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  1. #1
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Misunderstood by all therapists

    They just don't seem to understand me. One after another.

    There always comes a point where it seems like they are blaming me for how I am, that it's somehow my choice. And the other day when i read a poem to my present counselor where I mentioned a gun in the beginning with no bullets in it, and at the end of the poem I asked what happened to me--were there really bullets in that gun? Meaning did I really die back then? Cuz it sure feels like it. It was about how the last 25 yrs of my life have been a waste. I haven't amounted to anything, no family or career... So I had written it to get my feelings out.

    So then he says, "You've been restricting yourself." Referring to the last 25 yrs. I said no I haven't; other people have done that to me. He said "is anyone doing that now?" .....See? Here we go--down the road where I'm just simply doing things to myself & it's all my fault? I told him only a moron would choose to feel how I do. We had a "discussion" that didn't go anywhere.

    In the past I would've been a doormat and said nothing. But now I speak up when someone says something that hurts me or feels like they are against me. (some people don't like that, btw). Then he tried to make it sound nicer by saying I "get in my own way." I said I don't agree. I don't see it like that at all.

    Anyway, I didn't bother telling him that I see it EXACTLY OPPOSITE to how he worded it--I see myself as FREEING myself from what other people have done/made me feel. THAT"S what I've been doing--not restricting myself!

    (I've slowly been getting better over the years, thanks mainly to myself. Even when I see therapists, most of the good ideas are MINE. And progress happens because I take advantage of opportunities in real life, NOT in THERAPY situations--usually they go terribly. So I'm the one who deserves the CREDIT for making progress. I don't need to be BLAMED for still not being perfect or, IDK, whatever they expect me to be?...)

    I am very sensitive to being blamed, so when people word things to sound like they're blaming me, I get mad and defensive.

    If therapists aren't able to see the good I do, then they won't validate it, and if they won't do that, I don't know what else they are good for really. I'd rather just stay home and do it myself without going there and just getting frustrated because I always feel like I have to prove and defend myself to them. When in reality, I shouldn't have to.

    Does anyone have any thoughts? I respect honesty, and wonder if I am taking comments like the restricting myself one the wrong way? I'm not able to see that comment in a positive way at all. Can you? I'd like to see it from some other perspective, if I can.

  2. #2
    Coffee's Avatar
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    How long have you been seeing this therapist and how long have you seen your other therapists? Did you click with any of them or did they all say that you were restricting yourself?

    Also how did this therapist react when you stood up for yourself?

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    Hi pam,

    I went through a lot of what it sounds like you are dealing with. At that time, there was a crucial piece missing for me. Abuse survivors sometimes tend hold guilt inside even though their brain tells them they were the victims and not the perpetrators. It's called locus of control. When I was little, I needed my parents to take care of me. In order to bond, I had to make them suitable parents. So I took on the blame for their actions. That way I was able to bond with them. The problem with this however is that as adults, we sometimes hold onto that self blame.

    What I was doing was perpetrating my own stuff in order to keep justifying my guilt. Please understand. I'm not saying you're doing that at all because I don't know anything about you or your therapist to make any type of judgment. I'm just relaying what I did.

    In other words, even though I didn't want to be a victim, I kept re-victimizing myself in order to stay punished. I created a co-dependent triangle of victim/rescuer/perpetrator within my own being. Yes, I was doing everything in my power to get healthy and I didn't enjoy hurting myself or letting others hurt me.

    It sounds like your therapist could have used much clearer words if he or she was suggesting something like what was happening to me.

    One of the things that helped me was to forgive both myself and my perpetrators. No, I won't forget what they did, but I eventually was able to see that they themselves were acting the way they did because of the abuse they got from others.

    But please understand that I'm not saying this is for you. It's just what I had to do to finally break the victim/rescuer/ perpetrator triangle that I was stuck in.

    Does this make sense?

    And it sounds like your therapist needs to explain what he or she means better to you.
    The Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about

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    takethebiscuit's Avatar
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    You've been slowly getting better over the years and even when you see therapists, most of the good ideas are yours. Progress happens because you take action in real life. That's fantastic. You're the one who deserves the credit for making progress.

