life and it has been nothing but frustrating. This is the first time I have ever stepped back and have been able to see what I am doing. That has helped, but now what?

I have been in therapy for the last two years, but my T is a woman and is very CBT oriented. Is it possible to resolve my transference without going into analysis with a man?
Hi Just Me,
Good to have you back! Thanks for saying hi! And it was really good to know you got my description of the epiphany, I always feel like I sound a little deranged when I try to explain it. Smiler Sorry it took me so long to answer, I was away on vacation on for two weeks and then buried for a few days after I got back. I found my vacation much easier to deal with than my T's vacation. And doesn't that just seem unfair? Big Grin

AG
Hi Sprinting Gal,
Welcome to the forums! I've never had transference occur with a medical doctor but from the way you describe him, you were getting emotional support very similiar to what you get from a therapist. He sounds like a wonderful doctor, so I can see you developing feelings for him.
I also understand your feelings of both sexual attraction and wanting him for a father. My feelings for my T tend to go back and forth. Although for me, when the sexual attraction gets stronger, its a pretty good sign for me that I'm trying to avoid something and I need to slow down and look at it. As I am working through the transference (SO much easier said than done!) my feelings for my T are becoming more a deep affection and appreciation for how much I can trust him and how much he's helped me. Any good therapist can help you work through a transference, but for what it's worth (and I want to be very cautious applying MY experience to YOUR life because it may not be true for you) working with a man has led to really amazing progress for me. I worked on and off with a woman therapist for over 15 years and we did a lot of really good work together. She was a excellent therapist and we were very close. But when she retired I ended up going to my present T. Because I had so many issues around the need for an attachment figure and an inability to trust men, I think working with a man has made a big difference. I think continuing to work with a woman would have allowed me to avoid going some places. So if you feel like your current T isn't as helpful as you would like in working through the transference, you may want to look for someone more experienced in working with it. One thing about transference, in the hands of a skilled and ethical therapist, its an incredibly powerful tool for healing, but if its handled badly it can be very damaging.

AG

PS Sorry, I am given to novel like posts! Smiler
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
Hi Just Me,
Good to have you back! Thanks for saying hi! And it was really good to know you got my description of the epiphany, I always feel like I sound a little deranged when I try to explain it. Smiler Sorry it took me so long to answer, I was away on vacation on for two weeks and then buried for a few days after I got back. I found my vacation much easier to deal with than my T's vacation. And doesn't that just seem unfair? Big Grin

AG


I know just what you mean AG! I was on vacation for 2 weeks in August and I was ok. Yesterday when my T announced to me that she is going away for 2 weeks in Oct. I found my heart wanting to fall into my stomach and I was immediately bummed. I even think a thought bubble appeared over my head that said "Oh no, please don't leave me." She deserves it though.

Anyway, welcome back.
A thought bubble that says "Oh no, please don't leave me." Too funny, Just Me, it describes the feeling perfectly! If its any comfort a lot of good work came out of me having a hard time about his vacation, but you still have my sympathy. The trick is for you to go on vacation at the same time. Big Grin My T's wife is a school teacher so he usually goes on vacation during the February break which works really well because we usually vacation then too. It's awesome since it cuts the time away in half.

AG
quote:
The trick is for you to go on vacation at the same time.


LOL! I am actually considering that. My husband has another week of vac left for the year and we had thought of doing a Calif coast trip. But last time we talked about it my husband said that we have a lot to do around here esp w/ his father's house. (who passed away a year ago and we need to get it ready to sell. A lot of work yet to do that I wont get into.) Now that I know when my T is going on her vac I am wanting to go away one of those two weeks too. It WOULD be a lot easier.

BTW: Shrinklady, why do you T's do that to us? Wink (just kidding)

Anyway, I am working through so many attachment issues that were only brased through my trauma therapy. I used to hold back and now it's like the floodgates have opened and this little girl takes over. I swear one of these days I'm going to show up with an over sized chair and a teddy bear and do my best impression of Lily Tomlin's "Edith Ann." I wonder if she'd notice? Sometimes I feel so childish. But that's ok. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
One thing about transference, in the hands of a skilled and ethical therapist, its an incredibly powerful tool for healing, but if its handled badly it can be very damaging.

