Therapy Challenges


I wish there was a rule book or a guide about how therapy is supposed to work, what’s taboo or encouraged, or what’s not a helpful practice.  I’ve had just enough background into how a therapist is trained (if I typed out one of my neighbors PhD papers, I typed out a thousand of them when he was going through his training to be a geriatric psychologist).

At this point, I think I’m failing at taking advantage of the whole therapy thing because I talk way too much.

Short of bringing in one of my blogs to the therapist, I’m just not sure how to say this because I always choke up and cry when there’s things that must be said but which are hard to enunciate.

Yes, I’ve been told I’m arrogant. I don’t see it, but who am I to impose my world view on someone else’s opinion?

In my case, I’m going to therapy because it’s “recommended” as part of going through the change of life / grief counseling of going on disability, and because it’s recommended as part of being accepted for stem cell therapy qualification / consideration.

My therapist is a lovely woman, a life coach, with children and grandchildren, and it just seems wrong to be running off at the mouth and know very little reciprocal information about her.  I know that it’s for her own safety that she not talk about herself.  I know it’s for my own balanced therapy that the sessions be all about me.  But, honestly, it’s frustrating to get in there and feel you have to participate and be “on”, and trying and figure out the social cues for when to shut up and let silence talk.

Therapy is so very different than a regular give and take conversation, you know, where you debate all the deep stuff and then go back to your cave and ponder all the stuff that you learned from honest discourse from BOTH sides.

Maybe I’m more of a group therapy person?  But, being a Pollyanna, who doesn’t really think she has issues, wouldn’t that be arrogant, too?

Not sure what to make of all of this, but I went to therapy after 3 months yesterday, and it was all about how much my life had changed since we last met.

– got approved for disability

– bought a wreck of a house (and dealing with my wishes to NEVER be an owner)

– all the money I’m spending on rehabbing the unit to make it sanitary and suitable

– whether or not I was shooting myself in the foot to put down money on the UK trip (but, also an acknowledgement that I couldn’t do anything else.  I need a positive adventure goal in order to get on with the necessities of life).

– The “Ticket to Work” program and resources through the SSD office for getting disabled people off their butts and back into a work program, without jeopardizing their benefits while they “try” to see what accommodations may be needed, and whether or not they are lying to themselves about their own capabilities.

– Frustrations with the lawyer’s restrictions, and my trying to limit my efforts to 1-4 hours per day.

– Frustrations with not being acknowledged by my employer and its insurance agent as handicapped, and having to jump through hoops just to “prove” how incapacitated I am.  Ridiculous.

So, we spent an hour going round and round on my naval gazing issues, and it feels more like I was reporting the news than actually figuring out why I’m there (beyond the sessions being prep work as part of showing compliance with the stem sell program.  Really a means to an end, without any emotional engagement).

– We talked about Hospice and “Transitions” to hospice, which says I’m exactly what they are looking for in a transitions patient, however, I’m too well or too active.

– We talked about the Death with Dignity law, and trying to find a way to document my wishes now, while I’m well, so that there won’t be an argument at the end, 4-5 years or more from now, when it comes down to figuring out if I should be euthanized and people then want to challenge my state of mind and label me “depressed” vs. the reality. which is “determined”.

– We talked about a number of things, including the fact that I hate other people’s noise, and how hard it was for me to adjust to apartment living with rude and inconsiderate people about (because I can hear my Mom and Grandfather with every slammed door and every stomped foot yelling at me, “Quiet!  Think of the neighbors”, and yet clearly, CA, doesn’t have the same neighborly restrictions I was used to from being in MA while growing up).

– We talked about the fact that I find owning a house just a recipe to gather more stuff around me at a point of life when I’m supposed to be jettisoning stuff, so it really didn’t make any sense to give me more room for storage.  Or, homework for selling the place if I live long enough to go into assisted living or hospice towards the end.

So many different conversations, and yet I walk out of there feeling like I’ve just given an oral report and paid for the privilege of having someone listen to me vs. having it make a difference in my quality of life.

Whatever it is that I’m supposed to be getting from these sessions eludes me, as I’m happy to be left to my own devices to entertain myself.

Anyone else reading this blog and who have undergone therapy feel this way?

7 thoughts on “Therapy Challenges

  1. It’s a small world but I’m now volunteering in a charity shop after being recognised by a former occupational therapist. She knew me from 25 years ago when I was a patient of hers. I’ll be working with her on monday in the shop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My thoughts about this subject are lengthy. I’ve been doing the therapy dance (both group and individual) on and off for a very long time. And the experience IS as you describe it…because for the therapist to do their job (properly) they need to LISTEN to your tale and then figure out what to do to help with the negative parts of that tale. Which is why you’re there in the first place, right? Boundaries about sharing personal information are there (apparently) because there is the job related hazard of some patients who want a more intimate connection with their therapist (take that to mean what you will) and the whole transference thing that some patients experience. Some patients fall in love or begin to imagine a relationship with the therapist and that can lead to stalking and all sorts of weirdnesses, so the therapist is taught to maintain a professional distance. (continued on next comment..this is long)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know this because I’ve crossed the unseen boundary (apparently) in my current therapy regime, and it was awkward for everyone. I thought I was being friendly, the therapist took it badly, and lectured me (and continues to lecture) about the professional relationship. I think he must have been transferred on a few times (I’m not in love with him nor did I ever think that way at all towards the man, but I thought we were closer friends than we apparently are allowed to be). One reason I prefer women therapists to men, there’s no weird misunderstandings to get through. But whatever. I’m SUPPOSED to learn to communicate better with men, so I got a guy therapist. And it’s not helpful towards the process (IMHO) at all because I don’t ‘talk’ to him. I can’t and I can’t explain to him why. My problem. But. Something odd happens when I’m doing therapy..eventually the therapist DOES begin to talk about themselves or share bits and pieces of things not related to the therapy we’re doing together. And the therapy usefulness stops and no further progress is made. And so I stop going and then eventually the cycle repeats with a new therapist and so on. It’s gritty hard work to do therapy of the kind you’re experiencing. And telling the therapist that you want more give and take instead of the ubiquitous “how does that make YOU feel? Or What do YOU think about …?” instead of an answer to a question we may pose is frustrating. But you’re allowed and should be encouraged to say such a thing to the therapist. Because they need to know they’re not meeting your needs and no progress is therefore being made. No matter how much you might like them. The gist is: You’re not alone in your perception of therapy. If it helps any?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OH! And talking too much? Can’t happen. YOU’RE the one in the hot seat (metaphorically) and so of course you are the one doing all the talking. And when you can address a sensitive topic without crying about it, you know that some progress is being made. It’s taken me thirty damn years to talk about why I don’t like myself nor why I don’t make a lot of friends with people, without getting so choked up or teary that I’m rendered moot. And then they gave me a guy and so no more progress in this go round. But there’s always next time I suppose..?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t give up hope. You’ve come this far, and maybe it’s time to go back and say, “hey, talking to a guy about why I *can’t* talk to a guy isn’t helping. Could we please try a woman again?” It may be seen as misogynistic, but whatever. This is about you getting well.

      Meanwhile, all that you’ve said it true about it being all about me. I guess my Yankee training (hey, it’s not about you!) is coming smack into contact with this differing perception, LOL.

      It’s good to know, though, that I am supposed to be running off at the mouth. We’ll see what happens in January when I try again. I think I’ll bring up the topic, and see what happens from there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s