A Guide to Psychology and its Practice

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Page Contents: When your psychotherapist refuses to speak to you unless you go to rehab.                    


I have been in therapy for over 20 years (the trauma, abandonment and addiction issues are too numerous to mention here). . . . Then 16 years ago, just after I got clean & sober, I met [name of psychotherapist deleted]. Therapy continued for 16 years with highs and lows there are still many issues I have to deal with. Almost 20 months ago the Multiple Sclerosis I have had for over 20 years became progressive. I have struggled with no longer being able to work and with countless losses related to my loss of bodily functions. [Name deleted] was my main support, but the depression was overpowering despite medication. . . . Devastated by my illness and the depression I relapsed! [Name deleted] turned cold. She wanted me to go to rehab; she said she would resume therapy when I finished. She was in contact with me when I was in rehab. It did not work out because of accessibility issues. Then she wanted me to go to an intensive outpatient program; again it did not work out, and since rehab she has refused to speak with me. She called my mom after the outpatient program did not work and said she wanted me to attend a DBT program. She has always told me that my diagnosis is PTSD and developmental disabilities. Bottom line is that she is still refusing to speak to me; there has been no closure. She will see me after I complete the DBT program, but there is a month-long wait for admittance. It is already almost 4 months since I spoke to her. She was a significant part of my life for 16 years; I cannot just walk away like this without closure. My incentive to attend the DBT program was two-fold: 1) to get back to see her, and 2) my mom said she would finance a trip to Disney World for me. I want to see [name deleted] for closure but am not sure even if she agreed I could see her because I would always be on eggshells, afraid I would disappoint her again and she would leave again (I was abandoned at birth so abandonment is a big issue for me). My only real incentive to attend DBT is Disney World. . . . there is this big empty hole in my heart and my life where [name deleted] was. . . . though I do not know if closure would be enough. I really want to get back into therapy with her. . . . Please tell me what to do.

As I say on the Consultation page of my website, unless you want psychotherapy as much as you want to breathe, you will never benefit much from any treatment. In fact, unless you want psychotherapy as much as you want to breathe, you will not benefit much from breathing; that is, without proper treatment, your life will be just a matter of survival, and you will be concerned only with scooping up all the Disney fantasies you can find along the way in order to hide from your real pain.

Moreover, believe it or not, your psychotherapist has been telling you, with her words and with her behavior, that psychotherapy will go nowhere unless you learn to become committed to it and follow her instructions. If you don’t ever see her in psychotherapy again, you will have no one to blame but yourself.

After 16 years of treatment, it’s ridiculous to claim that rehab “did not work out.” It didn’t work because you didn’t want it more than anything else. And so you will likely never see your psychotherapist again until you learn to desire treatment more than you desire the sweet fantasies of Disney World. Moreover, as long as you continue to abandon genuine life by clinging to feelings of victimization, abandonment will always be a big issue for you.


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
San Francisco




A Guide to Psychology and its Practice



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