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Opinions needed about an issue with our T

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Opinions needed about an issue with our T

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:05 am

Our T did that thing again where he says that how we're reacting to something he does is different than any of his other clients do or have done, and we think that there must be other people who have felt like we do, but they just didn't feel like they could say anything to him. So we would really like to hear other people's opinions about how they would feel and what they would do.

Here's one example, but it has happened before: We had a zoom session with the T on Tuesday, and before he turned his camera on, he said that he wanted to let us know that he was in a different room than usual. That was helpful to us, because changes throw off the littles, and that prepared them for it, so that was fine.

Then he turned his camera on, and there was a lot of clutter behind him--shelves of kids books, and other kid stuff. It was kind of distracting. We asked if that was going to be his office at home now, and instead of just saying, "yes," which was all we asked and all we wanted to know, he launched into, "Yes--I had to turn my office into a guest room. This used to be my granddaughter's bedroom, and..." And he would have kept going, for at least another sentence or two, but we stopped him. (We knew that there was some kind of urgent family thing going on over the weekend, based on texts from him, and in those he was careful to only to say that there was an exceptionally pressing issue he was dealing with. So if we had wanted to know more we certainly could have asked--but we didn't.)

Since this is something we've asked him and told him over and over--that we NEVER want more details than we specifically ask for, we said, "I don't CARE!!" because we were upset and frustrated that he can't remember to just answer yes or no. We said, "That was a yes or no question." And he started to get defensive and said, "Well, for you it is."

And that was upsetting, because it's a fact that it was a yes or no question: "Is this going to be your office now?"

He said that with his other clients, he would answer the same way, with all those details, and maybe they would ask another question or two, and then they would get on with the session. According to him, my feeling that I don't want details that I don't ask for, that it feels to me like he's oversharing and filling up my head with stuff about him, and that it kind of crowds out who I am and what I'm there to talk about is unique to me.

I think that I can't be the only one who feels this way. Based on what I've read about how intimidated people feel in general by therapists, my guess would be that it wouldn't occur to most other clients that they could ask him not to share so many details. Maybe they would feel like he's being open and real by sharing details about his life, so who are they to feel vaguely (or not so vaguely) put upon by that?

A situation that happened in the past that I posted about had to do with the fact that his office is not soundproof, and anyone sitting in the waiting room used to be able to clearly hear what was going on in the office--the words of the conversations going on in there. I made a big deal about it because I didn't want anyone to be able to overhear any of my session. And he said that he understood that I felt that way, and would work to meet my need, but that it hadn't ever bothered anyone else. So in a similar way, he put it back on me, while I was SURE that it had bothered other people and that they didn't feel like they could bring it up.

Anyway, how would you (or do you) feel about a therapist who answers yes or no questions with a long-winded detailed explanation? Would you feel like you could tell them that it bothered you, or would you just figure that's their style and who they are, and let them do that, even if it took up your time and/or derailed the conversation?

He keeps promising not to do that--to limit what he tells us and let us ask for what we want to know, but then he can't stop himself from pouring all that onto our brain (that's how it feels--like a snowplow came by and buried us in his life and his details). I realize that the intensity of our response is related to our trauma, but would this be at least annoying to some other people??

(My job has involved working with a lot of therapists, and I think that in general I'm much less intimidated by the authority of their position than most people, so I think that's part of the reason I hesitate less to call him on some of this stuff than other people might.)
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Re: Opinions needed about an issue with our T

Postby birdsong87 » Thu Aug 05, 2021 6:07 am

we don't feel like what a T is sharing can cross our boundaries and confuse us like you are describing it. as a result of that we don't feel the need to get short one word answers. usually there is a flow of information, a back and forth of sharing that gives the conversation rhythm and body. We can best feel the presence of our T in moments where this flow works well. Our clinic T did some over-sharing speaking about his friends, how he is feeling as a male T, inner workings of the clinic and conflicts on the team... He shared a lot of small things he probably shouldn't have but they enriched the relationship like nothing else. I am pretty sure he would have explained a change in office too and then moved on into the conversation like your T described it with his other patients.
With the door problem I am fully with you. he was unaware about an important issue there. this just seems like small talk that often helps people to feel more connected. I do believe yours are special needs. totally valid and important and he should make an effort. ours are different and we can even use these bits of info to feel more connected. I am wondering if there is something about relational things flowing back to you that is a reminder of trauma. this is at the core of co-regulation, so it makes sense that developmental trauma makes it super difficult.
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Re: Opinions needed about an issue with our T

Postby ArbreMonde » Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:08 am

Not a "unique to you" issue in my opinion. It may be more uncommon, the way you need things to be expressed - but the way the T answered sounds dismissive IMO.

