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Old 02-26-2013, 04:23 PM   #1
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Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

Hi.

I moved away from home a little over seven years ago. I started seeing a therapist shortly afterwards. I've been seeing the same therapist all that time, for the past seven years. She has been very helpful to me.

However, for the past two and a half years, I feel as though I've been treading water. I feel as though I'm going nowhere. If anything, I feel as though I'm going backwards. This isn't good; and it's been going on for a while.

I don't blame my therapist for this. Obviously, it's my responsibility to put one foot in front of the other and make things happen. But at the same time, I feel as though I'm no longer really benefiting from therapy. Or maybe I'm no longer benefiting from this particular therapist. I don't know which.

A year ago I told her that I wanted to take a month off from therapy and she threw a fit. "I thought you really liked me! I thought we were friends!" I felt as though I was breaking up with a girlfriend and I wasn't. And I wasn't even attempting to permanently sever the relationship, I just wanted a month off. One month. Her reaction, quite frankly, really angered me off. I found it unprofessional and a little creepy.

The issue is this: I do like having someone to talk to in case of emergencies. I'm not very good at opening up to people in my personal life and I have come to trust this woman over the past seven years. She knows more about my life than anyone. And, in spite of the tone of the last paragraph, I do like her and appreciate the help she's given. I just don't know that I'm getting anything out of it anymore.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure what I'm looking for by posting this. Just ideas, I guess. It's a huge decision for me, because I've been going nearly every week for seven years.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

Last edited by mod85; 03-19-2013 at 05:44 PM.

 
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off...?

In my opinion, the way she responded to your wish to take off is uncalled for. I recommend trying a new one. A new perspective might be what you need. I know it's hard to find a new counselor/therapist because they have to get to know you before they can really be of any help and that takes time. I've had several first time visits and afterward just said "ah the heck with it. I'll just deal with it myself". I am in the process of sorting myself out. Started seeing a psychologist after about a decade with no help. I also recommend having a checkup with your physician and get full blood work done. If you're not into physical fitness, try doing something more active like gym, biking, walking/running, etc. It helps.

Last edited by Buck8466; 02-26-2013 at 06:26 PM.

 
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:08 PM   #3
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off...?

I agree that her response was uncalled for. It was creepy, because it made me question whether there was something else going on. I mean, I've been seeing her for seven years, so the relationship is not strictly "professional," because it's hard not to get attached to someone after seven years; but it was like I was breaking up with someone. I had to spend the entire session consoling her and telling her that it was just for a month. And it almost made me feel as though I was doing something wrong by wanting a month off. I felt guilty and I had nothing to feel guilty for.

This therapist is the only person that I've seen since I moved away from my parents. She was the first one to return my call the night I called a bunch of therapists.

I'm 29 now. I've been living here since I was 22, only a few years out of my teens. I just feel like I'm going nowhere. I'll be 30 in six months and that scares the hell out of me. I feel so unaccomplished. That I've done nothing with my life and that the past seven years, particularly the past three years, were a total waste. I feel as though I wasted my 20's and I'll never have that time back. And though 30 isn't old, I feel like I'm about to turn 80.

I do exercise regularly. I eat healthy. I'm in good shape. To look at me, you'd never think, "There's a person who is depressed." But at the same time, that's a lot of nonsense, because you could say that about a lot of people who are thoroughly miserable. You can't judge a book by its cover.

I see the therapist tomorrow. I doubt I'll broach the subject. I think I need to think about it some more.

Thank you for the response.

Last edited by GJ777; 02-27-2013 at 04:10 PM.

 
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:50 PM   #4
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off...?

Don't sweat your age or beat yourself up over how you spent your last few years. I agree that people can get attached like your situation with your therapist, however, you need to do what is best for YOU. You stated above that you are unhappy with your position in life. Make some changes. Try a new therapist. Sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone in order to grow.

 
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off...?

Well, I did it... Sort of... I caved and told her I'd see her in a month. That I'd take a month off and we'd reconvene at the end of March.

She sort of guilted me into it. At one point she said she felt "used" by me.

I think I will schedule some appointments with other therapists in the time between now and our tentative follow up appointment.

 
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:33 PM   #6
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off...?

So, two weeks into my break from therapy, she calls me up and leaves a voice mail saying that she's "thinking of me" and "misses me." I didn't respond and a few hours later, I received a text message telling me that she's "wondering how I'm doing."

My Dad thinks she's in love with me. I really, really want to believe that this is more of a maternal thing, but, honestly, I'm starting to get creeped out. I had told her I wanted a break and two weeks into it, she's calling me... This is my therapist...

Thoughts?

 
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Old 03-16-2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off...?

I agree she is exhibiting creepy behavior. I think one way of approaching this situation is considering what would you do if you found out she's in love with you or has a maternal love for you. Does knowing her motive for calling you change how you will respond to this situation? If you think it may help, perhaps you could call her back and ask her why is she contacting you when a month hasn't passed since you last saw her? If not, I would say tell her you no longer wish to have contact and be done with it. If she still contacts you, ignore her to show her you're serious about not wanting to talk to her anymore.