    You see yourself as freeing yourself from what other people have done/made you feel. That's amazing and many therapists see the good you do. I can see the good you do just by reading what you've written. You don't have to defend or prove yourself to anyone. If you think a therapist is incorrect in what they say then it's fine to mention it and discuss it. But you're under no obligation to prove yourself or defend yourself.

    You could see the "restricting yourself" comment from another perspective if you want to. Is doing that something you'd find helpful right now?

    Honestly, therapists won't always agree with clients but a therapist imposing their views/opinions onto a clients experience is not a good thing. You have your own experiences and it's fine for you to have those.

    You respect honesty. So be honest to yourself and respect yourself. If seeing the "restricting yourself" comment from a different perspective helps you then do that. If it doesn't, don't.

  5. #5
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote Coffee View Post
    How long have you been seeing this therapist and how long have you seen your other therapists? Did you click with any of them or did they all say that you were restricting yourself?

    Also how did this therapist react when you stood up for yourself?
    I've been seeing him for about 6-7 months. Before that, there was one I saw who I saw temporarily for 4 months, before that a younger woman for 6 months where it ended very badly. Before that I was on my own for about 2.5 yrs. That's when I made a lot of progress. Joined websites and had made my own "treatment plan." I was motivated to do that because before THAT I saw a woman for 3 yrs, and a man for 4 yrs. Sorry that's confusing because I'm going backwards.

    The first man I saw barely said 2 words, and when he did, he just parroted back what I said. He told me I was a masochist (and that's why i was depressed). Then I saw a woman for 3 yrs, but we never got along because way toward the beginning she said it was my CHOICE to listen to my father's introjected criticisms. But that was all I had, what was I supposed to do--pretend I had a totally different childhood than I really had? We argued about that point for the next 3 yrs. until she finally got rid of me. It's fine if she wanted to think that way--I don't expect to change people's minds, but I personally can't work with someone who blames the victim for their resulting psychological diagnoses. To me that's crazy. I didn't choose all of the events and abuse. I believe they just are incapable of understanding me unless they too grew up with NO ONE on their side, barely surviving everyday at school, and again at home, which was even worse.

    Actually I was already so defensive and wouldn't look at the counselor after he said I was restricting myself. But I didn't storm out! (like I might have). I tried to stay calm, but he said something about my getting pissed off, so it was showing, I admit. But he said "Is this how you react when something like this happens?" He emphasized "this", and I felt triggered again so I said, "Depends what you mean by "this". Speak up for myself? Yeah, I do now!" (I used to not be able to do that). But I admit I said it with a touch of ghetto attitude if you know what I mean, probably doing a little of that neck movement thing.

    Sigh, I honestly do hope that it IS me who is misunderstanding these things. Maybe he sees my level of defensiveness as extreme, but it is less than it used to be. And anyway, it's his job to be able to contain that by analyzing and responding appropriately. (something I dont' expect from people in everyday life because it's not their job to have to deal with it, lol.)

  6. #6
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote chantellabella View Post
    Hi pam,

    I went through a lot of what it sounds like you are dealing with. At that time, there was a crucial piece missing for me. Abuse survivors sometimes tend hold guilt inside even though their brain tells them they were the victims and not the perpetrators. It's called locus of control. When I was little, I needed my parents to take care of me. In order to bond, I had to make them suitable parents. So I took on the blame for their actions. That way I was able to bond with them. The problem with this however is that as adults, we sometimes hold onto that self blame.

    What I was doing was perpetrating my own stuff in order to keep justifying my guilt. Please understand. I'm not saying you're doing that at all because I don't know anything about you or your therapist to make any type of judgment. I'm just relaying what I did.

    In other words, even though I didn't want to be a victim, I kept re-victimizing myself in order to stay punished. I created a co-dependent triangle of victim/rescuer/perpetrator within my own being. Yes, I was doing everything in my power to get healthy and I didn't enjoy hurting myself or letting others hurt me.

    It sounds like your therapist could have used much clearer words if he or she was suggesting something like what was happening to me.

    One of the things that helped me was to forgive both myself and my perpetrators. No, I won't forget what they did, but I eventually was able to see that they themselves were acting the way they did because of the abuse they got from others.

