Connecting and Disconnecting with My Therapist

I wrote up two pages to take to therapy with me tomorrow, listing out things I want to discuss with E. Some of it is the sense of disconnection and even disapproval that I wrote about after my last session. Some of it is about feeling stuck in therapy, and the difficulty of making progress when we meet for 45 minutes every week or so.

I have never said anything to her before along the lines of, “this is not working for me,” so it makes me nervous. There’s a part of me that wonders if I am provoking something in preparation for our upcoming separation. She is going on a vacation the first week of November, so she and I won’t talk for 12 days. Then we meet again for a week, and then we won’t meet for a month. That’s not her fault; my husband and I are traveling and then I’ll come back and have my surgery. But it does mean I will see her twice in November and then not again until mid December. Perhaps at some level I am creating a distance from her so it the separation will be easier. Perhaps if I were still going to see her regularly, I wouldn’t spend much time talking about my connection to her, but would instead rebuild that connection by continuing with the healing work.

One the one hand, I’m afraid I am going to jeopardize our relationship by picking apart her words and behavior. At some level, I know she is on my side. So why fuss about little things? Maybe she was just having a bad day.

On the other hand, perhaps it is healthy of me to say, “This didn’t feel right, and I am wondering what you were thinking and what you meant when you said x. What I understood may or may not have been what you intended, but it was a problem for me.” I think about my first marriage and all the times I accepted my ex’s criticisms but bit my tongue about things he did that hurt me, or all the times I just accepted that it was okay for him to talk to me that way. At work, people think I am very calm and even tempered, because I never react emotionally (visibly) to other people’s outbursts, and always answer in a friendly, constructive tone. It’s a pretty useful tool at work, a lot of the time. But I also have trouble at times, as E. has noticed, trusting my own intuition.

Ah well, I don’t really know what I am doing. I hope it doesn’t turn into a big mess tomorrow.

10 thoughts on “Connecting and Disconnecting with My Therapist

  1. Good Luck for tomorrow, I think it’s a really good move to tell her that things aren’t working for you, it allows her to hel you better. And I don’t blame you for struggling with the connection when you see her so little.

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  2. Good luck and if she is a good therapist she will welcome this open dialogue without offense. And this is possibly a time to bring therapy to a deeper level. If she responds properly it could deepen your trust.

    It also definitely could be that your distancing yourself since you won’t see her much. Pay attention to how you feel. And is there a way you could contact by phone once or twice to “check in” if that helps?

    Thinking of you…

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  3. It sounds like E has been a good and helpful therapist to you over time. Is it possible to trust that connection while testing it? One thing a good therapist does is just be there for you to test these emotions on. It is scary, but in theory, this should be a safe place for you to say these things and work through it. Good luck, dear Q. Follow your gut and keep being brave.

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  4. I think, in some ways, the only way to become connected again– to repair it– is to talk about the disconnection. It is hugely uncomfortable, and not easy, but I think it is important. I also think that not seeing her very often contributes to the disconnection, but I don’t know for sure. Would it be possible to email or set a phone call during those separations? Keep being brave, you can do this! Xx

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  5. You have a right to all your feelings and seeing as it’s likely a trigger from conversations with your ex husband it would be good to talk about it to re-establish the connection.

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  6. Sometimes it’s not as important that we be “right” or “justified” about bringing in feelings like this. Sometimes what’s most important is to just bring them and in and talk about them. Because even if the emotions don’t match the situation or aren’t proportionate or whatever else, they are still valid and our reactions to things can tell us so much about what is going on. It can be a wonderful tool to launch into a discussion about deeper things. And it also provides an opportunity for you to stand up for yourself and say “hey, this didn’t feel so great” which you always get to do, regardless of intent or interpretation.

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