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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate; Tomorrow I have an apppointment with my therapist.

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Tomorrow I have an apppointment with my therapist. For maybe 1 or 2 months now, I have been going twice a week instead of my usual once a week. This was done by my request as I was having a tough time coping between appt's.

However, for the past two weeks, we had to scale down to once a week because of a conference, holiday, etc. This is of course perfectly acceptable. But I find myself very anxious about going tomorrow. First, I feel a bit out of sync probably due to forgetting what we were talking about last.

She usually begins our sessions by going over my meds with me and then asking me what's going on. I find it difficult to answer this direct question. Plus, of the three "homework" items she gave me to work on, I did not do any of them. I just was not motivated. But I have this sinking feeling she will not be happy with that type of excuse.

The other problem is I feel this barrier between us because I have not told her about the stealing yet. I just can't. I know she will just tell me that I have to stop but it is not as easy as that. I find myself doing it more and really not caring how careful I am about doing it. I wonder sometimes if I want to get caught. But that would be ridiculous right?

The shame I feel is sometimes overwhelming. I know I am a bad person for doing this but continue this horrible behaviour.

Any thoughts?

As always, thanks.


Hi Kathy,


I think the main issue is that you are viewing your therapist as if she is a parent or authority figure rather than someone who is there to help you. The question here is: do you feel this way because she treats you like a child or do you feel that your issues cause you to see her in the role of parent? This is important to know because it determines how you can approach the problem.


You should be able to have the choice to not complete your homework. Therapy is about what prevents you from doing the homework, not punishing you for not doing it. The reason you did not do it may be explored, but not as a right or wrong.


And sharing about the stealing is important. This is part of what is going on with you. Stealing and hoping to get caught is related to what you believe about yourself. It is a belief that you are a bad person and need punished and/or hurt. So you put yourself in situations where this is possible so you can affirm how you feel. Whether or not your therapist approves of your behavior is irrelevant. She is there to help you with any behavior that prevents you from recovery. Judgment should be left out of the situation.



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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Your responses to my issues were really dead on to how I am feeling. I do feel the need for punishment. If I can't self-harm, then I must be punished in another way. She did not want my daughter to see or ask about the cutting, so this was why she was so firm on getting me to stop.

She does not treat me as a child. In fact, she has said to me several times that she is not my mother so I do not need to "please" her. I think it has less to do with pleasing her and more iwth wanting to please myself but am unable to give myself any congratulations on positive steps I take.

I seem to see her as more of an authoratative person and am unsure why. Perhaps I just need someone to tell me "good job" every so often as I seem incapable of doing this for myself.

I think if I told her about not completing any of the homework, we would get into a discussion on why. She never wants to push me and always tells me that I am in charge of how slow or fast we take things. I'm just not used to being in control when it comes to important issues unless it revolves around my daughter.

She has told me in the past that she has heard many things, not much surprises her anymore and that she is not there to judge me. So you got those points exactly.

My mind wants to rush things but emotionally, I cannot. I find this very frustrating. So many horrible things have happened to me that sometimes I become very angry at everyone and everything. I try to keep these feelings bottled up. She told me once that she likes anger and it is much better than being sad. She told that I had a lot to be angry at. Do I? Or did I bring it on myself.

The other part of the reason I have not told her about the stealing is because of how it makes me feel. So very very ashamed. Just like the assaults.


It sounds like your therapist is being supportive, which is good to know. And it also helps knowing that you are interested in pleasing her because it tells you that you have an unfulfilled need to have approval. You either did not get it from your parents or caregiver or there was some other gap in your development to cause this feeling. Trying to have your therapist fill the gap by transferring your need for approval to her is good. It tells her and you that the need is there and must be addressed.


It is ok to be angry and frustrated with therapy. It is also ok to feel angry at others and at the world. It is very healthy to feel that way given what you have been through. Expressing this anger (in healthy ways) is a great way to deal with it. Your therapist is right, anger is better than sadness in your situation. Sadness, while a legitimate feeling in many situations, can also be a substitute for expressing anger. In other words, it is used to cover anger and instead of anger. It is a way of going into yourself instead of coping with the anger, which is going outside of yourself. You did not bring the anger on yourself. It is a natural part of the trauma you went through. Once you work through it, your anger will decrease and you will only feel that way when you need to feel it. But right now it feels big because you are reacting to what you went through, which was big as well.



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