Jul
17

My Dual Thought Process in Therapy Sessions

By

mental health, recovery,

Everything felt NEW in the process. Everything WAS new! I had been so protected by my coping methods for so many years. When I started what I call “the process that worked” In my intake session with a new therapist, we talked about some of my coping methods, and my therapist mentioned that we would work on letting go some of my self control. I thought “I don’t think so, no freaking way” but I smiled and nodded. The truth is that I had no idea what he was talking about but it didn’t sound like something I wanted to try. I realize today he was talking about my coping methods. When I began to consider letting some of them go I quickly became very aware of my trust issues. For me, the therapy room became the tiny world where I would try out my new tools, new thoughts, new hopes and dreams. It would also be where I would face my fears, my false beliefs and the truth about my life and what had really happened to me.

 As soon as I made the decision to really engage in the process of recovery, the fears came up in a big way and those trust issues were more evident than ever before. My first fears about learning to live in a new world were about my tiny new world ~ the therapy and the therapist. First of all I had to know that I could escape the therapy room, it I needed to. Each session I checked around for the escape routes. There were two doors one leading outside and into a beautiful garden and one leading out of the office itself. I made sure that I could reach the garden door if I had to run. Sometimes I had to sit on my hands; I thought I would get violent. I was afraid to get angry, I was afraid to “do the wrong thing” and I was afraid that if I did the wrong thing that my therapist wouldn’t like me. I could not relax; I was so sure that I would make a wrong move, and if I did, then he would make a wrong move. I was afraid of the therapist, but yet saw him as my last hope. Looking back my adventures in therapy were a tiny mirror of how I lived my life. Everything looked fine on the outside but inside it was chaos.

 My therapist pointed out the escape routes in his office. I smiled nervously. Part of me was wondering if he knew that I had already planned my escape which meant that he would know that I didn’t trust him and that might hurt his feelings or make him angry; the other part of me immediately wondered why he was pointing the escape routes out to me. Was he going to do something to make me want to run? Was he going to try to trick me into trusting him? He told me that trust was something that came with time and that I didn’t have to trust him with anything until I felt more comfortable.  Looking back, he explained this really well, but in my mind I heard that I should not trust him because he was human and that I might need to run. I had had problems with therapists in the past. A few of them made passes at me or made it clear that they were attracted to me.  Part of me was pretty sure that I had caused the attraction and had sabotaged any help that they could have given me. I was afraid that I was going to do it again. I wanted help but I didn’t believe that anyone could help me; furthermore, I didn’t believe that I deserved it.

Even though I planned my escape should the need arise, I was absolutely sure that I would not use it even if I had to. I had frozen so many times before that I didn’t even trust myself to protect myself.

I wanted recovery but I was afraid of it. I wanted to trust someone to be able to help me, but I had learned my whole life that people rarely could be trusted. This is a difficult spot to be in when in counselling therapy because these trust issues and this mixed up thinking get in the way. A therapist can’t help you if you don’t or can’t tell him what is going on but the problem in most cases and certainly in my case was compounded by the fact that I didn’t really know what was wrong and I was pretty sure that the problem was me. I was afraid to tell the stories in case he validated that the problem was indeed me, and once again, I was afraid that he wouldn’t like me, therefore reject me and then my last chance would be gone.  I was also afraid he would like me (inappropriately). There were two distinct sides to everything that I thought, although I was not really that aware of it then.  Round and round I went, all my thoughts spinning and swirling in my head; most of them opposing each other. I had a lot to sort out and there were days when I wanted to give up ~ “Stop the world, I want to get off.”

Everything was hard. My therapist somehow picked out one thing for me to start with. The process was really truly difficult but the combination of wanting recovery so bad and some of the things that this therapist was saying enabled a little seed of hope for recovery and even a seed of hope for wholeness to take root and that is what kept me going. I fought for my life just a bit more then I fought the process at first. Eventually I fought the process less and less. Little by little the therapy helped, I got stronger, I learned how to feel and deal. I learned how to listen to my dual thought process and figure out the truth and false of each side of it. I learned how to stop spinning and sort my thinking out. It wasn’t super quick but it happened!

 My therapist told me that we would find the jewel that was unique to me, the gem inside me. (I thought he was the one who needed therapy but I smiled and nodded.) But once again, he was right. I found the jewel inside of me. And guess what? We all have one.

 Life is more colourful without the spin,

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Therapy

33 Comments

1

after doing well for a while, I had a major set back this last week and am now finding myself to be looking once agian for a therapist. Last one I had broke the trust issue. I needed to read this post today, thank you.

