been seeing a psychotherapist for almost 2 months, but I have (minor) doubts
about her approach. I originally chose her because she was of similar age and
background. Even during this short time Iíve made some important discoveries.
Right from the start my psychotherapist took an active role, offering
theory/insights that were helpful, although I feel I was very much ready for
change with my unconscious working behind the scenes directing me to the truth
both inside and outside the therapy room.
Firstly, thereís the issue of time keeping. The sessions are meant
to last 50 minutes, but all of them so far have lasted anywhere between 90 Ė 120
minutes. Good for my wallet Iím sure, but I always thought consistent time keeping
was quite important in therapy?
Then, the second half of the most recent session ended badly with me
clamming up/sulking. Whilst trying to relate a recent breakthrough I made reference
to what I believed to be a harmless, universal tenet of psychology. She disagreed
with the concept I had adopted and told me in no uncertain terms I was wrong. This
happened twice actually. Itís not being called out as wrong that bothers me so much,
but more the way she did it. This isnít the first time sheís argued with me; despite
my protestations she accused someone I knew at college of being a narcissist, which
I believed to be a rather harsh assumption. I think she was trying to protect me on
the mistaken belief I was being overly self critical or negative.
Afterwards I raked my brains to discover what really bothered me about
that session and I realized that during the first half of the session I had become
tired of her interruptions and her rather scattergun approach to repeating/reinterpreting
what Iíve said, sometimes missing the pitch all together and making me cringe. I
realized this had bothered me from the very beginning. I wanted to relate the important
discoveries I had made during the previous week. It was the first time Iíd ever felt
that emotional sitting in front of someone else but the interruptions threw me off
track and gave me a way of avoiding the emotion I was feeling when all I really needed
was gentle shove over the edge.
(It has to be noted I have issues here. Iíve always felt bullied/infantilized
by my family, my mother interrupts everyone regardless, and I have a stammer).
After the session she called me to apologize, insisted she was the one in
the wrong, and offered me a free session the next day to discuss what had happened. I
appreciate the gesture and her willingness to accept responsibility, regardless of whether
she was at fault, but I declined thinking it was probably inappropriate and somewhat
unnecessary with the next scheduled appointment only a week away.
I would describe her as enthusiastic, likeable and committed, (perhaps
a touch obsessive at times). I know a lot of this can be resolved through discussion
which I plan to do at the next session, and I am aware I may be perceived as tip-toeing
across the rather well worn path of thinking myself superior to my psychotherapist, but
am I right in questioning her approach?
that you are ready for a change,
so letís start with the premise that you wrote to me in order to facilitate that change.
Moreover, you understand that your
ďworking behind the scenesĒ directing you to the truth. So far, so good.
But getting to that
can be a complex process. All of us are entangled in our own
unconscious such that we
cannot see that truth directly on our own; we all need
someone to interpret
the things we say in order to point us to the truth that exists behind the scenes of
our own drama. Consequently, in psychotherapy everything we say must be reflected
through the psychotherapistís
Psychotherapy, therefore, is
not a simple process of relating your thoughts and experiences to another person; it is a
complex process of discovering the
hidden meaning of what you are
saying. Moreover, in your case, considering your stammer, the psychotherapeutic focus of
your truth may be more a matter of what you are not saying, or saying imperfectly
because of the unconscious inhibition imposed on you by your mother.
Most likely, because of this
unconscious dynamic working within you, you can have a compensatory tendency to focus on
what you believe to be right. Being told that you are wrong, as a therapeutic
intervention, may be just what you need to get to the truth within you. Similarly, being
interrupted as you attempt to relate your thoughts can be just what is needed to point out
the importance of what you are unconsciously saying even as you believe you are
saying something else that to you has its own seeming importance. Finally, receiving time
that you donít believe you deserve can help to show you that the unconscious works
in its own time, in its own peculiar way, without regard to any merit on your part.
Now, as for your psychotherapist,
I canít tell if she really understands the depth of what she is doing or if she is just a
fool who does the right things for the wrong reasons. It will be up to you do discover whether
she has a competent plan or not. In my opinion, the path to that discovery will be the
path to your desired change; that is, in bringing yourself to ask your psychotherapist about
her methods you will be metaphorically asking your mother to account for her behavior. As
a child you could not talk to your mother in such a mannerthough you wanted toand
so you developed a stammer. Well, now you have your opportunity to set things right. Itís
called psychotherapy. And your success will be measured not by your intellect but by the
humility with which you conduct
yourself in the presence of an unconscious that, by psychological standards of measurement,
is ďsuperiorĒ to you. So go, face the emotion of it, and change.
advertisingno sponsorjust the simple truth . . .