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Kind of Frustrated with New Therapist


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So, for the fourth (fifth, maybe?) time, I'm back in counseling. I've got a bunch of issues, foremost among them getting over my childhood emotional abuse/neglect, inability to cope with strong emotions, anxiety, and general negative outlook on life. I've been diagnosed, at various times, with depression, dysthymia, and -- many years ago, borderline personality disorder (though I've since had several therapists dispute that diagnosis). Anyway, my goal for therapy this time is simply to learn methods to get over the issues I listed above -- I'm not concerned with having a diagnosis at this point. My therapist seems nice, and very caring, but after a month I'm becoming frustrated. Her answer to everything seems to be that I should simply notice my emotions, accept them, and be more kind to myself. I agree I'm hard on myself and beat myself up when I feel bad, but...that's all she gives me. I don't see how being kind and accepting will move me forward, and when I ask, she doesn't seem to have much of a game plan. Am I being too hasty? Expecting too much?

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Therapists have many different approaches, but it's important to remember that it's your therapy. Express your concerns with her. I do think that accepting your emotions and being kind to yourself is a good place to start. It might benefit you to have a more structured/goal-oriented approach, though. How do you feel about that? Do you feel as if you aren't being challenged? It is true that therapy can take time to be effective. How's your rapport with her, Solstice? Does the match feel like it's a good one? I would definitely keep the communication open between the two of you and address the concerns you've been having. Best of luck.

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Good questions, IrmaJean. I think I would be happier with a more goal-oriented approach, both because I am a goal-oriented person and because I'm back in counseling because I am desperate to turn my life around and I don't want to waste any more time.

Our rapport is pretty good, though I don't yet feel like she really "gets" me. I've tried to express my concerns, but I'm thinking I haven't done a good job. I do have a tendency to try to please people, and I didn't push the issue. I will try again next week. In the meantime, I'll keep working on the acceptance/being kind thing. I have to admit, it's nice to be nice to myself for a change. :)

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I find that a profound connection with my therapist is key for me. Everything else has failed (CBT, meds, talk therapy). My therapist uses transference in the therapeutic relationship as a big part of the therapy. It gets to the heart of the matter because I get very strong emotional reactions to issues that come up in that context. The times when I lose connection I feel like I'm just droning on about my problems and getting nowhere.

Does your therapist actively use transference as a healing tool?

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I don't think so. In fact, it seems as though she's deliberately keeping some distance from me -- preventing a real connection. Maybe that's just her style. I don't know, but I keep thinking there's no point in going back, which is not the thought I want to be having.

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I had a therapist who did CBT with me. I found her rather harsh and definitely standoffish. There was zero connection. I stayed quite a few months before deciding it was pointless to continue. If I knew then what I know now about the value of a strong connection, I would have left after 3 or 4 sessions. But then again, my underlying problems all seem to stem from losing connection with people so it is key for me.

With my current therapist, I did a bit of homework. Once he told me about the "strange" form of therapy he did (psychoanalysis) I researched it. I also asked him about his background, what the rules were and what to expect. Even after that, I was only prepared to give him a month tops unless I got a gut feel to stay. I got my answer in about four sessions.

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It sounds like you really found what you were needing. That's what I want too...but I don't want to quit too early. I want to be sure to give it a chance. Maybe I just need to speak up more about what I feel is missing from our sessions -- the way I see it, that will either bring about change or make it obvious more quickly that she and I are just not a good fit.

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Yes, do speak up. They only know what you tell them. If you need something more from them, ask. Then you can decide how you feel about the answer. Everybody has their own timing too. I also suggest looking through some of the other threads in this forum topic to see what others experiences are.

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So, for the fourth (fifth, maybe?) time, I'm back in counseling. I've got a bunch of issues, foremost among them getting over my childhood emotional abuse/neglect, inability to cope with strong emotions, anxiety, and general negative outlook on life. I've been diagnosed, at various times, with depression, dysthymia, and -- many years ago, borderline personality disorder (though I've since had several therapists dispute that diagnosis). Anyway, my goal for therapy this time is simply to learn methods to get over the issues I listed above -- I'm not concerned with having a diagnosis at this point. My therapist seems nice, and very caring, but after a month I'm becoming frustrated. Her answer to everything seems to be that I should simply notice my emotions, accept them, and be more kind to myself. I agree I'm hard on myself and beat myself up when I feel bad, but...that's all she gives me. I don't see how being kind and accepting will move me forward, and when I ask, she doesn't seem to have much of a game plan. Am I being too hasty? Expecting too much?

I've tried several therapists, and none has done me any good. The only thing that helped was the proper medication at the right dose. Some people seem to find some help from therapists, but I don't think it's the main solution for most. Of course, some common sense interventions like exercise or some activity, getting all the nutients needed for proper brain function, and meditation might help.

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