Text, Touch, and Therapy Changes

Can you hear the crickets chirping from all the way over here in the southern United States? I’ve been quiet for a while now, I know. Sorry about that. Things have been hard lately, much harder than they need be, but I’ve been struggling over some changes in therapy. They’ve had way more of an impact on me than I feel like is justifiable but, it is what it is, and I can’t help the feelings that I have been battling. And believe me those feelings span a full spectrum. I’ve been depressed, angry, sad, tired, apathetic, momentarily hopeful, confused, and now sick. I think all of this feeling and thinking has worn my body down.

I went into therapy thinking that I would get better, that I’d start seeing things in new ways, that my walls would come down, and that I would get back out into the world and start letting people in. I thought I’d feel less sad, less lonely, less of that persistent longing for the end. These days that stuff seems like the stuff of fantasy. I don’t know if those were realistic hopes or goals. I don’t know if any of what I have accomplished is because of the therapy relationship or if it is because I forced myself toward progress. Right now, I can’t see any of the good of that relationship. I’m just so angry at her.

Last week, with only 24 hours notice before my next appointment I got an email that said:

I’m writing to inform you of updates that I have made to the initial contract that we discussed when we began working together and to share with you revisions in fee schedule and consultation policy. These updates formed out of additional ethical training throughout the year and an objective to standardize client communication and provide enhanced treatment services.

[…] Due to corresponding ethical guidelines regarding contact outside of session any consultation or communication outside of session via text message, phone, email or other platform beyond exchange of resources or scheduling clarification will be charged at the session rate in quarter hour increments. This adjustment is to maintain the ethical requirements that all contact between therapist and client remain within the context of a professional relationship.

Yadda, yadda, yadda. She goes on to attach the 2011 code of ethics, which mind you is not the most recent code of ethics for our state. That changed in 2017. And, there were no changes to any of the codes that apply to the professional relationship, technology, or outside communication. When asked about the changes (in addition to the cited change, the session fee raised from $120 to $135 an hour) and why they came about now, I was told that she was working on an article with other counselors and they were examining the ethics surrounding the professional relationship. Or some such madness. She said that the standard fee raised because she was charging clients at the rate they started out and that could show favoritism. (Okay, I’ll buy into that one). She said that all outside contact needed to be charged because otherwise she was working for free and that didn’t support the notion of a professional relationship (as a teacher who is constantly expected to “work for free” this one to me was pretty much a shit excuse, but okay).

The issue I take with all of this is not the fact that policy changed. It is how the policy changed and how it was implemented. I felt blindsided. I felt like she spent this whole time encouraging me to text only to later take it away. Because, let’s be real, I can’t afford my normal sessions and “outside consultation” if I should find myself triggered and needing contact. She already gets a larger percentage of my take home money than I get to live on. I just don’t see how that change is ethical given that there was no communication about it beforehand and that it is going to put significant financial strain on me (which I have brought to her attention, she ignored that I mentioned money at all).

She knew this was something that would trigger me; she said that she knows she could have handled it better but that she “rolled out the changes the same with every client.” Well, hell-fucking-o, not every client is the same, not every client has the same wounds. How can I continue to trust her when she makes me feel like something is okay, that it is encouraged, only to later take it away? And, I am not exaggerating this. Our texts began like this:

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I mean, can you see why I’m confused now?  I spent months cautiously testing the waters. I knew how dangerous it could be to open that door and she always encouraged it. The things she said led me to believe that it was an okay boundary for her and a choice she wanted to make. Then when I finally started to let myself trust that this was something secure, she pulled the rug out from under me. She changed her policies and didn’t give me any heads-up that it was coming (aside from a text, just before the email came through). The next hour and a half session was spent processing my anger at her for destroying my trust. I felt like she was lying to me and being disingenuous with this change and she said that if I already didn’t trust her then it didn’t really matter what she told me because I wouldn’t believe her anyway.