2

It is hard to do the trust thing. I had a T for over ten years and could never trust her. I often thought she wasn’t always truthful with me, and so my trust stopped right there. Then I got unceremoniously dumped by a very issue-laden wingnut which has scarred me more than I can feel just yet.

It’s tough when we learn so young that we can’t trust those who were suposed to be our caretakers. The whole trust/love thing gets into such a corkscrew and we know no different until we can let that one in who is actually willing to help us.

Sigh. A magic button would be so much easier ;). Thanks for this

3

Hi,

I’m excited to see your reflections. I’ve dedicated myself to promoting healing and ending sexual abuse everywhere– I’m happy to share in some way with others towards healing/ transformation/ happiness. My blog, “Healing and Spirituality” is a blog where I reflect on the joys and challenges of my life after dealing with clergy abuse. In it, I write about my own learning, share interviews with fellow advocates for healing and spiritual vitality, and address occasional societal issues.

Congrats on your healing, learning and sharing. Re: therapy, I’m getting good feedback from survivors and therapists that my workbook, “Healing the Sexually Abused Heart: A Workbook for Survivors, Thrivers, and Supporters” is a good resource for survivors to work with therapists. Keep up the good work. Peace.

Jaime

4

My experience has been that I thought that I trusted my therapist from the very beginning, but then found out that unconsciously I didn’t! I had a lot of internal resistance to so much and wasn’t even aware of that struggle. It has been an interesting adventure, learning where I have trust issues and why, then learning to work through them. And even now I would bet my life if asked, that I totally trust my therapist, and yet I know well enough that there are still some hidden fears that peek through on occasion that will evenutally need to be brought out fully and worked through. I think this is all very normal when developing that relationship, especially for survivors of abuse or people who have had difficult childhoods and never were able to develop the ability to trust those around them.

I do believe that having a good therapist is essential and I think that a person will know within a short period of time if they are not with a good match for them, but it is also important to understand that having trust issues will follow you from one therapist to another if you don’t recognize this as something that is separate from whether your therapist is a good fit for you or not.

5

Hey, Darlene –

Thank you so much for writing this . . . it is exactly what I’m dealing with right now with a new therapist . . . I can see that things are going to be different with him, but the idea of things being good scares me . . . I wonder if I really should trust him (won’t he surely pull the same crap the other therapists have pulled?)

Sometimes I feel so overly dramatic, but I don’t see any other way through.

Thank you!

– Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

6

George ~ I am so glad that this helped. I am so thankful that I persisted in this process, that I didn’t give up because I finally got the healing that I pursued for so long. I think it is excellent that you are going to keep going, to try again with a new therapist. If you feel like it, keep us posted. Hugs, Darlene

Splinty; I hear you. And sometimes I wonder if we let that “one” in because we are so ready, OR if it is something different about them. In my case I know it was a bit of both. I got lucky I think, and then I did the work. A magic button…….. I used to think I might find one that day. The truth set me free.. LOL
Hugs, Darlene

7

Hi Carla,
You know, I never did 100% trust my therapist; I think I got to 98% LOL…. he even encouraged me not to, but it was becuase I needed to learn how to operate in the real world. I had never done that before. I made sure I was safe, and I trusted his professional guidence but there was just one little nugget in me that held a little back.. after all he is a human, not a devine, and I had been taken way too many times. It all worked beautifully though, I got the help, did the work and reaped the rewards.
And I learned to love him and to trust that love and to accept that he had MY best interests at heart. He was my first real parent, and he taught me now to parent myself.
thanks so much for your insightful comments!
Hugs, Darlene

8

Marie, how wonderful to see you here!
I was afraid of trusting agian, of being hurt and disapointed again… I was scared of the process when it got underway. I was afraid to live without my coping methods, dissociation and all of it. I was afraid of failure, I was afraid of success… well I guess I was just one big ball of fear.. survivors can be like that; surviving sometimes requires all that. But sometihng happened when he told me that I was not a kid anymore, that I could say no.. that I could decide right and wrong in certain areas. I checked the exit routes, and I went for it, one step at a time!
I was overly dramatic.. I don’t care anymore, I was what I was, I did it how I did it, the only thing that matters is that we are ON THE PATH and that we keep striving.
That is my story, and it worked…
Hugs, Darlene

9

I know exactly how you felt Darlene, as I re enter therapy I am faced with the fact that I am four in some areas of my life. Being sexually abused as a four year old and your mom knowing it and not doing damn thing about it leaves you feeling completely abandoned. The particular incident that I remember was what broke the core in me. Not only did my dad over step a huge boundary but I got blamed for it! My mom and my dad both hated me for doing something wrong that as a four year old did not quit get what I had done wrong but the guilt that entangled me for even being present in that circumstance must be why I was such a terrible person. Thus the domino effect of my personhood crumpled leaving me in a spin of utter confusion that to gain any sense or remain somewhat functional I would disassociate…I don’t even know who took over but I knew that I was not present.

