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Missing my therapist


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its normal, send her and email every once in a while and as time passes u will send less until one day u wont send none, u wont miss ur teraphist as days go on. but if u opened once to someone im sure u can do it again, dont worry u will find another teraphist, friend, etc that u can talk things, learn, etc. Just open to ppl.

Thanks very much. It does feel normal. The first week that I didn't have a session, I emailed her and told her that I was just saying hi as that day was particularly difficult for me. She told me that I can choose to feel whatever I feel or do something like writing or something during our session times. So I let myself feel whatever I was feeling and I felt so sad because I just want to talk to her. I just miss that. And it didn't help that she is such a cool person and that we had similar interests because it made me miss it more.

We tend not to forget about people that have had such a massive impact on our lives. She's still influencing my life because I have carried on with the work we were doing and have started looking into psychodynamic psychotherapy theories and learning about them and discovering the most amazing things about myself. She made a huge impact.

Thanks for your reply! I appreciate it.

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Welcome to the community, marijack. :)

I'm sorry you are struggling with missing your therapist. I can relate a whole lot to your struggle with leaving therapy and separating from your therapist. I went through something quite similar myself. The therapeutic relationship offers a space where it feels safe to openly be ourselves and express feelings. These are valuable spaces.This can be a great place to explore our responses, feelings, and needs in relationships too. How was your therapist meeting your needs and how now can those needs be met in your outside the room relationships?

All of your feelings are okay. It is okay to cry and miss your therapist. I hope you can be very gentle and compassionate with yourself. Maybe it also helps to connect with your gifts? During any kind of loss it helps me to connect with the parts of myself that the relationship brought out. When I do that, it helps me to feel connected to the person who is gone. I don't know if that might fit for you or not.

Take care, marijack. I hope you will continue to express your feelings if it helps.

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Hi Irmajean

Thank you for your lovely reply. I'm very glad to hear that other people also go through this.

It's difficult to transfer the feelings I had in therapy to the outside relationships for me. I love to talk about problems and such and people are usually too busy at work to have time to chat and I don't like to bother people.

I just never thought that I would ever become attached to a therapist and this has taken me by surprise. I feel like as long as she is somewhere in the background of my life, I haven't lost her for good. But about 3 times a day, I'll think to myself that I just wish I could talk to her. It's a very interesting dynamic and it's very hard if you had a good relationship with the therapist. I guess I wonder if she ever thinks of me or wonders how I'm doing or if she's just forgotten about me altogether. She said she would never forget and when I said to her at the last session that I'll see her around, she said I will see her again one day. And that makes me feel super good and happy that she's not totally gone.

Anyway, enough of my rambling :)

Thanks again.

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teraphist sometimes atach to people. they listen all our shit so sometimes they care about us after hearing our sad storys, but at the end they are doing their job dont forget that. i dont get why would u imagen that ur teraphist is thinking about u? is ur teraphist something more thatn a teraphist to u?

Thanks for your reply. If I read your comment correctly, I assume you mean do I feel more for my therapist than I'm letting on. If that is correct, I'm a little concerned. Why is it that when two people enjoy each others company, someone always has to bring a sexual connotation into it? My therapist and I shared quite a few interests, we're from identical cultural backgrounds, we enjoy the same things and we just got along from the beginning. So I do like her, but purely as a person, not in a sexual way. I hope that clarifies things for you.

Thanks again for your reply.

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Marijack, I was attached to my therapist too. One cool thing about the therapy relationship is that you can learn from the relationship itself. During attachment we may exhibit patterns of behavior that would be typical for us in any of our relationships. I had a difficult time for a while after leaving therapy and needed to find a place of comfort where I still felt connected with my therapist. I can certainly relate. Would it help having something to hold in your hand that reminds you of her and/or of the comforting feelings you felt when you were with her? I still have my therapist's business card and sometimes I'll hold it and it feels comforting.

Therapists are human beings too. If she said she would never forget, then she probably won't. Maybe it helps to look at the symbolism of your feelings too? It sounds meaningful to you to be remembered and cared for. That would be meaningful to me too.

When you feel the want/need to talk with her, are you able to connect with what hurts or what is missing? Could it be the comforting space where you can openly share your feelings? Maybe one day you can share that with another too.

Marijack, I hope you can be gentle and accepting of yourself. Express as much as you need. We are here.

Take care.

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IrmaJean, this is fantastic advice, I really do appreciate it.