    But please understand that I'm not saying this is for you. It's just what I had to do to finally break the victim/rescuer/ perpetrator triangle that I was stuck in.

    Does this make sense?

    And it sounds like your therapist needs to explain what he or she means better to you.
    Hi, thanks for sharing this. I totally get the locus of control concept. I actually understand it better in a case of being date-raped--that if I blame myself, that means I can control it from ever happening again. I can avoid doing something to cause it in the first place (which of course I know is wrong because it implies that it was my fault).

    And with my abusive father and even my mother dying, I did take the blame for those things up until my 30s. I see how it keeps one connected. I had consciously thought blaming myself was better than them being just abusive assholes. Unfortunately they really are assholes, and then what's bad about that is now I don't belong to even a family of jerks. Now I'm all alone and that sucks too.

    So, the way I see myself now, the stage I'd say I'm in now is willingly distancing myself from the unhealthy relationships, trying to find other places where people do like me and don't want me dead. I admit I wasted a lot of time trying to get my father and grandmother to accept me and like me. If only I knew it would be impossible from the start! So I made a mistake, but I have always done things with a good intention for a happy ending. Not to make myself worse.

    But, then there is the possibility that I haven't or can't quite see yet, the extent to which I'm projecting that guilt that i say I don't have anymore, onto others such as the counselor. I'm aware I use projective identification and so I'm sure that's influencing my behavior and feelings with him. I do start seeing him as "just like my father" with that attitude that I as a person am "just all wrong, end of story." So then I have to defend myself extra hard. But because I know this happens, I try to see it as not that bad, but I can't. I understand that I might be hearing somethinghe didn't mean to say. But I do wish he 'd say it with other words that don't sound so blaming. It seems like no one can do that.....which makes me think I'm right--they are blaming me.

    It's good when like you people can see the reasons why others may have treated them in abusive ways. That would be what I need to begin to even think about forgiving. I have tried to figure that out and I can't find any reason for my father and grandmother's actions. I'm told they are both narcissists and one's an alcoholic. My grandmother's been thru a lot including the (early) deaths of 3 out of 4 of her kids including my mother, but she turned into an alcoholic to numb instead of being able to get empathy and have a bond with me. I just can't feel sorry for people who have no feelings, one way or the other. I am not a whole person to them. It's hard to describe....

    Anyway, I have been trying to improve myself from all the damage that was internalized and yeah, I still live with it. And you know, it has to be pretty bad when you start dissociating! It's not like i'm making this [BEEP] up. SOmetimes I feel like therapists think I'm lying about stuff. I don't have to lie because my life was bad enough to not have to exaggerate. But maybe that's why I never get understanding from them--because it was too bad? IDK....

  7. #7
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote takethebiscuit View Post
    You've been slowly getting better over the years and even when you see therapists, most of the good ideas are yours. Progress happens because you take action in real life. That's fantastic. You're the one who deserves the credit for making progress.

    You see yourself as freeing yourself from what other people have done/made you feel. That's amazing and many therapists see the good you do. I can see the good you do just by reading what you've written. You don't have to defend or prove yourself to anyone. If you think a therapist is incorrect in what they say then it's fine to mention it and discuss it. But you're under no obligation to prove yourself or defend yourself.

    You could see the "restricting yourself" comment from another perspective if you want to. Is doing that something you'd find helpful right now?

    Honestly, therapists won't always agree with clients but a therapist imposing their views/opinions onto a clients experience is not a good thing. You have your own experiences and it's fine for you to have those.

    You respect honesty. So be honest to yourself and respect yourself. If seeing the "restricting yourself" comment from a different perspective helps you then do that. If it doesn't, don't.
    Thanks. Yes, the most progress I made was during the 2 yrs where I took a break from counselors. I don't mean to sound like a counselor-basher. But I still after all this time don't know what the heck they do. And there's an extra reason I need to figure it out-------BECAUSE i WANT TO BE A PSYCHOTHERAPIST MYSELF!! It's what I've always wanted to do! But like I told the one I see now. I have yet to see anyone change from counseling. And so I am having second thoughts about becoming one in the future. If it turns out it's all just a scam--I don't want anything to do with it. But if you really DO help people (of course not all of them, but a maybe few) then it would be worth it! I want people tp be happy and be free to be themselves, their true selves.

