Ideally

I’m in a weird place with therapy right now. I feel fairly content with the choice of therapist I’ve made. She’s proven time and time again to be really damn good at her job. And I do feel like she’s helping us and attuning to us and overall being really great at meeting our needs – even as they are forever shifting.

But then there’s this time/“space” thing. And I know I should just take the extra damn time and be grateful I have a therapist who is able to recognize when more time is needed. Right?

Except, it’s just so complicated.

What, exactly, will we do with this extra time?

I think – in a dream world – she’d be able to work with each Part individually, which would help her (and me and other outside people) better meet their needs, which would then help the system function better overall. But I don’t know if she is either willing or (more importantly) capable of doing that. I know she is thinking that more space will allow us to do deeper work. I know she’s leaning into my treatment. I know she’s offering more support. I know I’m also paying for that support and she keeps the parameters clear and safe.

But. Still….Can she really do what needs to be done to help us heal? All of us?

Ideally, she’d have rough “boy” toys for Scooter to crash around as well as stuffed animals and art supplies in her office to help Anna and Lucy to express themselves.

Ideally, she’d be able to work closer with Julia and continue to hone and maintain all the wonderful DBT skills she learned at the Trauma Program (and also help her work through all the resistance she feels to using said skills because Zooey sent her there to learn them). Maybe she could even pick up where Zooey left off as far as using the DBT app with Julia, which was such an incredibly valuable tool for her (and us).

Ideally, she’d have River keep a food diary and discuss it with her in session to help her process her difficult and painful emotions and thoughts around food.

Ideally, she’d connect with Rachel and help her accept the reality of what our childhood really was, instead of this sanitized fantasy version she holds onto that creates eternal conflict between her and the Parts who lived that hell.

Ideally, she’d forge some sort of working relationship with Shadow Man and Laura to help figure out what their purpose and ideals are and to help us work together to shape those roles into something more productive in present day.

Ideally, she could learn more about the parts with no names or “title” names. Maybe they could choose real names and either blend with other Parts or become more than these narrowly defined jobs they do/did.

Ideally, she’d allow each traumatized part to share and work through their memories in a way that is really safe and validating and helps them finally let go of all of this horror and terror and paralyzing shame….

But this is not an ideal world. This is reality. And I think my expectations and hopes are just too damn high.

I should talk to her about this. I should probably actually just say this exactly. But…I don’t. I can’t. I know she’ll say something beautiful and perfect in response and in that totally non-threatening way, convince me to take the extra time.

But I don’t want it. She should save it for someone else. Someone who can actually be helped. Someone who won’t ruin it. Someone who won’t challenge her past her limits and make her feel shitty about herself and her job and her capabilities as a therapist. Someone worthy of that time.

Which is definitely not me.

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32 thoughts on “Ideally

  1. Cat's Meow says:

    When I was doing one session a week, I did longer sessions for awhile. I found them terribly useful because it takes a lot of the pressure off to go into the main part of the session as quickly as possible, get through everything I needed to, and emerge back out of what ever part I had been in and become firmly enough grounded in the here and now before I walked out her door. Just 15 extra minutes gave a sense of space and allowed so much more to happen.

    If I could have the 75 minute sessions again, I would love it! But that time came out of therapist’s lunch break and she couldn’t do it twice a week, we went back to the hour session when we went to two a week. I am still scheduled right before her lunch though, and there have been some sessions where the work was too important to stop in order to keep within the allotted time, so she ran over intentionally.

    I think that you might be making the whole thing way more complicated than it needs to be. Over all, you need to do the work that you need to do. Everything that you list sounds crucial to your healing to me. From your description, your therapist sounds like she can handle those sorts of needs. Doing the work will take time, though. Lots of it. I expect that she is quite aware of that, which is part of the reason she doesn’t react the way that you keep on expecting for her to react.

    If she says that the extra time would be a good idea, why not respect her experience and expertise and make things a little easier on both of you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It really helps me better understand just how extra time can be useful. Everything you describe makes a lot of sense (and is the way I would hope for extra time to be used). I do respect her experience and expertise- I just don’t trust it. Because if I’m wrong, I am the one who will pay for that … Emotionally and otherwise. But. I will work on it and try talking with her more about it. Thank you! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Katy Messier says:

    With my new therapist I’m starting to realize that maybe the professionals that have become overwhelmed with my stuff in the past weren’t exhausted because of me being ‘too much’. Maybe it’s because they aren’t enough. What sucks is that with the mental health field there aren’t as many categories to define which therapists will be best for what types of issues. Add to the mix that many of them are completely incapable of setting healthy boundaries or admitting when something is outside their realm of capability. It’s like going to a plastic surgeon when you need brain surgery or a heart transplant but the plastic surgeon tries to do the other stuff anyway. It’s not going to work! I don’t think knowing these things makes it better or easier or less scarier. It’s not an ideal world and never will be. Ideally none of us would have to deal with any of this to begin with. But it is what it is. My therapist tells me to break things down and focus on the now. Maybe focusing on the now – focusing on maybe sharing one of these ‘ideal’ scenarios to test the waters will help. Either way I think you are doing a lot better than you realize. Kudos.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Andi says:

      “maybe the professionals that have become overwhelmed with my stuff in the past weren’t exhausted because of me being ‘too much’. Maybe it’s because they aren’t enough.”