Hi Sprinting Gal,
AG is right on about that. I've seen first hand a mishandled client/therapist relationship-thankfully not mine! I would also believe that your MD is likely not educated as well in how to handle it. However, I think what you are experiencing is a totally natural place for trasnference to occur. IE: The Florence Nightingale effect. Same as transference/counter-transference.

Before you would stop seeing your current T, have you talked to her about your feelings for your MD? Express how you need to resolve the issues that trigger these feelings for you. She SHOULD understand. See what she says and how she recommends working through it with you. She may be able to help. Some male T's have successfully fulfilled therapeutic mother roles, and female T's have fulfilled therapeutic father roles. See what works for you.
You WILL feel better having worked through it.
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
...when the sexual attraction gets stronger, its a pretty good sign for me that I'm trying to avoid something and I need to slow down and look at it.


This just hit me AG. I never thought about that. Is this something that your T has confirmed or what you notice on your own? I can say that my sexual attraction to my T has waned considerably as I have really opened up and worked with the otherwise "maternal transference." I know I certainly do have avoidance issues.

Anyway, it is also my understanding that sexual desire/attraction/arousal are innate and stimulated by the same endorphines as when a mother nurtures her infant by feeding, caressing, talking and cooing etc. In that way it is very natural to become sexually attracted to our T's who by the inherent nature of their job trigger those endorphines in us. This is esp true for those of us reared by parents who thought that holding your baby too much is spoiling and that it was healthy to let your baby cry for 30 minutes or more to learn to sooth themselves. When in fact we would usually just wear ourselves down and fall to sleep because of exhaustion.
-Does this make sense??
I hope I stated that right. Correct me if I am wrong.
Just Me,
It's something I realized because I started to notice that whenever I talked about something "big" in my relationship with him and got to the underlying issues along with the sense of relief was also a shift in my feelings towards a more paternal mode. But my T and I have also discussed that because of the sexual abuse my expectations of relationship became warped so that I have an expectation of sex needing to be included in order to get what I need from a man. He has also likened my feelings for him to a little girls' saying "I love you Daddy, and I'm going to marry you when I grow up."

I also totally agree with what you said about endorphins and our desire/attraction/arousal mechanisms. I think our sexuality tends to be very complex and is highly impacted my our early relationships so when we are dealing with such strong desires and emotions like the one's invoked by our T's and needs that were never fulfilled, it makes sense that it "bleeds" over into our sexual desires. From reading I've done, our desire to merge in a romantic/sexual relationship with no boundaries between us and our lover is very akin to the merger we once knew with our mother when all our needs were met and there was no boundary because we didn't know an "I" existed at the time. So it all fits.

Sometimes I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the nature of the my feelings and other times I realize its not really that important. The boundaries of the relationship are really clear and carefully maintained, especially by my T (which is why I trust him) and he's phemonally important to me for a lot of good reasons. I try to leave it at that. Big Grin But my T keeps telling me that coming and talking about all my feelings especially in relation to him is how the work is getting done. I can never figure out if his wanting to hear all this is a sign of incredible compassion or complete insanity. Smiler But I'm grateful for it either way.

It is easier when the erotic pull isn't very strong, it can get pretty distracting. I hate sessions where I realize that I'm just sitting and looking at my T instead of listening to what he's saying. Haven't gotten snagged so far that i know of which is good because I would die of embarrassment. Big Grin Although the man never looks flustered so I'd probably survive it. He's stayed very calm when I've talked to him about how obsessive the relationship feels.

AG
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
It is easier when the erotic pull isn't very strong, it can get pretty distracting. I hate sessions where I realize that I'm just sitting and looking at my T instead of listening to what he's saying.


Yea, that is so distracting and so embarrassing. I don't know if it makes it any worse, but imagine that happening w/ a female T. And I think she does notice when I notice. *sigh* I hate the homo-erotic part of my transference. But she never seems phased by it one way or the other.

