I Miss My Therapist

Panic attack

Image via Wikipedia, Yet another depiction of the sick woman being treated by the all-knowing and reassuring male-doctor. About as stereotypical as it gets. JB

When I was in therapy remembering sexual abuse that actually never occurred, I was totally dependent on my psychiatric team for support, comfort, and scraps of love. When any one of them went on vacation, left their shift, had the day off, or was sent to work on another unit – I was devastated and not sure I would make it until I saw them again.

I obsessed about them, cried, held my teddy bear, took more meds, slept, and stared into space or at a TV screen counting the days and hours until they returned. The constant state of panic was all consuming.

Thankfully, that infantile need disappeared when I fled therapy. Coincidence?

Below are thoughts of people in therapy for dissociative identity disorder/multiple personality disorder found elsewhere on the Internet.

Published on December 30, 2009

This time last year, I was freaking out …I was counting the seconds until she returned. Going from three days of analytical bliss a week to zero – for two weeks in a row – was a sleepless demon that required constant taming.

Missing your therapist – a LOT – during the break is definitely a common thing. … And more than once for me, getting through that span of time felt like crossing a vast desert. It can be lonely without your therapist, even if you’re surrounded by people who love you, and life is busy. …

When that longing would come on – for the relief and release and risk and recovery of the session room – the summer or winter breaks …could feel agonizing.

Full Story Psychology Today, December 30, 2009.

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Related links:

Feeling so attached to my therapist I can’t cope

…Feel so raw and vulnerable and scared and lonely and hurt and mad and YUCK and she’s the only person on the planet who understands me and says the right thing and makes me feel safe.But I only get to see her for two hours a week and it feels HORRID! I honestly wanted to grab her leg in session today, lie on the floor and not let her go!up today, and it hurts. Retrieved 6/14/11

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I think I’m addicted to therapy and maybe too attached to my therapist. It just feels as though those 45 minutes are the only time I feel capable of expressing myself and venting my frustrations. … I may just be using my therapist to dump all of my feelings on, when I can’t talk to anyone else. He seems to genuinely understand me and believe in me. …”
Retrieved 4/31/11.

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“…Currently I’m sitting at the beginning of my therapist’s one week vacation …She’s in my life for two hours a week, yet knowing she isn’t around for an entire nine days hit me hrd… I realize just how much I rely on her or what she brings to my life and I’m terrified of losing it. …
She’s my foundation, upon which everything else has settled. I count on our regularly schedule appointments. …It’s part of my routine, which I find safety in. ….I feel disconnected and lost. … I feel lonely and afraid.
…My PTSD and dissociative symptoms tend to go through the roof as July approaches, and I need her to help me keep them in check. …I don’t want to put myself on the verge of ending my life because I’m so miserable….She needs her time away, just as much as anyone else. My first reaction to missing her is to conclude that I need her too much, meaning I need emotionally pull away, which isn’t healthy. …”

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“Right now there are seven hours until i get to my therapists office and i am just trying to make it until then.”…

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“Is thinking about my therapist this much normal/healthy?”

I’ve been seeing a therapist for several months and I feel good about the progress I’ve made with her help and guidance. However, there are times when I can’t stop thinking about her, and I find that somewhat disturbing.

… I wouldn’t say that I’m in love with her, but I do have very warm feelings for her, as I would for a close friend or sibling. I get excited thinking about talking to her, and I feel energized even when I’ve had even the briefest contact by phone.

I understand that as a professional she needs to protect her boundaries… how do I resolve these feelings of curiosity about my therapist and wanting to be her friend? Retrieved 1/31/11.

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…”She’s in my life for two hours a week, yet knowing she isn’t around for an entire nine days hit me hard.

… My fear is if I’m not in a person’s routine than I’ll be completely forgotten, so I try to do what I can to stay “active” in a person’s mind by staying present in his or her life. … Basically, I feel like if I don’t make myself noticeable, then no one will see me and will ultimately forget I even exist.

