Damn Those Interruptions in Therapy

Just when you screw up your courage and get some momentum going on a tough topic in therapy, kaboom! Your therapist decides she has to go away to a professional workshop for a week. Her departure feels like a bomb exploding in the middle of road, leaving a crater and completely disrupting your therapeutic journey.

It’s not just that you have missed her, though you have. It’s not that she isn’t allowed to go away (though to be honest, you’d rather she never did). It’s that the momentum is lost, and along with it the sense of camaraderie with your therapist, the sense that she is alongside you for the difficult hike you are taking into your emotionally dark spaces.

While she was gone, you didn’t keep on hiking on your own. You are exploring the Caves of Shame, and you are trusting that if you shine a light on the walls of the cave, your therapist can look at them with you without cringing or screaming or snickering. You are trusting that her empathic reaction will make it easier for you, too, to look at those cave walls and say, “Wow, yes, those walls really are covered with bat shit, but that’s not my fault. And it doesn’t mean I’m bat shit, too.”

But on your own, what’s the point of looking at those caves? You’ve done that before and decided that the bat shit is ooze coming out of your own soul. You don’t need to do that again.

So while she’s been gone, you backed away from the caves a little bit and detoured around the crater she left behind. You looked at the trees and wandered around the What’s My Purpose in Life Meadow for a while. You went in circles and lost track of where you left the path to the caves. In fact, you aren’t quite sure where the caves are anymore, or whether you feel like going there anymore. You vaguely remember that it felt important to you, but you can’t recall why.

Now your therapist is coming back, refreshed and inspired. She has new equipment in her backpack that she’s excited to share with you. But you aren’t sure you even feel like going hiking. Let’s just take a nap in the meadow and forget the whole thing.

 

 

23 thoughts on “Damn Those Interruptions in Therapy

  1. Great analogies there. Really very well described! Totally agree. I often put this down to my attachment type? The whole wishing she was back but then when she comes back I’m not sure I wanna go back (I do but I get nervous and have forgotten the connection). Is that the same for you? X

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    • I think for me it is really that I let go of the topic that felt so urgent and let it slide away from my day-to-day consciousness. I do this to protect myself. It’s not so much that I have lost the connection to her (at least not this time) but that I lost my focus and will to deal with this hard issue. I think I used to feel more that I had lost the connection, but not as much anymore. It’s more about the topic.

      However, I shared this post with her, and it’s clear she’s willing to (gently) push me back in the general direction of the cave.

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  2. Q, you hit the nail on the head. This post totally says what I go through when my therapist goes away. And though she doesn’t go away often, it seems that the announcement that she’ll be gone for the next week or two comes on the heels of me telling some major secret or developing some extra trust in you therapist. You are in my thoughts.

    Oh, yeah. The batshit is not coming from you. Somebody else put it on those cave walls. Most likely, somebody who is truly bats batshit or some bats, perhaps.

    💙💜

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    • I do think that after we take an extra risk and share a major secret or otherwise demonstrate our deep trust, it should be against the rules for therapists to leave during the following X amount of weeks. (X=however many we want in that specific instance).

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  3. The understanding I have of this is deep. I hate when I wander and can’t stay on track. You have described this perfectly. I hope to someday to be free of this dependence and able to sit still with myself without losing momentum.

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    • I don’t know if I can ever explore the caves on my own. But I do think that once I’ve done some exploring with E, then I can tolerate the bat shit better, even if she’s not around. Does that make any sense? So I feel that this dependence I have now is building my independence for later, I guess.

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      • It makes total sense. I think it’s ok to be dependent through the process. Without guidance, we wouldn’t be supported enough to know we are/will be ok to explore it and look at things independently later. It’s the “how to be I dependent” that we are also learning through the process too. ❤️

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  4. My therapist was just at a somatic therapy and emdr seminar and I was so bummed. I stored up 2 weeks of thoughts by the time I just saw her again and felt rushed.

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  6. This makes so much sense Q! I love your analogies (and I too HATE when T goes away… she is out of contact for this whole week and it’s affecting me more than I’d like to admit). Going along with the cave analogy, to me it feels like T and I are exploring the caves of shame together. We get deep enough to where I’m only able to see thanks to her flashlight… then when she goes away (vacation, conference, etc) the flashlight turns off and I absolutely panic.
    Sending love (and I haven’t forgotten all your lovely comments on my posts… they mean so much to me… and I want to be in the right headspace to respond ❤️)

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  8. Wow you explained that so well! That is how I feel every time we have to take a break due to an absence or sickness. Its not that I don’t understand but it really takes the momentum away and it feels like starting over

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