I thought I'd tell you what I've been doing. I read on one of my therapist's profiles that she is of a psychodynamic orientation. So I started researching what that is and have found the most amazing concepts and ideas. I've downloaded free books and even a book by Joseph Burgo called Why Do I Do That. I completed that book and have now moved onto others. This has been a tremendous help to me.

One thing my therapist told me to do is never stop writing. So yesterday, I was feeling particulalry sad about my old sessions and I started writing and what emerged was phenomenal for me. I usually just keep writing about things that are coming into my mind during an episode, and yesterday, while I was writing, it emerged that I was angry at her for leaving and the need that she was fulfilling in her role in my life has now left a gaping hole. This was a fascinating discovery of my need to be listened to and understood and appreciated for who I am, with all my faults.

I really like the business card idea. I'll give that try.

I am considering going to see another therapist but it just wouldn't be the same. I'm like a pitbull, when I latch onto something, it's rare that I let go easily :)

Thanks again IrmaJean.

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Thanks for your reply. If I read your comment correctly, I assume you mean do I feel more for my therapist than I'm letting on. If that is correct, I'm a little concerned. Why is it that when two people enjoy each others company, someone always has to bring a sexual connotation into it? My therapist and I shared quite a few interests, we're from identical cultural backgrounds, we enjoy the same things and we just got along from the beginning. So I do like her, but purely as a person, not in a sexual way. I hope that clarifies things for you.

Thanks again for your reply.

Hello, im sorry english is not my main language and probably is not that good and u somehow got the wrong idea of what i wrote , a teraphist talks back, gives solutions sometimes, etc.u open up, etc. So u can get the wrong idea that he or she is a friend, or some other type of figure in ur life besides a teraphist. But again i tell u this is wrong, shes just ur teraphist.

Theres lots of places where u can meet ppl and make new friends i wish u luck.

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"Love" is a weird word in our culture. It covers everything from "love for your fellow person" to "love for your siblings or parents" to "lust" to "lifelong companion". One of the things that a therapist can teach us is how to love, or rather they teach us that we always could love, we just didn't have a connection to it before. And that's how I see it: it's our love, we just give it to the people we want to. One cool thing is that there's always more where that came from.

"I am considering going to see another therapist but it just wouldn't be the same."

Nothing is ever the same. But it can be a different kind of good ...

I often recommend to someone who has just lost a short-lived pet, like a cat or a dog, to get another one when they feel able to. Not as a replacement, but as another friend ... They'll all be different, but that very difference helps clarify what we loved about each one.

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You're very welcome, marijack. :-)

Writing helps me process and understand my feelings as well, and sometimes I get new insights about myself while I'm writing. It sounds as though you are learning about yourself through this and that is great. You are being proactive to help yourself and that is very positive.

I like what Malign wrote about love too. Connecting with my love was very healing for me in therapy. Our gifts are always with us. It's a beautiful potential. I hope you can connect with your gifts too, marijack.

I wish you well. Take care.

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I just stopped seeing my therapist because I moved across the country and I miss him a lot. BEfore I moved I was excited at the prospect of not needing to see a therapist anymore as he had told me he felt I was ready to discontinue treatment, but now I find myself wishing I could go have a session with him all the time.

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one having a hard time etting go of my therapist

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Hi, marijack and redhead805, welcome!

To introduce myself here a bit: I was in therapy for 2 years, then I had to move to another continent, although we haven't really finished the process. I was also very much attached to my therapist. It's been 2 years now since I moved and I saw him few times when I was (very rarely) home. I missed him very much, although that feeling was "oscillating" - sometimes it seemed I was OK about not seeing him anymore, sometimes it was very hard. Now, it's been only few weeks, it seems I'm already fine in this regard. What helped was mostly seeing him at the end of this summer and doing something that perhaps might be called... "final explanations and termination". There was a lot I needed to "clarify" and it accumulated over time. I also needed the time to process it and to find out which of all those issues need to be talked about / let out and and which I can process myself.

This "model" of "few sessions after some time" probably isn't good for everybody (it wasn't pleasant to me, I have to say (and I cannot know if it was "good") - every session brought a lot of new material and the lack of time to talk about it was very frustrating!), so there's only one generally valid thing I can tell you: Time can heal it, but perhaps you'll have to "wait" for few years, not just months. By "wait" I don't mean something totally passive. For instance, communicating about your feelings here seems to be a good part of the healing process. It's a loss, although it's not a bereavement. Every loss of somebody of something important to us needs grieving - it's natural.

