Therapy Saturday

Back from therapy this morning. Not sure if it sucked or didn’t suck or was helpful or what.

It was low key and undramatic. By my choice really. When I started therapy years ago, I would plunge into trauma and many sessions ended with myself in a child place, or severely distraught, and then I’d go home. It took ages to crawl out of that place again.

I don’t know. I am set on not continuing in that vein, and so I’m not. I am left with the uneasy feeling that Ron doesn’t approve – he wants the intensity and the drama perhaps. Or something.

I also feel uneasy that I have seized control. This is not Ron’s preferred way of working. This is what I feel I need, but I don’t get much feeling that he agrees. His philosophy though is to let the client lead, so he goes along with it? Maybe.

My life last week was simply working and recovering. I’d struggled with sleeping, waking up every two hours, then falling back to sleep after maybe another hour, then waking again….I tell Ron about this. He asks why I think I’m having this trouble this week, and I don’t know really.

I say I wonder what we could work on that would be helpful. He says helpful in what way? By which I think he means ‘feeling better in the short term is not going to help you feel better long term’. But, as he doesn’t say that, I just say, well, how to get better sleep for instance.

Then I say if we work with parts, could we do that in the first part of the session, and then spend time getting me back to my adult state? So Ron asks if there are any parts that want to speak.

B speaks for a while, about the Christmas tree, and a necklace she wants, and the colleague whom she likes who jokes around, and the colleague who scares her because he gets angry. And then B stops talking, and just feels sad. I hate being in that sad place, so I switch back. It feels like enough.

Also teen V gets a chance to speak. Being V is to be plunged right away into a world of darkness and pain. I also switch back from her feelings fairly soon.

At one point I tell Ron I feel like there’s a pain of glass between us. I do feel a sense that we’re not connecting at all. We talk about what the glass is….I switch to V who seems to be pounding on that glass.

We spend the last 10-15 minutes ‘grounding’ – feeling my feet and hands, then talking a bit about what I’ll do next with my afternoon. Ron’s heart is not in grounding exercises, but I find them somewhat helpful.

So I leave – not hugely upset, and in an adult state. With the uneasy feeling that I’m disappointing Ron, not doing therapy the way he wants to do it. Being a disappointment.

Oh yeah, one thing we touched on was loneliness. Ron asked me and also a part if we were lonely. Well, yes. Sometimes. But how not to be. There really isn’t anyone out there it seems. There are people at work though I suppose.

And also, I said a thing about how I think a problem I have is I’m not feeling things in a regular way, so I need help doing that. I don’t feel things during the day, then maybe get hit with a lot of exhausting emotions after I get home.

I don’t think he really understands how it is. I’m so different from him. Maybe that’s just my pessimism and distrust though.

I know I should look for other therapists, and maybe I will, eventually. I too tired right now.

  1. Rachel said:

    Something that comes to mind in reading about your session, is how non-directive Ron seems to be. Sort of going along with whatever you say, or letting conversation drift, sometimes not coming full-circle or re-visiting issues brought up from past sessions. In a way, just the therapy not having direction or a course. Which for me, does not work at all. Especially with trauma stuff. I don’t know, I could just be projecting, maybe it works for you. I just hate to hear you think you’re doing it wrong, because you aren’t. I think you communicate very well, and there is something about his personality or style that isn’t as directive or cohesive. Or doesn’t have your issues conceptualized in a way where he is constantly working to help with the emotions or the the work stuff. Just seems you talk about stuff, and then it goes into a void until you bring it up. Which can make therapy feel like it is floundering or stagnant. Hopefully this makes sense.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, it makes sense. It is a bit that way. Also, that’s how I am explaining it. It certainly is nothing like the kind of therapy you are doing, and presumably studying, and I can sense how well your type is working for you.

      I know it would be good to go to an actual trauma therapist, but I have tried that, and they weren’t good. However. I probably should try again.

      Ron is trying to learn how my system works. I omitted that part, because it’s hard to explain. He is somehow against theories – I think he feels that they hamper relating/reacting on a human level somehow. I myself think you could have both – theory and relating.

      Because he seems to think that by plunging into feelings, with an empathic witness, you are automatically going to get better, and I haven’t found that to be true with trauma, we are somewhat at odds now.

      However now, a few hours later, I’m actually feeling that the session helped me. I’m feeling a lot, but it’s also somewhat manageable. The parts work is important for me, if I can just figure out how to keep it from overwhelming me.

      Time will tell. I’ll know when it’s right to leave. Thanks for the comment Rachel.

