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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, -Can I trust my therapist?- I've been seeing my

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Hi Kate,
-Can I trust my therapist?-
I've been seeing my therapist(male) for about 2 years now(once every 4 weeks). I think he's easy to talk to and I think I'm relaxed to be with him. I always write down what I've done the month on paper and I hand it to him. There have been a lot of improvements so far. On the first session, he asked me some questions about my past but after that he won't ask me much about my past, and I've always felt dissatisfied about it.
I would like to talk about my past with him and let it go. But I feel reluctant to tell him about my past and I don't remember most of it well. I told him in my last session that I have a lot of feelings behind these written words and that we would need to look more deeply into what is going on inside my mind to improve in the real sense of the word and that the changes I'd made so far were only 'superficial'.
He said something like "what you wrote is what you really wanted to tell me and I think it's a good thing to be able to write concisely and clearly like you always do."
Also "I didn't ask you much about your past because on the first session I thought that you'd gone through alot and that it would be exhausting and painful for you to tell me about your past."
He also said, "Talking on and on about your painful past is not always a good way to feel better because it can aggravate your pain and it's not always necessary to do so to solve your current problems and it's exhausting to begin with. I think the better way would be that you have a future image of yourself and take necessary steps to go where you would like to go. If something stands in your way, we can work on them. You might need to talk about some of your past but only when necessary. If you think you've achieved your goal but still don't feel right, then it means the treatment process hasn't finished, no matter what other people say about how well you seem you've become because in the end, this(therapy) is for you and how you feel is important."
I guess he's specialized in CBT/future-oriented approach, and I agree with what he said and I felt respected, but part of me doesn't feel right about it. But there're at least two reasons I don't think I should follow my gut.
1. I might be experencing mild negative transference towards him; I often feel irritated after the sessions but I don't see why. This is probably the reason why I called my changes 'superficial', when in reality, they aren't. And this is probably what's making it hard for me to trust him. But during the sessions I have positive feelings about him.
2. I'm used to being intruded and I can't help but expect him to do so by asking me too much questions about my past which doesn't sound healthy to me. And this is probably the reason why I always feel dissatisfied about him not asking me much about it.
I've seen two other therapists and I knew they weren't good therapists so I stopped seeing them and I don't regret it. I've made a lot of improvements since I started seeing this therapist and I don't want to end this relationship now. Should I tell him about my concerns? Can I trust him? Do you think that I don't really want to tell anyone about my past because that's what I've never done to him? And is that the messege he got from me?
Hi, it's good to talk with you again!

It sounds like what is going on with your therapist is his therapeutic approach is affecting how you feel about your past. In other words, you feel the need to talk about your past and your therapist's approach is to focus on your present and future feelings.

From what you said about him, it seems that you can trust your therapist. That may not be the issue as much as the differences in your needs compared to what type of therapy your therapist practices. You feel the need to work through your past, which is most likely the cause of how you feel now. But your therapist is redirecting you to focus on things like your future, which while in therapy may make sense to you but after you leave, your focus goes back to your past.

Working through your past, even if you do not remember much of it (very typical for someone who has experienced abuse or neglect), is important to you. Expressing this need to your therapist can help you deal with your feelings around it. The only issue is whether or not he might be willing to focus on your past in therapy. He may not and that leaves you with two choices- continue working with him and not dealing with your past in therapy (maybe on your own) or switching therapists to someone who does work with past history to solve current issues. While this may not be appealing either way because you like working with this therapist, unless he is willing to change his approach, that may be what you are stuck with.

You also can research your past on your own. It is not the best path to take because the support from a therapist would help you work through it. But if your past is bothering you and you feel the need to address it, then you can use self help to explore your issues.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi! Thanks for your reply.

If I use self help, do I need to tell him or should I keep it a secret?

Self help is a great addition to therapy. And I recommend it to anyone who is in therapy as a supplement. You can choose to tell your therapist or not, but sharing what you find may help. You may want to ask him that if you do find things out about your past and how it affects you now, if he is willing to give you feedback about it. He may or may not because of his therapeutic view.


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