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Is this part of the therapy process?

(21 Posts)
AstrantiaMallow Sun 27-Mar-16 22:11:25

I've been out of an abusive marriage for 15 months. I'm seeing a counsellor privately and also a therapist to try and unravel how I got there as I have a lot of family issues too. I've seen her on and off as I found the sessions really difficult and not as immediately helpful as counselling. In a way I wasn't sure from the off whether how I reacted to the sessions was due to the issues discussed or whether they were due to me not getting on with her.

I hadn't seen the therapist for some weeks but went for a session this past week. Came out feeling terrible and it's been playing on my mind since. She said to me that I visibly had no idea how badly my ex had treated me and that I was glossing over things and would therefore be making the same mistakes, or words to that effect. I don't quite know how to explain how she was but she seemed really angry. I came away feeling totally useless and completely doubting myself. In fact I came away feeling as I do after conversations with my family or as I did when I tried to get across to my exh I was unhappy. Feeling that maybe it's me. Is it normal to feel like this with therapy? I think I felt bullied. Not sure if it even makes sense. She came recommended and has all the qualifications and some things have been useful to discuss but on the whole I come out more full of self-doubt each time. I understand she needs to challenge me but it feels more than that. I'm not sure though. Is it normal or does it sound like I need another therapist?

BarkGruffalo Sun 27-Mar-16 22:23:58

I think sometimes therapists need to challenge you, and you can be up and down over the process (I HATED mine at times)... BUT that been said if you continue to feel as you did today then maybe you need to try a different therapist. They are not all the same and t may be that you need someone who is a better fit for you.

flowers flowers flowers for you

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 28-Mar-16 09:27:13

I'm not sure why your seeing two separate therapists to be honest, a decent integrative therapist would cover everything they would separately.

Yes she has challenged you op, and maybe when you see her next tell her that and point out you thought she might be angry, it's all grist for the mill at least it's got you thinking. If you take how you feel now as the bench mark you can work from there. Therapy isn't always easy it's not meant to be, she cut to the chase with you, which saves you time and money and allows you to work on the big stuff.

Equally if it's too fast for you, you set the pace and tell her this.

Tutt Mon 28-Mar-16 09:35:51

Do theses therapist know about each other?
If not you need to tell them as there is a conflict.

I do see people who are having other therapies as it may undo any hard work they have put in.

MajesticWhine Mon 28-Mar-16 09:42:37

I agree that seeing more than one therapist can be unhelpful.
If you feel angry and upset then it's important to talk that through with her. It sounds like that could be really productive for you and much more useful than ditching the therapist.

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 28-Mar-16 09:46:43

If you feel uncomfortable, change therapists. Therapy should be a safe space.

I wonder, though, if part of this is that you are very quick to blame yourself, and that somebody else pointing out an unhealthy pattern of behaviour in you just felt to you like an intolerable level of "being wrong". Like, if you're already kicking yourself all the time, you've already reached the maximum threshold of criticism you can take.


I think there is something very useful in the content of what your therapist was telling you. None of it means that you are a bad and wrong person, just that you have behaviours that deserve to be examined.

Do you think that's what she was trying to tell you?

But if her style doesn't suit you, end it. You can't make progress in therapy if you don't trust the therapist.

Good luck.

Tutt Mon 28-Mar-16 09:47:57

* I don't not do!

maggiethemagpie Mon 28-Mar-16 15:56:58

The feelings that the therapist stirs up in you can be a valuable part of the therapy. By exploring them, it gives you material to work on in how you react and relate to others.
I agree with ricecrispietreats, could she have a point? And is it the issues raised that you feel uncomfortable with, rather then the therapist herself?

Stick with it a little longer, if you still feel uncomfortable a few sessions down the line I'd think about moving on but see if you can work it out in the therapy for now. It could be a breakthrough.

I found therapy was like pulling teeth, it hurt at the time to get those rotten teeth out but afterwards I felt cleaner and lighter.

Difficult moments are to be expected, but they can lead to the greatest growth.

gatewalker Mon 28-Mar-16 16:01:33

Yes, OP, these questions come up here too:

- Why are you seeing a counsellor and a therapist?
- Why are you not seeing the therapist regularly? The appointments should be sacrosanct.

She may be being unreasonable; but it may also be that you're reading into her responses too. It's hard to be confronted with the truth, and if you're getting that confrontation happening, you need to be turning up every week. Every week. Without fail.

AstrantiaMallow Mon 28-Mar-16 18:12:40

I didn't realise it was possibly counterproductive or wrong. They both know about the other. I've seen the counsellor much more regularly than the therapist because the counsellor has helped me deal with the divorce I'm going through from the beginning. That's been the most important as it's been really difficult and I have no-one to talk things through with. The therapist was recommended after re: trauma. I've muddled along with everything and may well have done the wrong thing.

