Rebirth is usually discussed in therapy, except I actually had a REalBIRTH.
I became a mummy and this affected therapy in oh so many ways.
No longer can I arrange appointments in the convenience of myself.. childcare, finances, travel, and feeding take the lead (and rightfully so).
Giving birth changed me. It also changed my relationship with my therapist.
I became an adult.
I grew up.
I saw my therapist with different eyes.. It challenged the transference.
Rebirth; it’s a funny thing. Giving birth to a baby helped me to give birth to my inner self.
The Adult Client.
These are the words my therapist said to me last week.
I had rushed out of work, rushed to the bus stop, caught the wrong bus, followed by another wrong bus, called her to inform her I was running late. Sadly, this has now become a common occurrence. I understand many therapists read into clients being late. In my case, it is because I finish work and always get stuck in the traffic and they are always changing the bus time/routes. Of course, one can argue; Why don’t you leave work earlier? (My office hours are strictly advertised in advance) Why do you arrange your session for another time? (Her availability) Why don’t you pay £14 for a taxi there? (I really don’t have the money to throw on a Taxi when I save up to my therapy on my wage!)
On apologising yet again, she replied; “Have some dignity being late.. I’ll still be here waiting.” It stuck with me. Perhaps on some level I was bringing in my stuff about being rude due to my own thoughts of lateness. We spoke and she clarified she would rather I turn up non frazzled and calm, rather than an out-of-breath mess.
On musing later on, it highlighted to me that it’s okay to be late; it’s only human. No matter what I do to get to those sessions, I will somehow always be late, because I can’t control the outside world (the buses, my wage, the traffic, the roadworks, my therapists availability, my job contract)
All I can control are my thoughts and my dignity.
There are so many things that are still shaded out in my Johari window to work through.
I am so sorry for being such an awful client.
Your client for 7 years.
P.s I will speak about this with you next time.
P. p.s I may bottle out and not.
So, this happened to me the other week. My therapist asked me to bring my husband along to a session. It wasn’t a joint session, but a chance for all 3 of us to speak and ‘all be on the same page’.
The nerves were incredible! It felt like I was 17 again, bringing my boyfriend to meet my mother for the first time; would she approve? Could she trust this person? Was he how she pictured?
The whole session happened very fast and no, I didn’t enjoy it. All of the elephants were dancing in the room and I ended up feeling quite suffocated.
However, it was a learning experience, for everyone in that room.
Recently, my therapist decided she thought she may want a holiday abroad, quite unplanned, in the next week. This meant the current session I was in was going to have a 14 day gap before my next one.
On leaving, she said she would confirm if she was or wasn’t going on a vacation, by telephone, at the weekend.
The weekend arrived: no call.
Monday and no call.
By this point, my sleep was being affected, I felt sick, abandoned and forgotten.
The day before my usual session began, so I sent off an email. She replied back saying she was going away and would see me next week.
The relief I felt when I was finally in know know was enriching. I’m happy she is taking care of herself and having a break, somewhere remotely more exotic than England, from the tears that fall from the moody sky.
My lesson from this is to make the first contact before I turn into a worried mess. I would have turned up for my usual session, had I not been brave enough to ask, which is something my therapist and I had been talking about; having the courage to ask and take your power back.
So, its August.
This is the time many therapists go on a break, holiday or vacation; usually between a week or up to 6 weeks. It’s a culture understood a lot more across the pond than the UK.. here it’s usually found therapists take a shorter break away (unless you are seeing a counsellor at a school, college or University that closes over the Summer holidays.)
This is something a lot of clients find hard to cope with (and who knows, perhaps the therapist does to). Here is a list of things I do to ‘cope’ with this – usually done at the day and time I would have had a session:
- Compose an email to my therapist, but don’t send it. (I instead save it in my saved mail)
- Write in a journal.
- Go swimming, jogging or to an exercise class.
- Enrol in a short course or class (no matter where you live – there are some free online courses at Coursea.org)
- Try meditation.
- Try meeting up with a friend or family member.
Sometimes, it is all about distracting yourself.
I’m writing this post today as a distraction. Unfortunately, my life circumstances have changed over the last few weeks, right on cue as my therapist is due to have her holiday. I’m really lucky as my therapist has also realised this and we have come up with a plan over the next few weeks. I want my therapist to have a refreshing break away from work, goodness knows she has earned it!
Ruptures in psychotherapy are pretty common. A friend of mind once said that ‘he never took breaks from therapy, he had ruptures instead.’
Recovering from a rupture is incredibly hard. It takes a lot of effort for the relationship to become healing and ‘safe’ again.
Here are some of the tools I used as a client to work through this;
1. Taking a break from therapy. (In my case, having 14 days between sessions)
2. Writing my therapist a letter explaining how I felt about our relationship.
3. Talking. Like, proper talking with lots of eye contact and everything.
4. Educating my therapist. (I took a risk and loaned her a book about my ‘issue’ to help her see it from my eyes. This was a wonderful turning point, that she seemed to learn from academically and emotionally also.)
5. Thanking for my therapist for understanding something I had said.
That last point was specifically important.
Of course, my therapist worked very hard.
It’s been a challenging time; however, I have a great therapist. What do you know? I’m smiling again..
The reason I have stopped posting so much, is because I am right in the middle of a rupture in therapeutic alliance in therapy.
It’s particularly painful, consuming and feels like the elephant in the room is sitting on me.
Normal service will resume soon.