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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate -- Yeah -- I'm not sure what she does or does not

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Kate -- Yeah -- I'm not sure what she does or does not recognize. She hasa lot of experience, but I also know she worked in the schools for years (she was a teacher at some point and then a counselor, and I think her doctorate is in education, actually) and I also know she works a lot with kids and teenagers and families, but I know she works a lot with individuals and trauma issues as well. So I don't know.
I know she can tell when I get defensive and argue intellectually - mostly to self-blame issues. And she just cuts me off now and says she knows what I am going to say, but she is right. But, if I push her away, I know she won’t stop and say “you are pushing me away because ....” or “pushing me away is not going to change the feelings ...” like you have done. She will totally back off and do what I want. I think it is not in her personality to be pushy. And I appreciate that – it is probably part of why I am comfortable with her. But I am really good at defending myself from things. I know that. I do not like to manipulate situations at all. I can’t stand it when other people do it, and I don’t want to do it. But I certainly am smart enough to know what to say to get to a more comfortable place, to get her to totally back off, etc. When things hurt, it is very very tempting to employ these. I just am not sure she’s ready to call me on it. She’s too nice. Plus – she thinks I have worked very hard at this since I have been in therapy, which I have. Once I realized that I wasn’t just going to go for a few sessions and bolt like usual, I have really made an effort. And she is right – I have had to push myself to do it. So she thinks that if I don’t want to do something or am scared or hurt and am avoiding it, it must be too much for me, because I generally push myself. I think I need to explain to her that we are dealing with apples and oranges, sort of. I have pushed myself. Just to go to therapy and stick with it and do all the work I’ve done on my own, etc. And it has not been pleasant, but I can push myself to continue. That is totally different than when we are dealing with a certain thing during a session - or when I am trying to tell her out loud or examine my feelings. Yes – it is difficult, and yes, I want to be able to stop if it becomes way overwhelming. But - especially with my feelings – my instinct is to avoid. And I need a push sometimes. It’s different than being able to push myself in general to try to deal with everything. Does that make sense?
What do I tell her I need? I’m not sure. Can you help with that?
Busy morning already at work. I decided to bring my dog with me. Unfortunately, I was on a conference call this morning and she wouldn’t stop whining. (Fortunately, it was a call with my dad, a VP of the bank and their Ohio attorney, all of whom I’ve known since I was a kid, so they understood). She is laying on her blanket chewing a giant rawhide candy cane right now. She apparently just doesn’t want me talking on the phone. :)
Yesterday when I told her I wanted to go through the feelings at the same time, she said that when I get to a point where I start feeling strong feelings of guilt or shame or self-blame, she wants me to tell her, and then she will help me back away from that. She said we will deal with those feelings, but separately and later. She said those feelings are “special” and need to be focused upon separately. ??? I get that - kind of - and I think that will help because in a lot of things, my guilt/shame is so overwhelming that I can’t tell if I have any other kinds of feelings there. But the shame is going to be a pretty constant feeling. Just being partially undressed brought on shame, and that never changed until they left, let alone the other stuff.
And I noticed yesterday — Linda tends to ask what I am thinking – not what I am feeling. But she does ask how I feel on the suds scale or whether I am in memories or if I am feeling intense feelings. But she usually doesn’t ask what those feelings are. One time, a few months ago, when I was feeling like I was going to explode, she asked me to try to write down all the feelings I was having. I did, and the next session gave her a page filled with everything I thought I was feeling at all. She seemed overwhelmed by it. She asked me about a few things on the page, but then we never talked about it again.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.


Pushing yourself in therapy is a good thing. It means, like you said, that you want to get better. You want to work through this. But while pushing yourself is good, not getting guidance from Linda is not. You need to know why you are talking about a certain thing or why you are avoiding it. You also need to know what you are feeling. For example, if you start to talk about when those guys first touched you and you knew you were in trouble and in therapy you start to back off and push Linda away, that is a good point in which to stop and see what you are feeling and why you are pushing away (putting your defenses up). In therapy, I would say to you "what are you feeling right now?". And depending on your answer, I would proceed one way or another.

I would talk to Linda about checking in with you. She needs to know that there is a difference for you between when you feel overwhelmed and need to take a step back and when you need some prompting from her. The only way she will know that is if she asks you what you are feeling.

I'm not sure why Linda is treating your self blame as a different issue. It is connected with what happened to you. I can see that she might mean that blaming yourself is about you and not so much about what the guys did, but even then it is connected. You may want to ask her more about why she wants to look at the self blame separately.

Maybe she does feel overwhelmed by feelings. It could be she has her own issues with it or she uses more of a cognitive type of therapy rather than a feeling based therapy. That would make sense. You may want to ask her that as well. What type of therapy she practices would make a difference in how she approaches your issues.


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