Have you been able to see any other therapists in the last two weeks? If so, they may give their opinion on this situation from their perspective as a therapist.

Last edited by flamesabers; 03-16-2013 at 03:48 PM.

 
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:48 PM   #8
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

Hello. Thank you for your response.

I have not seen any other therapists. I'm trying to take a bit of a break from therapy. Not permanently, but a while off, just to see how it goes.

I think that if I queried her about why she contacted me only two weeks after our break, she would say that she "misses me" or is "thinking about me." The question is in what respect does she miss me? My Mom, who lives a ways away and doesn't see me frequently, misses me. That's maternal love. An ex-girlfriend might miss me, too (though I doubt it, haha). That's a completely different type of missing me from the way my Mother misses me. I sincerely doubt that my therapist would ever flat out tell me that she's in love with me unless she's duped herself into believing that I feel the same way. I find that real hard to believe; but I also didn't think I'd be making this post, either.

During our last conversation, she told me that, "I don't think you realize how much I care about." And I said something like, "I know you care about me." And she said something like, "I don't think you realize how much." This made me feel uncomfortable, but I wanted to believe it was maternal affection. I guess I've sort of just been ignoring reality, maybe. I don't know.

The thing that is really unsettling is that if she does have "feelings" for me, has she been giving me legitimate advice? Has she been pulling some Svengali type of behavior to keep me coming back? I've been seeing her for seven years.

I don't know that if I knew how she felt it would change my decision. It might. If it's a maternal affection, than I can assume that her advice has been in my best interest, or at least what she thinks is in my best interest. If it's romantic affection, she may have been giving me advice based on what she wants me to do and not on what she thinks is best for me.

I don't know. Very confused now. I guess I sort of always suspected this.

 
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:16 PM   #9
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

I think regardless of whether it's a romantic or maternal love, she should respect your decisions and not try to pressure you to put her needs above your own. I'm not saying she has to approve your decision to not see her anymore, but if she cares about you as much as she says she does, she should abide by your desire to be left alone.

When she told you that you don't know how much she cares for you, I think that may have been a good opportunity to find out how she really feels about you. If you talk to her again, maybe you should bring that up with her? Maybe that's her way of hinting to you that she wants to express her feelings about you?

I don't know if you have noticed, but it sounds like she's mostly talking about herself when she leaves messages for you. Instead of saying something like "you're always welcome to return if you need additional therapy," she says she misses you. In other words, it's like she's more focused on herself than acting like a therapist who cares about the well-being of her patients.

 
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:46 AM   #10
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Exclamation Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

Hi. I was just reading some posts to try to deal with my current situation when I came across your post. I had no intentions of signing up, but having read about your dilemma, I felt the need to help out.

I cannot believe the lack of professionalism displayed by your therapist. If anything, she is the one who needs help. Her actions are a complete breach of ethics and a breach of trust. She should have her license revoked. She has crossed the line and has taken advantage of your situation. She has taken an oath to help people but instead has been using it to her advantage. You were supposed to be there to get help and it sounds like the tables are turned, that you are the one helping her. I would be having a serious talk with her boss or the company she represents. If you feel awkward, then your feelings are justified. Never question those feelings. If your instincts are telling you to seek another therapist, then that's what you should do. It sounds like the only person setting you back is her. I guarantee that if you find another therapist, you will feel like your life is moving forward again.

Please get out of this situation. It sounds like she is infatuated with you and can no longer be objective. I feel genuinely bad for you because people living with depression have a hard enough time living day to day, specially if you have trust issues.

Good luck to you. I hope it all works out. You deserve better.

 
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:27 AM   #11
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flamesabers View Post
I think regardless of whether it's a romantic or maternal love, she should respect your decisions and not try to pressure you to put her needs above your own. I'm not saying she has to approve your decision to not see her anymore, but if she cares about you as much as she says she does, she should abide by your desire to be left alone.

When she told you that you don't know how much she cares for you, I think that may have been a good opportunity to find out how she really feels about you. If you talk to her again, maybe you should bring that up with her? Maybe that's her way of hinting to you that she wants to express her feelings about you?

I don't know if you have noticed, but it sounds like she's mostly talking about herself when she leaves messages for you. Instead of saying something like "you're always welcome to return if you need additional therapy," she says she misses you. In other words, it's like she's more focused on herself than acting like a therapist who cares about the well-being of her patients.
You are correct and I have noticed that, though, like I said, I think I'm trying not to notice it. I'm trying to believe otherwise, because the idea is repugnant and unethical and I've trusted this person more than I've trusted anyone, including my family. I mean, I'd really like to believe that she views me maternally or as a friend, because I can understand that after seven years of intense communication with someone it's hard not to develop a fondness or feeling for that person that transcends the professional relationship. But the more I think about some of the things she's said and done over the past couple of years, the more I think that something weird is going on. And I also think that it's unprofessional for her to develop a friendship with a client. Several years ago, she was on vacation with her husband overseas and she was casually texting me from some airport during layover and I was thinking, "What the heck is going on here? I don't want to be your buddy..." I've sort of tried to distance myself from between session interaction, but she will still text me from time to time and ask how I'm doing (I mean prior to our recent break).

