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Vulnerability & Therapy

I’ve been with my current therapist for a few months. They are helping me so much, I respect them, etc. Last week, our session went over an hour because my therapist didn’t have anyone else for the day. Plus she got me to dig deep, where we were not exactly at a great spot to end. But, I was afraid of this next thing happening, and it did. Today in my session, it went fine but then towards the end,my therapist got quiet, so I didn’t know if I was supposed to talk or not. When I started to, she said, okay tell me but then we have to end, because I need to be somewhere. I don’t know if she was making sure I knew last week was rare, or if she thought I disrespected her, took advantage etc. Now, MY ANXIETY IS THROUGH THE ROOF. I don’t know what to do. Should I say something to her? I respect her time, I understand of course but for some reason this hurt my feelings so much.

A. Yes, you should speak to her about this issue. You are making assumptions about what may have happened and seem to be blaming yourself. In all likelihood, it was a misinterpretation of events. If you don’t ask, then you will never know.

The more open and honest you can be with your therapist, the easier it will be to help you. She likely has no idea about your concerns. Many of these types of problems are the result of misunderstandings and miscommunications. You will likely feel a great deal of relief after this issue is resolved.

Talk to your therapist. Tell her what you have just told me. Tell her you were hurt. Tell her that you would not take advantage of her generosity. And listen to her response. If you don’t like her response, if she isn’t kind and understanding, then she is not the right therapist for you. If that is the case, then this misunderstanding isn’t likely to be a rare occurrence but more likely to be just the first in a series. You are a unique individual. You’re different from your friends, and even your family. You are very unique and so is everyone else, including therapists. You would never call a department store and say to the clerk on the phone “send me out a top in size small.” Instead of that, you go to the store and look through the hundreds of tops available, so that you might find one that is suitable to you.

Not all therapists are the same, in fact they are as different as the tops hanging on the rack. Your therapist might be just fine for some people but be the worst possible match, for others. Is your therapist sensitive enough for you? Perhaps, she is a little too rough or insensitive. Some people might prefer her approach, other people certainly will not.

It’s important that you are satisfied with the top that you purchase. You might think you like the top, while at the store and the way you looked in the mirror in the fitting room. But after taking it home and trying it on again and seeing your reflection from different angles, you might then carefully repackage the top and return it to the store. Initially it seemed like it would be a good fit but with a little more time and experience with the top, you discovered that it was not a good fit after all, returned it and looked for another top.

From what you have written, it appears as if you were and are more concerned about your therapist’s feelings then she appears to be of yours. Perhaps this isn’t true. I am simply raising the possibility. Let me tell you what is true. Not all therapists are right for all people. Perhaps you have the right match and perhaps you don’t. It is not a matter of right or wrong.

When you decided that the top was not a good fit for you, it wasn’t because you thought that the designer of the top was a fool or incompetent or that the top was no good at all. You recognized that some people would just love that top and you would surely see it on someone else walking through the mall. You never blamed the top. Don’t blame yourself either. If you don’t like the top, return it and buy one that fits you better. Surely, the returned top will fit someone perfectly but just as surely, it will not fit all people and it definitely did not fit you. No one’s fault and no one is to blame.

Thank you for your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle



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