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One Incident = Loss of Trust?


Guest LeTigre

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Guest LeTigre

Ok.

I've been seeing the same therapist for 3 years off and one (depending on whether I'm in school or not) and she's definitely saved my life on a few occasions by having me committed etc.. but now I have a problem.

A few weeks ago I had a really really bad spell of anxiety/agitation/panic where I started hallucinating and raging so I emailed her really scared not knowing what was going on.. So I went to see her the next day just expecting to talk. I wasn't suicidal but still pretty anxious. I wasn't really able to talk when I first went in and after about 10 minutes of silence she's like...I don't believe you aren't suicidal and I'm calling your parents to which I responded to by reassuring her I wasn't in my least crazy tone of voice. So we argued for a while and she eventually called my parents. She told them that she didn't believe that I was telling her the truth about my suicidality. For a couple weeks previous she kept mentioning drugs and I kept telling her no because I was doing very well for quite a while without them. I believe she just decided to bail on me so that could get her way by going back to my pdoc and get drugs (which has happened btw). Another crucial thing she said very recently (2 days) before the incident was that I should feel safe talking to her about the hallucinations etc without fear that she was going to call the hospital or my parents.

All in all I completely disagree with her decision that day even though in the end, I did benefit from it. When I confronted her with it she didn't back down, standing by her decision to do what she did.

But now I am stuck feeling like I can't trust her or any therapist because all they'll do is bail at the first sign of true distress (ie not the "my boyfriend dumped me" kind of distress) in an attempt to cover their own ass, regardless of whether they care or not. The thought of doing without therapy is a bad one...I need all of the support I can get, especially when I'm in university (I have isolated myself a great deal) but what's the point if I can't trust anyone?  I have tried to go back in my mind saying, 'ok. has she helped me in the past' and I really don't know the answer to that..sometimes I think yes, other times I think no.

Have any of you had experiences like this? Is there any way I can rebuild the trust between us or should I just rely on meds from here on in (a terrifying prospect to say the least)

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Hi LeTigre, welcome.

Sounds like you and your therapist have been through some rough times.  Three years of therapy seems like you have had a good bond.

While you may NOT have been thinking of suicide, nonetheless you admit that you were quite disturbed, and your description seems to jibe. No therapist or Pdoc can read minds.  They can only rely on their training, their experience with you, and ultimately their best judgement.

While a therapist has an obligation to support you and guard your confidences, that does not override their obligation to keep you safe and alive, nor their legal obligation to act to prevent you from hurting yourself or others. They don't make those decisions lightly because every patient that suicides shocks them as well. 

Even though they don't want to antagonize you, they would rather have you be angry at them, even quit them, than deal with the pain of losing you, and to a lesser degree risk losing their professional license, livelihood and going to jail for failure to act.

This is a matter of a hurt to your pride. You admit that your therapists actions were ultimately helpful. You will have to decide whether to blow this up into a big deal and lose 3 years of successful working relationship, only to have to start over again from square one with someone new.

I would suggest that you schedule at least one more session and discuss this with your therapist. It won't be easy, but I think you owe it to yourself and as a courtesy to your therapist.

Best,

A.M.

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Guest LeTigre

I absolutely agree with you that it was within her legal rights and responsibilities to do what she did. In the past when she has done much worse (put me in the worst hospital I have ever been to) I have agreed with her actions.

I have discussed the incident with her and she refuses to admit things that she said to my parents and to myself. I understand that she stands by her opinion and that's understandable, but to deny things that she did or said really kind of irks me. I was not that out of it that I didn't understand what was being done or said (neither were my parents) and I resent the fact that she is treating me as though I was. In addition, I really believe that she had an opportunity to force me on medication through her actions when she knew my feelings about it, and she took advantage of it.  If my faith in her was broken of course I would turn to meds... Some may view that as noble sacrifice to get the best care for me but I believe I have the right to determine what is best for me, without her using her legal power to force my hand.

What I don't agree with is that it is a matter of pride and that I am blowing it up into a big deal. It is a big deal. This is my life. I'm not just about to just surrender myself to someone or forget about this because it's easier and 'they know best' because i've seen them for a while.  The 3 years I have been working with her have been ok but not close to perfect, and perhaps I haven't been getting the care I need. I don't know.  That's the real problem here...How do you know when you've been helped or not when there are so many variables changing at the same time?

I certainly don't want to quit a 3 year thing only to start over with someone else. I'm not that flip. If I can't make it work with her and trust her, I won't be able to trust anyone, because all therapists have to work under the same conditions she is. 

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I have discussed the incident with her and she refuses to admit things that she said to my parents and to myself. I understand that she stands by her opinion and that's understandable, but to deny things that she did or said really kind of irks me.

Regarding your response to A.M.'s reply: these parts were not particularly clear to me in your original post. They do make the situation different. From questioning a situation to feeling like something is genuinely amiss, to put it lightly.

Some may view that as noble sacrifice to get the best care for me but I believe I have the right to determine what is best for me, without her using her legal power to force my hand.
I don't understand what is 'noble' about a therapist doing their job, though you seem to think she did this with little thought and perhaps abused her position but don't provide any reasonable explanation for why.

  By being a client, you agree to give her that power, should a situation arise, and to trust her judgement.

  They have an obligation to determine what is best for you when they think you can't or won't. That is one of the reasons you go to see them. 

Putting that aside- you have said that the medication has ultimately benefitted you. If you have the right to determine what is best for you, and are able to do that, why were you refusing medication?

If you can not determine what is best for you, than your therapist must make a decision to do so.

What I don't agree with is that it is a matter of pride and that I am blowing it up into a big deal. It is a big deal. This is my life. I'm not just about to just surrender myself to someone or forget about this because it's easier and 'they know best' because i've seen them for a while. The 3 years I have been working with her have been ok but not close to perfect, and perhaps I haven't been getting the care I need.

It sounds like you are really pissed.

I might be too, but that doesn't mean she made the decision lightly or that it needs to destory this relationship- which is really what it is. [i'm not sure but maybe that was what AM was getting at. It is a big issue, but is one fight worth 'breaking up?']

But it sounds like you have been getting the care you need. It also sounds like this time she did force her opinion. That doesn't mean your feelings don't come into play.

It is your life.

Choose a different therapist if you want.

Stay with this one who knows you and come up with some better specific communication so you don't feel screwed over

If I can't make it work with her and trust her, I won't be able to trust anyone, because all therapists have to work under the same conditions she is.
If you are not healthy mentally you are not always able to assess your state of health accurately and therefore may not be able to make the best decisions for yourself. A good therapist will not abuse this priviledge. Deciding whether or not to accept that is making a choice about your life.

I was not that out of it that I didn't understand what was being done or said (neither were my parents) and I resent the fact that she is treating me as though I was.

It isn't clear exactly what happened. But given the general outline:

In a similar situation, I would probably be shook up for awhile. Because I didn't know what the right decision was and refused something that ultimately benefitted me. Because someone else knew what would be better for me than I did. It can be really unsettling. Sometimes you need to do things you don't want to- which includes realizing some limitations you have.

Though every situation is different for everyone.

You can't be productive with someone that you continue to resent.

~navy~

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Guest LeTigre

I don't understand what is 'noble' about a therapist doing their job, though you seem to think she did this with little thought and perhaps abused her position but don't provide any reasonable explanation for why.

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