The Therapists

My individual therapy session was cancelled today because my therapist, such a lovely lady, is having to relive a personal tragedy week that is breaking her heart.

Oh my gosh! It makes me feel so guilty that I’ve being pouring my heart out to her, telling her all sorts of silly little things that have upset me, while never knowing that she is carrying this hurt around with her. I feel somehow that I should have known, I should have thought to ask. How much do patients know about the lives of their therapists? They always seem so happy, calm and secure, but of course they are not – they are human like the rest of us.

And next week, how do I look her in the eye without going to hug her to try and make her feel better, to tell her I’m there for her if she needs someone to talk to? I know she wouldn’t take me up on that offer but I want to let her know I’m there for her too. She’s given me so much already and I’ve taken it and I don’t know what I can do to give back.

I would love to know more about my therapists but I’m never sure where the boundaries lie. I know in very traditional therapy that there was a very definite patient-carer relationship, but in our Schema therapy there are hugs and they do discuss so35696dea9372b97c7e0addf8433b496cme outside experiences with us, especially within the group. They want us to feel like a family and like we can all share together. So when we hold hands as a group, the therapists join in. But somehow this feels a bit harder in a one-to-one situation.

Basically guys, I’m asking for advice. Is there anything (bearing in mind how shy and British I can be) that I can do to show my therapist I care, without crossing any awkward boundaries?

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4 thoughts on “The Therapists

  1. I can totally empathise there and admit I don’t know the answer, but maybe there isn’t one! Realising a therapist is a real human being and has struggles and upsets like other people has always been something I’ve struggled with. I know when my primary nurse suddenly went off on long-term sick due to family issues, I felt horrendous. It’s difficult for the reasons you said – feeling sad for them and wanting to let them know you care, whilst feeling rubbish for having shared what now seems a trivial problem. I think I gave my nurse a card when I found out, because it meant I could show I cared but meant she didn’t have to talk about it. Would that feel okay do you think? (Oh my goodness, that’s such a mental health thing to say/ ask!) It probably will be a bit awkward when you next see her, but I’m sure she’ll still be wanting to hear the kind of stuff you’ve been talking about previously, and wouldn’t want her personal heart ache to interfere with your work together. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I wouldn’t bring it up unless she does. You might be a bit more “easy” in what you work on with her. And be careful to be very kind. But I feel like their lives are their own business unless they share with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know! With my ex psych whom I got to hug (usually no hugs in traditional therapy yeah, she referred me on to my current individual schema therapist – there isn’t group schema in my area), I usually shyly told her that I hoped she was okay.

    She was expecting. I also gave her a card before she went on maternity leave. It was also when we informally terminated. 🙂

    She told me not to worry about her, that she has good support (I expressed worry) and that I didn’t need to take care of her (I’m a caretaker, go figure!). AND she said she felt my care and concern. 🙂

    I guess I’m saying – go on and tell her! 🙂 It’s being authentic, which is what she’s modeling in schema therapy too, right? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am born and bred in a very reserved Asian culture too, so I feel I can relate a bit to British reserve!

    Something like a brief touch in therapy was so foreign to me. (It is still very rare) and I’m not used to rare therapist self disclosure too. And it took me many months to work up the courage to ask if I could hug my therapists!

    I’m sure your therapist will appreciate your care and concern even if does have to keep therapy focused on YOUR needs, not hers. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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