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TOPIC TITLE: resistance or not?
Created On 5/19/06 3:27 PM
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tulip
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5/19/06 3:27 PM
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How would one know whether one's inability to make use of the therapy hour is due to resistance on the part of the client or whether the therapist has indeed made it unsafe for the client to express herself?
Would it make sense to get a second opinion in such a situation?



Edited: 7/20/06 at 10:24 PM by tulip
 
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RNRebbitzin
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5/22/06 11:31 PM
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I would say that in some way this is resistance. If the person is unhappy with there therapist, there are many more out there to choose from. Also, by leaving therapy does signal some type of resistance to whatever stong memories you are afraid of. A therapist should be their clients advocate. There must be trust in a therapuetic relationship........otherwise it's not therapeutic.
Hope you find your answer to life and feel good


-------------------------
RNRebbitzin
 
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tulip
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5/23/06 12:37 AM
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T and I have spent many hours over the course of a handful of years trying to ''recover'' forgotten memories of s-----l abuse. Of the two ''incidents'' I recalled T dismissed them as being insignificant.
My thought/feelings about leaving this therapist are not a way to cop out of a difficult topic. We've been through very difficult topics indeed, and I like to face my demons in the safety of her office.
Right now it's come to a point where I feel there's no trust left in the account. About a year ago I was experiencing a very difficult time with someone. Instead of getting support from my T, she defended the other person. I believe that period of about 6 months have taken a big toll on the therapeutic relationship.
And for argument's sake, letsay I've been s---ly abused and I'm denying it because it's so hard to accept it. Let's just say so. And I tell my T that I feel I've been s----ly abused by my spouse. I expect her to hear me out and walk me through that ''experience'' of being abused by my spouse. Let her hear me talk of the pain, violation, rage, sadness, etc. Is it too much to expect of her? Why would a T choose to dismiss a client's claim of having had a certain experience? It makes me feel like I have noone to talk to . And it carries over into the other sessions: My mind thinks: ''You haven't heard me out, you obviously don't believe me, why should I talk to you? You're only gonna believe what your intelligent mind tells you is true. Not what I tell you is true for me. '' And there goes the trust.
I'm really interested in hearing from someone on the other side of the couch, hence this thread in Dr. Lynn's forum.
There's more to the story. I will pm you, Dr. Lynn. Please bear with me, I know I'm spending a lota time and pm's on this topic.... I'm looking for clarity on this.
One way to put it is this: Who am I running away from, myself or my therapist? Does the issue reside within me, so that it will resurface with any therapist I switch over to, or has my therapist truly not supported me in a way that's conducive to a trusting therapeutic relationship?
I feel sad. I feel the rug has been pulled from under my feet. A rug of trust.
As I've said before, I'll pm you with some details.
Thanks a lot


Edited: 5/23/06 at 1:09 AM by tulip
 
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Belly
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5/23/06 6:01 AM
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Tulip I so understand you. I'm also in this situation where I don't know if it's me or my T. If you get helpful answeres from Dr. Lynn please share them with us, since they might help us too.
I hope that you will be able to resolve this issue soon.
 
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Debbi
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5/23/06 10:51 AM
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Hi tulip (az?)

One thing strikes me upon reading your post.
You are not saying that your therapist is wrong, and you are definately right. I think that points to the fact that you truly do want to work on the issues, and that you are not resisting by running away.

Also I believe that even a "percieved" experience needs to be worked through. In other words when you say that you are feeling violated, then those feelings must be addressed.
For arguments sake lets say you are in a very loving and peaceful relationship, and the question of abuse is your projection from the past, it is NOT in your best interest for your T to dismiss your feelings of what is going on. These are the issues you SHOULD be working on, rather than dismissing the very thing which is causing you anxiety.
Even if its not reality (of course since I dont know you, and I dont know the details of the abuse, I cannot say if its real or not), your T should be exploring why you feel you are being abused.
I definately do not think that a T should make an assumption of what is real and what is not.
Every person experiences things differently.

Of course there is the possibilty that because of your childhood experiences you are that much more sensitive. Who knows?
I feel that your T might be having some countertransference issues here, and hence might be avoiding the real work.

I am truly sorry that this is happening. There is nothing worse than losing trust in your T. Especially with your past experiences of abuse.

I hope Dr Lynn can help you make an educated decision of where to go from here.

Good luck!
Please keep us updated.

Debi
 
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tulip
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5/24/06 12:14 AM
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Debi,
(Are you addressing both myself and az in your message?)

I sure hope Dr. Lynn will lend me his perspective, I'd like to hear from someone on the other side of the couch....

It may simply be that my therapist has a low tolerance for certain types of self-expressions on her client's part.

That she categorizes the situation as one of client resistance is her prerogative. There are other opinions; hers is not the only one.

Another therapist may be more tolerant of all kinds of clients' self-expression. That is one of the things I'm waiting to hear from Dr. Lynn; is it a ''psychologist thing''/ ''therapist thing'' to draw the line on clients' self-expression, or is it just my therapist's personal style?

If it's a therapist thing, I'm in despair; who will I talk to about things I feel a need to talk about! If it's my therapist's personal style, I either accept it or don't. But since her style keeps me from moving forward, I may just choose a different therapist.

I have a hunch it's her own reactivity that drives her to immediately put a stop to such kind of self-expression.

Anyway, I'm awaiting Dr. Lynn's perspective.