I mean, if you wanted to know why things was going to be this way, you would have specifically ASKED. And the dialogue would have been ?

- Is it your office now? (Yes/now question)
- Yes. (clear and direct answer)
- What happened? (specifically asking for more social link and informations)
- Well, this and that happend, you know how life is... (creating more social link)
- Wow, thanks for explaining, hope you can find support for this the way you support me because you're an awesome T. (closing the discussion while adding more social link) Now my issues for today are... (on with the T session, clear change of subject)

THIS is what clear and direct communication would sound like IMO.

It sounds a bit like your T is having some "counter transfereance" with you. (The T is projecting their own issues on their client which can be a problem for the client's therapy, so the T needs to bring this subject up with THEIR OWN T/SUPERVISOR)

Hope your T solves their issue so they can be more present and open for YOUR needs!
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Re: Opinions needed about an issue with our T

Postby Eliseahorse » Thu Aug 05, 2021 9:52 am

Wow! My T would have rather died than share anything. We NEVER talked about him. I once asked if he was going on holiday and he said it was breaching doctor patient relationship to share his personal life. I know he is married but only because he has a wedding ring. He never talks about anything outside of the therapy room. And regardles of how things are done where you are you have requested one word answers. You should report him for failing to acknowledge and change distressing behaviour.
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Re: Opinions needed about an issue with our T

Postby Johnny-Jack » Thu Aug 05, 2021 10:44 pm

The extra info about the room would have been 100% fine with me. But I'm not his client, you are. If you've told him that too much information is experienced as a flood of sorts and messes with/triggers you, that is the issue. It matters not whether every person he's ever worked with or met in life is fine with his long responses. Your needs are paramount in your therapy.

As for "unique to you," duh, yeah, you're unique. You have unique experiences, unique triggers, unique needs. A good therapist will want to become and remain aware of those. If they forget, and they will, a good therapist will apologize, not excuse their behavior. They should also let you explain why you're upset again and really listen to you, trying to pick out more detail to help them customize how they work with you better.

I used to tell my therapist not to call alters "parts" of me. I know we're parts of the same person and all but it was important to my own growth and healing that I personally acknowledge everyone of us -- me included -- as alters, members of a DID system. It's the word we use and it works best for us. Many of us don't like to be referred to as parts, especially some littles, it's just the way it is. She kept doing it for a while and said that it had helped others with DID to realize they were one person. But she apologized to me when I reminded her not to do it please.

Another issue which may be closer to yours is that I used to experience anything but the shortest offhand compliment as a scary and threat, due to life experiences. A therapist may offer compliments in a way that is extremely healing for other clients. But for me they were super triggering or nauseating, every time. So would it have mattered if my T had never had another client who didn't appreciate compliments? Not to me. "Complimenting me is disruptive to me" should have been a clear enough explanation for a good therapist. Hearing "I really dislike what you're doing, so don't do it anymore" should be enough reason to change one's behavior in most life situations. Feel free to use my example or another with your T if they aren't hearing you right.

Overall, if a therapist is unable to apologize for triggering you, especially after repeated requests, you may want to look into another therapist. I'm not saying yours is there, I mean that more generally.
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Re: Opinions needed about an issue with our T

Postby spinningtops » Fri Aug 06, 2021 10:39 am

yes, so sometimes the T sort of shares a detail, and it feels like there is an invitation to ask more and I rarely do so far and I don't know if that is rude or not. but just been in a weird space where i also don't have a lot of room either. so... yeah.. i also don't.
but anyways, so how i feel about what you say and the situation is I do think if a T says my other clients don't do this or that, i find that very weird. (i have had them say that before).... anyways, like why are other clients being brought up, and like am i supposed to act like the other clients!? that seems weird!
anyways, also yes i agree with the other comments that it just seems dismissive of a problem you are having here. he should adjust to you specifically and not have you working on adjusting to his preferences..
and yes the sound proofing seems like a big problem too. I hope he fixes that soon.
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