Presently I know that I need to face these fears that hold me back from being me and whole so that I can be present all the time and not loose track of hours or days where I do not remember exactly took place over that particular time period.

Your story inspires me to continue on my journey towards freedom. Thank you for honest and candid posts.

Love Angela

10

I just can’t bring myself to try and find a new therapist – the last one I went to I almost killed myself – he basically said it was all in my head and if I just went on a diet everything would be fine. I wish I had someone who would actually try to help.

11

Hi Angela,
The reason that I do what I do is because I believe that anyone can have what I have and do what I have done. I live to inspire others to wholeness and freedom. You can do it Angela, keep striving. The journey isn’t easy, but nothing else I have ever done in my life has been this worth it!
Great to see you again!
Hugs, Darlene

Tracy;
There are some really bad therapists out there, I know. I wish I had an answer for you; in my case I asked someone I knew if they knew a trustworthy therapist, and I decided to try one last time. I guess I was lucky that it worked.
Hang in there! Hugs, Darlene

12

I so very much admire your courage and your drive in finding a new therapist in the face of the bad past experiences you had…and your courage has inspired others which is a wonderful thing to see. I’m more in the same situation as Tracy – and have not tried for a very long time to find a therapist, heck I couldn’t even find one for my friend who needed one so very badly…and was not strong enough to advocate for herself. I think sometimes our system is not equipped for this emerging survivor population…it’s more complicated than that but I think you know what I mean :-)

13

I’ve been to my fair share of psychologist and therapists, etc since I was about 4 or 5 years old. They were trying to figure out what was wrong with me because I was acting out, angry, and hyperactive. I never told any of them I was being sexually abused, and they could never figure me out. Once I was into high school I never talked about it. I suppose there were more “important” issues at that point in my life . Of course most of that was probably linked to the abuse somehow, I just didn’t know it then. The last psychiatrist was the one I saw when I had myself committed, and I didn’t like her anyway.

Since finding Emerging From Broken and Overcoming Sexual Abuse, I have started to realize where all these things started! It’s forced me to see it and really look at it for the first time in a long time. I want to start seeing a therapist again, I want to work through this and be free, maybe for the first time ever. I just can’t afford that right now, so I wait, and read everything I can in the meantime. Thanks for posting this and renewing my hope :)

14

Shanyn and Lisa, I am going to combine my answer to both;
I sometimes wonder the same thing as what you said Shanyn, that maybe the psychologists and therapists are not prepared, but to make a long stroy short, I thik the problem is 50/50. What I mean is that when the client has been groomed from a young age to accept abuse (of any kind ~ physical, psychological(emotional or mental) or sexual) as “normal” then the client, as Lisa commented ~ she didn’t tell. But she didn’t tell because she had been trained not to tell. By the time she was older she just didn’t tell, AND she also thought other issues were more pressing. BECAUSE she had been groomed to normalize the abuse.
I have a huge passion for cracking into that “grooming” to tell others that the root of the problem is what needs to be dealt with, that the abuse was NOT normal, because it changes everything in the therapy process and really assists the therapist in realizing where the problem began. (providing that you have a good therapist..)

Thanks for your comments,
Lisa I am so glad that you have hope. That is what I live for, to inspire hope. =)
Hugs, Darlene

15

Lisa,
I’m happy to hear that Overcoming Sexual Abuse is helpful to you. :)

I met with a psychologist when I was ten. My childhood is so foggy, but I remember very clearly that when she asked me what was troubling me, I knew I couldn’t tell her, so I told her I was sad because I didn’t have any friends. It may sound strange, but even now I’m glad I didn’t tell her. She always seemed so annoyed with me, so I doubt she would have helped. I met with her every Monday at 2pm and I couldn’t wait for that time. Even though she didn’t like me and I didn’t trust her and she didn’t help me at all, it still felt good that someone saw that I was suffering.

16

Darlene,
This post struck several notes with me.