I'm 29. We're not talking Anne Bancroft in The Graduate, here. This is a woman who is much, much older than me. She is, most likely, in her 60's, or maybe even 70's. So the idea of her thinking that I'd be romantically or sexually interested in her is absurd. That's why I find it hard to believe that she would ever confess to being "into" me, unless she's delusional. I don't even know if I'd want to know that. It's just weird.

The thing is, this is not the first time this has happened... When I was 19, I was seeing a different therapist while I was living with my Mom and this therapist made sexual overtures toward me. I was sitting on a couch showing her some papers (I don't remember what papers) and she was sitting next to me and she started rubbing my head. This woman was younger than my present therapist, but I was 19 (maybe 20) and I sort of talked myself into believing that this was a maternal gesture... Again, probably I just wanted to believe that, so I chose to believe that.

 
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:39 AM   #12
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artsey View Post
Hi. I was just reading some posts to try to deal with my current situation when I came across your post. I had no intentions of signing up, but having read about your dilemma, I felt the need to help out.

I cannot believe the lack of professionalism displayed by your therapist. If anything, she is the one who needs help. Her actions are a complete breach of ethics and a breach of trust. She should have her license revoked. She has crossed the line and has taken advantage of your situation. She has taken an oath to help people but instead has been using it to her advantage. You were supposed to be there to get help and it sounds like the tables are turned, that you are the one helping her. I would be having a serious talk with her boss or the company she represents. If you feel awkward, then your feelings are justified. Never question those feelings. If your instincts are telling you to seek another therapist, then that's what you should do. It sounds like the only person setting you back is her. I guarantee that if you find another therapist, you will feel like your life is moving forward again.

Please get out of this situation. It sounds like she is infatuated with you and can no longer be objective. I feel genuinely bad for you because people living with depression have a hard enough time living day to day, specially if you have trust issues.

Good luck to you. I hope it all works out. You deserve better.
Well, welcome to the board!

I don't think she reports to any higher authority. I think she's, like, an independent contractor, or something.

I don't want to totally trash this woman. She has been a great deal of help to me. Years ago, I was going through a real lousy situation and she was very helpful during it.

That said, yes, lately it has seemed that our sessions are more about her need to see me and that's totally inappropriate. If she did develop some sort of feeling for me, I think the professional thing to do would have been to recognize it and sever the relationship. As my Father said, "A good therapist knows when he or she is no longer helping you." She should also recognize that a romantic attachment to me is COMPLETELY out of line.

I'm 99.9% certain that I'm going to terminate this relationship. I don't know how to do it. I'm really horrible at dumping people. Haha. I'm supposed to see her a week from today and I really don't want to, but I also feel like maybe it's better to do it in person.

 
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:55 PM   #13
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

I guess the best thing to do is tell her the truth, that you feel uncomfortable around her and that you need to move on. Best to clear the air. The truth is always best. If she is infatuated with you, maybe talking it through will clear the air before you leave. I hope for your sake that you can find the strength to do it and not feel guilty. I also hope she isn't infatuated with you. Maybe you remind her of a son or a past relationship.

In any respect, I wish you the best of luck. I've been on the receiving end of something like this too and it took a long time to get over. I understand the creepiness of the situation. Keep us posted and good luck!

 
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:40 AM   #14
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

I don't know that I'll tell her that. I think that would really hurt her feelings and that isn't what I want. She's a nice person.

The thing is, aside from this tangential issue of whether she's infatuated with me, the main point is that I just don't feel like I'm benefiting from our sessions, anymore. I've been treading water for a long time and I don't think seeing her is helping me. It has gotten to the point where I dread going there.

I think that what I need to do is tell her that I think it's best for me to move on.

The problem is, when I've tried to do this in the past, she gets really unprofessional and makes catty remarks (for instance, two weeks ago she said, "Lots of people benefit from therapy. I don't know why YOU haven't been able to find it useful.") and gets all... the way people often get when they're being dumped. And I'm really bad at dumping people, so I get sensitive and give in.

 
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:21 AM   #15
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Re: Therapy Counterproductive? Taking time off... ?

WOW just wow......so her needs to see you are becoming more important than your need to see her.....well then maybe she should be paying you!
I am very put off and uncomfortable about her behavior and would suggest that possibly she needs therapy herself......possibly she is co-dependent....
The way she is acting is unprofessional and THEN some.....
using guilt to manipulate you? You are in an unhealthy relationship with your therapist......I don't see how this could be helpful to you. I wouldn't go back to her after your hiatus.....there is something very wrong here.....
I might even consider reporting her, her behavior is bordering on unethical to say the least.....

 
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