As I sit in this office, our knees almost touching, I have this feeling that things are not quite real, something is wrong. This is not her, who is this stranger I am about to talk to? I shouldn’t be here, this doesn’t feel right. I should be in her office with familiar objects surrounding me. Instead I am in a strange place, nothing is recognizable to me.
And so I bring out my notes, four solid pages of writing. I am determined to keep myself focused and on track in this place that didn’t quite feel real. After a bit of an intro about myself I start telling her what brought me here.
As I told her what had happened with my t she kept frowning. (she did a lot of frowning) At one point she interjected and said that I must have felt abandoned. Much to my dismay I almost burst into tears when she said this. This hardly ever happens to me so I’m not sure what that was all about. I was able to control it with some effort but it distressed me that it seemed to happen so easily and suddenly. It caught me off guard. Ugh. She told me what I was feeling about my t was perfectly normal and expected.
I let her read the letter that my t had sent to my pdoc and she frowned again. I asked her what she thought was being said in it. Her take was that the agency (which she actually worked at about 10 years ago) doesn’t do long-term therapy and was pushing for me to be done. She also told me what my pdoc had already said; trauma cases were always referred to the agency that my t works for. So apparently everybody finds what my t said about that confusing.
She also said that there could be other reasons as well for the break. Maybe my t has taken me as far as she can and this is how she is dealing with it. Or maybe my t needs a break from our sessions. In regards with this she said some therapists don’t practice self-care very well and it gets a bit much for them. In my opinion though, I think my t looks after herself very well but that’s just my thought.
I asked her what so thought about long-term vs short-term therapy. She said there has been a move towards short-term therapy. She said that people with a CSA history generally needed longer term therapy. Not always but generally that can be the case. She said that eighteen years of abuse is not always resolved in two years. Personally I wish that could be for me. At this point I’d rather not see a therapist if I didn’t think that I needed to.
I also brought up a few points of how I didn’t think it was possible to see another therapist.
- I said affordability was an issue for me. The agency where my t works uses a sliding scale.
- If I see another t in the same agency where my t works, what if I run into her? It would be way too distracting for me.
- I feel that I still have unfinished business with my t, if I quit seeing her now.
- I know that there must be therapists out there that would work just as well for me but I feel so attached to her, much to my dismay and surprise
I asked her how I could un-attach but she didn’t really say. She talked about the special relationship that forms between a therapist and a client and how a therapist needs to be careful with it and so on and so on. I told her how I felt like I was going crazy over this. Then she said something interesting. “Your therapist taught you how to say hello but maybe she has a harder time teaching you how to say goodbye”. This has caused me to pause and wonder. I don’t think that my t and I have really ever addressed the abandonment stuff plus the abrupt way she presented the break to me. Well, maybe more than bothered me.
Then she said to me, “I can see that you feel that you have no choices”. “I would like to tell you that you do have some choices”. She said that if or when I was ready to change therapists she would be willing to take me on as a client. She told me that she works with trauma and has room in her practice for clients that need to use a sliding fee. She asked me what I could afford and I didn’t really know what to say. I hate taking advantage of people and so told her a figure that was still too high for me. I guess if I ever decided to see her I would have to fess up to what I could really afford. She seemed really nice and I know people speak highly of her.
The session with this therapist was really full and I probably don’t remember half of what we talked about. But I think the most important thing I came away with was; if in the end it doesn’t for some reason work out with my t, there is someone else out there who is willing to see me and is willing to slide her fee for me. Who knew?
Now if only I can un-attach…