I’ve done it; I’ve split up with my therapist. And it was just as awkward as I had anticipated, with long silences and a lot of non-responsiveness. That said, having explained my reasons for why and how I’ve reached my decision, I think that B. did in some ways understand them. Maybe not entirely the way I meant it, but I think to expect that of her (or anyone, for that matter) would be asking a bit much.
I feel quite good about having done this. I think it was needed, and furthermore, I believe that it stands to prove that I have made a lot of progress in this last year. Had I been referred to this therapist as little as a year ago – I think I’d have followed the path of least resistance and just accepted that, no, I’m not quite getting what I want out of this, and I really don’t feel very safe at all working with this person, much like how I for years and years knew that the abuse I was being subjected to wasn’t right, but it was easier to just go along with it, because I didn’t know what causing a stir might do to my life.
I do realise that’s a rather extreme comparison, but I think it is a valid one nonetheless.
Also, as I pointed out yesterday, I don’t at all see this lack of connectedness between B. and I as something that comes down solely to things she has or hasn’t done in her capacity as a therapist. Nor does it come down to just being about me and the way I relate, or struggle to relate, to people. All it is is a very simple fact; the combination of the two of us just wasn’t a very good match. It happens all the time in life outside of therapy; you meet people you click with and you meet people who you instinctively know you won’t ever be able to gel with, and I think it’s a pretty natural assumption to make that this will, inevitably, happen occasionally in a therapeutic relationship, too.
B. made a very reasonable point about the possibility of this disconnectedness I keep talking about being related to the distance I sometimes feel with my own family, that there may be a parallel. I accept that this is not entirely impossible, but there is one very important difference between family and a therapist; you don’t choose your family. And so therefore with family you may have to come to terms with the fact that things may never be as smooth as you wish they were, that you may have to settle for what I call a reasonable relationship. That it may be a choice of having a reasonable relationship with your family or having none at all. This is not true of a therapist. I get to choose who I work with, and having had significantly better experiences with some therapists in the past, even this early on, I think it’s fair dos to look for that experience again, rather than just stay with whatever you happen to have been dealt.
On a different note; I bumped into D., my previous counsellor, yesterday. Now, I say bumped into, but seeing as I was going to the place where I used to see her (I was meeting up with a friend who’s staying there) I knew, of course, that there was a risk/chance of running into her, and in all honesty, I did have both hopes and worries about this happening. Thankfully, it turned out ok. She was still the same, still talked the same, still tilted her head in the same way, and, yes, the rapport was still there, too, instantly and seamlessly. So, it was good to see her. In many ways I think I needed to see her, just to know that she’s still around and that whatever thoughts and feelings I may have had about working with her aren’t just figments of my imagination. Only downside was that, well, she’s lost weight, and so it took me about one quarter of a split second to start worrying and imagining what the reason for that might be, and I can’t quite shake that. But that’s me.
PS. Still kicking myself slightly for not telling D. that every time I listen to Al Green I think of her dog.. :)