April 8, 2022 at 8:59 pm #57337CupsofTeaSystemParticipant
So I am finally getting allllll caught up on the course readings, and I must say there is SO much material here that’s rich and helpful and scary and overwhelming. That’s, of course, what I get for cramming 5 weeks of readings into the past like 2-3 days.
A few things have come up in response to the week 4 readings that I wanted to maybe get some feedback on, because I’m really torn.
1. I have a weird time boundary with the therapist. He meets with us twice a week, and we have a scheduled start time, but the end time is anywhere from 3 hours to 6 or 7 hours later. He tends to meet with us as long as he has open in his schedule, and only charges for a one hour session (we use health insurance to pay for therapy.) But he also texts us regularly and is available pretty much 24/7. I brought this up with him early in treatment and he said something to the effect of he “doesn’t work like other therapists who treat DID” and sort of made it sound like he just preferred working this way. He has said several times that we are the client he is, “most concerned and scared for” which feels odd, although I understand why because there are a lot of here & now safety concerns. Once he offered to lend me $300. I didn’t take it, and told him I thought it was inappropriate of him to offer; he agreed that it was “unconventional” and explained his reasoning for offering, but also said in that he knew I wouldn’t accept it. And the time of sessions thing – part of the issue is that he uses hypnosis to connect with the system and I am often asleep during that time. He will say he has until whatever time to meet sometimes when we’re starting hypnosis, but it’s happened more than once where the client he has after us on Fridays will cancel with short notice, or agree to come later, and our sessions end up being longer than planned, and I will come back from hypnosis and it’s not the time I expect. I know intellectually this isn’t great practice – for him or for me. I also know he’s not getting paid for much of the time he spends with us. And I feel like it would be a good boundary to discuss with him because if I feel anxious about session times, it makes it hard not to feel anxious about more important things. At the same time, something about him doing this feels caring and special (and ew as I wrote that) and like something that would be hard to give up.
2. The other thing that came up with the boundaries reading is around my awareness and acceptance of being a system, and how that’s a boundary I have had with the system in general out of fear. Apparently there IS a system map floating around somewhere. My therapist says he has a copy and that it was sent to him on an email address I don’t have access to. He won’t tell me the address because he says the one who sent it specifically did not want me to be aware of it. Early in treatment, after about 4 months or so, he apparently showed me the system map document (I guess it’s very detailed?) and then a part that is apparently like both a persecutor and protector stepped in and fired him. I ended up going to a different therapist for about 6 months, but then she had to terminate because she was terminally ill. I went back to the current therapist because there was no one else I could work with who specialized with DID, and he said that the one who fired him is still cautious of him but monitoring therapy closely. That’s all well and good, but I feel very out of the loop of my own life. I’ve asked about the system map and he will tell me “safer” things about it that he thinks won’t trigger me. Apparently there’s a lot more detail about some of the trauma I experienced, and he has said repeatedly that he is not interested in triggering me in the same way, so discussing ALL of it won’t happen anytime soon. In a weird way I both agree with him, and am really frustrated. I feel like I WANT to learn about the system, and that seemed like a safe way, but now I’m back to square one. I’d appreciate any thoughts or ideas.
And you might read this and say, “whoa get the hell out of that therapy relationship” but I swear I’m down to the end of options. Prior to starting to see him (the first time) I had 28 first sessions with different therapists who claimed to be skilled with DID, but ended up not being, or the ones that were good have a super long wait list, don’t take my insurance, etc. So I don’t know that changing therapists is even an option at this point.April 9, 2022 at 4:44 pm #57347CrissesKeymaster
We spoke about the therapy/therapist issues in the group today, and I think working on empowerment with your therapist would be a good (massive) step. So addressing session length, whether hypnosis is a tool that should be continued with (see if you can check in outside of therapy with other headmates about it!), and so on will help you/y’all take more control of the therapy sessions, and hopefully start to mitigate the potential for counter-transference. He’s not your& savior. And y’all all have hired him to help y’all, not to promote being stuck in therapy.
Here’s a PDF of the 3 stages graphic we shared during the class. So that y’all can see some of the skills y’all may not be getting in therapy. Be cautious about doing any trauma work without making sure that y’all have good coping skills. Yes, sometimes something does come up and needs to be handled in some way (such as containment, but also potentially working to process it) — but do be careful about it.
And the system map is something your system will have to decide when it’s time to share it. Maybe they can make an abridged map that they ARE able to share with you, rather than the full everything map. Something to help you understand some of what’s going on.
It’s really tough being in a position of being a host that’s kept out of the loop. At the same time, you might need to be ready, willing and able to accept many different things. We don’t know the composition of your& system but it could well contain multitudes, could be a lot of kids, or a lot of non-humans, or a lot of differently-gendered folk. They could be gay or trans (so might you, but for some people that’s a shock). And so on. They might not be what you expect at all. The more open-minded & inclusive you are in your own personal thinking the easier it will be when you do find out more.
Also there’s the question of how becoming more co-conscious might affect the other things you do like working. And whether you’re really ready for roadbumps that might happen from finding out more.
Regardless, I think y’all need more direct contact with each other, to remove the middleman (literally) from internal communication somehow, and we’ll talk more about the tools you might be able to use elsewhere. Because you have valid reasons for communication concerns. And we’re really upset on all of your behalf about that — we’re really sorry that the world shat on your& internal trust in that way.
The best encrypted communication system out there for y’all is in your own head if y’all can get there ASAP. Not saying that as pressure. But they (external folk) can’t read minds yet, so the best place bar none will always be behind your& ears if and when y’all can manage it.April 9, 2022 at 4:46 pm #57348CrissesKeymaster
Oh it was being stuck in therapy that folk in our system wanted to pull that chart up for I think. Like to give a visual of what likely ought to be taking place and where y’all are at so you can see how hypnosis may not be promoting the skills y’all need to come together as a system and stabilize.
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