She has made me feel like my reaction is entirely based in old wounds. But, she has been teaching me how to be mindful, to notice things, and what I notice points to this being a self-serving decision. It feels like she couldn’t stand by the boundary she set. It feels like, based on things she has said about being sad these last few weeks and having difficult days and “difficult conversations” with her boyfriend, that maybe her job was interfering in her social life and she needed to find a way to exert control over the situation. Maybe she felt like this was the way to do that without causing so much damage. I don’t know. But, adding a fee? That feels like just a self-serving money thing to me. If something happened in her relationship (just speculation since she sent a text at the beginning of the month asking if I wanted a session because her travel plans with her boyfriend and family had changed and she’d be back early, this corresponding with the time that she was “sad” and having difficult days) and she lost the ability to do all the traveling and luxury lodging she loves so much, maybe she would find a way to start making more income (gotta support that travel blogger hobby some how). That isn’t so far-fetched is it? I feel like a cash cow. My utters are being milked dry. I mean, am I wrong? Am I completely misreading things? I know you can’t completely say for sure because all you have is my interpretation and presentation of the information. I know I might be overreacting but my gut tells me that she didn’t make this decision in the best interests of her clients.

How do I not listen to my gut? It’s almost never been wrong, despite the fact that she has been trying this whole time to get me to open up to different perspectives when my intuition is yelling at me. Part of me feels like maybe that was a whole part of this. I’ve often felt like she was playing mind games. But, I would lead myself to some grand insight, so I’d let her off the hook, give her the credit. Now I don’t know. I know the policy change seems like something small but it has made me call into question every aspect of the relationship. Especially the other “boundary crossings” that she has allowed. Hugs, for instance.

For a while, at the end of sessions, if I ask for a hug she will give one. But only if I ask because it has to be my choice (since I’ve not had a whole lot of chosen touch in my life). I’ve come to appreciate those hugs and would probably take it very personally if they were taken away. She says that they aren’t going anywhere but how can I believe that? She said that the texting was good, that it was progress, that it was okay, that it was a choice. Then it was taken away. So, how can I know that anything is safe? I thought therapy was the one place I could go to find consistency, security, and safety. I thought it was the one place I could count on someone to set and maintain their boundaries, not change them willy-nilly. Especially not do something that she knew would trigger me. How can I see her as caring when she did something knowing that it would trigger me and she insists it is in the best interest of her client?

I am just so damned confused. I am raging. I am sad. I am deeply, deeply sad. I let myself get close to her. I let myself start trusting and opening up. But, now I don’t know if I can get through  this with her. I don’t know if I should. I can see things that she is good at, that have been helpful. She was great at reassurance and validation. She was perceptive. But things have been off lately. I wasn’t getting any of that in session, so I was looking for it outside. That’s probably how we ended up in this mess. I don’t want to have to start over with someone new. But I feel almost abused. I feel like my past hurts are being used against me, which makes me feel even more crazy.

Gah! Surely therapy shouldn’t feel this way. I’m just lost. I’m open for suggestions, input, guidance. What would you do?

35 Thoughts

  1. Wow! I didn’t realize the depth of this. I now encourage you even more to find another therapist, stat!! She did not set any boundaries and if anything she crossed into personal boundaries. She should never speak of her emotions. You are not there in support of her, she is there to guide you. Her personal life was being too work involved and I clearly see where you are coming from! You have no business knowing about her life outside of being a therapist and you know that because she spoke to you as a friend. That sends the wrong signals. ie.. her boyfriend, vacations, I am in awe. I will apologize for her. Perhaps she was looking for a friend not setting therapist/client boundaries. You can’t be friends with your counselor. It doesn’t work like that. I believe you have every right to feel the way you do. I hope that is a little validation.

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    1. I know you are so right. I can’t make myself let go. How fucked up does that make me? That I don’t want to accept that this is on her and that it isn’t going to be fixed. I need her to own up to her responsibility in this and she isn’t. Even if she did though, I don’t know if it would make a difference. I would always wonder if she really was in control of managing her boundaries. Owning her choices, as she said. At the same time, I feel kind of like I’m to blame for the boundary crossing. I always asked how she was, would ask if I sensed something off with her mood. She was just answering honestly. I mean, yeah, maybe she should have used more discretion in answering but I did ask. I was pushing boundaries just as much as I was testing whether or not the ones she said were okay actually were. And, if that was what she was looking for, and she finally got consultation, and these new boundaries are a result of that, does it mean she is moving in the right direction? Ugh! I hate my brain.

