Therapist Ron

Friday I worked from home, and so took some time out to meet therapist Ron. Ron works from a low rise office building in a nice part of town. It takes me about half an hour to drive there, and more time to find parking on a snowy side street.

I wait in a tiny waiting room, reading my novel. Right on time, Ron strides on out to greet me and take me to his office. No one has left, so I might be his first client of the day. Ron is very slim, tall and with bright blue eyes, in his mid-forties. He actually looks younger than in his web photo.

His office is tiny, but has a window and two armchairs facing each other. Also some modern art on the walls, a bookshelf, and a desk in an alcove. No pets here.

As with Wayne, this is not a therapy session, and it is free. But unlike Wayne, Ron launches into things, asking me about myself and what brought me to see him. Everything he says is kind of thoughtful and soft, as if he’s bouncing his thoughts off of some other extra place inside, rather than saying what’s on top of his mind.

 Ron does not show off at all, and I appreciate that. He asks about my issues and my past, and does not talk about himself unless I ask. So after explaining my issues, such as problems with flashbacks, I ask what his approach to someone like me would be.

He says that basically we would be talking. Also, we could look at some dreams if I wished. But essentially, what we’d be trying to do would be to bring those flashback type memories into sessions, where after working through them, they would eventually turn into regular memories. I ask him if he’s had any cures. He said more or less…but that it’s a long process for issues such as PTSD. But that clients have come to a place where they are no longer plagued by intrusive flashbacks.

Because he asked so many questions and seemed interested, I ended up talking a lot more than he did. Which immediately upset me, though I didn’t cry or anything. But I had to back away from most topics that he raised, like my marriage, my son, and the abuse from my childhood. I wanted to keep control here and find out about him.

He said that though this was not a therapy session, I was getting some idea of what one would be like, which was true. There was really no chit chat here, and he seemed ready to dive into things.

Like Wayne, I really liked Ron, but for different reasons. With Ron, there was a very strong connection. I know he manufactured this, as it is a tool of his trade, but it didn’t seem fake. A lot of the 50 minutes was about him listening to me and being interested…even when I wasn’t sure what to say, he’d ask another question about something to do with me.

I would have a concern that I’d develop a crush on this guy. I’m single, probably needy, and he would be kind and caring…His looks are pleasant, and he is in the right age range. That would be very unpleasant for me if that happened. However, I do firmly and truly realize that he would just be doing his job, and there would be no personal intent in his being kind. So hopefully I would not develop a crush.

One thing I really respected. I mentioned how if I was triggered and went into a flashback, I’m catapulted into a depression where I can’t function well. He asked for more details of what that was like…did I become suicidal? Well, most therapists and doctors do not dare to ask that question, it scares them too much. Ron did plunge right in there.

As we talked about some things that were painful for me, I was kind of emotional when I left his office, and went for a walk to calm down. Then tried to shut everything down to get back to work, with only limited success. I’ll need to schedule sessions for end of day I think, if I launch into therapy with Ron.

I have trouble often ‘launching into things’, and Ron would encourage me to talk I think. He didn’t say anything stupid in our meeting…would he continue that way?

Oh, and he doesn’t believe in ‘labels’. Ho hum. Neither did my last two T’s. I don’t believe in that philosophy myself. How can you address an issue if you have no name for it? And gosh, it makes diagnosis easier if we just skip the nasty label. But I think in fairness he meant he wants to treat everyone as a person, not as a case. Which is fine by me. But if I hadn’t been able to tell him I have PTSD, we would have had a lot vaguer discussion than we did.

Ron has 17 year experience, and graduated from the same institute as Wayne. Hmmm….is talking what will help me? Skip the tapping and the EMDR….sit there and talk? It could be.

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6 comments
  1. cbtish said:

    From what you say about Ron, I like him already. It's rare to find a blogger saying all the right things about a therapist like this. I'm impressed.Yes, it is well established that talking can be very effective, if you are talking with someone like Ron who knows what he is doing. EMDR is controversial, because many experts think it's only the talking part, not the eye movement, that has any effect. There's no solid evidence at all for tapping.

