I have been seeing my therapist for around two years now. When I first started seeing her, the biggest thing happening in my life was the end of my relationship with The Ex. It was about six months before the end of our relationship, right after I stopped talking to The Almost Affair, and feeling the loneliest and most alone I’ve ever felt. I knew, deep down, at that time that things were going to end but I wasn’t ready to accept it. I wanted to ensure that I did everything I possibly could to try to save the relationship so that if it did end, I would know that it was 100% the right decision. I also knew that I needed to start building my own life. All of my friends were The Ex’s or our roommates, I was neglecting the hobbies and activities that I’m passionate about and enjoy, I was not taking good care of myself emotionally. Building my own life was obviously important whether or not The Ex and I stayed together. I wanted to make sure that my unhappiness was in our relationship and not in another area lacking in my life and I needed to have a happy, vibrant life/relationship with myself regardless.
During these first therapy sessions, I talked a lot about my feelings about The Ex, about The Almost Affair, about my New But Still Lacking Life. More than anything, I needed a sounding board, I needed validation, I needed an outlet. My therapist is good for that. She’s a great listener. She is, frankly, a pretty passive therapist, however that worked for a time. Once I got through the breakup and those first few incredibly difficult months, I knew there were a whole host of other things I needed to work through. For the past year or so, I’ve realized more and more that I am not getting and will not get what I need from my current therapist. I need someone more actively involved in the process, someone who is willing to call me out on my bullshit and hold me accountable, and someone willing to ask the tough questions and join me on the journey to digging deep.
Since one of my top issues is debilitating and dysfunctional avoidance, I have put off the new therapist search for this past year. It’s been hard to wrap my brain around starting over with someone and having to re-tell so many things that were so hard to say the first time. It’s been hard to wrap my brain around all the phone calls and consultations and possibly first-and-only sessions, telling my nutshell story over and over, kissing all the frog therapists until I find The One. And I’m worried that I’ll end up in the same situation I have found myself in with both therapists and romantic partners so very many times: once I get started with you, I stick around for far longer than I know I should/want to because leaving is hard and staying is “easy.”
For the last four or five months, I’ve been in one of my “awesome,” re-occurring depressive states and I’m about to turn thirty and I am in desperate need of some dream-chasing and life-changing. And I am seriously sick of the cycle of 3-9 good months wherein I take care of myself mentally, emotionally, and physically and lose the weight I gained in my last depressive episode and then, quite suddenly it seems, having 3-9 bad months wherein I sabotage myself in a variety of ways and gain back all the weight I just lost. And then it starts over. Again. And again. And again. I just feel that I’m at this critical point where action needs to be taken.
I’m seeing a light in the tunnel for the first time in awhile right now and while I’m back on an upswing and moving into a happier, healthier season, I need to use this time to learn how to minimize the damage for the next downswing so I started researching new therapists in the area (who take my health insurance.)
As of now, I have four consultations set up with potential therapists (a couple in person, a couple over the phone) and a few other voicemails and emails out there for others.
Today I had a phone consultation over my lunch break. It lasted ten minutes instead of the scheduled thirty and my hackles are raised.
She started out with the expectedly vague, “So, what’s going on with you right now?” Having taken the time to write down all the points I wanted to make on this quick introduction, I fairly confidently explained why I am unsatisfied with my current therapist, what areas I feel I need to focus on and need help with, and how I envision my new therapist’s role in that.
We’ll call this therapist Frog Number One. Frog Number One then asks me if I have told my current therapist why I am dissatisfied. I said that I have not, but I’ve felt this way for quite some time. Frog Number One tells me, “Oh, well, you need to tell her. A therapy relationship is a relationship and you’re going to have times where you don’t like the person as much or where communication isn’t working as well. You need to give it a chance.”
Um, Frog, I just told you that I’ve felt this way for over a year, that her therapy style has been consistent the entire time I’ve seen her, that one of my major issues is avoidance, and that I feel very much in need of help right now–I don’t want to try to “work it out” with my current therapist who has been consistent for two years. I need to find something new.
Frog: “Well, you need to at least have a closure session. If you were dating somebody, wouldn’t you rather they sit you down and explain why they’re breaking up with you instead of just disappearing? If you don’t have a closure session, you’re just going to end up in the same situation with every therapist you ever have.”
Frog: “You don’t sound too pleased with what I just said.”
Me: “Yeah, I’m not going to do that, but thanks for your insight.”
Frog: “You’re not going to do that? Well, let me condescendingly reiterate what I’ve just said to explain to you why you’re wrong.” (I may be paraphrasing here.)
I thanked her for her time and hung up. Just, like…really, Frog Number One, really?
Frogs: 1, “Princes:” 0