Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
How do I stop being so needy(51 Posts)
I’ve name changed for this.
I’m after some help and advice on my relationship with my therapist. I’ve been having sessions with a psychotherapist for just over a year now. We are working on some hard things and I finally feel like I can trust her and we have built up a good working relationship. However, I find that I am getting more reliant on her support and am finding that in between sessions I look for support from her. She is happy to give this and will text me or reply to my texts or she will call and support me if I let her know I’m really struggling. I do appreciate her support so much. She texts me little encouragements and positive thoughts throughout the week and reminds me that she is thinking of me. I find it hard because I have major trust issues and I find myself trusting her completely and so much so that when my treatment is finished, I am not going to have her anymore and I think I’m going to find this really hard. She is one person who treats me with respect and dignity in a way I haven’t been treated for a long time. How do I stop myself feeling so reliant on her but still continue to have a relationship with her where therapy works. It is long term therapy and she says we could potentially be working together for a number of years. How do I find a balance?
The best thing to do might be to discuss it with her.
I would say that is slightly odd behaviour from the therapist - it would be usual for contact to be kept within the boundaries of the therapy. What modality of therapy is it?
Apart from that, I would agree best thing is to ask her about it directly.
@celestebellman it’s humanistic/integrative.
Why is the behaviour odd? Is this outside the boundaries of therapy? Everything is therapy related...
Similar but my DD has been having therapy and had 8 sessions. She got upset after the 8 sessions as felt like she couldn't cope without the contact with the therapist.
I think it's probably really normal behaviour as if things are going wrong in your life this maybe the only thing that you feel is going right.
Ok. Apologies I’m not hugely familiar with that type of therapy. In many therapies, particularly in the psychoanalytic tradition, the contact would held within the therapy room only and there would be no contact in between.
@MondeoFan 8 sessions seems very short. Did your daughter get over that feeling quite quickly or did she go back for more therapy?
This sounds like it crosses normal therapist-client boundaries:
“She texts me little encouragements and positive thoughts throughout the week and reminds me that she is thinking of me.“
I’m not surprised that behaviour from her would increase feelings of dependency in you.
I’ve had therapists that are available to talk or email between sessions if I am really struggling, it’s always been made clear that this would be minimal, just to address immediate problems. I’ve also had therapists who were very clear that they were not available between sessions. I’ve never heard of a therapist doing what you’ve described above.
I would definitely ask her how she sees this, and how she expects your dependency on her to develop into increasing independence. That after all has to be the goal.
She should have very clear boundaries - it really shouldn’t be your job alone to work out how you stop being so reliant on her. Although that is a phase in most therapies. That is something that should be an innate part of her practice.
Sorry I have no experience whatsoever but just from an outside perspective- If your therapy is long term & probably going to last a couple of years, you might not feel like this then by then because hopefully the therapy will have had a good affect & you won’t feel like you do currently? You could express to her that you feel reliant on the therapy sessions/contact at the moment, so what happens when therapy ends (rather than making it about her per se)?
I see a psychologist weekly, but aside from messaging to say if I can't make the next appointment etc, we wouldn't message out of session times. I would feel inappropriate and almost bad to interrupt her and her other clients (or whatever they would be called!) I think that would create dependency on her if I was speaking on and off in-between sessions.
Plus as I'm perinatal it ends when baby is one year.
Do you pay privately for yours or is it NHS?
That is somewhat unusual. Most therapists would not have this sort of contact their clients outside of the session and would only contact to rearrange a session or perhaps to send an invoice. I think for me, the firm boundaries are quite important and I would find it quite unsettling to have the extra contact. What if my therapist was really busy for a few days, and didn't reply. Or if I had a really bad patch and started expecting her to pick up the phone at all times of night. It would feel quite unsafe I think, and I think it could foster (even more) dependency. If you are a dependent type then it's important to work on this in a way that is going to help resolve it and improve your attachment security. Ask your therapist how this can be worked on.
I think I’ll talk to her. Thank you for your replies, they were helpful. For what it’s worth, don’t mind if she’s slow to reply - I understand she has to have time away and obviously other clients. I also don’t think I would ever expect her to pick up calls at any time of the night. I think she might just understand that I’m lonely and living alone with a small child so she just touches base.
I didn’t realise that most therapists didn’t do this though. She is the first therapist I’ve ever had.
I pay privately as I wasn’t getting anywhere when looking to the NHS for help.
Ah I was fortunate to get NHS help as my child is under one.
Perhaps she's more lenient as you're paying for it and to ensure people return, she gives them a bit more extra in the week.
If it's helping you then it's no worries, but she won't be around always.
My therapist said they don't want me getting dependent on them or they won't be doing their job properly if I'm then not ok on my own.
Just to double check - what regulatory body is she a member of, and what is her training and approach?
My counsellor gave me her number to ring in an emergency - I was having a particularly bad week.
I never used it though. I felt it would be crossing a boundary.
I did feel I became quite reliant on her, but she did really help me. My feelings of needing to talk to her about everything eased when I started to feel better.
I do think it’s odd she texts you to say she is thinking about you. She should be helping you to be resilient - it sounds like you are relying on her too much
She’s BACP registered and has an integrative approach. I found her through a google search of counsellors near me.
She is helping me a lot and I am making progress in so many areas. It’s just this one issue that I’m struggling with. I know I’ll really feel a hole in my life when this ends.
Definitely discuss it with her, as part of her job is surely to help you reach a new level of emotional independence. Of course there could be a sadness as with any moving on, but your therapy should be preparing you for it’s ending.
I have had therapy on and off for years, both paid and NHS. Not once have I or the various therapists contacted each other outside of a session apart from due to illness.
I find the fact that your counsellor is doing this extremely concerning. It breaks boundaries and professional ethics and is really inappropriate.
I'm not surprised it's creating a sense of dependency in you. I would flag it up with them but also their practising council to see about why this would be acceptable practice.
Do you have other family and support?
I could go to my parents but they are older and vulnerable and are struggling with anxiety over Covid so I don’t want to burden and worry them. I don’t really feel there’s anyone else I could turn to.
I’m surprised at how many are saying no contract between sessions. I guess I haven’t really given much thought to the boundaries.
Have a look here OP - maybe this will help
I also think it's unusual that there is contact between sessions and that she is texting you to 'remind you she's thinking of you'.
Definitely odd. I'd double check registration and see if you are able to raise this in sessions
Please login first.