So, this fear is amplified with my therapist because I do miss her while she’s away…. I’m afraid she’ll forget me. … She’ll realize how emotionally draining I am as a patient. I won’t be important to her anymore. I’ll have been replaced or just plain forgotten about. Retrieved 1/31/11.

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I’ve been through several terminations -each of them different.
The first I invested a lot in but felt was extremely damaging.  I was discharged from the service.  The T still worked there and I was still desperate for support and contact.  My mental health really deteriorated and I became extremely unwell. … I didn’t work through any of my termination issues, just pushed them away. Retrieved 1/30/11.

updated 12-13-14.

Do Not Copy Stamp by Karen Arnold

Creative Commons License
I Miss My Therapist by Jeanette Bartha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com.

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100 Comments

  1. lisz

     /  04/03/2013

    Can a muliple personality woman believe that I am in love with her?

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  2. K

     /  12/24/2011

    Unfortanutly, I see this occuring with a good number of mental health patients, dissociative or not. From what I have witnessed, those with either depression or borderline are the most dependent. There a great many with DID who are therapy dependent, but there are many seeking to escape their therapist as well. I find it a bit interesting that you only post one side of the story. Would it have been so difficult to find blog posts advertising the opposing view point?

    We have been to four therapists/psychologists/psychiatrists within the past four years. We have not as of yet stayed with a single one for longer than a few months because either we recognized that they were harming more than helping, or the initial issue was resolved to a satisfactory degree. As well, we have known many who are seeking to switch therapists because their current therapist is expecting a more personal relationship than is kosher.

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    • K, what opposing point are you thinking of?

      Even though a person jumps from therapist to therapist, they are still in the mental health system and dependent upon it. What are the reasons people switch therapists? Are they hopping to another therapist who supports multiple personalities, or finding ones that have other diagnosis’?

      I don’t think many people who are in therapy for MPD/DID can leave therapy. How can they? They are probably on some sort of medication if only for anxiety and PTSD. I think the majority of people who get into this therapy do not find a way out.

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      • K

         /  12/25/2011

        I believe we were referring to posts from those who are not quite so therapy dependent.

        I disagree with this, to some extent at least. If one is to give up on the mental healthcare system after only a few months with one therapist, this is highly illogical behaviour. It is possible to find others who are more capable of assisting with what is needed.

        I suppose it would depend on the person and their reasoning to enter therapy. I cannot speak for others.
        I know for ourselves, twice we left therapy because the issue was resolved and there was no further reason for such a type of therapist. The third time, it was for a difference in opinion. Our psychologist supported more New Age forms of treatment. She believed all our problems could be solved by tapping our forehead at the right pressure. We found this mildly insulting and disliked the idea of this being our main therapy variation when it was not yet wildly recognized as efficient. The final time, we actually left a DID therapist because they had treated too many cases of DID and had developed a bit of a God complex. They made judgements about what our system must be like before even asking us our name, and we considered this to be foolish.
        Currently, we do not have a therapist, and would see no reason to return to therapy unless something were to come up in our life that would require it.

        Medication does not tie one to a provider. If one believes the medication is being rightfully provided, it would be only logical for another provider to do the same, with perhaps better results in other areas.
        Of those with DID we speak to, I would estimate that a quarter have no therapist and half have switched therapists within the last six months. Of those with a therapist of some sort, seventy percent have a therapist that specialize in DID or inner family systems, twenty percent have therapists who are “winging it”, and the remaining ten percent have a therapist who refuses to believe in DID, yet will allow the patient to be treated for other issues.
        Of course, these statistics are a quick estimate based off of two main concentrations of those with dissociative disorders. Do not make a conclusion from this information.

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        • Wow, do I disagree with what you said about it being illogical for someone to leave the mental health care system after only a few months. It can be quite a healthy and logical choice. IMHO

          I’m glad to see you have a discerning nature regarding therapists and therapy – many people do not.

