Mission impossible – a new therapist

As a follow up to the emails we sent our therapist, we sent this to try and get her to understand that why we thought it would be helpful to get an email answer to some important questions…

Hi Bob,

Sorry, I probably haven’t made myself clear. I’m not trying to conduct therapy through email. All I want is answers to some very important questions. It’s not realistic to expect me to be able to control the dissociation while these questions are being addressed during a session. I’m not sure how aware you are of the dissociation during the sessions, but on a good day about half of the session is remembered, the rest is lost in the dissociation.

Which would you prefer?

1. Answering the questions via email, resulting in me getting the answers in a format that is less intimidating and which can be followed up in a therapy session.

2. Answering the questions in a session when the dissociation will occur freely, half of the information will be missed and the chances of mis-understanding something are high.


Having still received no response from her, we’re assuming that she’d prefer that we talk about it in therapy and for us to only get half the information. Just brilliant. The woman is intelligent, but we’re wondering if she’s so rule and boundary driven that she can’t see beyond those rules and boundaries.

We know that people need boundaries – boundaries are good. We’re the first to admit that our ideas around boundaries are messed up. But all we wanted is some really important questions answered in a safe way for us. Is that too much to ask? Well apparently the answer is “Yes”.

So now we have to try and find a new therapist… during the Christmas holidays. We know that last Christmas was a bad one for us. We know this, but have a total memory blank as to why it was bad. We know that we attempted suicide over the New Year holidays – Aimee did the post attempt assessment and told the rather nice young resident that she was too young to drink 🙂 This all means that we’re potentially going to need outside help to keep safe during this time. The mother is coming up to stay with us over the holidays, but that brings all sorts of other tensions…

The need to find a decent therapist is high… The reality of finding one is going to be very hard. We contacted the only therapist in NZ who is listed on ISST-D. She got back to us yesterday to say that she didn’t know of anyone in our city with experience in treating the dissociative disorders. But she did recommend someone who lived closer to our city to see if they knew of someone who lives here… So just waiting to hear back from them. We’re hoping to find someone this way so that we don’t have to go through the painful process of interviewing the different people. It’s just too stressful to have to met these people and ask all sorts of questions.

It’s becoming very much like Vague commented on in our previous post – the therapy itself is becoming more stressful than the trauma work. What’s odd is that the current clinical psychologist hasn’t even touched on the trauma. She asks general questions about whether we’ve had a good or rough week, but nothing that can’t be deflected easily.


10 thoughts on “Mission impossible – a new therapist

  1. There are lots of good therapists out there knowledgable about trauma and dissociation that are not listed on the ISSTD site. My own therapist is not. You might also want to contact Gudrun Frerichs who has a blog that I follow. She is in NZ. Go to my blog and look under the blogroll. She has three there. They are: Gudrun Frerichs, PhD, Multiple Voices, and Sexual Abuse Help. I wish you the best, and I hope you are able to find someone. My personal opinion is that it wouldn’t take much to find someone better than a therapist that would tell you you needed to “get rid of some parts.”Sending you my best,Secret Shadows

  2. Hi Secret Shadows,We’ve already tried Gudrun for recommendations with no luck – but thanks for the suggestion.This is our third therapist in three years, so we’re sort of losing hope…Therapist #1 – last straw was her saying that we’d “married your father” when referring to the anger of our husband at the time… this was said to us when we were in crisis.Therapist #2 – was really nice, but doesn’t really have the skills to cope with what we present and enjoyed the dissociation a little too much.Therapist #3 – the current one we’re seeing who is into part amalgamation and strict boundaries.So we’re down to about 8 potential people to see, which doesn’t take into account whether they’re taking on new clients or their experience with trauma counselling – we’ve given up on them being familiar with dissociation. Thanks for the good wishes…

  3. *Please,DO NOT GIVE UP ON THEM BEING FAMILIAR WITH DISSOCIATION*!It’s so important for you to see someone who is experienced with DID and dissociative trauma. I know, from so much past experience, that a therapist who doesn’t get it is likely to cause more problems than you already have. I hope Emily posts her therapist interview sometime soon … I think it would probably be helpful in giving you some tools to sort through these folks. I’m sending heartfelt good wishes your way; you deserve a therapist you can trust, who knows how to help you. I’m glad that at least the isst-d lady got back to you.

  4. Sorry, that sounded a bit more strident than I meant it to. 🙂 I just don’t want to see you give up on being clear about the kind of help you need. You deserve to have what you need. Stay focused on that … you’re so much more likely to settle for “good enough” if you don’t stay focused on what would be the best possible fit for you. And good enough isn’t good enough!

  5. As I’ve dug myself a big hole with the email thing, I’m going to send her the link to the Discussing Dissociation blog – thanks David, some relevant information that will hopefully make her think!The ISST-D therapist was lovely 🙂 If she didn’t live in my home town I’d look for a job and move and be her client…It’s a big thing for us to realise that it’s not working with the current therapist. Change is terrifying! We’re still hoping for someone with dissociative experience, but none have it openly stated in their bio information. Some do have DBT skills or assisting in “borderline tendencies” which involve dealing with dissociation, but so did the current clinical psychologist…Will think things over during the weekend and see what our options are.Take care…

  6. I know what you mean about therapy being more stressful than the actual trauma…. I really hope you find someone who you are able to work with. Its a sucky time of year for all of this, I’m here if you need a distraction 🙂 x

  7. Hi Castorgirl -I popped by to tell you thank you for adding my blog to your blogroll, and to let you know I’ve made a new post on my blog in response to one of your recent comments there. I picked this thread to respond to, since it was therapy-based. I see that David has already mentioned my forum and my online therapy work to you. I understand that online work doesn’t work for everyone, but since you are having a lot of trouble finding someone in your local area, it is an option to consider, even if only for the interim. (Thanks for the idea, David!!)Thanks again, castorgirl, for your participation in my blog, and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.Warmly, Kathyhttp://discussingdissociation.wordpress.com

  8. Hi Kathy,Thank you :)Our job means that we specialise in online education, so we’re familiar with online work and communication. But we’re between a rock and a hard place regarding money… Also, in the past we have gone from “fine” to suicidal in the space of a conversation or switch… which probably doesn’t make us good candidates for online therapy.Take care…

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