When I began a new course of psychotherapy (early September) I had reservations about whether or not this was a good time for me to take on such a big challenge.
On top of an already long list of 'issues in my life', my Dad (as many of you already know) is going to die soon, according to his doctors, some time in the next twelve months, and I worry that taking the lid off of a life time of mental health issues might be the straw that breaks the camels back (the camel being me!)
I had a few other concerns as well, and so prior to my first meeting with the psychotherapist, I arranged to meet up with my occupational therapist (who is also my key worker) to discuss my concerns, and have a care plan put in place.
Copies of my care plan where sent to both my GP, and my psychotherapist.
Points A, B, & C (below) are copied from that care plan, and should clarify for you, dear reader, the concerns I raised with my OT prior to meeting the new psychotherapist.
A. "We spoke today of how difficult it is for you to speak openly about past issues, and how this has been made more difficult owing to your fathers ill health"
B. "We also discussed the emotional cost to you after therapy sessions, and the potential impact on your ability to act as joint carer for your disabled daughter. This role is tiring, and needs for you to feel able to cope"
C. "Due to there being multiple issues that need addressing in therapy, you would like to be clearer about the length of therapy being offered"
"We agreed that you should discuss A, B * C with the psychotherapist to agree the best way forward"
Right at the beginning of my first meeting with the psychotherapist (after the initial uncomfortable silence) I tried to get the above points across - I asked her (albeit like a muddled five year old might ask) - do you think, in your 'professional' opinion, that now is the right time to for me to embark on another round of psychotherapy, considering blah, blah, & my Dads impending death.
I'm concerned that either, I'll be getting somewhere, and then my Dad will die, undoing any progress I've made - or, that his illness/decline over the next few months will interfere with therapy; and so, potentially - I'll make no progress at all, therefore wasting sessions that another person might benefit from.
My feelings are, that I have more than enough 'big issues' to deal with at the moment, and that now isn't the best time to dig deep, but was asking for (and willing to be led by) her advice.
Her response was - "It seems to me that your expecting me to make the decision for you" o_O
Toward the end of the session, I also asked her, A) Would it be possible to meet fortnightly, as apposed to every week, and B) How long were the sessions going to last.
My reasons for requesting a longer period between each session being - the sessions are on a Friday, my disabled child is home the two days following, and for days after therapy I am drained, emotional, struggle with paranoid thoughts, and feel very low.
This interferes with my ability to help care for my daughter, which exacerbates guilt, and places extra stress on my husband.
With regard to my second question - I needed to know how many sessions had been allocated to me, because I'm aware (from past experience) that sometimes therapy courses are limited to a set number of weeks, and as I have multiple mental health issues, dating back to childhood; I don't feel safe taking the lid off of the whole lot if I'm likely to be left hanging. (I've been left hanging before!)
Her response was - "We can explore these concerns next week"
Fast forward to the following week - 'professional her' leads 'mentally me', away from 'The body Guard' (that's hubs to the newbies) and the relative safety of the waiting room, along a corridor (I feel unsafe in) into an unlocked room (I feel unsafe in) and then, sits watching me (at least, I assume she's watching me, I'm looking at her feet!) for what feels like hours, but was probably nearer to 5 minutes; without so much as a 'Hi' or "how are you".
Seriously, are these people trained to leave empathy, smiles, and the niceties of basic communication on the other side of the therapy room door?! - Because if so, someone needs to tell them that many mentally ill people are uncomfortable (understatement) around strangers, and that silent observation is probably not the best way to put anxious, self conscious, (in my case paranoid) people, (who are meeting you for the first time, and are as nervous as nervous gets) at ease!
When I finally pluck up the courage to perform speak, I tell her that (as anticipated) I had struggled for days after our last session, and needed to talk about changing the frequency of the sessions.
She, remembers she has a tongue in her head (finally) and her response is - "we can come to that in a bit, but first.................."
At the end of the session, I raise my concerns again - she informs me that the session has ended, and we will discuss my concerns the following week - she leaves no room for argument!
Our next session didn't start well - there was a man in the corridor (a stranger) and, to cut a long ramble short, I panicked, had to be led to the therapy room via another route, after first being reassured by my husband that it was safe to do so.
Safe route turned out to be 'the long way round', through a number of doors, and shorter corridors - thus increasing my already intense anxiety, and by the time we had made it to the therapy room I was a wreck - I spent the first 10 - 15 minutes of the session sat on the edge of my seat, turned away from 'psych lady', so that she couldn't see my face - crying & struggling to control my breathing.
Once I had calmed down enough to speak, I told her that I really needed to talk about the concerns I'd raised during previous meetings.
Her response was - "we can talk about that in a bit, but first - why did you feel the need to turn away from me while you were upset"
I went along with her prompting until shortly before the end of the session, and then asked again about the possibility of changing the frequency of the sessions, explaining, again, that the aftermath was interfering with my ability to do 'The mum thing', 'the wife thing' and pretty much 'everything'. and she replied, AGAIN (FGS) with "Lets leave that for the next session".
Crying now, I said, "You say that every week, I really need to sort this out now".
Her response (with her expression leaving no room for argument) was "The session is now over" - she then got up, walked to the door, opened the door, and waited (stone faced) for me to follow.
I remember saying, rather pathetically, as I got up from my chair (still crying) "No one listens - no one listens to me".
I followed her down the corridor, and back to reception, where hubs was waiting, then turned to her and said (sounding a lot bolder than I felt) - "I won't be here next week".
At this point I'd had enough, so when I got home, I phoned my OT (key worker) explained all of the above and asked her if she would speak to the psychotherapist on my behalf....
Well, dear reader, I met with my OT this week, and she told me that she had indeed spoken to 'psych Lady', whose response had been - "There's no problem with less frequent sessions - It's always made clear to the 'client' that's it's up to them to determine the frequency of sessions" .... *Face Palm* o_O
To say I was upset is an understatement!
I was (and still am) Gob smacked!
If she can lie so blatantly over something she failed to explain (despite my giving her numerous opportunities to explain) then, I'm afraid she might lie (or twist the truth) about things I divulge to her.
There is absolutely no way I can open up to her now; I don't trust her!
There is only me and her in the therapy room, so if she ever chose to use the things I tell her against me (something I always worry about before, during, and after therapy, given the nature of some of my intrusive thoughts) it would be my word against hers, and as she's the 'Professional' (I use the term loosely!) and I'm the 'Mentally ill' person; I shouldn't think my account of things would mean diddly squat!
I'm not sure why 'Psych Lady' dismissed my concerns during sessions (though it seems to me, it may have been a power thing, considering how upset I was, and how easily she could have put my mind at ease) or why, when questioned she led my OT to believe that I must have misunderstood the situation, but I am absolutely sure that I will not be meeting with her again!