I didn't tell her I felt upset. I find her daunting tbh. She seemed angry that I had started to date someone who I have seen for past few months as a friend. Her words were that I was doing myself a 'disservice'. That's when she said she didn't feel I realised how deeply damaged I was from the abuse and how glossing over the situation I had been in was going to backfire at some point. This man hasn't done anything wrong and seeing him has been good practice for me to work on boundaries. I'm not I was thrown she said that but more the way she said it. There was real annoyance there. I felt looked down on.

I don't know if I should have posted about this actually now. I can't really word things right.

AstrantiaMallow Mon 28-Mar-16 18:29:47

Should have written
'I was thrown that she said that, but also by the way she said it'

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 28-Mar-16 19:05:04

Hi mallow

What sort of therapist is she? Or rather what was her core training in do you know. It's interesting that both therapists are willing to work with you at the same time. To be honest it's not normally something that should happen for ethical reasons alone.

I'm curious to know how you and they avoid crossing over with dealing with separate issues etc
If your therapist showed obvious irritation and made you feel small, then that's about her and not you and she should know to keep her personal stuff under check. She should have a supervisor to take her irritations to, and should be guarded about letting them leak out in to the therapy room.

A certain amount of transference does take place in therapy and can be helpful, but only if it can be explored in a mutually empathic environment, her disdain for your apparent lack of insight sounds more judgemental, and lacking in core values to say the least. thanks

Smoochnmoveon Mon 28-Mar-16 20:08:37

Sometimes when I have my therapy sessions (for relationship and family issues) I come away feeling like she has "done something mean" to me by challenging my perception of something, but after picking it apart when I've had a bit of distance from it, I've seen that I was triggered by what she said, and that trigger caused lots of past feelings to re-emerge of how other people made me feel.

So it was 5% what she said and 95% my past experiences, if you know what I mean?

RandomMess Mon 28-Mar-16 20:17:55

Counselling and therapy are very different.

As everyone else has said you really should be doing only one at a time as although the are different each will impact the other.

Your therapist actually sounds very concerned for your wellbeing, perhaps she was actually trying to provoke your anger as you keeping it deeply buried?

junebirthdaygirl Mon 28-Mar-16 22:28:50

I have been seeing a therapist and on more than one occasion l felt cut to the heart by things he said. I felt like upending the chair and storming out and l am usually a very calm person. However l was determined to stick with the process and l found after a while that his challenging me had brought me further on. My advice would be to stick with it for another while but be honest as to how she made you feel.

reader77 Mon 28-Mar-16 22:56:48

What kind of therapist is she op? As in what is her approach?

AstrantiaMallow Tue 29-Mar-16 08:57:25

I haven't seen the therapist very regularly at all so maybe that's why it hasn't been a problem in terms of clashing. The way it's worked is that ongoing stuff and immediate coping strategies/venting has been with counsellor. With the therapist I have only really dealt with past stuff. It's CBT.

It sounds like I haven't really gone about doing all this the correct way without realising. From my end, it feels like she expects me to live in a vacuum until I have worked through what I came to see her about. I told her I felt the friendship had allowed me to 'grow' in some respects. She said it should happen without that. I'm not sure how that's supposed to work to be honest. She didn't explain when I asked, she just said it wasn't a good idea and then when dating was mentioned what came through was irritation, annoyance or something like that. It made me feel like I had messed up without understanding why.

I won't go into it more. I don't want to criticise her work. I will have to think about it. I totally accept she's there to challenge and I have to do the work and that it's painful. She may also be concerned. Or feel I'm not serious enough because the sessions are too far about. She hasn't said it though.

AstrantiaMallow Tue 29-Mar-16 09:00:01

too far about I mean too far apart

MajesticWhine Tue 29-Mar-16 09:28:29

Yeah the problem with visits too far apart is that you have to hold on to your frustration for a long time. Make sure you bring it up next time.

AstrantiaMallow Tue 29-Mar-16 15:06:34

Too far apart is because of me, time and money. I don't feel angry or frustrated particularly, more keen to do the right thing.
In a way I look up to her and she's quite authoritative and cutting which is why I haven't challenged much anything she says. That in itself is probably not a good thing? Things are totally different with the counsellor. There's more dialogue.
Sounds like I should see only one person.

aginghippy Tue 29-Mar-16 15:37:48

Sounds to me like maybe this therapist isn't right for you. That doesn't necessarily mean that either you or she are not doing 'the right thing'. It just might be that she is not the one who can help you at this time.

IIWY I would continue with just the counsellor for the time being. After you finish with her, maybe then you could think about doing the CBT.

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