First, I remember going to several therapists when I was about 13 or 14. This is when my anorexia really had me in its grips. The first therapist that I went to for more than one time, was a woman. My father accompanied me to each session dressed in a suit. He was my abuser. I remember going into the therapy sessions, desperately wanting to say something, but too frightened to say a thing. I barely said anything. The therapist did ask me if anyone had hurt me or touched me sexually. I had a visceral reaction and answered adamanlty, “No.” At the time, I thought that was crazy. Although I was being sexually abused, I put it in a little compartment that was stuck away inside my brain. Honestly, I had been sexually abused since I was an infant. That was the norm. Soon after, my family was invited to attend a session. My mother and father were dressed well and my sister attended. I sat there with my
bony arms clutching my chest. When questions were asked, I just bowed my head and let my father do the talking and my mother parrot him.

Finally, when I hit botton in my 20s after a painful divorce…I went to a therapist regularly for over 8 years. I have to say because of the abuse and because in my child’s eyes this therapist had not gained my trust and helped…I couldn’t trust her for the longest time. After several years I let go of my inner monologue that said, “I don’t trust this lady. What games is she playing to get info out of me?” and began to let some healing begin with transference and several other methods.

A couple of years ago, this therapist moved. Shortly after, I began to have flashes that led me to know without a doubt that I had been sexually abused. However, if I had not healed enough with the first therapist, I wouldn’t have begun to seek out the one I am with now.

Trust is crucial. I love it and hate it. It is my tantamount issue.

Thanks for your blog bringing this out for me.

Cassie

17

Cassie,
I am really glad you posted this. You tell the story so many can’t tell. That you knew what you wanted to tell the therapist, (as a child) but you could NOT tell, which I so totally understand. This is a huge thing for us. This is such a stick point not only as children but when we get old enough to tell but still can’t because we have been SO trained/brainwashed not to tell. We carry the shame and the guilt and the abuser walks. It burns me and I can so relate to your saying “trust is crutial, I love it and I hate it” oh yay… I get that!
Thank you for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

18

Christina,
I think that I got most of my attention from adults when I was sick, so I got sick a lot. I know what you mean about it feeling good that someonw saw that you were suffering. Sad story but that was life.
Thanks for contributing to this post with your comment. It brings a whole other aspect to it.
Hugs, Darlene

19

Darlene,
Thanks for responding. Honestly, I don’t know what made me respond so thoroughly to the blog. I look at my comment now and wish that I could delete it. I think that is the first time I made all the connections.

Cassie

20

Darlene,
I truly can relate to this I have seen several therapist in my life time back in the first of 2007 it came to a point that the therapist I was seeing told me that he wish he could help me but he couldn’t. I will give him kudos for being honest LOL …

I have never really trusted therapist and to be honest I hardly trust people at all … I am always looking for someone to absolutely do something to hurt me or wound me again … this post and the post about the victim mentality has hit home in a big way.. I have many miles to go in my recovery…

Thank you much for sharing. : )

21

Nikki,
I so often wonder if the therapist can’t help because they are really unable to help OR if it has more to do with what we can’t tell them. There is such a huge block in the way when our belief systems have been compromised. The trust issue is huge, and we can’t sort it out and round and round it goes. It is my hope that with this blog and these posts that I can shed some light on the false truth we have accepted that contributed to these trust issues, even to shed light on the trust issue itself and the fears/ shame and self blame that we have adopted when too young to resist and have carried into our adult lives.
Thanks so much for your comment today Nikki!
Hugs, and keep striving!
Love Darlene

22

Cassie,
If you ever want a comment deleted, (this is for anyone) please use the contact us button on the blog and send me a message because I can delete it. Having said that, I think it is really cool that you were able to make these connections Cassie. Sometimes things come out in writing.. and we don’t notice the breakthrough right away.
Hugs, Darlene

(but I will still delete the comments if you want me to) I would have written this response sooner, but I have been away /offline/ with my sick daughter.

23

Darlene,
I knew you were with you were with your sick daughter from other posts. I’ll just leave it for now. Something made me make the connections publicly. :)

Hang in there with your daughter.

Thank you for your kind consideration.
Cassie

24

I was probably 40 when I first went to counseling for incest. I was ready to talk and to work on my issues but trust didn’t come easily. I trust my husband more than I have ever trusted anyone else. I have some close friends that I trust quite a bit. Some years ago, I realized something about myself. I realized that there is some part of me that I still hold in reserve that nobody else touches or gets close to. I don’t know if everybody feels that way or not. I know that it is still true for me, to a very small degree. I am okay with that. I have let down so many of the walls that I used to live behind. For an incest survivor, trust is really hard. Will I ever be able to trust another person 100%? I don’t know. It hasn’t happened yet and I am 58 years old.

