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Issue in therapy

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Issue in therapy

Postby Alwaysrachel » Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:25 pm

I’m hoping for some perspective from people that may have gone through therapy if that’s ok. A couple of weeks ago my therapist said ‘he’d been getting some of my intrusive images’. We did some exposure therapy regarding a certain situation I don’t want to go into for fear of triggering anyone. I feel like I’ve affected him and now i can’t imagine talking about other difficult experiences. I don’t know if this is something I can get past or whether I should just end the sessions now.
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby JustHelpful » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:20 pm

I feel like I’ve affected him


I don’t know if this is something I can get past or whether I should just end the sessions now.


What is it that you are concerned with? Are you worried that in talking to him you will harm your therapist? Do you feel like if your therapist is impacted by something you say that he isn't strong enough to hear other things you may have to share? Or is it a different reason?
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby Alwaysrachel » Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:39 pm

I’m not quite sure to be honest. I feel confused about why he would tell me that. Isn’t he trained not to get affected by this and that’s why I’m paying him and not chatting it through with my friends? Isn’t his 6+ years of training and 15+ years of experience there so he doesn’t jump down the hole with me, he stands at the top and helps me out of it? Hasn’t he heard this all before? Is it creepy? If I tell him more does it mean he will get more intrusive thoughts, therefore I’d be being callous and passing some of my problems onto him? Has he/I made this about him?
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby Sarandipity » Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:09 pm

I can see why this is causing you a dilemma.

On the one hand you're not responsible for his thoughts. On the other hand how can share things with him when there's a fear of him having more thoughts.

Is it creepy? Difficult or near impossible to say because of not knowing the intricacies of how his mind works.

Has it been made about him? Ummmm maybe but maybe not.

Could be he's sharing this with you to let you know how horrendous what happened was.

When suffering trauma it's easy to minimise our own trauma. Sometimes it's only hearing other peoples reactions to that trauma that allows you to realise how bad it was.

I sat in a support group years ago and listened and was "omg these other people had it so bad" it wasn't until a new member joined and one of the group indicated towards me and said "tell her what you went through, that was absolutely awful" but to me it wasn't really and it wasn't until she said that I stepped back and thought "oh yeah, it was awful what I went through"

So maybe it isn't creepy, maybe it isn't about him, maybe it's aknowledgement of how severe what you actually went through was because someone who listened to you talk about it is now having intrusive thoughts - and there isn't really another way to express that to you than honestly of how it effected him. (Could be, I could be wrong).
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby JustHelpful » Wed Oct 23, 2019 3:42 am

Alwaysrachel wrote:I’m not quite sure to be honest. I feel confused about why he would tell me that. Isn’t he trained not to get affected by this and that’s why I’m paying him and not chatting it through with my friends? Isn’t his 6+ years of training and 15+ years of experience there so he doesn’t jump down the hole with me, he stands at the top and helps me out of it? Hasn’t he heard this all before? Is it creepy? If I tell him more does it mean he will get more intrusive thoughts, therefore I’d be being callous and passing some of my problems onto him? Has he/I made this about him?


When I was in therapy I remember the therapist telling me I wasn't quite ready to hear what her thoughts were yet. And I said, nahhh it wont be an issue, just go ahead and tell me what it is I totally want to hear.

At which point she proceeded to talk a whole lot, and while she was looking at me, and I was looking at her I remember my mind drifting off to other things as if I was too bored to listen to what I really wanted (or at least thought I wanted) to know.

Minds can be tricky things sometimes in terms of being clever about protecting us.

I don't think you should be pushing yourself if you are not comfortable and that in and of itself is a perfectly good reason to not share until you are ready and no one should be pushing you to do otherwise.

That is just my take. Whatever it is you have to share its ok to wait. While I don't know your situation at all and just guessing in the dark here its possible that maybe a lot of what you are saying centers around why you may not feel safe talking about certain stuff.

If you feel guilty like you are burdening the other person or may traumatize him don't worry this is what psychologists sign up for. If he feels threatened or has difficulty managing himself he will/should recuse himself and refer you to someone else. You won't damage him, I think he wants you to feel like he is willing to go thru some of this with you.

If you are concerned about him best thing is to tell him your thoughts, they will be very helpful to him as your perceptions about things will provide a lot of insights to trained professionals. If you are concerned about yourself that is ok too, there is no shame in that either.
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Sun Oct 27, 2019 1:09 am

JustHelpful wrote:If you are concerned about him best thing is to tell him your thoughts, they will be very helpful to him as your perceptions about things will provide a lot of insights to trained professionals. If you are concerned about yourself that is ok too, there is no shame in that either.


This. You need to tell him the thoughts and feelings you had as a response to what he said. Ask him why he said it. Tbh, this is actually the heart of therapy--understanding your reactions in the present to things that your therapist says and does, and how those were shaped by your past experiences.

If he's good, he will have had a reason why he said what he said, and that reason will have been that he thought saying that would help you in some way. It happens often in my therapy that the therapist will say something that he intends to be helpful, and it will upset us terribly. The progress we've made is that it takes me less time to figure out why I'm upset, to let him know that I'm upset and why, and for us to work it out. Sometimes we even get through and past something like that during a session, instead of me stewing about it afterwards.

Most of the changes in therapy happen because of working things out in the relationship and developing a strong connection with the therapist.
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby Alwaysrachel » Sun Oct 27, 2019 10:40 am

Thank you, this is really helpful. I did let him know my thoughts but it was over email and I don’t think I came across very well. I’m worried it seemed like a dressing down, but I also recognise I shouldn’t be worrying about him, this should be about me. Sadly, I don’t feel able to go back. I guess we wasn’t a good fit, but it also leaves me wondering what to do next. The thought of starting again is hard and it feels like no one understands dissociation.
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Re: Issue in therapy

Postby salted lipstick » Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:38 pm

I would think generally that if you spoke to a therapist about something related to trauma and they were totally unaffected, that would actually be a bit scary because it would mean they weren't properly capable of empathy. As a society we actually want people to be capable of being disturbed at least a bit when they hear about awful things happening to someone, it means that people are caring and want to act the right way to help and not cause harm to others.

It is fairly common to fear that a therapist won't be able to handle hearing your experiences. It is worth using this feeling as an opportunity to actually say to the therapist that you are worried about them and how it will affect them to hear your experiences. I think it is common also to worry that a therapist will terminate the therapy in response to hearing about a person's experiences. You could take some reassurance in that ultimately, if you try to talk through your fears and thoughts about the relationship you have with your therapist with them, that if for some reason you both decide it would be better to see a different therapist, that there will be someone else out there that will be able to do the job for you instead.

One thing is for sure though, if you avoid going to see a therapist when you start getting uncomfortable, it won't last long and nothing will get resolved. Working through the discomfort and discussing that discomfort is a strategy that has more longevity. I would personally have quit during every single session I've ever had with any therapist otherwise... It's not a comfortable process.
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