36, female, seeing a male psychotherapist who I am guessing is a few years
older maybe, but close to my age. He is a cognitive psychotherapist. I was
loathe to enter psychotherapy but I was in such an emotional crisis that
I knew I would implode if I need not seek help. In that way he had a special
opportunity to circumvent my usual defenses. (Knowing I create these defenses
has not at all prevented me from doing so.)
I was desperate for empathy to the disaster that was my life at the time.
I am in an abusive relationship and firmly stuck in the patterns associated
with it. His gentleness was very disarming and his warmth and empathy really
touched the pain in me. I became very quickly and deeply attached. I do not
feel in love with him but I can see why people sometimes feel
that way. It is an intense fixation and desire to have him like me. (Yes,
I said desire.)
Ok, here comes the part which prompted me to ask you this question...
His services to me were through an agency through which I qualified for free
help. The problem became that these sessions were finite. I became very focussed
on the fear of getting into the middle of things but then having to walk
away. I became terrified of the feelings of abandonment. His help has been
a life-ring, but it has not helped me pull myself from the ocean, if that
makes sense. I also felt as though his willingness to reach me
lessened, and I think he honestly wanted to help me but prevent me from becoming
too attached. Too late. It left me very frustrated and has had me reliving
the limited love from my abusive spouse. The more he withdrew the stronger
my attachment.. and please dont think I dont see the pattern
I have reached the cap on the sessions and now must switch to someone new
whom I have to pay myself. So, I am caught in a double whammy... intense
transference and termination terror. I dont know what to do. I cant
very well explore the transference feelings with the former therapist in
the final goodbye session.. never mind the complications regarding that due
to the school of thought to which he belongs.
I dont know the new psychotherapist well enough to discuss this with
him; there isnt a trust yet. I still may have to see someone else if
he isnt right for me. In the meantime I feel like I am being eviscerated
What do I do? Do you have any advice for someone caught in both powerful
transference and termination issues? What happens when therapy abruptly
must end when transference has already become so intense?
What you need to do, in the practical sense, is very simple.
Yes, in the emotional sense it can be terrifying, but in the practical sense
all you need to do is find another psychotherapist and start talking to him
about how you feel right now about those powerful issues of transference
and termination that have affected you.
Keep in mind
that you dont have to trust a psychotherapist in order
to speak honestly about your inner experiences. Within the general context
is a special kind of trust intrinsic to the psychotherapeutic
relationshipyou speak only to hear your own words. You dont
speak to make your psychotherapist understand you, approve of you, or like
you. Your psychotherapists job is listen carefully to what you are
not saying, and to interpret it for you, so as to help you get past
the obstacle of your own psychological
blindness as you
Real trust for
the psychotherapist depends on how well the interpretations help you to grow
in honesty. So, even in the very first session, your job is simply
to speak as honestly as you can in the moment. How well your psychotherapist
does his job will determine whether you trust his manner and expertise
enough to return for another session.
if you dont feel comfortable with those initial sessions and decide
to find someone else, this is all a living aspect of your emotional life,
and continuing to speak about everything, even as it develops with a new
psychotherapist, becomes a part of the treatment for the original issue that
brought you into treatment in the first place.
draw their sustenance from things not said that provoke hurt
feelings that incite feelings of
an end to hatred and abuse, therefore, requires making a beginning of speaking
with honesty about
what is really happening, consciously and unconsciously, in the moment. You
learn this honesty from psychotherapy not in spite of but because
of every difficult obstacle that occurs during the treatment.
advertisingno sponsorjust the simple truth . . .