I’ve seen 4 therapists in the last 5 years. That seems a high number. M was told by Liz that we have very high expectations of therapists, maybe they are too high? Here’s a brief run-down of what happened with each –
Debra seen for 6-8 months.
Worked part-time from home. Her methods were based on Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She was intelligent and studying towards her masters. Reason why we stopped seeing her was because of boundary issues and she was stopping therapy work to concentrate on her masters.
Carol seen for 2.5 years.
Worked part-time from offices. Her methods were based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with some influence from other methodologies including Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. Reason why we stopped seeing her was because of boundary issues and her fascination with our dissociation. She loved playing with Aimee. She wasn’t helping us move forward in any meaningful way and we’d started to become convinced that she had planted the whole idea of DID in our head.
Bob seen for 6-8 months.
Worked full-time from her extremely busy offices. She came highly recommended and we saw her to try and find out if we were making this dissociation thing up. She had extensive experience with abused teens and children. Things went a bit haywire with Bob when she was trying to force an integration of personality states to counter what she described as a “fragile personality structure”. We stopped seeing her when the short term contract was up with ACC.
Liz seen for about 6 months.
Works part-time from offices. She was the only therapist willing to take on a client that came with warnings about dissociative issues. She has other dissociative clients and came recommended from another therapist. We don’t know if we can go back to see her.
Earlier this week we posted a rant that was fairly quickly deleted. It covered the issues we’d had when seeing Liz on Monday and problems we’d seen throughout the time we’d been seeing her. Some of these include:
- Turning her cell phone volume down during sessions. It has rung during session, so you get the noise of a vibrating cell phone dancing across the desk as you’re trying to talk about something important. She has also looked at the cell phone to see who is calling while in session.
- She has a habit of clearing her throat when being asked something difficult or is faced with challenging ones within the system. Mickie is generally silent during sessions when fronting, which prompted much throat clearing and a conversation about us living alone meaning that we don’t know how to socialise and make conversation.
- On Monday there was a discussion about our night-time photography trips and the reason why we’re doing them – to get hurt. Liz suggested that the reason why we hadn’t been hurt was because of someone or something looking out for us. She was meaning a higher power of some sort. Any talk of religion is a huge trigger for us. It felt more like the focus of the discussion had moved from helping us, to preaching to us.
- She is unable to remember our basic biographical information – we’re the youngest of four, get on alright with the oldest brother and have minimal contact with the entire family. This is the sort of information that she has asked several times, including constructing a sociogram with us. If the information was important enough to ask several times, it’s important enough for her to remember or to write on the front page of our file for easy reference.
Monday’s session was particularly bad. The religion trigger set off a negative reaction with W. M came forward to protect W when she realised what was going on, but it was too late. This meant that M came forward annoyed that Liz was talking religion without checking out who was present and their beliefs about the subject.
It was after Liz again asked M about our basic biographical information that things got particularly tense. M asked why Liz had to keep asking about this information, Liz responded that she might get a different answer one day. M pointed out that we would always be the youngest of four children and unless something major happened, we’d still feel the same about the family as we do now. Liz said our expectation that she would manage this information was too high, M asked what a reasonable expectation would be…
To be fair, M was defensive as Liz had challenged one of the young ones she protects. But Liz was helpless to find us all a way through that defensive mechanism. We left without making a further appointment. If this has been a one off bad session we would have had a cool-off period and made another appointment. But it isn’t, it’s the latest in a series of unusual sessions.
Now we’re stuck. We don’t trust Liz and don’t know if we can go back to see her. But if we don’t, are we doing so because our expectations are too high? Are we being unreasonable with our expectations that a therapist will manage basic information, silence their cell phone and not talk about sensitive issues without checking who is present? Maybe our reaction is off the scale because of our dysfunctional thinking and reactions?