    I wish I had people to thank for helping me.....well, I do, but they aren't the professionals! Lol.

    Yes, I wish I could see the restricting yourself comment in a non-triggering way. I don't want it to remind me of how my family blamed me for everything under the sun. Because, if I can, it will help me feel connected to this therapist. If not, I will only see him as an enemy I have to argue with once a week. And I won't stay with that for too long because I already did that with a female counselor for 3 yrs before, and so I already know when you have such philisophical differences, it is a waste of time for me to try to get some understanding and support. Which is all I want. I dont even want or expect advice from him...

    Thanks for caring and writing!

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    Quote pam View Post
    Hi, thanks for sharing this. I totally get the locus of control concept. I actually understand it better in a case of being date-raped--that if I blame myself, that means I can control it from ever happening again. I can avoid doing something to cause it in the first place (which of course I know is wrong because it implies that it was my fault).

    And with my abusive father and even my mother dying, I did take the blame for those things up until my 30s. I see how it keeps one connected. I had consciously thought blaming myself was better than them being just abusive assholes. Unfortunately they really are assholes, and then what's bad about that is now I don't belong to even a family of jerks. Now I'm all alone and that sucks too.

    So, the way I see myself now, the stage I'd say I'm in now is willingly distancing myself from the unhealthy relationships, trying to find other places where people do like me and don't want me dead. I admit I wasted a lot of time trying to get my father and grandmother to accept me and like me. If only I knew it would be impossible from the start! So I made a mistake, but I have always done things with a good intention for a happy ending. Not to make myself worse.

    But, then there is the possibility that I haven't or can't quite see yet, the extent to which I'm projecting that guilt that i say I don't have anymore, onto others such as the counselor. I'm aware I use projective identification and so I'm sure that's influencing my behavior and feelings with him. I do start seeing him as "just like my father" with that attitude that I as a person am "just all wrong, end of story." So then I have to defend myself extra hard. But because I know this happens, I try to see it as not that bad, but I can't. I understand that I might be hearing somethinghe didn't mean to say. But I do wish he 'd say it with other words that don't sound so blaming. It seems like no one can do that.....which makes me think I'm right--they are blaming me.

    It's good when like you people can see the reasons why others may have treated them in abusive ways. That would be what I need to begin to even think about forgiving. I have tried to figure that out and I can't find any reason for my father and grandmother's actions. I'm told they are both narcissists and one's an alcoholic. My grandmother's been thru a lot including the (early) deaths of 3 out of 4 of her kids including my mother, but she turned into an alcoholic to numb instead of being able to get empathy and have a bond with me. I just can't feel sorry for people who have no feelings, one way or the other. I am not a whole person to them. It's hard to describe....

    Anyway, I have been trying to improve myself from all the damage that was internalized and yeah, I still live with it. And you know, it has to be pretty bad when you start dissociating! It's not like i'm making this [BEEP] up. SOmetimes I feel like therapists think I'm lying about stuff. I don't have to lie because my life was bad enough to not have to exaggerate. But maybe that's why I never get understanding from them--because it was too bad? IDK....
    Is your therapist a trauma therapist? The reason I ask is I was screwed up 10 times worse by two therapists who I saw for 3 and 5 years. I got one in trouble with his state board for touching me sexually and having me touch his penis. The first one actually chose one of my alters (the 5 year old) and became her mother (in ways I won't describe here). Then she made the other alters into monsters who were something that needed to be literally exorcised. She is the reason I've been split for so long. Her doing pitted my alters against each other so much that it took my present therapist 6 years to just get us to communicate without yelling. Only when I was able to see them as children rather than monsters and only after we began to communicate did the healing begin. So if your therapist knows nothing about trauma, you might search for a real one. The Colin Ross Institute is where my therapist trained. She specializes in trauma and DID. The therapist who I reported to the state "said" he knew trauma therapy but all he did was create more trauma.

