Psychotherapy Articles

Did I Give You the Wrong Impression of My Therapist?

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

The post, “When your therapist breaks up with you,” surprisingly elicited more comments than any other I’ve written so far.  I knew that the title was suggestive, but I thought it was a humorous …

When Your Therapist Breaks Up With You

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Okay, so my therapist Roger didn’t really break-up with me. About two months ago, I got a phone call from Roger, which is not that out of realm of possibility as he has called before when I was in the hospital for an appendectomy and after I left him as message begging to be put on anti-depressants. He called to tell me …

Reactions to Comments about Flirting with Men

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

When I began this blog experiment, I hoped for comments and responses to my posts, but I didn’t think that I would actually get any. The responses that I received to my post titled When Your Conscience Gets in the Way of No-Strings Sex really made me think and continue to work through my emotional baggage.

Now I want to be upfront with the fact that I don’t have a degree in psychology, social work or any related discipline that qualifies me to give advice. My comments are purely based on my life experiences and what I’ve learned through my own therapy.  So here comes the disclaimer …

The Healthiest Relationship I've Ever Had with a Man

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

After a year and a half of therapy to deal with my subconscious man-issues, I came to the conclusion that the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had with a man is with my therapist, Roger.  If you’ve been following the “Y” Factor you know that I have had some pretty touch-and-go relationships with men.  So it would seem ironic that I would have a male therapist.  A coworker recommended Roger to me.  I was having problems at work, so I proposed to my boss that as part of my reparations strategy I would start seeing a therapist. (Recall my theory that we don’t start going to therapy for the reason we think we do).

Unfortunately, as a new client, I had to wait three months to see him.  In the meantime I lost that job, but I still persevered with the plan to seek help getting along with others. (I must have missed that day of kindergarten).

At first I was uncomfortable.  It wasn’t my first time in therapy, but it was the first time with a male therapist.  I knew that he wouldn’t take any crap and that I couldn’t rely on my old tricks of flirting or being nasty to get my way.  The first few times we talked through the reasons that I thought I was there, but then, as the good therapist he is, Roger began to pull out the threads of my subconscious behavior and offer them to me for reflection.  I’m still integrating all of the pieces, but have made significant progress.

As we started to get to the nitty-gritty of my relationships with my boyfriends, it was a bit embarrassing to have to share details of my “bedroom behavior.”  Roger was nonjudgmental, supportive and helped me see the patterns of my behavior.  Early on he asked me if I was okay with working with him.  The question caught me offguard, but based on my man-issues I understand why he asked.  I’m less put off by the fact that Roger is male than by the horrible pregnant pauses he gives during our sessions while he’s waiting for me to make some great revelation.

Nearly …

Resentment in Place of Communication

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Until I went to graduate school, I spent 22 years living within a 10-mile radius of my childhood home.  The only time I hadn’t lived in my parents’ house was the four years I spent at university – which included a visit home every weekend.  My father was born and raised in my home state; my mother had moved there after college graduation because that’s where her parents lived.  Dad is not the adventurous type, and if it weren’t for Mom, we never would have gone camping on the sea coast or made the pilgrimage to Disney World.  My brother Mike[1] inherited Dad’s homebody gene, thinking there’s no place better than his home state.  He now lives only 15 miles from our childhood home.

When I got into graduate school, I was at the point in my life when I was ready to escape the nightmare that my parents’ marriage had become.  Of course I was pursuing higher education, but I couldn’t wait to live somewhere else and shed the yucky feeling that being around my parents gave me.  Yes, I was running away from them, but also running toward a future in which I could “start over” and make new friends.  Boy, was I ever naïve.  You can’t “start over” if you haven’t dealt with the subconscious crap in your head.  This is where I made my mistake – thinking I was going to be a new and better person because I moved away from my parents.

I was running away, although I never admitted this to myself or my family.  I still wanted to be a part of my family, just on my terms.  My brother thought that my going away to school, and my subsequent move out west, was a conscious attempt to not be a part of my family,  although I didn’t know this until three years after I moved back east.  During the six years I was out west, Mike never made an effort to come see me, even when my parents offered to pay.  When I moved back east – three hours from his house – he and Meg visited …

Married to My Mother

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

In a vain attempt to solve my parents’ marital problems, I had them come to therapy with me one time when they were visiting me out west.  I was seeing a therapist because I was trying to work through some problems with my boyfriend, Russell, while our relationship crashed and burned around me.  This is where I began to form my theory of “you’re not in therapy for the reason you think you’re there.”  It turns out that I wasn’t ready to be cognizant of my problems.

Mom eagerly agreed to come to the family therapy appointment – “anything for you, sweetheart.”  She knew there were issues with her marriage, but hadn’t taken any steps to deal with them.  So getting my father to come to a family therapy session might bring him one step closer to couples therapy at home.

There we were, the three of us, sitting in the dimly lit office of my therapist, Cheryl.  Dad got antagonistic, not wanting to share or open up.  He finally admitted that the only reason he was there was because I asked him to come.  We talked about the emotional distance that existed in our family – especially between my father and the rest of us.  He admitted that that’s how his parents treated him.  His emotional distance became actual physical distance, as he was much more interested in pursuing his own hobbies and career than actively participating in his marriage, and Mike’s and my childhood.

Then the revelation came. Cheryl said, “So you and your brother were married to your mother.  You provided the emotional and physical support for your mother because your father was absent.”

You could have knocked me over with a feather.  Cheryl got it.  It was true.  Mike and I were both very close with my mother.  To this day she is the first person either of us calls when we need advice or want to share news.   Unbeknownst to us, as children she was leaning on us for the emotional support and affection that she was not getting from my father.  She was sacrificing her own emotional needs (her marriage) to be mother …


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