      Whoa. That hit me so hard. I think you’re absolutely right. THIS is the message I need to internalize. Thank you, Katy xx

      Like

  3. Marda says:

    Andi, I’ve been reading your blog for several months and it is one of my favorites. You are so open and honest about your feelings around therapy. As someone who has been through a lot of therapy for did, some of it good and some of it bad, I can say that I don’t think those goals are unrealistic. Did therapy generally takes quite a bit of time. Our best time frame for doing deep trauma work was an hour and a half session. That gave several parts a chance to work in each session. Working on the DBT skills is something that could realistically be accomplished with Julia especially if it worked before. Maybe over time she can learn to separate out doing the skills from the whole Zooey thing. That’s hard I know. But it sounds like people in the system are starting to trust the therapist you have now. Have you thought of bringing stuffed toys and toys for Scooter and art supplies to therapy with you? It would be a lot but if the therapist isn’t comfortable providing them perhaps the system could agree for instance that you do art during one session and so bring art supplies for a session once in a while. You could bring toys for the kids just like an outside mother brings toys along when traveling or otherwise trying to keep her kids occupied. Since River deals with food issues perhaps the food diary thing would work. As for Rachel, I didn’t remember a lot of the abuse since I didn’t go through it but others in the system definitely did and it took me a long time to deal with those things and begin to accept that yes my abusers were just plain evil and there really are people that can do those things to kids. You wouldn’t have to work through every memory to do your healing. Certain memories will come up at different times and there will be flashbacks and other things to deal with around them and it’s important that the story is told enough for each alter to be heard. Those are the kinds of things that longer sessions could facilitate. It seems like the therapist is invested in your healing while maintaining healthy boundaries. I think taking the extra time could be a good thing for you and the rest of the system. I think doing it would be an exercise in trust. I know it’s hard though because you want to be in control to avoid being hurt again and this may partly be a control issue. If you’re really uncomfortable with it though maybe you could agree on a time frame, like a couple of months, where you keep it at this time and then revisit it after that amount of time. That might be a better idea that would allow you to spend the time you do have on these other issues and then when you have more trust built up it might be easier to take the extra time. It sounds like you are really trying to work hard in therapy and your therapist knows it and is trying to give you every chance to meet your goals. I think you are definitely worthy of getting that extra time. If the therapist didn’t think that she wouldn’t offer it. Just some things to think about Laura Lyn

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hi Laura Lyn! Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting. I really appreciate all the feedback you gave, especially because it is so rare that I get direct input from someone who has been there AND has the same diagnosis. It’s so helpful to know that you benefitted from longer sessions. I actually ALWAYS have toys with me in my bag. I’m sure if I asked, she’d let me keep basic art supplies somewhere in her office. I also like the idea of an agreed upon time frame to “try out” longer sessions, after which point we could re-evaluate how it’s going. That allows me to commit without feeling completely vulnerable.

      Thanks again for your support – it means a lot ❤

      Like

  4. Zoe says:

    Would they be willing to talk to her or express themselves with her?

    You don’t have unrealistic expectations. The problem isn’t you, it really is on the capacity of the therapist. Like Katy said — maybe they’re not enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Anxious Mom says:

    You are absolutely worthy of that time. I understand how scary it is, not knowing what’s going to come of it, or if it will be beneficial in the long run, but there is no question that you are worth it. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. kat says:

    i think you’re being a little bit hard on yourself. you have been improving all along, there is no reason to think you have ‘maxxed that out’. you can still improve, but all of you need some time/space for all of you to become more functional in the daily world.

    your therapist is offering this to you, because she can see this is a need to help you all move forward. don’t talk yourself out of getting more help, just because you are worried it won’t work, worried the confusion that comes before becoming more functional, worried she will abandon you, etc.

    your only choices are a) to move forward, and that means accept this time and use it well or b) keep all of yourselves from having the chance to move forward and keep things how they are forever.

    even if you are worried you can’t fully trust the therapist, you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, and if you try, you don’t get better.

    good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Yeah, I am being hard on myself (it’s like I can’t stop lol). I know you’re right – people don’t “max out” but it feels like I will. It’s not logical, I know. I take your comment very seriously and I’m going to think a lot more about how I can overcome all of this fear to allow myself (and the system) the treatment we deserve…if that’s what this ends up being (just saying). Thanks! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. littlevoicetalks says:

    These are the needs we are so asked about in therapy. ‘What do you need?’

