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to tell my friend to knock it on the head?

(33 Posts)
TheLeprechaunDidIt Wed 02-Mar-16 11:32:48

I need a quick poll to reassure my vulnerable friend.

After years and years of suffering she was finally diagnosed with BPD last year. She is now getting treatment in the form of specialised group therapy and is coming on leaps and bounds. So much so that she's now in a relationship for the first time in the 20+ years I've known her.

The clinic she attends also offers a support group for people living with people with BPD. Her boyfriend has been going to this group. At first this sounds great however nobody else attends this group. So she goes to her therapy group where she is supposed to open up about her mental health and her difficulties with interpersonal relationships. The same therapist then effectively has a one to one session with her newish boyfriend.

She is not comfortable about this and wants it to stop. She feels like she is becoming secondary in her treatment, like he's her carer (which he isn't) and she's no longer an autonomous adult. She's been tying herself up in knots because her therapist tells her that this is her illness speaking and the problem is that she jealous of the attention her boyfriend is getting and she needs to work on this.

I completely disagree. I think most people would feel very uncomfortable in this situation. It's great her boyfriend wants to understand and help but this is trampling on her toes big time.

So, AIBU to tell her to ignore her therapist on this, to go with her instinct and to knock it on the head and get some boundaries in place?

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 02-Mar-16 11:38:44

If she's not comfortable with the confidentiality and/or professionalism of the therapist then yes, she should probably go elsewhere.

TheLeprechaunDidIt Wed 02-Mar-16 11:42:09

She happy with the therapy sessions she goes to, that's not the problem. It's the 'private' ones with her boyfriend she's not happy about.

WhoWants2Know Wed 02-Mar-16 11:43:08

I'd be inclined to agree with you. It sounds like the set up is undermining her instead of supporting her.

icanteven Wed 02-Mar-16 11:44:42

I see her point. I would also feel very undermined and like he was muscling in on my illness under her circumstances. I have suffered from a chronic and scary illness, and I would resent this sort of thing intensely.

HOWEVER. Being in a relationship with somebody with BPD is very challenging, and he is more likely to cope if he has somebody to talk to once in a while to pick apart what is her being unwell and what is not. A weekly therapy session is probably OTT though. As you say, he is NOT her carer, and it sounds like she is hardly unable to function, so I would say that he needs to respect that she feels patronised and suffocated by this inappropriate and slightly overkill attention that he is receiving, and to treat the support group he attends as a once in a while thing, not a weekly (or whatever thing).

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 02-Mar-16 11:46:56

Why though? Presumably he wouldn't have to stop going to them simply because she was no longer going to her group session? If she has no issue with the therapist, I don't see what she gains by stopping going to the group or changing to a different one.

ChubbyChubster Wed 02-Mar-16 11:46:58

Is your friend concerned that the therapist is telling her boyfriend what she says in her own therapy sessions? If not then I'm afraid I don't see her problem. She is having therapy to help her with her issues. Her boyfriend is also getting some help so that he can support her.

I don't see how him getting support too is in any way lessening her problems or encroaching on her progress. As long as the therapist keeps the sessions confidential then why is she worried?

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 02-Mar-16 11:49:29

Or by 'knock it on the head' do you mean try to stop the boyfriend from going?

I think if he's a fairly new boyfriend it's a bit much that he's going to a weekly session to help him cope with the effects of her BPD, whether it's a session that's worked out as being individual or not.

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 02-Mar-16 11:50:53

Do they live together if it's newish? If not, how often do they see each other?

TheLeprechaunDidIt Wed 02-Mar-16 11:59:25

No they don't live together but they do see each other several times a week, but no overnights.

ceebie Wed 02-Mar-16 12:01:05

I agree with you and actually I'm shocked that the therapist is failing to respect your friend's feelings.

It would be fine, I presume, if he was seeing a different therapist but I completely understand about her feelings about him seeing the same one.

I rather suspect that the therapist is keen to keep the 'people living with people with...' sessions going for whatever reason, and that this is motivating their advice, rather than respecting your friend's feelings.

SaucyJack Wed 02-Mar-16 12:01:18

Is it STEPPS that she's doing?

She doesn't have to do that bit if she doesn't want to. I didn't.

SaucyJack Wed 02-Mar-16 12:01:54

I should add tho, that it was a perfectly normal and usual part of the treatment.

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 02-Mar-16 12:08:45

How new is the relationship?