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  2. None of this sounds silly at all. It seems like she does not know how to set boundaries. She kept repeating about her ability to set boundaries. It got a bit weird concerning that. Like she’s reassuring herself about being able to set boundaries she’s not really able to set. And she’s in denial about it.

    Every reaction in the present is not based on old wounds. And your reaction/response to her behavior makes complete sense.

    Listen to that gut of yours. It’s so easy to self doubt when it comes to therapy and therapist and the back ground that sent us there. You are wiser than you realize.

    I know it sucks to keep starting over. I’ve done it for a lot of years. But the sooner you move on, the sooner you will find someone that will not do more harm.

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    1. That does make quite a lot of sense, the denial. I’m scared of starting over, having to try and trust someone new. I keep thinking what if I just keep picking people who will hurt me? What if something about me brings this out in people?

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      1. I know what you mean about the fear of starting over. It’s difficult to repeat yourself, at least that’s where I had a difficult time. I had a lot of time between therapists many times.

        It’s also difficult to know right away if you’ve picked someone who’ll hurt you too. That also can take time, like this one sounds like she started out pretty ok but then pulled a 180. It’s also hard to catch it too when you’re in a vulnerable spot.

        It’s not you though. It’s difficult to find good therapists. So many just suck.

        It’s funny, I hadn’t even caught that boundary breaking she pulled with telling you her personal stuff with her boyfriend til I read Eve’s comment.

        Try not to blame yourself. The boundaries and policies should be set on the first visit. And then when they change, should be given and told to you in person.

        She was completely deflective and has her own boundary issues that have nothing to do with you.

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  3. Definitely a difficult situation and I can understand why you are feeling confused, lost, and devastated. It does seem like a case And I’m surprised that she sprung it on you over e-mail, instead of bringing it to you during your session to discuss and process together. For someone who comes across as so perceptive in the texts you shared, she missed the mark there. I’m curious about how she plans to enforce this. Are you being charged based on the number of texts or the duration of a conversation? Interesting that she wants to enforce the professional relationship but is discussing her own feelings of sadness with you. I sense some bias there. Maybe something she should be discussing in her own supervision?

    Regardless, I agree with you that she is setting inconsistent boundaries. I’ve seen this pattern a lot with bloggers lately; therapists offer more than they can truly provide and then pull back in an abrupt, curt manner when they realize they have overtaxed themselves. Maybe that is what happened here, maybe not. Either way, it can irreparably damage your trust in her if she is not careful. That’s a big adjustment for you to have to make after months of having the support. Unfortunately, therapists aren’t always willing to recognize their role straight away. They project it entirely back on the client, which I feel in inappropriately black and white perspective (it’s the client’s problem instead of a mutual experience between both of you, compounded by her values, motives, etc. as much as yours).

    How long have you been seeing her for? In my opinion, I don’t see what suddenly terminating the relationship will do to benefit you. You’re completely right that therapy shouldn’t always feel this way, but sometimes it does. And working through that with her might leave you being empowered in ways you can’t fathom right now. Therapists are human and they make mistakes. They communicate poorly and get defensive. Sometimes they are not as people we need them to be when we need it. It sounds like she messed up, at least in part. Do you think she will be willing to own any of that? If you chose to share pieces of this post with her, do you think she’d be amenable to hearing it? If she shows any sense that she might be open to what you’re bringing her and willing to process it, I think it’s worth trying to stick it out and resolve the situation as best you can.

