Ending each therapy session

image**

I had an interesting experience in therapy with DS (Deep Soul) on Monday. Our time was drawing to a close and I had discussed for the first time how anxious I feel around other people and how fearful I am of the anxiety’s effect on my relationships. As usual, he asked how I was feeling as we were wrapping up.

Most often, there’s just a deep sadness that time has gone by so quickly and that I will have to wait another week to feel his presence. I feel ashamed for feeling sad when he has been so kind. It’s like I am ungrateful and greedy. As a result, I find myself withdrawing the closer it comes to saying goodbye. It’s not entirely of my will. I just feel myself distancing, becoming really formal and speaking monotonously and without affect. This is most likely something I use to protect myself from feeling the pain at departing. DS raised his observations about my departures a while back and I have been trying to remain more present as a result.

So when he asked how I was feeling last time, I opened up about my sadness and tried to remain with him emotionally in the room. It was hard fighting against habit. I told him it was difficult. As I type this now, I think the difficulty is that I have to feel whatever is real for me in that moment instead of being numb. Feeling touched that he was being empathetic as we sat there, I said:

“It’s difficult but I am willing to do this [try be more present] for those I care about.”

Scared at the silence and that he might interpret the words as me coming on too strong, I added: “like you, my husband and perhaps a few of my closest friends”.

My intention with those words was to show him that I appreciate him sticking around and that I am ready to do the work I need to in order to strengthen my emotional regulation and intimacy skills.

Instead, he said it felt like I needed to reassure him or give up my own feelings and needs to maintain the relationship. I said he was reading too much into it. Oh boy, did I feel a need to distance myself from the rising rejection in my body then! “It feels like I am rejecting you?” he enquired gently. I said it sure did but that I understood what he was trying to say. He added that there was obviously a lot going on with me trying to stay present and he was curious to know what that experience was like for me. He didn’t want me to cut off certain feelings or leave things unsaid.

“I understand,” I said in a soft, somewhat monotous voice. “You’re trying to look out for my needs as a client.”

“As a person,” he replied.

——–

** “Friendship” by Pablo Picasso. 1908.

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8 thoughts on “Ending each therapy session

  1. Why are you afraid of coming on too strong or of saying the wrong thing? Is it because you fear he will reject you? I think he is trying to understand you. Are you afraid he will judge you?

    • Jay says:

      Good questions…I am afraid that if he sees how strong the transference is, and all the related powerful feelings, he will put down strict or stricter boundaries as a way to protect himself or not encourage me. I am very sensitive to love being withdrawn because of something I have said or done. I am already in a battle with an ingrained belief that love is conditional. Does that all make sense? Explaining it has provided some clarity thank you x

      • But, the transference is the thing! It’s what we must work through to get to the other side.

      • Jay says:

        You’re absolutely right about the transference and he seems to be really clued up on how it manifests itself. It’s more my own fears holding me back. I know I need to address this with him! It helps that you also have such intense experiences with transference and understand its grip 🙂

  2. PS I too hate ending therapy sessions. I often cry and we discuss it. I hope that you too continue discussing with your therapist why leaving brings up so many emotions.

  3. Got it. I understand being afraid. It can be paralyzing.

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