This morning I met with my life coach, then had a half hour to kill, then went to therapy. I don’t usually like to have things like that back to back, but I’m getting used to the life coach and I’m enjoying my time with her, so it was a good thing today.
I was particularly anxious about therapy today, after last week’s email exchange with J, my therapist. So I arrived, and sat on the couch, shaking and teeth chattering more than usual and told J I wouldn’t be coming in next week because we are going away for the week. Then J said, “Who’s talking first?” I let him talk first, and he actually talked about 95% of the time. I wonder if he likes me as a patient, because he gets to talk. I’m sure there are a lot of patients who talk and talk and talk, and he doesn’t get to say much. But not me! I let him talk as much as his heart desires.
J asked me if I knew about transference and counter transference and he talked about those phenomena for awhile. Yeah, I know about them. I said I wasn’t sure I believed in them, but I understand the concepts. He used examples from our interactions in his explanations.
He talked about being real, and that he has to be real when he is relating to me, which I appreciate. We talked about the email and how he forgot some things that I thought were really important. He said that other patients will sometimes say “How did you remember that?” when he is talking to them about a minor detail. I said, “Oh, everyone else except me?”
I asked him if he thought I was too sensitive. He went into a whole explanation of sensitive and the bell curve and feelings vs. thoughts vs. actions, and feelings aren’t wrong. I think he was saying that he didn’t think I am too sensitive, but I’m not sure.
J talked about my discomfort with being in therapy and how email can be helpful. I brought up the fact that I feel bad about taking more of his time, and he assured me that is not an issue. He said that it’s helpful for us to talk about, I can’t remember his exact wording, but I think he meant our relationship. He said my situation is somewhat different than others because there is not a specific “symptom” like alcoholism or overeating. I asked, but aren’t those just symptoms of larger issues? And he said yes, but they are something that he can latch onto and work with.
He said my problems fall into the areas of self value, feeling like I am boring, uninteresting and not worthy of therapy, and being “typecast”. Like – oh here comes Harriet the one who cuts herself and obsesses about dogs in ovens.
So anyway, he felt my email was “real” and thinks if I can communicate more, and more authentically, via email then I should do that. He feels that if his and my relationship could be better it would help me have better relationships with others. He talked about the fact that there are surface things and deeper things, and if we can work out both it would be great, but even if we just work out the surface things it would be a good thing.
He said he knows how difficult it was for me to tell him about the SI and he really appreciates me telling him things and it might seem like he has “latched on” to this because it’s something that I’ve finally told him that he could work with. He said most people’s therapy is more linear because there is a specific problem, whereas mine is broader.
So I feel like it was good session and I’m somewhat nervous about dealing with our “relationship” (I don’t really believe that whatever it is between a therapist and a patient is a relationship) because I don’t want to develop any kind of unhealthy attachment to J. I guess I should mention that to him.
I think with our conversation today about transference it might be a good time to tell him about D. D is the reason I originally went to see J about a year ago. I told J that I was obsessing about a man (D) who I had a “business relationship” with. I daydreamed about him all the time, and I finally ended our relationship because I thought that would help me get over him. What I didn’t tell J is that D was my son’s therapist. I didn’t tell him because first of all I thought he might know him since they both work with adolescents and young adults and their paths may cross. I also didn’t tell him because I was afraid he would just say “Oh, that’s transference, it’s normal, there’s nothing you can do about that.”
I might write J an email and tell him all about D – everything I left out of the story. Thinking about doing that makes me really anxious. But I can write the email and not send it. Maybe I’ll just write it and see how I feel.