    Such a long winded response! I hope it helps you some, if even just to know that your reaction makes complete sense. It’s a healthy response to an unhealthy situation. But even when I’ve been at my lowest with my therapist, when she’s done or said things that were in poor taste, I’ve found that time and honest discussion help us heal. Slowly, but we get there. I hope you can get there too. X

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    1. I am giving it one last chance tomorrow because as you said, she was always quite perceptive via text. She has said and done some great things, really. It’s just her boundaries were so awful. I feel betrayed by that but I don’t want to let go. I wrote her a long letter for us to go over together in what may or may not be our last session together. For me, I think it really comes down to how much she is willing to own. Because, from where I stand right now, we are just recreating old hurts and layering new ones on top of that. The only way we will get anywhere is if she stops diminishing the significance of my feelings to the here and now. I need more than, “this is me communicating a new boundary.” And, “yeah, I admit that I could have told you in a better way.” I need her to realize that being led to believe something is okay and then ripping it out of my hands is devastating.

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      1. I think that’s fair. I don’t know your history with her well, but as a person you can only take so much. The burden is on her as your therapist to set and maintain appropriate boundaries and if she can’t be properly aware of that obligation and her mistakes surrounding it, maybe the relationship can no longer be helpful to you. So sad if that is the case. I will hope for you that she is able to accept some responsibility and that you two can continue to work on this. And if not, I’m sending you strength to do what you need.

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        1. Thank you so much. If I walk away I’m definitely going to need the strength. We have only been working together for about 6 months but that’s longer than I’ve kept any therapist. Hell, that’s longer than I keep most relationships in general. I push people away when they get too close. So the fact that I was working through that and letting her in felt super significant to me… too significant to throw away.

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    2. Oh, and about the fees, it’s 33.75 per 15 minutes of texting. So, basically… her usual session rate. It’s incredibly subjective and could add up to some really extreme fees. Hence why, to me, it just appears that she has taken texting off the table. We haven’t discussed the email thing. I can’t even imagine how astronomical that would become.

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  4. I’ve been through many a therapist. I want someone I can trust… Non-judgemental. Someone that doesn’t discuss their personal life except the basics to form a professional relationship.
    I’m sorry you are going through all of this.

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  5. If my therapist sent me an e-mail like that, I think I’d totally lose it.

    You just can’t all of a sudden change the rules. Besides sending mixed messages, in my opinion it can be extremely damaging, especially for clients who have attachment and trust issues and/or suffer from childhood abuse/emotional neglect. Sometimes clients need extra contact for very long periods of time. I know, because I am one of those people.

    She should have laid out the rules at the beginning, known where she stood in regards to ethics and apparently needs to work on what she considers good boundaries. I think she also needs to do some more of her own therapy because you aren’t paying her to listen to her blather on about her problems.

    I also don’t agree that the fee has to be the same for everyone. I’m fairly certain, knowing my therapist, that he doesn’t charge the same fees for everyone. He also charges different rates than the other therapists in his office. Late last year he waved the fee for a few sessions for me because he knew I was having some issues and he was worried that losing contact would send us backwards. In three years he has never, ever suggested raising the fees or charging for out of session contact.

    I suppose it is her right to change the fees, but I believe there needs to be a transitional period, not cold-turkey. I also know if my therapist was to make changes like that he wouldn’t tell me via text or e-mail. He would sit me down and tell me face-to-face. The very thing she is changing is the forum she’s using to communicate it. 🙄

    He has also never scolded me for not trusting him–he says he understands completely and trust is going to come and go (and maybe that wasn’t how she meant it, but that was how I interpreted it)….”she said that if I already didn’t trust her then it didn’t really matter what she told me because I wouldn’t believe her anyway”…. umm what??

    It’s her job to build trust and hold safe and consistent boundaries so that you, as a client, can branch out and test the waters from a solid base. It all sounds cruel and very unfair to me.

    I understand your anger. I’m sorry that it’s happening to you. Therapy is hard enough without trying to figure out what in the hell your therapist is doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This helps. A friend of mine told me I was acting narcissistic and entitled for expecting this situation to be handled differently. But it legitimately felt insensitive because she knows I’ve got a hugely traumatic background. This felt punitive because of that. Agreed that it being transitional would have been bettered. I mentioned that as well. She said, “well, we have been working toward this, haven’t we?” All very defective. I definitely feel like she should have expected me to stop trusting her for this. Obviously it’s something she gave some forethought to, so… Idk, maybe she doesn’t want to work with me anymore and she is too passive to say so… fuck, see, this is where my brain goes. I don’t even know…

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      1. My brain always goes there, so I completely understand. He doesn’t answer quickly enough—he’s mad at me or ignoring me. He doesn’t give me the answer I want–he’s tired of me and just wants me to shut up. It usually ends up with me firing off an ‘Are you mad at me?’ text. And him responding ‘no, not at all’.