It is getting better, but I do still feel it from time to time. Keeping an open dialogue, though extremely uncomfortable, is helping to understand where these feelings originate.
Actually, it has been a while since these feelings have surfaced.
Last edited by justme 2
*sigh*
Ok I am very disappointed in my T. I was having a bad time Saturday night and I called and left her a message. I was aware that she was out of town for a conference and that she said she would be limited in her availability to get back with me, but that I could still call her. So I did, not expecting to hear from her right away by any means, but still expecting to hear from her eventually. Sunday, Monday, no phone call. Last night I was really beginning to wonder when I would hear from her. I reached out in need (as she has ecnouraged me to do)and I needed to hear from her. After a very restless night last night along with some infancy body memories I woke up this morning feeling very disillusioned. Very let down and hurt that she had not called me by now. So I called her this morning stating that I really need to hear from her, which I did within 20 minutes or so. She said that she was not able to get my message until late Sunday night and since she had not been able to respond directly to the needs I expressed Saturday night she assumed it had passed wasn’t planning on calling me back at all, and was expecting to see me tomorrow for my session. I said, “But I still needed to hear from you even though the original purpose for my call had passed, I still expected I would hear from you to make sure of it." She heard me, but did not seem phased or moved that she let me down. I mean she SHOULD have called me! I believe the message I left indicated that desire at the same time I acknowledged her limitations. I am pissed and I feel let down by her. Damn it I am so tired of being let down by the people who are most important to me in my life!!!
Confused
Just Me,
She figured it had passed!??! I can understand you being frustrated. They KNOW its scary to contact them, so why would they possibly think its ok to let it slide? Do they have any idea what runs through our heads when we don't hear back!?! I'd talk to her about it. Again. And let her know how angry you are that she doesn't seem to be all that upset about the fact that she made things difficult for you. I can definitely see you feeling pretty disillusioned and frustrated. But overall, your T sounds like a good 'un so hopefully she'll be able to hear that she kind of messed up on this one. Hang in there!

AG
quote:
Originally posted by Attachment Girl:
She figured it had passed!??!


Yea, that was her story. I went to session today and we talked this through. She explained her understanding of my circumstances at the time, and I was able to be heard. She did admit that she did error in assuming that all I needed to do was vent w/o her returning my call. She admitted to not being attuned to my needs and her knowledge of me. She reminded me that she will fail on occasion, but we will always work through it. She will always be right here. So that was good and it helps me to see my issues I still need to work through.

Thanks again for listening and understanding AG. I appreciate that.
Just Me,
You are more than welcome and I was glad to hear that things went well today, Kind of distressing when that stuff happens. I was glad your T stepped up and admitted that she hadn't been attuned enough. Everyone messes up sometimes, its how we handle our mistakes that really matters.

If I may in turn share my diaster today...

My usual 8:30 on Tuesday morning appt wasn't open, so my T scheduled me for today. I entered the appt in Outlook (which is how I run my life) but left the appt card on my desk. I'm getting ready to leave the office at 11:05 for my 11:30 appt when the receptionist at my office tells me I have a phone call. I pick up and its my T who says "I have you down for today" and I answer "yeah, 11:30, I was on my way out the door right now" and he says, wait for it, "no our appointment was at 10:30" I'm looking straight at Outlook which says 11:30 and then I pick up the card and see he wrote 10:30. Now, my life is basically revolving around my therapy appts so I cannot believe I have messed this up but I'm so upset I go on autopilot. My T reschedules me for next Tuesday then asks my how I'm doing? I'm so stunned I'm bascially like, ok, I'm fine, really sorry I screwed up the appt time, see ya later. Hang up the phone and go into a complete meltdown. I'm sobbing so hard I have to close my office door. I got triggered like I haven't gotten triggered in a long time. Every horrible message you can think of is hammering at me. Like someone ripped off the lid of the abyss and I'm suddenly plunged into a swirling chaos. Now, rationally, I understand I just made a mistake and entered the wrong time (and a time I usually don't see my T at) but emotionally it felt like I had screwed up major. Like beyond forgiveness, the relationship is over. So two minutes later, feeling like a pathetic idiot, I pick up the phone and leave an emergency message for my T who calls back in like three minutes. (Probably expected it because I'm really good at the delayed reactions, this has happened once before where I said I'm fine and then called back right away). I told him how triggered I was and how scared. He told me everything was fine, he wasn't angry and stay with it and try to talk about how I was feeling interspersed with telling me to breathe (I tend to stop breathing when I'm upset Eeker ) He asked if I wanted to come in earlier on Friday at 1:30, I said thanks that would be good. Then we got off the phone and I started to worry that I had gotten the appt time wrong, so I ended up emailing him to verify. I got a very nice reply in which he told me everything was ok and said in such a way that I was sure to hear. So I'm feeling better, but it was really hard. I felt so stupid, and pathetic and childish. I knew I was grossly overreacting, sorry let me rephrase that, I knew my reaction wasn't about here and now. It really threw me because things have been going really well lately with a lot of progress and this suddenly felt like all the progress dissappeared. Very frustrating.

