|I had a not so great interaction with my therapist today.
Okay, y'all. I had a not so great experience with my therapist and I feel like I need help unpacking it.
I've seen two therapists in my life. One for about eight months last year, who I liked okay but decided to take a break from when the lockdowns started in March. And then my current therapist, who I started seeing in June after my partner came out to me as transgender.
She was great at first, she has experience working with partners of trans folks and was able to work through a lot of the off kilter complicated feelings I had as my partner started to transition.
But as my feelings about that calmed down, we've been digging into more stuff about life satisfaction in general, and relationship satisfaction in general. And honestly... it just feels really overwhelming to do that right now with all the world upheaval, and the changes in my relationship, and my miserable toxic job and ongoing job search. I'm managing okay, but it feels like a lot to get into really heavy stuff in therapy if it's not an immediate need. I've started to dread the sessions.
We had a lull in the session today, she asked me what I was thinking, and I admitted that I was feeling overwhelmed by the topics we were covering and that I didn't look forward to coming to therapy. I said that I felt like my day to day coping skills were okay, which mostly left bigger issues, but that trying to address those right now was overwhelming so I was trying to figure out where therapy fit in.
I said that sometimes I felt like her probing during therapy was more than I could handle right now-- that at times it almost felt intrusive. I really stressed that I didn't want her to take that personally, that obviously I understood that this was part of her job.
I felt good that I'd finally been a little more honest with her, but I was taken aback by her reaction. She said that most of her clients really like coming to therapy, and that a lot of the time she focuses on coping skills and that I don't necessarily need to be so vulnerable all the time, but that I have an idea in my head of what therapy is supposed to be. She said maybe I should really reflect on what I'm bringing to therapy and want out of therapy and try out different therapists.
It felt... really unfair and hurtful. I haven't been pushy about what sessions are supposed to look like, I've followed her lead-- maybe my idea of therapy is off but I didn't realize you had to be an expert on it to get something out of it. And if I'm 'bringing something' to therapy that's standing in the way, isn't it the therapist's job to help guide me through identifying that? I felt like she was telling me I was bad at therapy when I've honestly been doing my best to be open and reflective.
The other thing I said was that I felt like she personally thought that I should end my relationship-- and that I felt like she was subtley pulling me toward that conclusion. She responded by basically saying 'I feel like I've always been very nuetral, what is it that I've said that's made you feel that way?'
So...of course she has to try to be nuetral, but that doesn't mean she actually is. I can't pinpoint anything she's said, it's just a feeling. Honestly, it felt like she was gaslighting me by asking me to produce evidence for my reading of her. If it's not true, then fine, but it's clearly an issue either way that I feel that way because I'm not as open as I might be. I understand if she can't confirm or deny her private opinions, but her reaction made me question my ability to read people/situations.
We ended it with her asking me to write her an email after I'd reflected, telling her how I wanted to proceed.
Idk, I just need a gut check here from someone else, and I feel like metafilter has a lot of therapy experience. Was it okay how she handled this? Did I handle this badly? Should I try to salvage this or just find a new therapist/pause therapy? Agh. Advice please.