    Anway, it sounds like you're doing a great job with self awareness and searching for healthy thinking. Awesome!
    The Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about

  9. #9
    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote chantellabella View Post
    Is your therapist a trauma therapist? The reason I ask is I was screwed up 10 times worse by two therapists who I saw for 3 and 5 years. I got one in trouble with his state board for touching me sexually and having me touch his penis. The first one actually chose one of my alters (the 5 year old) and became her mother (in ways I won't describe here). Then she made the other alters into monsters who were something that needed to be literally exorcised. She is the reason I've been split for so long. Her doing pitted my alters against each other so much that it took my present therapist 6 years to just get us to communicate without yelling. Only when I was able to see them as children rather than monsters and only after we began to communicate did the healing begin. So if your therapist knows nothing about trauma, you might search for a real one. The Colin Ross Institute is where my therapist trained. She specializes in trauma and DID. The therapist who I reported to the state "said" he knew trauma therapy but all he did was create more trauma.

    Anway, it sounds like you're doing a great job with self awareness and searching for healthy thinking. Awesome!
    Thanks. Yeah i remember you had some very extreme treatments--mistreatments. No one has been that extreme with me. It's more subtle so I can't always tell if something's just in my head or not. I feel like I have a lot of misunderstandings rather than outright mistreatment. Or it just seems like a waste of time.

    So I don't know if he's officially a trauma therapist--he's going to retire in a couple years, and I picked him because I thought he'd be experienced. The others who work there (I already saw 2 of them--one of them never even heard of John Bradshaw--she told me she had to google him) are just CBT therapists which do not help someone like me at all. It's funny because when I talk about Little Pammy or show him something she wrote in her diary, then when he summarizes it, he uses words like "feelings you have" and I (just a little bit) feel like he minimizes her. Like he doesn't quite get it that she is like a separate being with her own thoughts and feelings and limited experiences--within me, but still separate. So, maybe he doesn't get it because he's not trained for that? That could be it. I should ask him. That might help just to know that. But a lot of them don't like to admit they don't know something. I had such a good impression of him at first.

    Oh, and i am on Medicaid so the only places I can go are 3 or 4 clinics here, and I've already been to 2 of them! They seem to be places where students train. That's why I picked the old man--I figured he's old school and would know about something other than Cognitive. I like Object Relations and psychodynamic oriented therapies, and my favorite is Heinz Kohut (Self-Psychology).

    I'll ask him if he's a trauma therapist, but I do know that I had asked something in the beginning and he said that empathy is the most important thing (and it is with Kohut also). He said he liked Leston Havens and also Harry Stack Sullivan, and Winnicott I think. Which sounded good to me, lol.

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    Quote pam View Post
    Thanks. Yes, the most progress I made was during the 2 yrs where I took a break from counselors. I don't mean to sound like a counselor-basher. But I still after all this time don't know what the heck they do. And there's an extra reason I need to figure it out-------BECAUSE i WANT TO BE A PSYCHOTHERAPIST MYSELF!! It's what I've always wanted to do! But like I told the one I see now. I have yet to see anyone change from counseling. And so I am having second thoughts about becoming one in the future. If it turns out it's all just a scam--I don't want anything to do with it. But if you really DO help people (of course not all of them, but a maybe few) then it would be worth it! I want people tp be happy and be free to be themselves, their true selves.

    I wish I had people to thank for helping me.....well, I do, but they aren't the professionals! Lol.

    Yes, I wish I could see the restricting yourself comment in a non-triggering way. I don't want it to remind me of how my family blamed me for everything under the sun. Because, if I can, it will help me feel connected to this therapist. If not, I will only see him as an enemy I have to argue with once a week. And I won't stay with that for too long because I already did that with a female counselor for 3 yrs before, and so I already know when you have such philisophical differences, it is a waste of time for me to try to get some understanding and support. Which is all I want. I dont even want or expect advice from him...