        I don’t think you’re being narcissistic about it. I’m pretty sure you aren’t in love with yourself or are asking for anything that isn’t reasonable in the circumstances.

        I think she needs to be willing to meet you in the middle somehow and if she doesn’t she might not be the right one for you. I see a psychodynamic therapist and the relationship is super important—maybe that’s why he allows what he does—but he has still been able to maintain superman strength boundaries (much to my inner child’s dismay) in spite of it.

        I would absolutely feel the same way that you do.

        I hope it works out for you in the end. ❤

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        1. Thank you. She claims that the important work happens in the relationship which is another reason, I guess, that I’m so appalled by this whole thing. Because if someone came to me in any relationship, telling me that what I did and how I did it hurt them deeply then I’d step back and look at how I contributed. I’d own up to my part and see what we needed to do to make both of us feel like the issue was resolved. I don’t feel that coming from her. Just a lot of deflecting and placing blame on my sad, broken parts, which only makes the protective part of me more defensive.

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  6. Putting on my mental health professional hat for a minute here, whenever a clinician is having contact with a client outside of work time it can start to be a bit dicey ethically. The way to resolve that is having some sort of pre-established boundaries or limits around outside-of-session contact (in terms of when it can happen, how often, what the backup plan is, etc). It sounds like your therapist was not setting appropriate boundaries before, and then somehow it was brought to her attention that this was an issue, and she responded with the solution (i.e. charging for texting time) that was simplest (for her) and offered the most cover-her-ass protection. This is definitely the lazy way out rather than the way to best serve her clients. There should be many ways to individualize this with clients as appropriate and still maintain ethical boundaries. As one example, she could implement a sliding-scale fee structure that kept you at your same per-session rate but included x number of text contacts per week or something like that. If she’s not willing to be flexible and just cares about covering her ass, that’s not a very good sign. But it doesn’t sound like any of this is directed specifically you; I think it’s all about her and her own judgment, or lack thereof, and her inability to trust her own judgment in setting appropriate boundaries in the therapist-client relationship.
    And now back to my mentally ill person perspective… if a therapist pulled this shit on me I’d probably think they were incompetent and start looking for a new therapist.

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    1. It is really helpful to have a mental health perspective. I just finished my ethics course last semester so it is all still fresh. I knew the outside contact was dicey on terms of ethics which was why I was so like “are you sure it’s okay”? Because I knew I’d be devastated if she took it away. And I am. I just wish she had gone about it in a different way. Or at least own up to her part. It feels so personal. I know that if I had found myself in her position I would have come to a very different ethical decision, similar to what you mentioned (I brought this to her actually and we are to discuss it later today)… so, even though she is human and fallible, I feel less inclined to let her off the hook because even I could have come up with a solution better for clients and I’m not even done with my M.A. yet. I don’t know… maybe that’s an arrogant perspective. I’ve felt very much thrown back and forth between rational adult brain and indignant child brain with this situation.

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        1. Maybe that’s how I should approach this today, “in order for us to continue our work together, I need us to come up with a better solution, one that takes both of our needs (hers to be ethical) into account.

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  7. The phrase that kept repeating over and over in my head while reading this is “first do no harm”, the backbone of ethics in any helping profession. I can understand why you’re feeling the way you are. What she did, and the way in which she did it, is not right. She caused you harm in a big way. My own therapist is very good with boundaries and will discuss things that are causing problems in that area, with me in GREAT DEPTH. She doesn’t just change things, she discusses them with me first, and we find a solution together. One that works for us both. Her main concern is making therapy (and ultimately our relationship) feel as safe as possible. Reading this, it seems your therapist didn’t handle this very well at all. And the added fee thing… that brings my back up as well. That doesn’t actually even seem ethical. I know there’s laws in South Africa (where I live) that talks about financial ethics, and I think I read something about therapists not being allowed to take financial advantage of clients, especially those who struggle with finances. Maybe you could look into the ethics for psychologists in your area if you haven’t already?

