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Let down by therapist - would you say anything?

(41 Posts)
Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 21:52:01

So I had a problem this week when I felt very reactive and unsettled after a session talking about a trauma, when it was likely this problem would occur. I tried to self manage, but felt I was struggling. I asked to see her - she didn't reply for two days, and when she did she basically said she had no time. I felt better by then in any case and reassured her it was ok. However, how I feel about this is a different matter- I think she was perfectly within her rights, however I also think she could have replied within a reasonable time, and at least made a pretence of attempting to fit me in. Also, she could have asked me if I was alright. It feels a bit like, you open up, but when there is a problem, you are on your own with it. And also , let's face it , what can they really do?
Obviously I have a plan to talk about it, and get her thoughts on what to do next time, etc, and talk it through, but just interested to know what others feel. I didn't create a drama, just asked politely, but the ' no' was a bit off putting for me to further increase my vulnerability. How have any of you dealt with this or what would you do or say? I don't want to be over dependent, and consider myself generally stable. It's obviously time to redraw boundaries too.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 22:16:05

I think it was just a logistical problem, but I think if you say no to someone who asks for an urgent review, you need to at least ask how they are, and can they get some other help.

selfishcrab Sun 12-Feb-17 22:24:32

You need to look at your contract and see what is stated.
I'm sorry you are having a hard time, but you do need to stick to boundries and if she/he doesn't state that there is 24hr help and you are contracted every 7 days etc then that is what it is.
I would never ask a client if they were ok outside of a session.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 22:30:27

Fair enough- time to check boundaries. If they are the boundaries - no contact for seven days, then I don't think I can continue it.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 22:31:21

If a client contacted you, you would not ask if they were ok?

giggly Sun 12-Feb-17 22:36:05

No I would not if they were ok either as that opens discussion which in fairness could take ages to close back down. It would then turn into a telephone consultation.

selfishcrab Sun 12-Feb-17 22:36:25

Boundries are a very importnat part of the process, I would talk through it at the next session. May be work through your (not the therapists as it's about you not them)thoughts and how you felt.
No I would never ask as that then opens a line of communication that could be inappropriate/dangerous/could lead to dependancy issues etc and will/could blur those boundaries.
This doesn't mean that the therapist doesn't care, that couldn't be further from the truth.
This is why the contract is so very important.
Now if the therapist has said you can contact at any time that is different.

giggly Sun 12-Feb-17 22:36:50


Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 22:38:49

I find that very ' hands off' and ' it's not my problem' to be honest , I appreciate that could be because of my own line of work. It's unthinkable to me not to ask someone if they are ok, and redirect them for help.

PandoraHatesTheBox Sun 12-Feb-17 22:39:51

Wow, well my experience is totally different to the above. My therapist will respond to texts and emails and will check in if I'm okay after a difficult session. She makes no promises about response times but if it is a crisis email, i.e. I am clearly in distress, she has never yet not responded that day.

There are therapists out there who will treat you as a human with fluctuating emotions which deserved to be honoured and treated with respect - not treat you as something that needs to be boundaried or contained like a danger or a problem. If after your discussion with her she can't help with this then do find someone else.

Newbluetattoo Sun 12-Feb-17 22:41:06

I think you should go to your next session and try to have a really open discussion about how you feel about what happened. It's important for therapists to be really boundaried, but this will mean different things to different therapists, depending on the approach that they take to their work. Any therapist worth their salt will be able to work with your feelings about what's happened, and it might be very a helpful exercise in terms of your therapeutic relationship. For example, if you're angry that they didn't get back to you quicker, therapist should be able to accept and discuss your anger. It's their job.

MajesticWhine Sun 12-Feb-17 22:49:10

I have been accommodated with an extra session in the past. I think a bit of care and flexibility is as important as keeping strict boundaries.
As a therapist myself, I try to respond to messages within 1 day and would obviously offer some alternative options for support if it's a crisis.