    Thanks for caring and writing!
    Wanting understanding and support is perfectly fine. And it's fantastic that you want to be a psychotherapist. It's not a scam. Training to be and working as a therapist has been the hardest challenge in my life so far. It's also been the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

    I get thank you cards, emails etc and I adore them. I love helping people and seeing my clients free to be their true selves. Truth is, it's not really about me. It's not really about the therapist. People change themselves with or without therapy. There's nothing I can do as a therapist to make someone change if they are not willing or ready to make a change. In my work, I mainly hold the space and provide a safe place for my client to explore what's going on for them. I provide a safe, secure place where my clients can discover how best to heal themselves.

    I'm trained in a variety of therapies and techniques and if my client needs me to I can step in and provide advice but usually that's neither warranted or needed. I provide my clients with understanding and support so that they can make the changes they want to make. I also don't ask my clients to do anything I wouldn't do.

    All therapists work differently but that's how I work.

    Therapy is your time. It's fine for you to have wants about what you want to get from therapy. It's also fine for you to make your wants clear to your therapist.

    I have no idea about the specifics of what your problems and issues are so I can't comment too much on this but if your problem or issue is trauma related then it is very important to see an appropriately trained therapist. Not all therapists are trained to handle traumas. It is perfectly fine to ask a therapist about their qualifications, what they are trained in etc.

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    pam's Avatar needs more cowbell
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    Quote takethebiscuit View Post
    Wanting understanding and support is perfectly fine. And it's fantastic that you want to be a psychotherapist. It's not a scam. Training to be and working as a therapist has been the hardest challenge in my life so far. It's also been the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

    I get thank you cards, emails etc and I adore them. I love helping people and seeing my clients free to be their true selves. Truth is, it's not really about me. It's not really about the therapist. People change themselves with or without therapy. There's nothing I can do as a therapist to make someone change if they are not willing or ready to make a change. In my work, I mainly hold the space and provide a safe place for my client to explore what's going on for them. I provide a safe, secure place where my clients can discover how best to heal themselves.

    I'm trained in a variety of therapies and techniques and if my client needs me to I can step in and provide advice but usually that's neither warranted or needed. I provide my clients with understanding and support so that they can make the changes they want to make. I also don't ask my clients to do anything I wouldn't do.

    All therapists work differently but that's how I work.

    Therapy is your time. It's fine for you to have wants about what you want to get from therapy. It's also fine for you to make your wants clear to your therapist.

    I have no idea about the specifics of what your problems and issues are so I can't comment too much on this but if your problem or issue is trauma related then it is very important to see an appropriately trained therapist. Not all therapists are trained to handle traumas. It is perfectly fine to ask a therapist about their qualifications, what they are trained in etc.
    "There's nothing I can do as a therapist to make someone change if they are not willing or ready to make a change."

    (my amateur opinion) I'd assume a client showing up means they are willing and ready--especially willing. The trick is to find out where exactly they are on their path, and what direction do they want to go in. You can't start 3 steps ahead of where they actually are, or, begin on a totally different path altogether, you know? I seem to have that happen a lot. And it could be the lack of appropriate training or the individual's ability or inability to empathize with me.

    I had one counselor who told me (in trying to relate to me feeling depressed at the time about me not amounting to anything for the last 20 yrs in adult life) that she was depressed too---when she didn't get into the college she wanted, she "sat on the couch for 2 whole weeks and ate ice cream!" Well, relative to my experiences, that would've been a freaking picnic. Sorry, that doesn't even compare. (I didn't say anything, I just nodded my head politely at the time) So I should not have been surprised that someone like that was incapable of understanding my experiences and the struggles I have had to face and deal with to survive, mainly psychologically, but also physically too. She didn't have a clue, and altho it's not her fault she didn't have a horrible life, it ends up making me feel, yet again, that no one can understand me cuz I'm too frucked up. And the problem with that is I need to be understood. So time after time, when I find out I'm not understood, it just causes me to have less hope for myself.

    I have heard the phrase "meet the patient where they are" and I love that. But no matter how hard I try to give good directions, I can never seem to get a therapist to "find" me, lol. And the more I think about it now, I believe it really might be the training, like Cindy said. It's funny because I--the way my brain works--think trauma should be real easy to understand--the effects of it on the personality structure and sense of self. To me, it's very logical. But maybe it's only because I've lived it. I guess that would explain it.