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. It sounds so hard, and excruciating. Sending hugs. ❤

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    1. Defintely! I told her that over and over again before it finally sunk in for her, that he primary responsibility was to do no harm. And, she was intentionally causing harm. I couldn’t understand how that could possibly be ethical. I told my therapist yesterday that I wish she would do just what it sounds like yours does with you; if changes are brewing, I need to know before hand when it can be helped. And this was obviously something she had been discussing in consultation, so she knew it was in the works. I also wish that I had been looped in and given some say in things but she takes a “it is my practice, so I make my fees and my policies” stance. And, if they don’t work for me then I have the chance to remove myself from the relationship. That is really hurtful to me. It would never work that way in any other relationship. It’s very authoritarian. I also didn’t think the fee thing was ethical but a lot of therapists here do actually have those kinds of policies; however, usually they give 15 minutes of consultation free. And then, if more is needed they start charging. I am going to bring this to her next session. I have been doing research. I’m not one to easily let things go if I know that I have evidence on my side. It is either a flaw or a strength, I’m not sure. Maybe both. If nothing else, the researching makes me feel more validated, so that helps. Thank you for your kind and reassuring comment. It has helped immensely knowing that others get it and that I wasn’t overreacting.

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  8. I’m just flabbergasted that she would charge you for e-mails. I haven’t read any of the other comments, so I’m sorry if I’m being repetitive. I just think that it’s ethically wrong to expect payment for this kind of emergency outside support. I like the idea of her responding when it feels intrinsically right, and on other occasions at least responding with some sort of validation that she has heard and felt your words and will discuss them with you in detail in session. This is the sort of boundary that shouldn’t ever change. If she told you in the beginning that texting was okay, it should be there for you for the entirety of your work together. You have every right to be deeply upset.

    Do you think that she has the ability to feel your hurt and put things right again? Do you think that you can forgive her if she doesn’t? I’m on therapist #3 (though I’m confident he will be the last) so I’m an advocate for switching if you think there might be a better fit for you out there. It’s hard to know what to do when faced with such a huge rupture.

    Take care and keep writing.

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    1. She said that when she decided to open up to email and texting, it was a decision she made thinking it would help us build an alliance. She always thought it would be temporary and she admit that she didn’t make that clear enough and that she sees it is hurting me because of her ambiguity. She said that what we were doing wasn’t sustainable for her as a clinician in private practice. I think she sees my hurt but I don’t think she feels it and understands it. She is trying though, I just don’t know how much of the hurt I can handle in the process. Because it hurts so damn much sometimes and just when I think take a step forward in session, the anger comes back whenever I leave. I just feel like we are reenacting all of the instability of my early life. I don’t know if we will make it through this rupture, I really don’t. But, I’m terrified of going out there and searching for someone else only to get hurt again. I have already had too much hurt.

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      1. You would get hurt again, that is inevitable, but they would be different (maybe more manageable) hurts. A boundary break is hard to recover from because it is so closely linked to betrayal. Hang in there. Only time will tell if this will become a pattern with C or not.

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  9. I would urge you to listen to and trust your own intuition. Having been in therapy with a therapist who maintained a distinct lack of boundaries, I would nudge you to go and find someone else who can both meet your needs and maintain the boundaries that will keep both of you safe.

    I know it feels impossible to start over, but there are other therapists out there. Plus, I’ve come to realize that you don’t completely “start over” – you take all that you’ve learned about yourself with you. You might have to retell your history but you don’t suddenly unlearn the valuable insights you’ve gained from being in therapy.

    I suspect that your current therapist is using you in some way to meet her own needs. This seems to be what happens when a therapist lets boundaries slide. And she has suddenly realized this and is trying to course-correct.