And by 'knock it on the head' do you mean stop the therapy, stop the boyfriend from going or end it with the boyfriend?

houseeveryweekend Wed 02-Mar-16 12:13:42

I think if the therapist has said its a good idea for him to go then it is. She is presumably qualified to deal with things like this so would know better than you or your friend?
It is very difficult for people with severe BPD to maintain stable relationships and so it could be very helpful to her to be having therapy with him. It is true that having BPD can lead people to try and manipulate situations for attention even without knowing they are doing it. It hurts both them and the people around them for them to be allowed to do that.
I would trust the therapists view on this. x

TheLeprechaunDidIt Wed 02-Mar-16 12:14:41

They've been together about 6 months. I mean knock his sessions on the head and allow her to take back control who she allows in to her treatment and her condition.

BaronessEllaSaturday Wed 02-Mar-16 12:20:34

He isn't in her treatment and condition though. The sessions he attends are to do with him gaining understanding and insight into bpd. It does sound like your friends issue is that the bf is getting one to one sessions but that only happens because no one else turns up.

Viviennemary Wed 02-Mar-16 12:25:26

I agree. The therapist sounds a bit unprofessional anyway. Your friend needs to take a step back. She is quite right not to want her personal life laid open in this way. She should find a new therapist and a new boyfriend. The whole situation doesn't sound very good at all. Therapists don't have all the answers and should absolutely not be considered to know what is right for all their clients.

CallousAndStrange Wed 02-Mar-16 12:29:01

Both myself and my husband have counselling at the same centre. They were very careful to ensure that not only did we have different counsellors but that they had different supervisors. That way there was no conflict of interest or breach of confidentiality. It seems very odd to me to have the same therapist for both partners. I would be uncomfortable with that too.

starry0ne Wed 02-Mar-16 12:39:31

I have had a partner with BPD..It is really tough....Yes your friend will not like her partner having one to one when she doesn't..

It does not interfere with her boyfriend trying to take on the role of the carer..This would be a concern to me for someone who is trying to get well...

Seryph Wed 02-Mar-16 12:49:03

I have BPD, and I would feel ludicrously uncomfortable firstly that my partner of only 6 months needs one to one therapy every week to cope with me. I would see that as a reason to end the relationship.
I would also find it hugely inappropriate that after spending an hour with me the same therapist them goes straight into a one-to-one with my partner. The therapist will be thinking about things I and others have just said an discussed with no debrief time before listening to my partner's concerns about me and him specifically.
Also, it doesn't matter if it is her BPD that makes her feel like she is being pushed away, that doesn't make it any less valid. She needs to find a way to cope with these kind of thoughts, not be told that it's her fault and she jealous and that's the end of it.

RockUnit Wed 02-Mar-16 12:50:23

It sounds like a strange setup to me.

But even if it's all above board, if your friend is uncomfortable with it then that's a good enough reason to change things. Surely the wishes of the patient are more important than the therapist insisting on something your friend doesn't want?

She's been tying herself up in knots because her therapist tells her that this is her illness speaking and the problem is that she jealous of the attention her boyfriend is getting and she needs to work on this.

If your friend knows that isn't true, and feels the therapist doesn't believe her, I think that would be a good reason to find a different therapist.

SaucyJack Wed 02-Mar-16 12:52:14

Just to re-iterate seeing as you've all ignored me the first time..... ;-)

It is part of STEPPS (which is the group therapy course for BPD that the NHS uses) to nominate someone in your life as a support partner and bring them along to some of the sessions so they can learn the specific coping skills that STEPPS uses.

It's unfair to suggest that either the therapist or the boyfriend are motivated by doing anything other than following the programme as it is laid out.

However, I don't think there's anything wrong in your friend changing her mind about choosing to involve her boyfriend in the process if she has realised she isn't comfortable with it.

DawnOfTheDoggers Wed 02-Mar-16 13:02:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ElderlyKoreanLady Wed 02-Mar-16 13:11:10

I would feel ludicrously uncomfortable firstly that my partner of only 6 months needs one to one therapy every week to cope with me. I would see that as a reason to end the relationship.

This is a very valid point and I wouldn't want it either. I appreciate it might be part of the program but as he's the only one going, I'd imagine there's a choice there and other people's partners aren't going rather than OP being in a group full of single people.

If he's going at the request of OP's friend then it's perfectly reasonable for her to now say she'd rather he didn't.

If he's going by choice, I'd question why. Weekly sessions in order to cope with a partner with BPD would be understandable in a LTR where they were living together and the BPD is having a big impact on the relationship. But the boyfriend is fairly new and doesn't live with the OP. He sees her a few times a week, not even overnight. Can OP's BPD really be having such a big impact on him that he requires weekly therapy?

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