  2. Ashana M said:

    I have to say this sounds really, really good, like brilliant improvement. It makes so much sense to let parts start at the beginning instead of right at the end. It seems like it used to be hard to get to the point where you were relaxed enough to let them speak–the adult was working at connecting with Ron enough to feel safe enough to speak. Now, at least on a Saturday and not after a stressful work day–you can do it at the beginning.

    I have some thoughts about your worries about Ron. I have found what helps in the short term also helps in the long term. if I can do something that helps me stay calm now, I can process things, and then the processing helps later. Something like getting better sleep helps you cope better in the day when there are other stresses, like the scary colleague, then you feel less upset, then you get better sleep the next night, then you don’t go into therapy too exhausted to talk about anything. Then things happen in therapy. It all connects. Things that seem “surface” have a deeper impact. It might seem to Ron that you are just focused on how to maintain a better “mask” rather than working on deeper issues, but I have found it doesn’t work that way. There are people who just want to cope well enough to keep the mask on. If they can sleep at night, they aren’t worried about deeper issues, so they stay focused on sleep. But I don’t think you are doing that.

    There was a point for me when I took control the way you are doing for similar reasons–I was getting destabilized to no particular purpose. I wasn’t getting anywhere. This was a long time ago, almost 20 years back. I had therapy in college, and I don’t think I consciously understood it was too destabilizing, but it was very emotive, very expressive. I am sure my therapists thought I was doing good work. But nothing happened. Looking back, I feel really sure about that. I expressed emotions without actually processing them. i wasn’t calm enough to do real work. Later, when I started therapy again, I refused to do that. I stayed much more “adult.” I didn’t touch a lot of issues. I was much more reluctant to trust their methods–I realize now for good reason. I wasn’t seeing anyone who had a good method for working with trauma. They believed they did, but they didn’t. If they had, I slowly would have adopted theirs, after testing things out in small bits.

    On the loneliness, I wonder if one thought is how to comfort yourself when you feel lonely. Sometimes there isn’t anything we can do when we feel lonely–our friends are busy, we have work to do, we are too stressed. It’s really lonely just feeling no one much understands what it is like to be you. But loneliness is a huge trigger for you. It might be the worst part of your childhood–just never getting connection and warmth in your family.

    Take care.

    • Ellen said:

      Thank you so much Ash. It’s unbelievable how you understand this so well, when with such a different level of trauma, we should be so different. I was so interested/pleased that you’d done similar in a previous therapy. Wow. Because that is how Ron feels – the emotive dramatic stuff is super healing. But yeah – nothing is shifting, nothing is processing as far as I can tell. Thank you for validating that – I felt like I was failing at therapy, a bit, when writing it out, but I think I’m actually not – I’m getting better at it.

      Hard to say exactly what Ron thinks, because I haven’t talked directly about it to him. I don’t think he thinks sleep is only ‘surface’, and he knows it’s really important. But in general, he does seem to think I’m shying away from things when really, I just need to go at a manageable pace. I need to talk about small stuff even just to orient myself as a person in the present. If that makes sense.

      Now a few hours later, I can feel that a lot happened today. I had to go to bed for a few hours, but now I’m quite a bit better again. I feel like I’m having ‘real’ emotions as opposed to traumatic ones.

      On loneliness – I don’t feel at all lonely at the moment. I think one effect of parts getting time is they feel cared about and a lot less lonely, so maybe it’s that. Maybe doing kid friendly type things would help with the loneliness also. Yeah, no one is much able to understand, not that I try to explain to anyone. It’s too strange and would upset them.

      You take care too.

      • Ashana M said:

        Maybe it’s like being in a km deep pool vs one only a few meters. If it’s over your head, you still have to learn how to swim.

        Good you are getting “normal” emotions. That seems promising.

        • e.Nice said:

          I really like that. Still need to swim. Thanks, I hadn’t thought of it that way.

  3. e.Nice said:

    Saturday sounds easier to deal with then after a long work day. Do you think that helps? It sounds like you are feeling adrift, like need the work somewhat defined, a way to link the process with your needs (both immediate and longer term). It seems that you have built a good foundation with him but are ready for the less traditional, more of a trauma informed practice now?

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, definitely. After work is almost impossible for me, but unfortunately Ron is only available on a saturday every two weeks. Yeah, I have mixed feelings about my therapy at this point. Thanks

      • e.Nice said:

        If you continue to work with him, maybe you could meet with him earlier in the week then? like Monday after you’ve had the weekend to recoup? Although Mondays pretty much suck 🙂

  4. it makes sense to work with parts in the first half. wise decision there on your part. its good healing is happening. XX

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