I'd like to share some quotes from a (famous) therapist in the context of "thinking about the patient". First of all: It's natural that the therapist doesn't forget you and every now and then memories about you occur. Don't be afraid that you'll be totally forgotten! (Have you forgotten people in your life who were much less close to you (close in terms of shared issues/info and emotions) that you've been to your therapist? I'm sure not. We remember even many "marginal" people. Now think of all the emotions you've gone through with him/her - how could that be forgotten? The therapist has just a big advantage (over you) that he/she is (at least in most cases) able not to suffer from missing you and missing the time you shared. And it's great - or would you like her/him to suffer??) Some therapist even write books about their patients, but that surely doesn't mean that those who don't just forget them ;). They are just able (they need it to be able to do their job!) not to "obsess" about a patient who left, or even about a patient who's still in therapy. Let's see the quotes (of I. D. Yalom about his patient "Ginny", from their book "Every day gets a little closer - A twice told story"):

When I’m with her she fills my life so much; it’s amazing to me that I put her out of the mind at other times during the week. I guess compartmentalization like this is necessary for survival in this crazy business of titrated love.

And something relevant in the context of termination:

There are remaining areas of conflict, yet I regard them with equanimity; I have long ago lost the sense that I as the therapist have to do it all. What is important is that Ginny is unfrozen and can take an open posture to new experiences. I have confidence in her ability to continue changing and my view is supported by most objective measures.

They make us more prepared to face our life alone. There will always be a lot that we'd love to discuss with them, that we'd love to be helped with, ... but... they believe us that we'll cope without them. I hope we won't disappoint - them and us ;).

Take care!

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Hi,

Read your post and can totally relate to how you feel.

Without going into details, I had to stop my therapy. The feeling of loss still hits me here and there but I have learned to live with it.

And it does, get easier. I wish you all the best.

Hi Lana73, it is getting easier. I wish you all the best too. Good luck

I just stopped seeing my therapist because I moved across the country and I miss him a lot. BEfore I moved I was excited at the prospect of not needing to see a therapist anymore as he had told me he felt I was ready to discontinue treatment, but now I find myself wishing I could go have a session with him all the time.

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one having a hard time etting go of my therapist

I don't know why we find it so difficult to get over therapists. I understand the whole issue of tranference but I guess the only way to find out who we were transferring onto the old therapist is to see a new one.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. It is very helpful. As I said above, I would just like to understand why some people experience attachment while others don't. It almost makes me feel obsessive and that makes the situation even worse. I've researched the basics of transference but I'm not qualified to understand it completely and it also doesn't give a direct answer to attachment.

I wonder if anyone on this forum knows someone who can help explain this to us. It seems that a lot of people go through their terminations badly, so I think if someone could find someone to explain why we feel so attached to our ex-therapists, it would give us a lot of closure.

I was reading up on Kubler-Ross' 5 stages of grief to see if there were any connections to that and I realised that it is a sort of grief we go through. The denial, the anger, the acceptance, etc. I also realised that it's like grief in another way. When someone passes away, we can no longer talk to them. When we terminate therapy, we also can no longer talk to them. So there's a connection there. I wonder if there is another way we can deal with therapy termination if we look at it this way?

Any ideas?

Thanks again.

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Just one little idea: I've just read the article IrmaJean posted in Recommended readings:

It mentions that vulnerability "provides"(/enables) connection, so it occurred to me that it might fit into the context of your questions: You exposed your vulnerability to the therapist, you connected, it felt good. Isn't it natural to miss it much?

However, it indeed may be useful to question your reaction. I realized that for me, the main question was: What do I still need from the therapist? When you figure it out, then you may better decide if you need another therapy or rather something different - something new in your life or maybe "only" in your attitudes.

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I had a read through that blog and it is interesting. I guess the fact that we are able to be vulnerable with our therapists creates a connection beyond most other day-to-day relationships. I tried to move that vulnerability across to my partner but I pushed it too far. It's difficult to deal with someone who is constantly trying to understand how she's feeling and why she's feeling that way, which I did to my partner.

I had a think about what you said about figuring out what I need from my old therapist at the moment. I came up with the conclusion that what I need from her is to just sit and talk about ideas, brainstorm, etc. I can't do it with anyone else around me at the moment.

I just miss her a lot. Wednesdays are quite bad because I would usually have my sessions today. So usually I would be feeling excited about sitting down and seeing what new things we would discover that day. And it's killing me that it's not happening anymore. I'm afraid of what might happen if I keep packing all my feelings into a deep corner of me. I have anxiety which often leads to depression and I don't want to go back to that place. I may go and see another therapist because I can't brainstorm on my own. I also need a professional's guidance.

