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Getting to know a therapist


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So just had my 2nd session with my new therapist; this is probably my 5th or so in the last 5-6 years maybe... I forget. I struggle with most except for maybe my ADHD guy who was awesome, he had a great sense of humor and seemed more "real" than anyone else.

 

I'm just curious how long you think it takes to "click" with a therapist... that might not be the same as building trust... I don't know, I do that pretty quickly (too quickly maybe) with someone I like. But I don't want to waste my time or money if it's not right...

 

I spent at least 6 months working with a guy a couple years ago and wasn't 100% sure about him and he was just insightful enough that I thought it might work, and he was adamant that I needed to build a trusting relationship with a therapist (even if it wasn't him), and he's right... but his style was awful, I kept thinking we were going somewhere but apparently he's one of those who just lets me talk.

 

Anyway, this new one seems okay but much like most I've seen... it's funny I'm sure they say things like "Wow, you just seem like you're really struggling!" or something to be validating, but it makes me feel worse. Sounds so canned. I don't hate her just yet or anything, I just feel like we have to get all the crap out of the way first, not a phase I enjoy... plus feeling somewhat resistant and yet desperate for therapy at the same time.

 

Anyway, just curious how long in general people have felt like it's taken them to know whether they'll click or not...

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I would say it's pretty different from therapist to therapist.  My psychiatrist, I was pretty sure would work out from when I met her - it has in a lot of ways and hasn't in others.  My psychologist, I was really intimidated by at first, and I really didn't like her, but over time I came to be really fond of her and we actually turned out to be a great fit.  So who knows, really.

 

That being said, have you talked openly to this therapist about your concerns - something along the lines of what you wrote here?

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I'd start by bringing up the conversation about how you don't really feel validated by certain phrasing and see how responsive they seem with that. It will give you a lot of information.

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Thanks for the responses... yeah, it's pretty hard for me to bring stuff up; I'm really bad at confrontation... it's funny, in some ways one of the things that made me "like" my last therapist (at least at first) is that he pointed out that I NEVER made eye contact... I'm very open about myself, but when it comes to relating directly to another person... well, that's probably an issue for therapy! I might be able to bring it up at some point...

 

I did mention briefly what my impressions of DBT were... something to the effect of "it seems more like awareness than how to take actions and make real changes" but however I ended my diatribe she basically said, "Well that's definitely something DBT can help with"... so I don't know if I phrased it differently than I meant to, or if she was correcting a misunderstanding of my interpretation.

 

I think I get a little resistant and annoyed. Especially when they ask questions like, "what holds you back from doing XYZ?" or, "why are you feeling worse today?" etc... I don't know!! If I knew that, why would I be there??

 

I've actually suspected I seek out ways to be contradictory and argumentative... almost like therapy is another way to do that... probably being too analytical now.

 

Oh well, going to give it some time anyway :)

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I think I get a little resistant and annoyed. Especially when they ask questions like, "what holds you back from doing XYZ?" or, "why are you feeling worse today?" etc... I don't know!! If I knew that, why would I be there??

Well, to be fair, therapists are only humans who lack mind-reading powers. They only know what you are willing to tell them.

 

It sounds like you might want  some more semi-structured questions instead of purely open-ended questions like:

 

When did you FIRST notice your mood shift? Had it actually shifted earlier than when you first noticed it consciously? What were you doing at the time? What vulnerability factors (after having had a discussion about identifying vulnerability factors) played into the mood shift? etc 

 

Maybe? Just some thoughts.

 

As for the DBT part, there are actually LOTS of skills in the DBT program that help you take effective action about things in your life. I'm thinking in particular about the sections on interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation.

 

I actively encourage you to be skeptical... but also to give it 4-6 months if you are doing DBT skills with this new therapist. It really does take that long to get a solid sense of how DBT might be helpful because there's so much practice involved.

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Well, to be fair, therapists are only humans who lack mind-reading powers. They only know what you are willing to tell them.

 

 

Ha, well that's certainly true. Maybe that wasn't the question I was thinking of because I can see how maybe you might know what was blocking you but not how to get around it. She asked me something that seemed silly because it was like she was asking me how I could fix the problem, when it seemed pretty obvious from the beginning I had no idea, hence why I needed help. But that's a good thing to keep in mind. Another skill I lack is realizing how the things I say sound to others.

 

As for the DBT part, there are actually LOTS of skills in the DBT program that help you take effective action about things in your life. I'm thinking in particular about the sections on interpersonal effectiveness and emotion regulation.

 

 

Could you maybe give an example? I'll be the first to admit I haven't gone through the stuff in detail, but considering how much I've looked at (much of which seems like the same stuff over and over, which I'd expect), but I haven't seen anything that really talks about actions. I thought maybe if you weren't doing something you wanted to/should do, for example, was it really all about the emotions/thoughts about it, and "fixing" those just lets you move on? Maybe that's obvious... I guess I just need to be patient. 

 

Sorry... the more I think about it the more resistant I feel. So much of it just seems silly to me, especially because I'm a pretty rational person. I get emotional for sure, but I think it's justified... I don't beat myself about it, which seems to be the core issue for these programs. I have a lot of huge stresses so I think it's reasonable I'd be stressed and emotional... but it still sucks!!! So coping skills, yeah, I need that. The interpersonal stuff... ugh. I honestly haven't looked at a single page of it because that's the last thing on my mind. Which probably means it's what I need the most... talk about avoidance! I just don't like people. I don't like interacting, I'm very introverted. I don't even know if that's what it's about but just the word "interpersonal" makes me want to run and hide.

 

Okay, rambling way too much... just had a bad day :(

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