like your advice, if possible, as Im still feeling distressed about
my decision, last week, to terminate my psychoanalysis with a very gifted
analyst, whom I saw for five days a week for three years (and still care
about very deeply).
not AS distressed as I was, because the [deleted for confidentiality]
expert to whom I spoke believed me, and even said that, were I to wish
to, there were adequate grounds for a complaint against the analyst.
However, I dont want to complain. I think that, in many ways X (an
older woman, very clever) was fantastic for me. Its just that it all
went sour, and I needed the professional reassurance that I wasnt
I still feel bad, and this is why:
still very fond of X, who has been like a second mother to me.
to her because I had writers block (I write professionally). She was
terrific for over two and a half yearsuntil I got betterbut then
things started to unravelespecially in May, when I had a physical
complaint. I mentioned this to a close friend Y (an energy healerdoes
something like Reikisomething I would normally dismiss as completely
ridiculous) who said she believed she could help my symptoms, which are
universally recognised as being stress-related.
I stupidly told my psychoanalyst X how my symptoms just disappeared. She
said very coldly that she was not accustomed to having her clients
visit other analysts. Now Y is NOT an analystthe process is
COMPLETELY different and she doesnt even pretend to do analysisbut
I dont think X believed me about this.
that point the poison was lodged for good. If I mentioned that I saw my friend
Yeven for a coffeemy analyst X would make sarcastic, jealous
comments, needling me until I lost my temper. Our strong, helpful, working
relationship simply deteriorated: I began to feel worse after seeing her!!!
I resigned from therapy and was persuaded back, but in the end I knew that
her jealousy is doing my head in, and leftwithout benefit of
termination, simply because I could bear no more.
truly began to resent my improvement. When I cut down from five days a week
to four, and then to three, she hated itbut thats apparently
very common. What isnt quite so common is making sarcastic comments
(Of course, you know it all, dont you? she told me, and
Havent you ever HEARD of projection?)
yes, actually, having read all of Klein and much of Freud, out of interest
I suggested we started termination she put pressure on me not to. Her methods
included value judgments (You OUGHT to be feel guilty about that!)
and telling me that I should pay double now that my husband has come into
his inheritance. (Does she care about me, or only about the money? I wondered).
She also belittled me (So your sister was rude to you. Well, you told
me last week you expected that would happen!) No sympathy, no holding,
no hovering, nothing like the earlier part of our working
shocked at firstand then despondent.
I was at last able to start fiction-writing againthe principal reason
for analysisshe wasnt excited at all, even though wed been
working on this for 2 and 1/2 years, five days a week!!! This brought it
home to me more than anything else could have done: X hates me nowand
behaves hatefully to me.
over, as I wrote to her yesterday: Im not going back to paying to be
feel sad and sorry but nervous and upset but also relieved. (X keeps e-mailing
me, saying we need to sort out our misunderstandings but as far
as Im concerned, Ive just sorted them. And shes not LISTENING:
thats the worst part. She has a fixed idea about menot true,
by the way and tunes out of anything that doesnt fit with her
theory. And the worst part is that, by NOT listening, she shows me no
week, in a state of complete frustration I called the [deleted for
confidentiality] and spoke to one of the experts, who said that it
sounds as if there are grounds to make an official complaintbut
I didnt want to make one. I just wanted the reassurance that I was
right. Its a lonely place to bebeing rightwhen there are
only two of you, and the OTHER is supposed to be the pro.
Actually, your analyst did cure you of writers block,
so, instead of feeling distressed, maybe you should be
you have told me, I suspect that your writers block derived from
at your mother. I have seen, from my own clinical experience, that writers
block tends to result from some current pressure to be productive; it can
be as if you are being forced to make your words speak lies rather
than let them speak their own truth. This pressure can build to such a
frustratingly intense creative blockage because
are re-experiencing the frustration from your childhood when your own mother
pressured you in one way or another. Back then, the anger was so
intenseand led to such
you had to suppress it. Now, as an adult writer, the pressure to produce
(even if it may be self-induced pressure) rekindles that old anger. In this
sense, writers block is analogous to
apathy, a particular
form of anger that leaves you unable even to speak.
So, what happened
in your analysis? Well, your analyst X, who, as you say, was like a second
mother, unwittingly provoked you into anger at her. Thus by experiencing and
acknowledging your anger at X, you symbolically acknowledged your anger at your
mother. Perhaps your words about your analyst really speak the truth about your
mother: maybe your mother was sarcastic, belittled you, never listened to you, had
fixed ideas about you, gave you no sympathy, and showed you no respect.
of your anger at your mother seems to have happened outside your conscious
awareness, similar to the way that the energy healing happened so suddenly
fact that your analyst got so upset over the energy healing, the work that
cured your stress symptoms, points to the truth that she really doesnt
understand her own work, the analytic work that cured you.
Thus we reach
the final irony: your analyst cured you inadvertently, despite
That irony, then,
is the truth that you needed to hear from me, to reassure yourself. Youre
not crazy, youre curedcured of the symptoms that brought you
into analysis in the first place. It wasnt what you expected, and it
wasnt what your analyst expected, but it happened anyway. So relax,
and be grateful.
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