This is so incredibly hard.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. It is really helpful :D

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I'm sorry this is so hard, marijack. :(

Have you ever read anything about attachment and the different attachment styles? Attachment can affect the dynamics in relationships and it might also play a role in difficulty with separations. Also, if you can come to understand your attachment style and that of your partner's it can be helpful to your relationship.

It's great that you have identified some needs that were being met in therapy. I used to enjoy the challenging conversations during sessions as well. Does it help to continue expressing yourself by journaling? We also have the option to blog here (which I do daily myself) at the site if you might be interested in that. What else helps to relieve your anxiety? Have you tried meditation or deep breathing?

I think it's a good idea to find another therapist if you feel it could be helpful to you. I hope you find a supportive therapist who is a good match.

Take care, marijack.

Edited by IrmaJean
typos
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I second what 'malign' wrote. Indeed, imaginary dialogues have been (or were? It seems it's over, too, but who knows...) a very important "coping mechanism" to me. Yes, the therapist responds only what you imagine/figure out/suppose/..., but ... it's still partially like if you were talking to someone else, it motivates you to look at things from different angles etc. It also allows you to feel emotions you wouldn't feel if you didn't imagine the therapist's presence - that's also very important (at least for me).

Have you tried?

I used to long for having somebody "above me" who would guide me, so I can relate to this kind of needs. They are widespread and old as humankind. That's one of the reasons why religions and diverse ideologies are so popular. But what do prominent philosophers (and many other intellectuals) say? Everybody should think on his/her-own, not just take what others say or suggest. Only quite a few people are fully capable of it. But that doesn't mean we should give up this challenge. There's always place for improvement. In my eyes, therapy can be a transition phase - the therapist is there to guide you in a non-directive way and to teach you to trust yourself more - that you're able to cope also without such help, as you've improved your skills for it in therapy.

I know it sounds quite theoretical and I still struggle with decision-making and self-discipline myself. And I'm not sure how many years of therapy I would need to learn to completely get rid of the unnecessary problems I have with it. However, I accepted (at least so far) that now it's up to me to try it myself, "alone". "Alone" not literally, as reading and communicating with friends helps me.

Of course it's OK to go back to therapy and address this issue, so that you'd be then more comfortable with therapy termination, feeling less "dependent", ...

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Thanks everyone. This all makes a lot of sense. I'd have to admit that I haven't tried role playing as the therapist yet. I guess it's because it's difficult to find a space where I am able to talk out loud with myself without other people a)hearing me have a conversation with myself and, b)hearing things about me that I don't want anyone else to hear. That probably relates to the vulnerability part. I don't want anyone to hear my vulnerability. The only one I can do this around is my partner so I might try it then as I'm never completely alone.

I've been watching that show Perception lately with Erik McCormack and I find it's a really good program. I think the parts of the program that stir something inside me is when Dr Pierce has conversations with his friend and it's all imaginary. In a way, it would be really great to have someone there 24/7 to brainstorm with but apparently this is a psychological problem. :rolleyes:

So I think I might give that a try, brainstorming on my own. I have to tell you guys that this forum and chatting to you all is really beneficial to me. As I said in an earlier post, there is no one around me that understands this kind of thing, so being able to talk to like-minded people like you is helping.

The last 2 days have been a little rough with me getting angry at my ex-therapist for leaving. It really is a fascinating thing how these emotions work with this therapist-client relationship dynamic.

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I'm glad you are finding support here helpful, marijack. :-)

The therapist-client relationship dynamic is fascinating, isn't it? I think so too. It's very positive when you can take a step back from your feelings and observe them.

One thing to look for in transference is symbolism. You mentioned feeling angry with your ex-therapist for leaving. Could there be any significance in that (someone leaving) for you from a past relationship?

Possibly you don't have to talk out loud to role-play, but rather consider all of the different possibilities and be open to them?

Take care.

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I'm glad to hear that this is beneficial to you, m.! :)

BTW; I never talk out loud in my imaginary conversations. However, I sometimes do whisper - and that would be a similar problem when you're not alone, of course...

But you don't have to be alone in the house, just for some time in a room. Or at night in your bed - when the dialogue happens only in your mind, there's no problem with "somebody" besides you ;)...

Anger - one of the stages of grief, as you'd mentioned... Hm...

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