    Your T seems flexible, astute and open minded. Bring this post to her. I bet it will bring about deeper work regardless, just may look different to what she may have thought. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. insidetheclock says:

    You are worthy of that time, hun. Most definitely. You all are, all the Parts. I think it would be a good idea to bring out these Ideals as a form of goal-setting. A big thing about therapy – I’ve noticed – is knowing what you are moving toward. When you have a goal, or an upcoming pit-stop, taking more time for things doesn’t feel as out of place because you know it is part of what is supposed to happen. I have been reading three books on DID recently that have been very helpful, two specifically focus on therapy, one of which is what my therapist bases her approach on. So in a way I am aware of her principles, and know what to expect. Maybe you need that, as it is evident it isn’t easy for you to form a trusting therapeutic relationship due to previous encounters (let me know if I’m incorrect, I’m only drawing some conclusions here) – maybe you need to know what your therapist’s principles are in treatment, what she has trained herself with. Does that sound appealing at all? *hugs* ~Lilu

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Hi Lilu (great name!). Yes, you are definitely right. I am very afraid to trust and I think an additional part of my hesitancy is due to not knowing what she has planned. Zooey always used to say “let’s just roll with it” when I asked what the plan was. Which was fine at the time, but did NOT work well for me in the long run. I know therapists don’t have an exact map for how they do their work, but I DO think that feeling as if her and I were on the same page, working towards the same overall goals, would help me feel more confident in the whole process. Thank you so much for this wonderful feedback ❤

      Like

  9. Rachel says:

    I understand why you are concerned about her ability to provide you with these specifics services. And, I actually think she can do it and your desires are not unreasonable. It sounds like you are processing through legitimate fears, and that is healthy and adaptive. I hope you will continue to be gentle and patient with yourself as you work through your fears, and allow her to support you through that process.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. alicewithptsd says:

    You are more than worthy of that extra time. I know this is really a late comment, so i hope you have shared some of this with her. Everyone here has made good points. I only want to add that my sessions– twice a week– are usually ninety minutes, and somerimes we run over and they are closer to 105 minutes or even 120 minutes. Almost from the beginning, ive had 90 minutes sessions. My appointments are early in the morning– we are both morning people– and she doesnt usually have another appointment until well after mine. It always takes me a bit to get into whatever stuff needs to be talked about, and then it takes me a bit to get grounded enough to leave safely. Bea says that i usually come into her office with a “protective layer on” and she doesn’t ever want to peel that layer off too quickly or too soon, which is why we have those surfacey chats before she asks about an email i sent or something we talked about last session.
    I also really like what someone said above– “maybe the other therpaists weren’t enough”. This is such….just wow. I hope you have held that idea in your mind, because i think its true for you, and for many of us who have had bad experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Better late than never! 🙂

      Thank you for this. I love hearing how people use longer sessions and kind of explain how it helps them. The way you describe it makes a lot of sense in my own context. I do tend to need a fair amount of time to get settled in and feel comfortable enough to tackle deeper issues. Having extra time would afford me the chance to stay with that stuff a bit longer before session has to end.

      And yes – that particular comment about THEM not being enough definitely resonated very powerfully with me. I am keeping that one close to me to remember in those moments that I feel like I’m “too much”…

      xo

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Cat says:

    I won’t say too much before reading your next post, other than… It’s perfectly acceptable, considering the past, that you struggle with trust. I feel you’re being very hard on yourself, as though you’re not entitled to feel this way. Building that trust with the T is a gradual process and can never happen via words, only with time and experience

    Liked by 1 person

    • Andi says:

      Thank you for normalizing and validating my fears, Cat. I can tell I am being hard on myself but it’s so hard for me to pull out of that sometimes. I think it somehow helps me feel safer or more in control.

      Time and experience, indeed. Patience, right? 🙂

      Like

  12. silentlistener2510 says:

    Hi Andy,

    It does sound like you’re being too hard on yourself.
    Those experiences took years and so this will too.
    It takes as long as it takes.
    None of you are too much. It sounds like the t you have now is more than enough.
    You all deserve it.
    Remember that everyone has their own truth. No one’s truth is wrong or bad.

    Here for everyone and I find it helps to decide something and then review it in a set period of time.

    This is an interactive process where control is balanced by give and take. It doesn’t have to hurt or be a struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

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