Therapy is confusing me

In therapy we’ve moved right away from the EMDR and going back to trauma. This makes the sessions a lot easier to deal with. The subjects we talk about aren’t that fun, but I don’t have the experience of being depressed for days after a session either. It’s more like having a regular conversation, but all about me instead of about both of us.

Last time, I brought up the amounts of angry thoughts I was having. Ms T didn’t think much of my idea of watering the good seeds. She thinks instead that I’m obsessing on angry thoughts because I haven’t dealt with my feelings about my childhood and whatever else I’m angry about.

I know that watering the good seeds could be a kind of denial and fleeing from what I really experience. Saying to myself, oh, I won’t think about this, it’s too negative – you have to be careful not to use it as a mechanism for avoidance.

I am angry with my parents for being inadequate parents. So we talk about that. Ms T feels I am not ‘dealing with my feelings’. So I ask her what she means. Here we are talking about my past. I feel angry. And sad. She says I’m not really feeling it somehow.

Well, how can I feel it then. I cannot conjure up feelings.

And this is the end of this inadequate post. I feel I want to write but do not know how to get any further.

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9 comments
  1. alice said:

    hi ellenhoping your feeling better from your flu. its awful feeling so unwell.i think i do alot of avoidance things. i think though my parents taught me that. its easier to overlook something then deal with it head on.i suppose the therapist knows what she is talking about. but she is still a women, with a past, with her own ideas and opinions. i know they shouldnt cloud her judgement but they may. i know when i was in therapy for the ed, the clinician who was a bold person got hold of the wrong end of the stick and carried on in this way for a good few sessions, no matter what i said. i know things may be difficult now, hope they improve soon.xxx

  2. gniz said:

    You've said some other things in the past about this therapist that makes me question how good of a fit this might be.Look, bottom line is that there are many techniques which can help a person. Watering the good seeds is valid but might not be necessarily appropriate DURING an individual therapy session, where you are supposed to discuss issues that are arising or unresolved conflicts from the past.Is the therapist differentiating between avoidance during a therapy session as opposed to a tactic for helping you lead a more positive life outside of therapy sessions?It seems to me that no therapy is better than a bad therapist. Either way, I would encourage you to find someone who does fit, not to simply be on your own and flounder. I understand money is a consideration as well…

  3. Ellen said:

    @Alice – Thanks Alice. I'm still struggling along, but I think the trend is now upwards. Compared to what you go through, this is nothing, and I'm embarrassed for complaining. There's something to be said for avoidance – it helps you carry on the day to day. At some point though, we have to look at things so we are not living a lie. I agree that we have to be alert about what our therapists are doing. I actually told Ms T last time I thought she wasn't on the money for some things. Glad you got out of that therapy situation that wasn't helping you.take care@ gniz – Yes, no therapy would be preferable to bad therapy. I've had bad therapy in the past and it's true. I know i am complaining in this post, but i'm going to stick with this T a while longer. I think being confused as I am is not so bad. It's better than marching confidently down the wrong path. "Is the therapist differentiating between avoidance during a therapy session as opposed to a tactic for helping you lead a more positive life outside of therapy sessions?"Good question, and that's my own question too. Maybe I'll bring it up with her – I wasn't that clear in my session. I'm trying to make sense of the two approaches – they're kind of clashing in my brain. I appreciate your insight into this gniz, thanks for the comment!

  4. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,I've never had therapy but when I read of people going through therapy I always get the impression that the therapist is in no hurry. In fact there seems to be a lack of direction and answers. That is what I feel here too. If it is the case then I can fully understand why you are getting confused. You are looking for a path to inner peace and there is little sign of it at the moment. If anything you have had more turmoil as a result. But that's just a distant observation.Personally speaking I think the therapist has to open up more and give you a reason to keep the sessions going. But again that is just my opinion from afar. It seems to me that she is not very clear on where she is going with you and in turn shooting down any suggestions you make. I have no right to suggest she is wrong to do so so won't but only that it I get the impression that it is more important to you that you know where you are going.I can understand your frustration with feelings- and in my case thoughts also. It is like you know what you want to grasp at but every time you reach out it is just out of touch. When I was trying mindful acceptance I had a lot of this. It just isn't easy to hold on to things that are not physical and we feel we are some how inadequate when we are asked to but cannot.I hope your feeling better and when the flu goes it disappears for a good while this time. All the bestNechtan

  5. gniz said:

    Just to clarify, you should obviously do what you want and feel is helpful, such as sticking with this therapist.However, I've noticed in the past you making some comments that she was a bit confusing and muddled and so forth…Anyway, ultimately its on you, and you will find the help you need as you already have done.Keep the ol' chin up!Best Wishes.

  6. Personally, I think there is (or can be) a difference between watering good seeds, and practicing avoidance.My own experience has been that most people who have suffered emotional neglect, abuse, and trauma become quite literally addicted to negativity; it's where they feel safe and comfortable. It takes a deliberate effort to start thinking a bit differently about things, and I think that effort can be enormously rewarding.In my back garden, I have several flowerboxes with tulip bulbs. I notice that when I feed the soil in spring, the weeds come up just as well as the tulips do. I think that our emotional experiences and thought patterns can be quite similar. You can choose to cherish the blossom, and still see that there's a freaking ugly piece of crap growing next to it.I can choose to hold a feeling of gratitude for the good things in my day, and still allow myself to be angry or grief-stricken over the trauma I have yet to process. The two things are not mutually exclusive.

  7. Ellen said:

    Thanks everyone. Wow, I feel the comments here are deeper than my post! @Nechtan – Yes, we've discussed before the benefits or lack thereof of therapy. I see I am complaining and not talking up the good parts – there are some. Therapy is not a simple, straightforward process – you're trying to come to terms with your past and change some patterns, and it's difficult. Just being confused however is not a disaster. It doesn't mean that this is a useless process. Thanks very much for your comments, and time will tell if I'm making the right choices.@ gniz – No worries, I don't take commenter's advice much, lol. I did buy a CD a reader recommended, and also a book another reader recommended, but that was about it. Sometimes the road is unclear, and that's ok with me.@David – What a lovely comment. I like your explanation.

  8. Susan said:

    I so hear what you are saying Ellen; and have had similar experiences in therapy. Although…this past year has been really enlightening when I was able to "go there" ie "feel the feelings" instead of the avoiding behavior like what you describe. In the end…it has been the grief process, of being able to move through facing and grieving the loss of what I didn't get as a child that I needed ie healthy parenting, safety, nurturing, encouragement, healthy parental love…as well as facing the anger and accepting what I DID get that I really didn't need (abuse, neglect, criticism etc) and that as much as I'd like to be able to "make it right" somehow today I just cant "go back"; sadly, there are no "do overs" in life even when it is terribly unfair. For me…this was the "hard work" of healing – facing the past and putting the responsibility with my parents and just getting down and bawling about it. Which was a hard thing too because I had to learn to stop stuffing or acting out my pain and start to trust that I would be ok even if I cried (crying wasn't allowed either). This is how I've been able to begin to heal from the neglect and abuse, to let go of the ruminating and begin to face my todays instead of living only to avoid the pain of the past and my fear of the future. Not sure if this will make any sense to you Ellen…but be blessed in your journey today and thank you for sharing your experiences. It really is helpful to know there are others out in the world who fight similar fights as I do every day. Susan

  9. Ellen said:

    Thanks Susan. That is a really great explanation of the therapy process. I hope I get to the point also of not stuffing feelings as you describe so well. This makes a whole lot of sense to me and is much appreciated. Another comment that's a lot deeper than my post! I hope you start posting again at your blog…

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