I’ve seen Art T 16 times. I never think about her. When I look at my calendar and see her on there for the next morning I’m surprised, “Oh yeah, I see Art T tomorrow.” I never think about what I am going to talk about. When I leave I never think about we talked about. I have no desire to know anything about her.
My son had a T who we started seeing 6 years ago, and saw for about 2 years. After a month or two of seeing him, and it was mostly my son he was seeing, not me, I started thinking about him all the time. Imagining scenarios with him, not erotic or even “in love”, just friendly stuff with him and my son and his kids, or him saving my son’s life, or my life. He helped my son a lot, came with me to school meetings, talked with me on the phone a lot. I knew about his kids, their names, ages, schools, his wife, her name, I saw her photos, I even heard them talking on the phone when I was there because he put her on speakerphone. He bought my husband’s football tickets, drove my son around, I fixed his computer…on and on. He drove me crazy though, there was so much about him that I didn’t like. He was very difficult to deal with and finally I ended therapy on the phone. My son had never wanted to be going, so it was no loss for him, but I felt like my heart had been ripped out.
Then I went to see J to get over my son’s T. I saw him seven times, decided it was too hard, and stopped. But I kept thinking about him, so after a couple of months I went back. Then saw him for 4 years. Thought about him all the time, from the minute I left therapy to the minute I went back. Analyzed everything he said, punished myself for things I didn’t say, prepared for days for our sessions. Constantly worried about what I would talk about in therapy.
My pdoc was the one who figured out that the reason I was so obsessed with my son’s T is because he was playing the role that I wanted my husband to play for the previous 7 or 8 years, and did the things that my husband would never do. Son’s T swooped in and helped me out with all my son’s academic problems that I had been working on by myself all that time. I did not want him to be my husband, he drove me crazy, but I wanted him to be my son’s father.
How about J? I think I wanted him to be my husband. Or more precisely, I wanted my husband to be like him. I didn’t want exactly HIM, I wanted my husband to act like him, to talk to me like he did, listen to me like he did, worry about me and my kids like he did with his wife and kids, play with our kids like he did with his kids, to be as self confident as he is, and be as assertive as he is. All the things my husband isn’t. Of course, no husband is like a T, even a T who is a husband. That is the weird thing about therapy I suppose.
I guess Art T hasn’t filled a void in my life. It is a relief to not think about her or therapy all the time. Every time I go in she asks me if I have anything to talk about from last week, any feelings or thoughts that were leftover. Today I said, “Hmmm, what did we talk about last week?” I couldn’t even remember, but she refreshed my memory and I had nothing left over. She remembered that on my way out last week I mentioned that we should probably talk about my marriage, so she brought that up and that is what we did. It was helpful, and when I left I felt like it was productive and useful.
I told her that I don’t think about therapy at all, so I must not be doing the work. She disagreed, she said if I am moving forward in my life, then therapy is working.
With my son’s T and with J, it felt like a LOT of work, but it was all in my head. All the obsessing and fantasizing and daydreaming and rehashing. Whew, it’s tiring. With Art T, I just leave, and that is it. This is a huge change from therapy with J, but I somehow feel like I should be working harder in order to get therapy to “work”. But for now, I’m going to trust Art T when she says therapy is working even though I am not working at it. And I’m going to enjoy the feeling of not having feelings about her.