Friday, October 03, 2008

Speaking in tongues

At times I feel as though I'm speaking in tongues and no one around me can comprehend what it is I'm trying to say. The person I'm speaking to ends up deciphering my words into a completely different message than the one I'm trying to convey. Where does this happen most? Where my therapist's office. Not just this therapist either. I've experienced this strange phenomenon with every single therapist, and most of the pdocs, I've tried working with.

The length of time it takes to reach this bastion of misinterpretation varies. Sometimes it takes only minutes, other times it can take months. The only constant is that it always happens in less than a year's time.

I've been with my current therapist for eight months now and communication is beginning to break down. There isn't even a clear or apparent catalyst, it seems so random. Everything seemed to be progressing forward, albeit excruciatingly slow, until suddenly today, when things took a sharp turn off course. The confusion left in the wake of our appointment still has me completely puzzled.

I didn't even see the woman last week because I got a call at the last minute from her office saying she was out sick. I was told by the receptionist that my T would call to reschedule when she came back to work this week. After not hearing from her, I finally left a message on Wednesday which basically said I didn't know if she was still out sick or what, but that I hadn't gotten a call and wasn't sure if I had an appointment with her for Friday, so please call me. She called back a couple of hours later and said that yes, she was available at our normal time.

Today started off with a review of my treatment plan. We went through the list of goals we'd previously set up and I had to decide for each one if it was something we should continue to work on, a goal that had been met or if it was something I wanted to dump. When we got through the list she asked if there was anything I wanted to add, to which I replied no.

Perhaps she had the expectation that I should have a list of new goals to add to it, because it was shortly after finalizing and signing the treatment plan that her demeanor changed. If this is the case, it was an unrealistic expectation because I had no prior knowledge that it was time for a review. Given that it has only been 8 months, I couldn't have even anticipated that this would be sprung on me today and she made absolutely no mention of it during any of our previous appointments.

After the treatment plan, we began discussing some situations that have been causing me a great deal of anger lately and she asked how I'd been dealing with the anger since we last met. I told her I'd been trying to stuff it because, as she knows, anger scares the crap out of me and I don't know how to feel that emotion without acting on it. In response she mentions the acceptance part of the Acceptance & Commitment Therapy we've been trying to work our way through, pointing out that just accepting the anger is there without acting on the emotion is what the therapy is all about.

I told her that I understand the concept behind this therapy but then I point out to her that we've only made it through four of thirteen chapters, and that I haven't learned any skills on how to just accept my anger, allow it to be there and yet still function. Apparently that was the wrong thing to say because that is when communication broke down and she starts going off on a whole tangent about how if I think this therapy is going to offer some miracle answer on how to deal with anger, I'm wasting my time. Again saying that I need to be willing instead of willful or I'm just wasting my time even being in therapy.

WHAT? I didn't say I was looking for any miracles. I never said I wasn't open to the idea of continuing with this therapy. All I said was that I'm still waiting to learn the skills on how to be able to accept and still function without acting out on my rage because we haven't gotten that far in the book yet. Just because I comprehend the concept doesn't suddenly make me an expert on how to get from point A to point B without any guidance. I grasp the concept behind homemade ravioli too, but that doesn't mean you can just throw me into the kitchen and expect me to know how to make it without giving me the ingredients and teaching me what steps to follow first.

I don't know. I don't get it. I don't understand why she responded the way she did. Maybe I'm just super fucking dense when it comes to psychotherapy. Even after reading a summary of how the events played out, I still don't see why she would respond to me the way she did. I don't see what I did wrong. I don't see how wanting to continue working in the ACT book in order to gain some skills can be construed by anyone as being willful and not wanting to make the changes necessary to get better. She seems to be the one that wants to throw their hands up in defeat and give up, not me.

I'm trying really hard not to go there, but it's like deja vu, a repeat of what happened last year when my last therapist actually did give up on me. It's MY therapy and I've given no indication whatsoever that I want to quit, so why does it seem that yet another therapist wants to quit on me??


Blogger Immi said...

I often feel like I'm speaking a different language than most everyone. So you're not alone in that.

9:54 PM, October 04, 2008  
Anonymous John D said...

I know some therapists want accountability, and that can be good discipline, and some are confrontational - and that can be OK in a careful setting where you're confronting your own issues. But this therapist sounds like a rigid teacher insisting you follow the textbook. Has this been helpful? Have you tried someone else? I wish you the best.

12:48 PM, November 15, 2008  

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