I was also braced to talk to him about something I've been trying to get to for a long time so realizing I wasn't going to see him today was like having the floor yanked out from under me. I couldn't calm down so I ended up calling my sister (who completely gets melt downs) so eventually it got better. But I also realized that part of what made it so hard was realizing how much I need my T and how much I hate that. I really thought I had come to terms with that, so I just felt so blindsided by my reactions. I know they're feelings and they come and go, just felt like a lot of lost ground. Plua, you know that lovely feeling that you're a complete wingnut and "normal" people will think you're reaction is insane? Oh yeah. so thanks for listening to my tale of woe. I'm glad I'm going on friday and gee, I think I know what I'll talk about. Big Grin

AG
I hear you AG, loud and clear! Our lives DO revolve around our T’s. (For now and how ever long it takes) How wonderful that Your T is also phenomenally understanding and nurturing. Before I entered therapy I, for one, never had a clue how deeply significant a relationship between a client and therapist really is. My oldest sister has been in and out of therapy for 20 years with several different therapists and she does not relate to my relationship with my T at all, but she says it sounds great and she’s happy I found such a good one. (I think she’s even a little jealous.) But in reality it is probably the most significant relationship we will ever have. So when a scheduling blunder occurs or anything threatens our access to them it can feel earth shattering.

I get the delayed reaction thing too. I do that all the time. But at least we get there. I am amazed at how much some of us here have in common. I think your frustration and fear of your progress disappearing is relatable as well. I know I take my share of “Look at me! Look how good I’m doing. I’m so happy and dancing around like a fool. Life is good! I love My T…” Then BLAM! One little disruption and our world seems to crumble. It really feels like that. So we make connection with our Therapist-mom (or dad) and symbolically crawl onto their laps as they hold us close and whisper, “Everything is ok. I am right here and you are safe.” Our lips begin to quiver as we inhale their stability. Ok, that does sound deranged doesn’t it?? But it really is about getting those important needs met. We are on the road to a brighter, happier, more productive life. In fact, look how much better off we are already and we’re not even done. Not even close. (ha ha!) Big Grin

You are ok, AG! And you don’t have to worry about “normal” I’d rather be a “wingnut” anyway; we so much more understand each otherthat way. LOL! I hope that you are feeling better each day. Just one more day and you will be able to sit in his presence and let it all out.

Hope to hear from you and how it goes for you tomorrow. Until then (((hug)))
JM,
quote:
I think your frustration and fear of your progress disappearing is relatable as well. I know I take my share of “Look at me! Look how good I’m doing. I’m so happy and dancing around like a fool. Life is good! I love My T…” Then BLAM! One little disruption and our world seems to crumble.
Thank you so much for responding and understanding so well. When I can draw breath and get some perspective I can stop being (quite) so hard on myself. It makes me feel so much better that you get what I'm talking about and you understand how it feels. Part of what's so tough right now is I'm trying to allow myself to feel and process alot of emotions from when I was really little that didn't get handled at the time because I finally feel safe enough to and like I have the ability to feel them without it destroying me (which is what it felt like before) but when the emotions come out they are so raw that they almost make the present dissappear. The trick is hanging on to my adult self and my T while allowing the stuff to surface. Thanks for encouragement about the progress too. I've actually talked to my T that as wonderful as I'm feeling and how much better things are getting, I can still feel part of myself sitting on the edge like a meercat on watch looking for the coming disaster. That to trust anything good is a foolish action. My T has made it really clear that he completely understands my feeling that way, but the truth is that the progress is real and I can trust it.I KNOW the fear is not true but I need to experience more of it being not true before I'll trust it. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes since you were enough of a wingnut to ask. Big Grin Thanks again!

AG
Hi guys, I'm just popping in to say how much I am enjoying your discussion. It's reminding me of my horror story...from the other side of the consultation room...a therapist's worst nightmare happened a few months back--I doubled booked myself and I didn't discover it until I opened the door of the waiting room. It was totally my fault. Thankfully, I was forgiven.

I'm off to LA for the weekend. I'm learning about Internet marketing...I'm learning how to promote therapy as a good idea...a bit of a hard sell as you can imagine but your conversation certainly helps the cause.