          Regarding medication. Wouldn’t a person with DID have to find a physician to dispense it? Leaving therapy would still require someone to remain in the mental health system if drug therapy is necessary and the general practitioner would have to agree to dispense psych meds.

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          • K

             /  12/26/2011

            Well, again, I guess it depends. But if you can try to find another, better therapist, it would be a good idea if the initial problem is still there.
            Weren’t you advising others to seek second opinions on DID…? Would that not entail going to another therapist, remaining in the system?

            That’s true. But at least some psychiatrists, from what I’ve seen, function differently. Once they conclude that yes, you require a certain medication, you only return once or twice a month to check up on that dosage and side affects. There’s not as much chance for actually therapy.

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          • Agreed, psychiatrist don’t do much therapy anymore – usually they do medication maintenance. This makes it vitally important for psychotherapists to be current on what researchers and authors are publishing.

            Yes, I urge people to get second opinions. Good point, yes they would remain in the system albeit for less time than a DID therapist would require.

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          • K

             /  12/26/2011

            Yes, that’s true.

            That’s not nesecarily true. If DID does exist, and they do have it, they’ll lose all process if they switch therapists to a non-believer and will have to return back to the start line later on, when their life falls apart again.
            Besides, just because a therapist doesn’t believe in DID does not make them a good therapist. If, as you claim, DID is not real but this patient became convinced they had it, they would be incredibly vunerable, correct? So a different therapist could again take advantage of them, perhaps with BPD this time, or Depression, or Schizophrenia, ect.
            Sorry, I like to play Devil’s Advocate.

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  3. geri cisk

     /  09/29/2011

    Yeah, extortion is the word I couldn’t think of.

    They raked in about 5M before the tables turned.

    J, you’re very welcome.

    Now that I’ve defamed Righthaven, can I change my name on this site — ha!

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    • I applaud you for using your real name, if you did. I don’t think you defamed Righthaven, you reported on a story. That’s how people get intimidated from writing and expressing themselves – by fear.

      The numbers of people writing blogs who do not hide behind fake names and identities are few.

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  4. geri cisk

     /  09/28/2011

    Jeanette and Doug, apparently a company was formed for the sole purpose of suing small-time bloggers who quoted articles taken from a certain newspaper. Their frivolous cases were eventually exposed, but not before several bloggers were bullied into making small settlements out of court. The company, Righthaven, sued on behalf of the newspaper. What I can’t figure out is why a newspaper would be involved in the first place, not to mention the bad press they got. I guess Righthaven and the newspaper thought it was a profitable venture within legal bounds. It backfired — the bloggers filed a class action suit against them.

    My point to Jeanette was that chit like this happens, so I want her to be careful 🙂

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    • Appreciate the information, G. It is kind of you.

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    • Yes, I haven’t had a chance to check out the case yet, but it sounds very interesting. Thank you. I feel that reform is obviously needed to expedite these cases and weed out the superfluous now that so many people can publish as individuals. From what I gather of the summary of this case though, it sounds like the bloggers were simply extorted, and I hope they have the opportunity and means to counter sue.

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  5. Geri – on the issue of superfluous lawsuits, let’s not get too worked up imagining that just because some greasy lawyer is willing to take somebody’s money to draw up papers that the person he’s milking will win the case or otherwise be compensated in any way when the court happens to see past an attempt to shut down a blogger. What recent case are you referring to anyway?

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    • Doug,

      I agree that we cannot determine that a frivolous case will be won just because it’s filed. I don’t think this is the point.

      The point, in my opinion, first is to tie up the time and resources of the accused. Secondly, to attempt to discredit. Three to be able to state forever and ever that someone has been sued without any need or ethical reasoning on their part to include that the case was thrown out, or dismissed for lack of evidence.

      Unfortunately, the concept of “freedom of speech” doesn’t exist any more than multiple personalities do.

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