    With the same counselor above, one day I felt horrible and when I saw her I quietly told her "when I woke up today I felt like maybe I should quit therapy." I told her I FELT like it--it was a feeling I was sharing. But she didn't even ask why, just jumped to some conclusion and said real aggravated,"So you're gonna stop coming here and just give up on yourself?!?" I looked up then and said, "No, just because I stop seeing YOU, doesn't mean I give up on mySELF! I've NEVER given up on myself." And I was just like "Who does she think she is? Does she think without her I'd fall apart or something?!?" I'm actually a very independent-minded person, which she obviously couldn't tell that either. Whole thing was just very frustrating.

    I think my real answer would be to stop needing a therapist to understand me. And then also stop seeing myself thru other people's eyes. Use my own eyes for a change, lol. And not worry if anyone agrees with me/validates it.

  12. #12
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    "(my amateur opinion) I'd assume a client showing up means they are willing and ready--especially willing. The trick is to find out where exactly they are on their path, and what direction do they want to go in. You can't start 3 steps ahead of where they actually are, or, begin on a totally different path altogether, you know? I seem to have that happen a lot. And it could be the lack of appropriate training or the individual's ability or inability to empathize with me. "

    I agree and I meet my client where they are. A client showing up does not necessarily mean they are willing or ready. People end up in a therapists office for many reasons and it's not always completely voluntary. Doctors refer clients, clients may receive pressure from family or friends to seek therapy. Meeting the client where they are on their path is very important.

    "I had one counselor who told me (in trying to relate to me feeling depressed at the time about me not amounting to anything for the last 20 yrs in adult life) that she was depressed too---when she didn't get into the college she wanted, she "sat on the couch for 2 whole weeks and ate ice cream!" Well, relative to my experiences, that would've been a freaking picnic. Sorry, that doesn't even compare. (I didn't say anything, I just nodded my head politely at the time) So I should not have been surprised that someone like that was incapable of understanding my experiences and the struggles I have had to face and deal with to survive, mainly psychologically, but also physically too. She didn't have a clue, and altho it's not her fault she didn't have a horrible life, it ends up making me feel, yet again, that no one can understand me cuz I'm too frucked up. And the problem with that is I need to be understood. So time after time, when I find out I'm not understood, it just causes me to have less hope for myself. "

    I understand that you need to be understood. My training made it very clear that we should not attempt to relate to a client's experiences. We have empathy and we understand what the client tells us. But we can't walk a mile in the client's shoes. We don't know what life has been like for the client.

    "I have heard the phrase "meet the patient where they are" and I love that. But no matter how hard I try to give good directions, I can never seem to get a therapist to "find" me, lol. And the more I think about it now, I believe it really might be the training, like Cindy said. It's funny because I--the way my brain works--think trauma should be real easy to understand--the effects of it on the personality structure and sense of self. To me, it's very logical. But maybe it's only because I've lived it. I guess that would explain it."

    Understood. Trauma effects people in many different ways and seeing a therapist with training in dealing with trauma is a very good idea indeed.

    "With the same counselor above, one day I felt horrible and when I saw her I quietly told her "when I woke up today I felt like maybe I should quit therapy." I told her I FELT like it--it was a feeling I was sharing. But she didn't even ask why, just jumped to some conclusion and said real aggravated,"So you're gonna stop coming here and just give up on yourself?!?" I looked up then and said, "No, just because I stop seeing YOU, doesn't mean I give up on mySELF! I've NEVER given up on myself." And I was just like "Who does she think she is? Does she think without her I'd fall apart or something?!?" I'm actually a very independent-minded person, which she obviously couldn't tell that either. Whole thing was just very frustrating."

    I'm sorry you went through that. I don't know what that counselor was trying to do or what their training was but that's not a professional way for a counselor to behave towards a client/patient. Stopping seeing a particular therapist is not giving up on yourself. You've never given up on yourself.

    "I think my real answer would be to stop needing a therapist to understand me. And then also stop seeing myself thru other people's eyes. Use my own eyes for a change, lol. And not worry if anyone agrees with me/validates it."

    Using your own eyes for a change sounds like a very good idea.

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