  2. Paula said:

    Hmm, this guy is right up my alley. I prefer straight forward yet kind No Nonsense therapists. I never experienced EMDR myself but many at the day center during trauma therapy experienced great relief. Yet it is know it works for only 80% of clients chosen for this treatment. I remember my initial session at the day center. I was set to get EMDR because I so much wanted to be done with flashbacks and fears, nightmares and anxieties. I felt completely misunderstood when I got told nicely but firmly that EMDR wouldnt do me any good. That CBT, edcuation on the brain science and how the trauma works chemically spoken. I was scheduled for relaxing techniques to try out and settled so very happy for Jacobsen and QiGong. I never would have come that far with CBT without art therapy, resources and skills sessions; and learning to cope with the body feelings and sensations. My 5months Intense Trauma Therapy with 35h per week are roughly 4 years of weekly sessions. I am happy that I settled for CBT (talking) yet today it is the awareness gained during brain science, resources and skills group, my toolbox, art therapy and QiGong who lets me live a full life. PTSD can be overcome yet the scars always will be there and need attention with the things mentioned above. From the bottom of my heart I wish you overcome. It is worthwhile ever second of the day where I so very happy and grateful for having a life.

  3. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,Good to see you asked the question I always forgot to ask in the past and regret now not doing so about success rate. If the answer is they have cured all I would worry but that seemed like a genuine answer.Also agree about the labels. With these kind of problems there is no standard fix depending on the label so it doesn't make much sense to have one and in turn all it does is engrain in a person a stereotype which isn't true- we are all individuals.I'm really interested to see who you go with. With the first two it is great that they are so different. Personally I wouldn't know the best thing for you but you definitely will and when the time comes I think that person will pop to the top of the list. I can well imagine though how sessions with straight-talking-jump-right-in-there Ron would be better at the end of the working day or week. I can't imagine those will be easy. But then you will know yourself whether its beneficial or not. I know from my own case the answers don't lie in easy places which is maybe the biggest problem. But also to take that journey I'd have to be comfortable with the guide and trust I think is the most important factor.All the bestNechtan

  4. Hey, Ellen -I like Ron, too . . . I think all the other techniques (tapping, EMDR, etc.) work best as a way to clear residual negative energy after the bulk has been cleared by generating emotional healing through walking through and releasing long-existing pain . . . and that happens by talking about the yucky stuff. I am learning the best approach for me is to keep re-telling the painful stories until they no longer hold pain for me. It is painful and tedious, but it is the only thing that has worked for me.I'm so glad you are taking the time to interview several therapists . . good for you to take care of yourself and your healing process in this way.By the way . . . about the potential for developing a crush . . . I don't see that as a problem, I see it as an opportunity to explore the why's behind it. This (if it happened) would be an opportunity to develop an deep emotional connection with another human (which is allowable and healthy) while maintaining healthy boundaries. If you found yourself struggling to maintain boundaries, maybe he could help you understand why you have that tendency when you know it would not be healthy. If you found yourself resisting the [healthy] emotional connection with him, you could look at the reasons you feel you are not allowed those types of [healthy] relationships. I think it could be a fertile garden of insight!Anyway . . . I'm looking forward to learning what happens!- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

  5. Ellen said:

    Thanks everyone, and sorry for the delayed response.@ CBTish…Well, I have been studying your posts on finding a therapist, and what makes a good therapist, so the knowledge must have rubbed off. 🙂 Thanks for the comment@Paula – Great to hear your experience in overcoming PTSD. Ron does not practice CBT though – he does psychodynamic therapy. If I was being covered by insurance, I would get CBT or medication. I want to try QiGong also!

  6. Ellen said:

    @Nechtan – Thanks for your thoughts….today I am totally confused on whom I should be picking – likely I should have gone on to interview a few more, but I was finding this a painful process. We'll see.@ Marie – Perhaps telling and re-telling my story will work for me also. Interesting to hear your experience. And thanks for the comment on the 'crush' problem. Yeah, it would be a 'garden of insight' most likely, but could I stand the pain of it? As you are saying, my boundaries have been damaged as a result of abuse, and this whole area of relating to men is very charged and painful for me. You are understanding this very well. Cheers

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