    With me, my therapist got cancer and suddenly terminated our 4 year co-dependent relationship via email. What is up with therapists using email to avoid having hard conversations? I think the fact that she had to use email to communicate this message to you actually speaks volumes about her, personally and professionally.

    I’m sorry you are going through this. I know it hurts and can tear you up inside. Now that you’ve seen this “shadow” side of your therapist, you do have to reconsider and re-evaluate all that has transpired. Once the light is shone on what was once hidden, it does change your perspective and perceptions. Only you can decide if it is healthy to stay.

    But please know that you can also choose to leave and that you will be okay if you do. I don’t know you, but I sense you have more strength than you realize. And I suspect that you’ve been letting your heart guide you – and why wouldn’t you? We all crave that kind of intimacy where we are adored and loved. But I think now you need to let your head/gut lead you forward.

    Stay strong. Have faith. You can do this. And you will be okay.

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    1. You’ve given me a lot to think about, thank you for this! Especially your statement about her using me to meet some of her own needs. That’s something I’ve wondered about for a while now. I definitely have an inclination to fall into the caretaker role and I’ve done this naturally with her as well. She doesn’t ever let it go too far, but it’s certainly gone farther than maybe it should have.

      As for email, I definitely didn’t let her get away with just dealing that way. I really do sort of feel bad for the people who make the protector part of me feel like I’m under some threat. Because, I can be brutal. I’m generally a kind, compassionate, attentive person. But, not when I feel like I’m being wronged. It’s been hard with her, determining whether or not I feel like I’m jist being abused in a different way. Or, if my past abuse makes me see abuse where there isn’t any.

      She and I are still moving forward. She has owned up to more of her motivations and internal processes which I appreciated. But, also, I’ve been researching other therapists who may be able to give me more of what I need. I just need to be sure, she can’t. Because she is the closest I ever came to connecting with a therapist.

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      1. I felt the same way too, once upon a time. But now that I’ve been freed from that relationship, I realize it wasn’t authentic connection but rather dependency. A good therapist will not make you feel this way.

        You said something in another post about being “hyper-vigilant” and I am exactly the same way. I could read my ex-therapist like a book so she would end up telling me all kinds of stuff because I was so attuned to her internal world. And that is a big RED FLAG.

        The new therapist I have been working with is completely psycho-analytical. She doesn’t give away anything. I know very little about her. My sessions are all about me. You may need someone older who is more “classically” trained and who definitely maintains stronger boundaries. It’s actually a healthier form of therapy and I think you will find it less triggering and anxiety-producing.

        I know it’s really hard to leave. I know the connection is strong and I don’t doubt that it’s genuine. But this isn’t therapy and the connection is not sustainable and I fear you will be the one to get hurt in the end. She will always have the power, you will always be at the mercy of her changing whims. You deserve better.

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        1. I think I’d be afraid of someone who is psychoanalytic as well. The cold, detached, blank screen reminds me of my mother whenever I was in trouble or did something undeserving of her love. I think I’d constantly feel not good enough. Or like I was doing it wrong. Maybe I’m a hopeless cause.

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          1. She’s actually very warm and welcoming. But she keeps all of her shit out of my way – which means we can completely focus on me! I don’t know if it’s her particular school of therapy or if it’s that she has 40+ years experience. All I know is that she keeps anything about her life to herself. I get an occasional nugget about past clients (“I once had a client who was a psychic” or “I have a client who just moved to Greece and we’ve had great conversation on Skype.”). It’s not like she sits there silently – we talk but it’s all in the context of my experiences. How she experiences the world doesn’t really matter.

            Here’s another thought for you. The two best therapists I’ve come across are both professors. Is there a local school of social work? Maybe you could look there? I think many have private practices in addition to teaching. Perhaps those who teach are better with boundaries?

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          2. I really like your last idea. I’ve seen a psych/professor before. We didn’t really get anywhere but she also didn’t make things worse. Some of my greatest growth, however, has been with my graduate professors and that wasn’t even in a formal setting. So, I can only imagine the benefit of proper boundaries, too. I’ll start looking and consulting.

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