25

Patricia,
Yes, I can relate to holding a part of myself in reserve too.. One time I told my therapist that I was afraid that I would never trust anyone 100% ever again, and to my surprise he said “and you shouldn’t. You should not trust anybody 100% because everyone is human, no one is perfect.” It would take me awhile to explain this conversation further, but it was freeing not to think I HAD to trust anyone 100% , which included him. I think that my thoughts about trust were mixed up with my false definition of love; that if I didn’t trust someone 100% then it meant that I didn’t love them.
As always Patricia, I appreciate your contribution to this blog!
Hugs, Darlene

26

Darlene

WOW how timely is this post?!
We have been thru the mile with many therapist in our years of trying to get “help” for a long time most didn’t have a clue they were trying to cure us of psychosis… Which we didn’t suffer from. We had one that screwed us over and we had to get a lawyer to get our journals back. Then we found our JerseyDoc who we flat out told her we were not up for trusting anyone, to which she said, “good you shouldn’t trust anyone till they’ve earned it.” what a refreshing j ump from the past. As luck would have it she was the one we trusted. She stuck by us in our on and off therapy journey. She proved to us some one really would stick by us.

Then we found our present Talk-Doc and it took a while to trust her but the relationship with J-Doc made us less edgy about giving her a chance.

The truth is we became more willing to give ourselves a chance. We really found out that the trust goes both ways this week which is a really sobering, freaky thing to find out but cool all the same.

Excellent post thank you for sharing.

Ravin

27

Hi Raven, welcome,
I am so pleased that this post resonated well with you and so glad to hear that the post was so timely! I love it when that happens!
Please feel free to comment and share your journey with us as often as you like. Hugs, Darlene

28
Jackie - aka UnEk_DiMoN
August 19th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Ms. Quimet –
Did you ever feel a therapist would of suited best if lived round ya or spent more than one hour with ya durin sessions? I often, well not often as much as seriously DON’T trust therapist at all. I’ve had many in our life time and each one in their own way had either belittled us or blamed us/ used us/ touched us..all kinds of things so it’s kind of turned me um…against them as well. One of them,when a little had come out…basically told the little to grow up and stop playin round. Another (male) this time, well…nothin much to say bout that one but yet we got blame for his behavior. Another was more into herself and her “woes” than actually listenin to anythin we said. Ye another ditched us after tellin us to stop whinin of our life. The one I have now, she’s ok but…I often feel there’s no time within that hour spent w/her. Maybe it’s b/c I’m not “always” me or I don’t know but I often wondered if it be best benefit a therapist spend enough time to truly get to know someone I don’t know what I’m sayin anymore, I lost train a thought here sorry but um Did you ever wonder f one could live close by and did ya ever have one you can “contact” in case of emergency or somethin…or is that permitted in their world….

29

Jackie,
My therapist worked in 2 hour sessions. This helped me in a HUGE way with the trust issues. I was just starting to feel slightly comfortable at around the one hour mark. I was permitted to contact in emergency although I never did, but it was so good to know that I could if need be, so I think that does help when they permit that. I don’t think that one living close by me would make that big a difference, but that is just me. I think that if you work online, it is very important that you have a webcam.

I had huge trust issues too. I had been treated inappropriately by a few so called therapists. It was important to me to have some ground rules, but my therapist actually helped me with that because he understood my issues.
I hope this helps. Hugs, Darlene

30

Right now my therapist doesn’t allow us to contact her in any way what so ever. We would email her but we’re not permitted to do that either and we didn’t know that till we got in trouble for it so more or less we’re kind of on our own when it comes to issues and such. Our sessions are only an hour. We could go see her 2 a week but it’s a distance to her other office but we’ve thought bout it ya it’s just if/when crisis do arise (AND they DO), it’s hard for us to have anyone to “go” to or talk to bout them so we stuff more than voice…

31

Jackie,
Have you talked to the therapist about it? Is she willing to explain to you why you can’t email her inbetween? Mabye she would agree to a 2 hour session or she could explain to you why not. I can’t really speak for her, each therapist has a different way of running their practice but these are things that you might try.
Hugs, Darlene

32

No I haven’t actually spoken to her on the why not part, she just let me know she doesn’t want us writin to her so…I could ask her though when I see her again. I’m not sure bout the 2 hour session b/c she sees folks every hour so not sure if that will work but will ask bout that as well. If poor ole betsy (my jeep) was in better shape I wouldn’t mind headin up the road an hour to see her for a 2nd time at her other office but in the meantime I’ll ask :)

33

I think that is a great idea Jackie, even just understanding why or why not sometimes helps.
Hang in there
Hugs, Darlene

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