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curious

Missing my therapist terribly

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Hello 

I am a 31 year old female. I have been suffering from anxiety,anger and stress management because of which I have been going to therapy for the last 7 months. I have been fortunate enough to find a good therapist. She has helped me improve a lot. Recently I have been going to her every 2 weeks. But I find myself now quite dependent and attached to her. I miss her like I would miss a dear friend of mine. I have been reading about transference, may be that is what has happened. 

I have her contact no which she wants me to use in emergencies only. But I always feel like calling or messaging her on wassup. That is outside the sessions also, I want her to be there for me which is not possible and at times it hurts me too. The last session with her was good and in the end I ended asking her up for coffee which was definitely a bad idea and she refused. She said that we have had this conversation earlier too so now not again but when I approached her later since we both bumped into the super market again she again explained to me calmly but I still felt hurt. I later apologized to her for putting her in an awkward position but she said she was glad I brought it up but I told her that she wasn’t glad and was simply avoiding the topic. 

Anyways, I terribly miss her and have been thinking about her all this while. Any suggestions  fellows how to go about this ?? 

I will not be seeing her for the next 30 days, I will be travelling soon. 

Kindly help me cope.

Regards 

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Hello, curious, welcome! :) 

I had a similar experience (but my therapist was male and of the age of my parent, so the transference was of a different kind), several years ago. I had to leave therapy after 2 years just because I had to move abroad. Years after that, I experienced "all" kinds of "states" - emotions, wishes, situations, ... and no, it wasn't easy. Well, it wasn't "that bad" and there were also many good periods of time (when I felt OK about not seeing him anymore). I met him several times when we came back home for holidays - sometimes it was fine, sometimes it left me feeling much worse, for instance very angry, ... So I'm not "a good example" of "how to cope", but I think at least I can relate to you and offer some support or "an understanding ear".

To me, it was beneficial to communicate about all those feeling with people online (on this forum and by e-mail with friends I'd made on this forum). Even if we cannot "heal" your dependance or "get rid of" your transference, understanding more about it and sharing your struggles and feelings could be helpful. 

You said she'd helped you a lot, so it means you're less anxious and less stressed than before and can cope better with difficult situation. Does that mean you have been, during therapy, able to live in a better way even without her being with you? I assume that yes. Was your improvement dependent on the fact that "you stil will see her every two weeks"? I hope that not; that you're able to cope better than before therapy even without her being "there for you". Do you think so?

Even if yes, this doesn't mean you "have no reason" to still want her in your life, to meet her more often, to be friends, ... But I think it would be helpful to clearly distinguish this(/-ese) reason(s) from the (probably nonexistent) need of her for your ability to use, on your own, all you've got from therapy.

So, what are the reasons you'd love to have her in your life as a friend? (To me, they seem quite obvious, but I don't know you, so they are only assumptions, and also... I'm asking so that you'd think about it deeply and answer it also (mainly) to yourself.)

I suppose that seeking some suggestions here, you don't expect the (desired) outcome to be: "Wow, I don't miss her anymore, I wouldn't want her to my friend anymore!" You know there is no magic trick to make you not like her and / or not care about her and stop missing her. It would be even weird, wouldn't it? It is a genuine relationship (although with "special rules") and when a good relationship is doing to end, or is facing a long break, then it's natural to grieve. The last phase of therapy should always be focused also on this grieving. She's been able to help you with the problems you came to therapy with, now trust her to help you to prepare you well for grieving (= ending therapy one day).

If I've got it right, you don't yet know when the therapy will end, you now only have a holiday break and that's what you're seeking some help for.  I think this break is a good opportunity for you as "a kind of rehearsal for the termination of therapy". But all the time, you can be quite sur it is not yet "the end" and also that it is now harder than it will be when the real therapy end will come, because then, you'll already be better prepared. What do you think?

It reminds me that I also had several breaks in my therapy. In my case, I always mostly liked them, because they allowed me to take some distance and experience new kinds of emotions and thinking. When I returned, I was more motivated, had always a lot new topics and perspectives to talk about (all was prepared in my numerous notes) ... 

What about taking notes or writing a diary during these weeks? You could write down everything related to "not being able to talk with her" and observe how it changes in time, what appears to be the most pressing, compelling, painful, unexpected etc.

Also, you could perhaps look up some articles about grieving; some suggestions might be 'applicable'...

Good luck and keep us posted!

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hello LaLa

thank you for your detailed reply. I really appreciate the time and effort you took in replying to me. Your response has helped me feel better and has given me a new perspective. The grieving is real and it is fine to miss her. But the thought of therapy ending haunts me right now and i for now dont even know when it will end. I am trying to use the coping strategies which she has taught me because the situation I am in, much cannot be done about it. I will have to learn to deal better with it.

coming to why i miss her. I miss her because she has been supportive and non judgmental. I have been heard and taken good care of. I can go to her with my problems and she listens carefully and attentively and we discuss things through. The reasons are more of assurances to me than answering your question. 

well for now i am stopping myself from messaging or calling her. I am putting myself under the obligation to not contact her. I want to see how it goes without her not for 30 days but beyond that too.I am setting a goal for 60 days. I need to get a grip on my life, I need to feel less dependent and less vulnerable. Do you think it is a good thing to do by setting a goal of 60 days without her knowing and discussing with her ? Also, my therapy has not yet ended and i dont know when it will, so is it a good idea to test myself as yet ?

eagerly waiting for your reply.

regards

curious 

 

 

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You're welcome; I'm so glad you're feeling better! :)

10 hours ago, curious said:

Do you think it is a good thing to do by setting a goal of 60 days without her knowing and discussing with her ? Also, my therapy has not yet ended and i dont know when it will, so is it a good idea to test myself as yet ?

I don't know if it is a good idea, I don't know how you'll cope. But I think it's good to have this "bigger ambition", with also the possibility to come back sooner (than 60 days). What I would probably do is wait the 30 days and see if then you'll feel OK about trying another 30 (or 15, ...) and then letting your therapist know that you made this decision (+ explain a bit why).

What doo you think? ;)  

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Welcome to the community, curious. 

Some years ago, I also formed a strong attachment to my therapist. I struggled for some time when I left therapy. Looking back now, the experience was enlightening and ultimately healing. I learned a lot about myself and about my attachment style and how to cope through separation and loss.

It sounds as though your therapist is keeping healthy professional boundaries within your relationship. That can be painful, especially if there is a desire to be closer to her, but it can be a learning experience as well, I think.

You mentioned setting a goal regarding contact. I have done something similar over the years since I left therapy. My former therapist did not give me any limitations regarding contact, but I set them myself and have stuck to it for 10 years now. I understand your situation is different being that you are still in therapy. For me, I think it was good practice to set a boundary for myself. I would say you know best what is best for you with your therapy.

During times of distress, does it help to carry something of your therapist that feels grounding? A business card or something similar? I hope you listen to your needs during and care for yourself.

Take care, curious.

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