Group and My Spirit Animal

Last week in group we did a visualization at the end. We were to imagine ourselves in a forest. And to imagine a guide. I saw a buck. We were asked, as homework, to do something to connect with our guide. I drew mine (and colored it while at work; I get to do that, color with residents).

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I used gel pens, hence the bright colors. Obviously I googled “buck as spirit animal” as soon as I got home. Everything I read said to have this spirit guide means to be intuitive and connected to “the in between”. Which seems pretty cool and pretty accurate to my experience lately. I’ve still been pretty overly attuned. Unfortunately, that attunement doesn’t always stop me from being an ass.

Group therapist asked me to have an individual session with her Thursday. So, I did. She was 15 minutes late. She apologized but she didn’t give me the time back and still charged me full fee. Also, there is the small matter of her getting details about me wrong. It has only happened twice, so it really isn’t a huge deal. I just feel like, why have us fill out lengthy intake forms if you aren’t going to read them. She mistook my profession; she thought I was a graphic designer. And, she got my trauma experience wrong; she thought I only had something happen to me once, this summer. I think that mistake bothered me most. All of that is to say, we had a rather… cold text exchange after the session because it took me a minute to let those things really hit me.

I’ll add, the text exchange probably wouldn’t have happened, except that she suggested we meet regularly on Thursdays after group. I told her right away, “I already have an individual therapist.” But she said to think about it. So, I did. And, I sent this text:

I dig your calm approach and I think it would be beneficial; however, monetarily I don’t think doing this after each group is feasible.

I was being nice at this point. The mad hadn’t quite hit me. She responded:

Yes, I understand. We will take it a week at a time and [if] you ever want to set something up as we go along just let me know.

Which was a perfectly nice, perfectly fine response. But then the mad seeped in and I said:

I appreciate the willingness to leave it open but I don’t think that’s necessary. I can get over the 15 minutes late thing. But I feel kind of like my unique self isn’t being honored. Every time you’ve guessed at some sort of biographical fact about me, it’s been wrong, which kind of hurts. It’s like I’m not my own person; I’ve been conjured piecemeal from what you remember about other clients. I like you and I like your ways of practicing. But I don’t feel like you know anything about me.

I bet you’re wondering how she responded to that…because I was pretty blunt. This is what she said (and I still haven’t decided how I feel about it):

Ok. This is your journey. It’s completely up to you. If you ever want to discuss or explore that further together I’d be happy to in session. Have a good evening.

I think it is the “have a good evening” of all things that makes me cringe. I know when I respond that way, it usually isn’t because I’m actually wishing the person a good evening, but instead, I’m being indignant. Like, watch me be the bigger person. I have no idea which is the case for her. But I started to feel like an ass, so I apologized and reassured her that I still found group valuable. Smh… I’m fickle.

14 Thoughts

  1. The 15 minutes thing is BS. Fine, people can be late sometimes, but for her to charge you full fee without giving you the time back sends the message that she doesn’t give a crap. Getting those things wrong is also BS. If she doesn’t know it, she should own that and fess up rather than make shit up.
    My take on the “have a good evening” was that it sounded like she was shutting it down, sort of a “don’t text me back”. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is definitely how I felt about the 15 minutes thing. Like my time wasn’t as valuable as hers. And agreed, I think I would have recieved owning not knowing a lot better than just guessing. You’re right about the good evening being a shut down. Lol but I don’t really respond the way people expect or want when they do things like that… the verbal shut down.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 15 minutes late, no time back, charged full fee? Got my trauma history totally wrong? Wow, you handled this like a pro, I wouldve been angry about the fee alone! You have really strong communication skills and have come so far in being able to negotiate and assert your wants and needs IMO. That’s an amazing skill.

    But for the record I think it’s super out of order, 5 minutes late is one thing, but 15?! Out of what, an hour? I think that’s dreadful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, 15 minutes out of an hour. I was about to just leave, had she not come to get me when she did. I told her so, too. Thank you for saying that about my communication skills. I try. But I still feel like I am being unfair when I’m asserting wants/needs, even if they’re totally reasonable. I hope I can work on being more confident in that.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful artwork.
    You stuck to your inner voice even against the pressure, ideas, and wants of another. I find that very hard and uncomfortable to do, and also out of place as if I don’t deserve it. Yet the anger simmers underneath the pleasing me. I’d probably like to knock her this way to Sunday. Suppressing anger is my best feature. (best for others, not me)

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  4. Wow, I also blogged a few days ago about what is reasonable to expect after my therapist was late and didn’t bring up the 15min I lost out on. At least he let me know he was running late. It’s horrible that you were left there without warning or apology. To get your history wrong adds insult to injury and for me, shows a lack of respect for who you are and why you are there 😢 but yes, so hard to vocalise needs without feeling demanding or like we’re asking too much/overreacting.

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  5. Her comment to “have a good evening” can be interpreted as simple politeness, as well. The other concerns you have are consequential. Nor has she apologized for her mistakes. I supposed that would be most troubling to me, as it doesn’t acknowledge failure and offer a way to do better. At least, not yet.

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    1. She doesn’t feel those things were mistakes. There won’t be an apology. But, I signed a paper saying I’d pay the full price of group. So, I’m in it… regardless.

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  6. Such a “contract” assumes many things. For example, that no one brandishes a weapon at the group. Her behavior in and out of group might be construed as one of those assumptions. Thus, if she doesn’t believe she made a mistake and has thereby fueled your doubts about her, I imagine some might argue that she has broken an implicit expectation having to do with your ability to profit from the group. Of course, all this is up to you to act on or not.

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