Archives for February, 2012

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Borderline Personality Disorder: Terminations, Funerals, Ceremonies and Party Harty

Does a proper termination procedure lead to cleaner closure and the getting of wisdom with a brave new life? After umpteen years of therapy, do you just say goodbye, pay your last bill, move on and live well? What if the Olympic Games had no opening and closing ceremony, would it feel disjointed, incomplete and impermanent? Would you have really believed it was over unless you had the colourful, spectacular dancing and acrobatics? Would you really believe it was all over?

The short answer is no. Long term therapy, no matter how painful needs a proper meaningful conclusion with all the pomp and ceremony, flag waving and breast-beating, singing and dancing so that you have the experiential feel of completion, a celebration of a fabulous relationship that had to come to an end. I thought I was different.

I thought I could just slink out the front door, never to be seen or heard from again. I could not bear planning the black, hopeless, grim, dismal, humourless, staunch, staid, stiff upper lip funeral of the person I loved and would never see again. I planned death and destruction not resurrection and life.

I wrote my therapist a letter of which I did not expect a reply (see
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Borderline Personality Disorder: Final Email to My Therapist

Dear XXXXX,

I thought it was safe to let you know how I was doing. I thought it was safe to email you about what my thoughts were regarding brief psychosis –v- depression (which is something I have finally made sense of and wanted your opinion on because I trusted you). I told you what my current working life was like and I felt as though I got a rubber stamp response because nothing in your email referred specifically to what I had actually said or achieved.

In therapy once, you asked me to always let you know how I was doing because you didn’t want me to move on and disappear out of your therapy life. You also once told me you loved me and trusted me deeply and that you would never abandon me.

With those bold statements comes a considerable amount of post-therapy responsibility to clients, even to the most adjusted but vulnerable client who has left your therapy and your rooms. With that comes a duty of care to accept that sometimes the client who wants to move on feels much dissonance, ambivalence and an overwhelmingly disproportionate sense of obligation and responsibility to her former therapist to keep her informed lest she feels abandoned by her.
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