When A Therapist Seems To Disapprove

My title might be an overstatement. But I’m not sure. In therapy today, E. wasn’t very crazy about some of destructive art ideas. It’s funny because she has encouraged the expression of anger. I showed her the post of the doll babies, which she said was “creative.” I talked about making little wooden men who represented abusers and planning to break or burn them. She didn’t seem to like that idea. What are you going to get from that? she asked, or something similar. She seemed to want to direct me to bring out my intuition, my trust of my gut instinct. But what does that mean? Why shouldn’t I tell my stupid stick men that what they did was wrong and then break them? I don’t even really understand what happened in therapy today, but I feel confused and distant from E. I feel like she doesn’t like the direction I’m taking; maybe she thinks I am too negative or focused on revenge. To me it’s not about revenge at all though. It’s just a symbolic opportunity to tell them all what I wasn’t able to tell them at the time. I don’t get what is happening, but I feel like she either doesn’t understand or doesn’t approve of what I am thinking or feeling.

If she doesn’t approve, maybe I am going down a wrong path? But does she always know? If she disapproves of me, I want to hide myself more. It’s terrible to feel vulnerable and disapproved of.

If she doesn’t understand, then I feel I am very alone in this work. I am not communicating clearly. Or not making sense. Or too much time passes between our meetings, and she loses the thread because she hasn’t seen me, even though I think in my head that things are connected. Or I’m just not fitting into her categories because I’m doing something wrong. And I want to hide myself.

How do we know what is good healing? How do we pick a therapy or decide to accept a medication? I am also trying to get a psychiatric consult at the university, because I have lost some faith in my psychiatric nurse practitioner. But then what do I do if I can’t trust my support team? And if I can trust them, then why do I feel a widening gap between me and E.? Why do I take four different meds and have physically painful anxiety attacks?

I need to think about this more. I know hiding isn’t really the route to healing, but it’s what I have wanted to do since leaving our therapy session. And now I won’t see her again until next Wednesday. I shouldn’t care though because at the same time, I don’t want any more therapy, but I do want therapy. Just not the kind that leaves me feeling I’m floating out here by myself.

12 thoughts on “When A Therapist Seems To Disapprove

  1. Can you check in with her about what she was feeling about your art idea? Maybe what you were picking up from her as dissaproval was something else instead? I personally think your ideas and reasons for wanting to make these things is fabulous and shouldn’t be discouraged, but maybe this is where a qualified art therapist comes in, if you want proper feedback and adequate support surrounding your art. Would it be worth looking into a few sessions with an art therapist?

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  2. I think that you should tell your therapist basically everything that you wrote in this post, because it’s important to communicate with a therapist about how they make you feel. I think that that’s an important part of the relationship and it will be helpful for you to know where she is coming from. Also, your feelings are more important than her thoughts. She should know how YOU feel, so that she can be a better therapist to you in the future. Feedback is super important. I have occasionally told my therapist that I felt like he was undermining my feelings, being critical, or that he was being an asshole. I actually told him one time that he triggered me to become suicidal. And he understood and thanked me for telling him. He learned from ME and I felt validated. Therapists are imperfect people and they make mistakes and don’t always communicate well. I hope that you are able to discuss it with her.

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  3. If your next therapy session isn’t for over a week you should call your therapist and tell her how you feel and get some feedback. Also, keep your view of your therapist in balance by remembering when she has been good for you. That said, I think you are expressing your feelings in a very creative, concrete way and it makes sense to me.

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  4. That sounds really tough. Perhaps she was responding to a side of you that’s less familiar and maybe that threw her off a bit. I think you art is powerful and the stick men burning is a great idea. She might need some time to figure out what’s going on and where this is coming from. It isn’t wrong though. I hope you two are able to talk through this soon and she can get on board with this stuff xx

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  5. I’m sorry you’re feeling that way. Today, I felt like I had an unsatisfying session with my therapist as well. He’s not necessarily disapproving but I feel unsatisfied because the session didn’t end as well as I’d hoped. Sometimes it’s strange how much we depend on our therapists… But I think Sirena is right. Checking with your therapist and bringing it up with her might be the best course of action. I hope you feel better!

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  6. She has touched a sensitive nerve. Has she done it in order to have you reflect upon something, or is she oblivious to your core needs? Definitely ask her to clarify her intent. In the meantime, don’t take her words negatively. Only you know how you feel and why you feel the way you do.

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  7. Eesh, difficult, Q. That feeling of not being heard or understood in therapy does feel lonely. You’ve known E for a long time, and she has known you for a long time. You have made a lot of growth in recent months, and she may very well be trying to catch up and not just respond to you as she always has. I’m sorry you felt misunderstood, that feeling hurts.

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