been in psychotherapy (four times a week) for over four years now. It seems
to me that in the past few months my psychotherapist has become distant.
He rarely talks with me now. There are some days when we will go an entire
session and he may say one sentence. I realize that one of the things that
Ive done consistently in psychotherapy is not talk, I just find that
I dont have anything to say, or Im not feeling anything. Does
my therapists silence sound like a change in therapeutic technique?
Ive asked him why he is so quiet and he never responds or tries to
explain what he is doing. Im starting to feel frustrated and alienated
(and hurt). Ive tried to talk to him about this, but he doesnt
say anything. Im wondering if I just need to leave therapy.
Leave therapy? You havent even
when you were a child your parents tended to discount you emotionallyor
perhaps they were outright critical or abusive. In any event, you would have
developed a defensive
strategy of keeping quiet, rather than risk the emotional pain of expressing
only to be dismissed.
psychotherapy, youre using the same defensive strategy with your
psychotherapist that you use with everyone else in your life: you keep your
true thoughts and feelings to yourself. And your psychotherapist is simply
doing his job. After four years of your deliberately refusing to talk, he
now deliberately remains silent himself in order to draw out of you your
true thoughts and feelings about being dismissed. Thus, as you say, you feel
frustrated and alienated and hurtprecisely how you felt as a child
when you were emotionally ignored by your parents.
As a child, of
course, you couldnt let yourself feel frustrated and alienated
(and hurt) because you didnt have the emotional skills to cope
with such feelings. But now youre an adult, and you do have the ability
to cope with your feelings in an honest and genuine mannerif you accept
the challenge of real
and learn to speak instead of keeping silent. So, instead of leaving therapy,
do what you are supposed to do in psychotherapy: talk. And as you learn to
talk about anything that spontaneously pops into your head, you will eventually
learn how to talk
honestly and openly
with anyone about your real thoughts and feelings. Then you will be acting
like an adult, rather than like a frightened child in an adults
advertisingno sponsorjust the simple truth . . .