Thanks again for posting.
Shrinklady
Hi Shrinklady!

Nice to hear from you. I too appreciate your honesty and how you felt when you double booked. I don’t know if you noticed my post about my T doing that to me not once, but twice! Both times that is how she came to realize it; walking into the waiting room and seeing 2 of her clients sitting there as she froze in time muttering a certain expletive or two. Eeker The first time I pushed it under the rug more or less and she apologized profusely-which I felt worse for her than I did for myself. The second time I was not so understanding and we spent the whole session on it. But we did work it out. Even horrifying events and misunderstandings in our relationship with our T can be worked out and we (clients) really need to experience that. I think if we don’t get to see their humanness we might forget that they are not perfect and therefore miss opportunities to learn how to work things out not only through them but with them.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want a perfect therapist. I enjoy some of her imperfections. I like the way she rambles on sometimes extrapolating details. I grin when she gets all wide eyed and over-reacts to things I say. I love her sarcasm at the same time that it drives me crazy. Roll Eyes But I relate to that. I see ways that she is a lot like me and then I see this wonderful role model to look up to and I am very proud to know her the way that I do. If I realized that my T was still horrified over double booking me not once, but twice mind you, (far be it from me to keep bringing that up) I would want for her to let it go. It gave me opportunity to learn something about myself and to work something out with her, which in turn, strengthened my bond with her.

Thanks for your insight from the other side of the consultation room.

Hope all goes well in L.A. Remember you poster children back here if you need any convincing arguments on why therapy is a good idea. (Otherwise there’d be a lot more loose nuts running on the streets.) Which reminds me of a comment from an acquaintance some time ago who said “I really see a difference in you, in the way that you carry yourself. You have a more positive attitude. What are you doing?”

My reply, “I’ve had a few screws tightened.”

Thanks again for developing this community for us. To my knowledge there’s nothing else like it out there. I wish some therapists would drop by from time to time: Even if just to read if they didn’t want to post.

JM
Hi AG,
quote:
The trick is hanging on to my adult self and my T while allowing the stuff to surface.

Hanging onto your adult-self sounds counter-productive. Unless I am misunderstanding something, doing that can get in your way- therapeutically. Accessing the right brain should be more “free flowing.” My T always states "let whatever comes up, come up." If you are intentionally holding onto your adult-self and to your T, isn't that a left brain tendency? Which would be more appropriate at the end of session where we may analyze what came up (or out of the right brain experience). I am sure that your T knows how to proceed, and if he is aware that you are hanging onto your adult-self, then I am sure that is not a problem as I perceive it. Just a thought I had as I read your post.

On the other hand, being aware of our present (we are an adult now and our T is sitting across from us) is a safety measurement keeping us grounded, but not distracted. So of course we want to do that, but it’s just awareness at that time. I know that letting go and giving full right brain exposure is difficult. Like you mentioned “the fear is not true but I need to experience more of it being not true before I'll trust it.”

We’ll get there AG. And as your T stated, “The truth is that the progress is real and you can trust it.” Such a simple statement but what an impact that has.

I look forward to hearing from you and how your session goes today.
Hi JM,
I definitely meant it in the later sense, of being aware of the present especially of being aware that I am in a safe place and with someone who is attuned to me and can help me regulate the emotions. I didn't put it well and I can see where you got the impression you did.

One of the major realizations for me in working with this T was understanding just how cut off from my emotions (ie my right brain) I was. I have spent an enormous amount of energy and a myriad of coping mechanisms to avoid my feelings mainly because there was a time where they would have overwhelmed me because I didn't have resources. As the trust and sense of safety have grown with my T, so has my ability to feel my emotions and be in my right brain. And from my experience, I really have to agree with Shrinklady that the healing occurs when you are in and/or connected to your right brain.

I have formed a secure enough attachment now and am now feeling enough of my emotions to have created a lot more "space" and energy inside which is the progress I've talked about. I'm doing a lot more especially in the creative arenas. But its also allowed me to finally process some experiences and emotions that have been stored away (and stuffed down with food) for a long time. Which is where the scary part comes in. But it's my awareness of safety and trust in the present that allow me to go back and feel the past, process it and heal from it.

I appreciate you asking this because talking about all this is making me feel better about going today, because I am feeling really terrified although I know its going to be alright. I'll let you know how it goes and thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate it.

AG
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