A lot of change…

Again, it has been a while since I’ve written. I think the last I checked in, it was on the J thing (me trying to persuade her to have me for individual). Her first response was via phone, so I couldn’t share that. But, after some deep soul searching I realized what I needed from my therapist was attunment. I needed the right brain to right brain connection I missed out on in early development. I recognized this as being what I felt with J, so I tried one last time. I wrote:

Okay, I know that you tried to be firm with your “no” so that I would really get it; individual with you isn’t happening. I do get what you are saying. I have a therapist already. For you, it doesn’t make sense to put me on a wait list. Because to you, a therapist is a therapist. But, you also told me that I needed a therapist who got attachment (I assume attachment theory). So, if that is the case, then wouldn’t you believe that in order for me to truly get the most out of my therapy, I would need a therapist who is “safe, dependable, and attuned”? And, doesn’t that mean that what matters most in the therapeutic relationship is the therapist’s ability to be emotionally attuned with the client? Don’t I deserve to have that with my individual therapist?

Yes, K is safe and dependable but what we lack, that thing that I couldn’t articulate, is attunement. She tries but she doesn’t “see, hear, sense, interpret” and “respond to [my] verbal and non-verbal cues in a way that [communicates] … that [I] have been genuinely seen, felt, and understood.” We don’t connect right brain to right brain. We don’t connect in such a way that I will ever have a reparative experience. I either stay dissociated or stay super left brained with her. I don’t care how much I like her as a person. I don’t care how much I can see her capability. I don’t care how much she does the right things. We can’t force attunement.

That is what I experienced with you, for the first time, probably ever. That is what I am fighting for. And, here is the thing. Yes, I already have a therapist. And, yes, she is “good enough” but soon I’m not going to have a therapist anyway. I can’t afford it anymore. I never could afford once a week but I knew I needed the care, so I maxed out my credit card and now I’ve been using my rent money. K knew that I couldn’t afford weekly. I told her that up front. But, we did it anyway. That isn’t my point though. My point is, if I am going to have to take a break from therapy anyway, I want to be able to come back to therapy with a therapist I know I feel that attunement with. If I’m going to have to take a break anyway, so I can figure out how to pay my bills, then I want to be on the wait list. If you tell me “no” again, then I will accept that. I will accept that my break from therapy is probably going to be more than a break. Because, my whole awakening this summer after being dumped and fired was about not settling. It was about caring enough about myself to find the person who was really going to be able to help me. Because, this summer, I realized that I had been settling for “good enough.” But, “good enough” is never going to work for me. So, if I want to get better, then I have to fight for what I need. And, I know, that what I need is the attunement I never got. That is what exists when I sit in the room with you and when we talk on the phone.

I thought this was pretty darned smart and persuasive. But apparently not enough. This was her response:

KD,

I’ve given a lot of thought to your message. I wanted my response to be helpful, and I felt care and concern for how you might feel.

I hear that you have learned a lot about yourself and what you’re wanting/needing from your support. It is a great strength that you have identified a need for attunement and you deserve therapy that is effective for you. I hope you understand that my goal is to be ethical, considerate and helpful towards clients and other professionals. Based on my current schedule I am not adding anyone to the wait list since potential availability is so far out, and it would not be best practice to let you or anyone sit that long waiting for support. I recommend that if you do not feel K is the best fit for you, you talk with her about referrals. If needed I can talk with K about options and referrals she can share with you.

If finances are a limiting factor I recommend considering practices and agencies that offer lower cost counseling so that you can alleviate the stress of costs. I believe it’s in your best interest to have support that is affordable at a regular consistent frequency. [List of local resources] could be helpful resources.

Sincerely,

J

I was a little bit gutted because part of me hoped I made a solid appeal (if not a little manipulative)… but, her response was entirely professional and I just have to accept the “no” and figure out where I’m going from here. I do have some news on that front, some changes in my life. I suppose I can report those here, even though this is getting long. I’ll make the rest quick

  • I joined a new group for sexual assault survivors. It seems promising.
  • I was dating. That freaked me out and got me all triggered, so it was short-lived.
  • I got A’s on all of my midterms
  • I got a new job as a Qualified Mental Health Professional at a residential facility. I have orientation Tuesday and I’ll be working in the crisis unit.
  • I’ve still been teaching yoga and will continue to do so.
  • I told K we were going to have to take a break because my finances are in the dumpster.
  • I called one of the free resources recommended by J and I’m waiting to hear back to see if I am eligible. So this might mean another change in therapist.

I think that’s pretty much all.

10 Thoughts

  1. I hope one of those free resources will work out. You certainly deserve to have a therapist that’s attuned to you. No matter how competent K may be if the therapeutic connection isn’t there of course the therapy isn’t going to be very effective.
    Well done on the midterms!

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    1. It is okay that things didn’t work out with J. Maybe our paths will cross again in the future. Maybe not. The money thing sucks… especially because I know I wouldn’t be where I am financially if it weren’t for years of therapy I couldn’t ever really afford. It will be good to be making some money again soon. And I think the work will be rewarding. Thank you for the thoughts.

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  2. I commend you for continuously speaking up for yourself and advocating for what you wanted, even if it didn’t end well. I really believe that there will be someone out there for you with whom you can find that attunement again. I’m sorry things are tough though, and I hope that one of the resources pans out or that you are at least getting something from your new group.

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    1. Thank you! In an ideal world we would get what we want when we advocate for ourselves but I think most of us know all too well, this isn’t an ideal world. The new group seems promising though, so that is something.

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    1. Thanks haha the A’s kind of led to me losing initiative to go to class. I skipped for three weeks in my psychopathology class and still got an A. As for working with the crisis teams, why can’t you?

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  3. wow! sorry she said no again! that sucks! but yay on the A’s. Yay on the new job! Yay on all the great progress and changes you’ve made! I hope you find someone really good soon! Will be rooting for you and cheering you on! 😀 🙂 ❤

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