Edited: 7/20/06 at 10:27 PM by tulip
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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5/24/06 5:04 AM
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Tulip-
Ok, so here goes...I think we should take a step back to what I call the "Three Pillars of a Healthy Relationship", which are trust, respect and appreciation. I believe these are standard prerequisites, regardless of whether we are talking about a romantic relationship, friendship, family or even a relationship with one's therapist. You should feel mutual trust, respect and appreciation with your therapist. If not, you should talk about why you don't (resistance, transference, countertransference, different hashkafa, etc), in the hopes of establishing one or more of the "Pillars". Every honest therapist knows "one shrink does not fit all", however, establishing the "Three Pillars" is not easy work, particularly in light of growing up in an abusive childhood, where the foundation of trust,respect and appreciation was breached. From "the other side of the couch", I will share with you that in general (I am NOT referring to you personally, Tulip), it is hard to balance btwn "validating the patient's experience" and "challenging the patient's experience" b/c the patient often has a distorted view of themselves and/or the world based on earlier painful experiences, which inevitably brought them into therapy in the first place, and these distorted views hold them back from leading a more fulfilling life. I know that the term "distorted" sounds harsh, but often we do not see ourselves clearly. For example, many people suffer from "low self esteem". If I only validate the patient's experience, then I think I am only doing half my job, and the person will not become un-stuck. Likewise, if I only challenge their experience, and tell them what they feel isn't real, I am also only doing half my job and the other person will feel (rightly so) that I lack empathy and am unable to resonate with their experience.

As for whether you are "running from your therapist" or not by taking "a break", I really don't know. When people tell me they want to take a break, I think sometimes they want to leave for good but don't trust our relationship enough to be honest with me. Sometimes people "disappear" b/c they want to avoid talking about leaving, or how I hurt their feelings or b/c the work is more intense than they bargained for, etc. On the other hand, if people tell me they want to end treatment with me, I do not assume it is resistance- sometimes I agree they achieved their original goals, or I am not the right guy. However, I do know that if the "Three Pillars" are not intact with your therapist, you will have a lot of difficulty moving forward with her.
a lynn
 
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tulip
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5/25/06 11:05 PM
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Dr. Lynn,

Thank you so much for taking precious time to respond to my public and private messages; may The One Above repay you!

So you say that it's a challenge for shrinks to balance btwn ''validating the patient's experience'' and ''challenging the patient's experience''. Knowing that this is a challenge for shrinks makes me understand my shrink's behavior. I just wish she had shared this with me. From time to time I wish my shrink would share with me her inner conflicts vis a vis her/my treatment. She could simply say to me, ''You want me to validate your experience and I feel it's necessary to challenge your experience. Let's talk about that" And I'd say to her that for right now I need her to validate and that once I feel supported I will be ok with her challenging my experience. As a matter of fact she has shared such inner conflicts with me on two or three occasions during the past 5 years or so., and at the point where she was able to be self-aware about it she was able to let go of her agenda and support me at my pace.

OK. So I have a broader view of things now.

Thing is, if I am in the state of mind/being where I need her to be ''validating my experience'' I will not be able to absorb her ''challenging my experience''. So what's she got to gain by challenging my experience before I am ready? It's about pacing herself. And I do a pretty good job at communicating my pace. It's just that sometimes she doesn't hear it as a cry for ''validating my experience''; she sees it as ''resistance''. What do you say to that? I want some more validation, she's done with the validating and is on to challenging my experience and when I don't go along with that she says I'm resisting. It's healthy to resist something you're not ready for, right?

I don't want to lose sight of the fact that there are instances wherein I do not get any of the ''validating my experience''. She dives right into the ''challenging my experience.'' You have explained (in your pm) to me that on certain topics a therapist cannot support my experience. For example, if I come to see my shrink and I talk of feeling suicidal she will absolutely not empathize! She will definitely wag a finger or two at me and warn me to not make good on my intentions! Hello! I am talking about how I feel, for heaven's sake! I'm saying I feel like killing myself; could you, would you just help me talk about my flood of feelings that are so unbearable that I feel my only way out of the pain is death?! How else am I going to process that intensity of feelings if my shrink cannot validate my experience? If my shrink is bound by law to report me? And hospitalize me. Psychiatric drugs do nothing in terms of purging and expressing the feelings that drive one to choose death as a means of escape. But talking it out would do wonders! So why can't my shrink allow me to talk about it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those of you who truly fear I will kill myself, let me assure you I'm in total control of my right mind. B''H that I've not felt suicidal in a very long time and I don't think I ever will again. I've developed enough internal resources to help me through those intensely painful moments so that I do not need to see death as my only avenue of escape.

It's no mitzva to sit with a therapist who continues to deny me the support I ask for.

Ok, thanks for listening; you're certainly a source of support! My virtual therapist......





Edited: 7/20/06 at 10:34 PM by tulip
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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5/28/06 1:50 AM
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Tulip-
It may be valuable for you and your shrink to discuss the 3 Pillars, and for you to explain why they are not intact for you.
a lynn
 
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tulip
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5/29/06 8:19 PM
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Got it, Dr. Lynn!
I'll let you know what happens, iy''h...................
 
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tulip
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7/20/06 10:38 PM
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Just a quick note to share with you a book I've read recently, "Negotiating the Therapeutic Alliance" by Jeremy D. Safran and J Christopher Muran. It has some good points about resistance, and who is contributing to it, therapist or client.
 
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Dr. Lynn, Psy.D.
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7/21/06 1:08 AM
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Thanks.
a lynn
 
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