Being Open With Your Therapist

Something I value: Honesty.

Something I learned: It is super important to have an open and honest relationship with your therapist.

So, this was the situation: I was supposed to have a therapy appointment yesterday at 3:15pm. My therapist was unintentionally running late and also thought our appointment was at 3:30. As a result, she was 25 minutes late calling me back to my appointment. Because she had another appointment following mine, our 45 minute appointment was reduced to about 20 minutes. She chose to not charge me for the 20 minutes, which I greatly appreciated, but when I got home I realized I was really upset.

I wasn’t upset that she was running late. She was already frustrated with herself over that and I understand that mistakes happen. I was angry because, in that 20 minutes, I felt rushed, invalidated, and misunderstood.

I don’t do well feeling rushed. It makes it difficult for me to concentrate and retain information (which I already have a bit of a problem with because of my depression).

At home, I realized that I felt as if my therapist was frustrated with me. So, when I called to schedule an extra appointment (which ended up being for today), I mentioned it to her. I flat out said that I felt that she was frustrated with me and was she? She very clearly responded that she was absolutely not frustrated with me. She was frustrated with herself and that may have been what I was sensing. I left the rest of the issues for our appointment today.

In our appointment I told her:

  • I felt invalidated
  • It seemed like she didn’t understand or acknowledge how difficult things were and how hard I was trying
  • I ended up having self-harm urges (that I did not act on) in response to feeling misunderstood. I was thinking, “I’ll show them how much pain I’m in!”
  • It seemed like she thought I was not trying hard enough and that it was my fault that I was so miserable

One by one we went through the list of things that were bothering me. I tend to intellectualize and try to rationalize things and I also tend to, at times, interpret what I think other people think. All these thoughts I was having were just that: thoughts. In talking to my therapist about these things, openly and honestly, I was able to get some clarity and we were able to move on to talking about other things such as my homework assignments and Radical Acceptance.

It may have been uncomfortable to bring these things up with my therapist, but after we started talking the discomfort melted away. In clarifying these issues I was able to have a productive session. I definitely left feeling better than when I went in.

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