NoMudNoLotus Sun 12-Feb-17 23:06:54

Part of therapy OP is about you learning you "hold" your distress - it would actually be the sign of a poor therapist if they did change planned contact - part of your recovery is about you managing your distress - not handing it to others to hold.

NoMudNoLotus Sun 12-Feb-17 23:09:47

And some private therapists can be notoriously bad at maintaining boundaries.

Iv seen some shocking behaviour from private therapists who can promote dependence without the client ever realising ... just so they can keep their wages coming in.

Note I say some private therapists.

PandoraHatesTheBox Sun 12-Feb-17 23:10:00

" it would actually be the sign of a poor therapist if they did change planned contact "

No...... it isn't.........

NoMudNoLotus Sun 12-Feb-17 23:11:20

In this situation yes it would.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 23:13:18

I would be ok with either , if I just knew. The boundaries are a little blurred. I have asked before, whether to keep to no contact between sessions and was told, no it was ok to be in contact. For me, that perhaps makes it harder to know what that really means, and it might be better to have no contact at all.
She is caring, but ever so slightly flakey , whereas I like to know exactly what's happening with boundaries etc. I will have an honest discussion, and if she does not offer the support I know I will need during a new phase of therapy, I think I will find someone new, or a less distressing technique etc, because I can't tolerate that level of distress alone.
However, when not dipping into the trauma I function and feel perfectly fine, so it's not urgent treatment, and the side effects are far outweighing the benefit at present.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 23:17:17

Nomud I disagree with that, I am completely upfront about it, this is trauma therapy, and talking about it causes huge symptomatology, which at present I can't to,erase. I'm willing to learn how, I'm willing to make a safe plan, but I can't do a session and just then be alone with that for seven days.

MajesticWhine Sun 12-Feb-17 23:22:30

Working with trauma can make things feel worse at least temporarily. It sounds like you need some more practical help with how to manage this in between sessions. She should be able to help you with this, if she knows how to work with trauma.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 23:30:34

I agree. As it was the first trauma session, I find it odd that she didn't even check in with me herself in any case- it's what I would do. And maybe that's why I feel let down. I'm not blaming her and being personal about it, but she needs to make the boundaries a lot clearer so I can make more informed decisions.

ImpetuousBride Sun 12-Feb-17 23:35:19

Boundaries are one thing... but not giving your client an alternative day and time to meet? Not even having a brief chat over the phone to ensure they aren't in panicked/suicidal etc and not suggesting other help instead?

Sorry, that has nothing to do with boundaries! It's the work of a lazy, disengaged and careless therapists. It's the exact opposite if what she was taught at uni to do.

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 23:40:20

I try hard to self manage, and not to ask for help for no reason, but I feel very hurt actually that having asked directly, to see her , it was a no, and as PP said, as if I am some sort of problem or something to be controlled otpr contained. I am in a similar field, and this is unthinkable for me, in fact I think it would be against my code of conduct. None of us want to be put on the spot, but when you work in this field it is part of the responsibility.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 12-Feb-17 23:46:18

OP, I think you should definitely tell your therapist how you feel. This experience has unearthed a lot of stuff to be worked through.thanks

Woollymammoth63 Sun 12-Feb-17 23:54:01

yes I will. This response of mine was completely predictable, and there was no contingency plan in place. I will have a discussion with her, and if I don't feel I can rely on her plan for containment and establish clear boundaries it might be time to move on.

PandoraHatesTheBox Mon 13-Feb-17 09:22:04

NoMud you are either being purposefully goading, or have absolutely zero experience with trauma therapy. It is entirely acceptable and normal for a client in this type of therapy to reach out to the therapist, especially after a specific trigger or trauma based session, and for the therapist to try to support that. Possibly with an extra session or a phone session or by email.

Wooly, you are valid and understood in the way you feel. Take this to therapy. Best of luck x

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