Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Therapist

So today I had a session with a new therapist. I wanted to see if I could handle face to face therapy.

Wow. It's so incredibly different. So much more challenging. More scary. Harder. Terrifying. Anxiety inducing.

I couldn't stop fidgeting or bouncing my knee or tapping my foot. I kept repeating in my head I want out of here, I don't want to be here, I don't like this.

The new T (T=therapist) has years of experience working with sexually abused women.

Being able to see facial expressions accompanying voice tones had a greater impact on me today. But at the same time, being looked at and watched and knowing that you're being watched and every movement you make is being scrutinized is completely unnerving. I told T that I wasn't comfortable with her looking at me all the time, especially if I'm thinking/processing something. She agreed not to do it as often or as long but said it's important for her to look at me for nonverbal queues.

T tried to delve into some heavy stuff today, but I wasn't going there. I warned her upfront that I'm going to be very resistant and closed off until I trust her and feel safe, and that it may take a long time for that to happen. After about 30 minutes into the session I interrupted her and told that I don't really remember what we've been talking about. She thanked me for letting her know I'm dissociating.

T prefers if I slowly stop working with my current counselor and focus working solely with her. I don't know what I think about that. There's a huge attachment to my current counselor, and I'm not sure that's such a good thing, but it allows me to talk to her and be honest. It took almost 6 months to develop that and I'm not ready to give that up and have to work again from the bottom with the new T. I trust my current counselor completely and I finally feel safe talking about things in our sessions. I've got some thinking to do I guess, and I would rather just work with both to cover different aspects. Practice saying things out loud with my counselor before even attempting it with T would be preferable. I don't know, the idea of not having sessions with my counselor scares the fuck outta me...

I guess that's what makes the counselor/client relationship so unique. There's this person, a real feeling person who listens to everything you say, gives you 100% of their focus/attention for an hour, they don't judge you or criticise you, they just listen and help you to see things differently, to make positive changes in your life... in a sense they're the best friend you've never had or lost. They're the stuffed animal or pet that you pour your heart out to, except they talk back. And you pay them. And everything is solely about you. So really, they're just there to help you and once you've been helped or healed you don't need them anymore, but I think you still want them there... I'm not really sure where this is going, I'm just rambling now... I guess I'm trying to say because I started working with my counselor and there's an attachment and a deep level of trust and security I'm not even remotely ready to give that up. She has helped me immensely, taken me to places I didn't think possible a year ago and I want to see it to the end with her.

But... at the same time I think the face to face will be more helpful in the long run. Being able to look into T's eyes as I told her something really hard and seeing the impact and softness and compassion and hearing it at the same time was healing in itself, even though it was terribly frightening and when the session was over I had to force myself not to run out the door and flee to my car.

I DON'T want to stop working with my counselor. I WANT to continue working face to face with new T. I think I can handle it, I think we can make it work. I WANT to make it work.... but is it possible?


Wanda's Wings said...

I do think it is possible to work with more than one person. I have an abuse T, counsler, and doctor.
It helps if they communicate, so they are all working together. Not all T & C can connect with you. you got to have to trust them or it won't work. If you need to give yourself a break if it becomes to intense. That's OK too. It took me almost 4 years to open up to my C, but I always say something that made me trust him. My thearpist is also new so I just have to see what happens. Give yourself promision to what you need to do>

jumpinginpuddles said...

face to face is impacting but its also as you said personal and its having that person to person contact that means its also humanising. Why cant you use your other counsellor as a support person and the new one as your T?


Fallen Angels said...

Starting T was the scariest thing we ever did. It bothers me a little bit that the new T tried to delve into heavy stuff. Was this your very first visit? I don't think you should have had to tell her that you would be resistent until you trusted her. That's like the first thing T's are supposed to do...gain trust. Usually by talking about easier stuff and slowly getting to the heavy stuff, not jumping to that right away! I think that face to face is better in the long run, but I agree with JIP about maybe making the one that isn't face to face a support person. We have that type of relationship with a couple people. I hope things get easier for you soon.

john michael said...

When keepers were in therapy trust was always the main issue, as it is with other people in their life. I would feel a bit leery of the new T getting into heavy stuff the 1st time, unless it is perception thing, what you felt was heavy wasn't to her, but then againm if it is heavy to you that s/b all that matters and T should back off a bit and let the trust come first. This a rough time for you, use all of your support systems you can, even your blog friends and cautiously weigh it all. Keepers usually ended up going with their gut feelings.

Best wishes to you in your quest

john w and keepers

nikki the red said...

you can do it! working with a new counselor is a big step, but you wouldn't have gone in there if you weren't ready for it. i don't know you, but i'm proud of you!

nikki, a survivor.

Al Johnson said...

I admire you for starting with a new T. I started with one about a month ago. I felt comfortable with her right from the start. I think I'm making more progress with her than I did with a counselor about 15 years ago, where I had weekly sessions for 3 years. Sometimes there's a good fit and sometimes there isn't.

I hope you can post more about how things go with your new T.

I have been posting about my sessions with my T on my Wrong Words blog. Therapy is difficult, but I'm grateful for professionals who can walk with us through the difficulty.