Bad Therapy?

Generally, I love my therapy sessions. They rejuvenate me, validate my feelings, emotions and actions, but last week was different.

I felt like I was being scolded by my father.

“You can’t do this, you must own that, you’re too rebellious, you don’t seem to grasp the situation you are in and the limitations that puts on your life.”

I told him at one point “I feel awful.” I felt tears welling up in my eyes a couple of times. I started to feel like he was telling me that because of my illness and the scandal, I can never live the life I want to live again. I pictured myself with a chastity belt and a strip of duct tape over my mouth.

That hurt.

I’ve always had rebellion in my bones. I repressed that rebellion and played happy wife and mother for a few years before that landed me in the psych ward for major depression.

I am not normal.
And I love it.

I’m quirky, I’m self-destructive, I curse too much, I like sex.

Oh wait, I’m not supposed to write about sex.

I’m also a great mom, I love flowers and birds and the waves crashing over the rocks at Coney Island. I handwrite birthday cards to every friend and family member I have. I call people. I laugh.
I love to laugh.

I walked out if the session with my back turned to him as he followed me out of the room to meet his next patient. I think he thought I was mad at him, but it wasn’t anger, it was tears.

I didn’t want him to see me cry.

I started to think about what a friend asked me about my therapy sessions a few months ago. “Is it working?” I answered yes. He responded “When I was in therapy I knew it was working when it started to hurt.”

Is he right?
Does therapy have to hurt to be effective? I don’t want to be coddled, but when does a therapist become the director of your life? And how much should you change based on his or her advise, response, feedback?

I have to go back on Wednesday and I’m not looking forward to it. I feel like something has changed.

I don’t want a father. I had one. I want a therapist.

I’m confused.

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11 thoughts on “Bad Therapy?

  1. I’m sorry that you had a rough counseling session. ❤ I don't agree that it necessarily has to hurt to be working. *YOU* hired this person to help you. They do not get to tell you what to do. They can make suggestions, but YOU are the one in control. I think it could be helpful for you to share your feelings about the last session with your therapist if you feel comfortable enough to. Just a thought. Whatever you decide, please know that you are the one that decides what's true and right for you. ❤

  2. Thanks for reading & responding. I know “it” is going to come up in our next session because that’s the way our patient/doctor relationship is like. I know he knew something was off. Sigh. Sometimes I woder if the Dr is as affected by the sessions as the patients are.

    • “Sometimes I wonder if the Dr is as affected by the sessions as the patients are”.
      Having been in therapy myself, and now training to be a clinical psychologist, I often wonder the same thing. I fear becoming too emotionally invested in the patients (as is my tendency with everyone I encounter in my daily life, never mind in a therapy setting), but at the end of the day I really hope my own experiences with therapy and counselling will help me identify on a more personal level with them.

      I agree with Julie Ann, you hired this person to help you, not to tell you what to do. Hopefully once you have discussed it with him, he might approach you and your needs in a different way.

      • Given our doctor/patient relationship and the way I walked off after our last session, I don’t think there is any way that the way I felt after last week will NOT come up. He really is a good therapist, maybe it was his idea of “tough love.” I still fell shitty a week later! He’ll know something is wrong.

  3. Hey Sean, basically, I can be misconstrued as overtly sexually and it wouldn’t be good for my divorce case or the ramifications of the scandal. Ridiculous. As long as I’m not making terrorist threats or committing libel, I have freedom of speech and that’s what I told him. Actually, it was this blog that started the entire “you can’t do this, you shouldn’t do that…” tirade. Blah!

  4. A therapist shouldn’t be a director of your life and they shouldn’t be judgemental. They should help you achieve the goals you set for yourself at the beginning. If your therapist said what he said because what you said was a regression to past behaviors that would keep you from reaching then it’s good that you felt uncomfortable. Your friend is right. Therapy is work and change is uncomfortable. That being said, your therapist sounded a little judgemental. He should have phrased his response differently. Sincerely, a former therapist.

    • It’s funny, sometimes I wonder if I allow my therapist to be “the director” of my life. This particular session wasn’t studying behaviors I am repeating or bound to repeat, but rather went back to a place which I would like to forget and he feels that I shouldn’t- lest I repeat the past. It’s so complicated. Therapy is hard work!

      • If it’s hard work then your doing it right. Feel free to set limits with or question your therapist if you aren’t thrilled with the direction he might be going. Therapists aren’t perfect or mind readers. BTW, thanks for following my blog. It’s nice to meet you.

  5. I don’t think a therapist should direct you. That said, they always do. And I always do what I want. If any therapist told me not to have sex, I’d find another therapist. Sex IS therapy, isn’t it?

    • I’m terribly rebellious, so I generally do what I want, when I want as long as it doesn’t interfere with taking care of my daughter. For the record, he didn’t say I shouldn’t have sex, he said I should be careful writing about it openly and that I should keep this blog as anonymous as possible lest people get the wrong idea. I don’t care about other people’s “ideas” about me, so I’ll keep on bloggin’!! Thanks for reading and for your response!!

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