Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back in therapy

I'm a recovering therapy addict. When I stopped going to therapy myself (after10 years, maybe more) I started training to be a therapist. I love it, the good and the bad. Towards the end of my training (I have only completed part 1), I found myself talking to my supervisor about clients and craving a turn in the clients chair.

Over the past year, living here has allowed me a break from, the therapy room, in either chair. There were times when I wobbled after our big move across the world and I thought back to that chair, the desk light with a 40 watt bulb illuminating a decorative box of tissues. I feel like it's been waiting for me and last week I decided it was the right time.

In a city that claims to have 1 psychotherapist to every 50 people, I had plenty of choice but few are covered on my health plan and even fewer speak English. I went on line and took a few recommendations from ex pats. After wading through some horrible prices I found a very reasonable fee with a lady not far from me. Once the appointment was booked I started to let myself feel all the things I have been 'managing' by pushing them to the back of my mind by keeping busy. It's worked. I am studying every day with homework and tests and it's a marvellous distraction. I feel like I have my life back again after it disappeared temporarily in January.

On the bus to the therapists office I fully unpacked all my feelings and shed my armour outside the door and rang the bell. P opened the door and invited me in to the room that was just as I had imagined. Soft desk lamp glowing in the corner, ceiling to floor books, chairs with ornate cushions and throws. I let a happy sigh escape and P checked what sort of sigh it was. I assured her it was a content one and so we began. I began my rehearsed script of 'Well, I began therapy when I was 16....family problems....admitted twice to a psychiatric ward...not coping...better in my 20's...began to pull up some deep seated childhood traumas and by the time I hit 30....pretty much sorted'. I'm here now not because I'm struggling with old issues again but because of the gruelling IVF treatment regime, the uncertainty of the future, the disappointment and social isolation I feel some days.......but mainly because I plan to do it a second time, possibly third, possibly who knows...?'. And well, I was quite surprised and proud of myself that when I said the said the words, '...and it didn't work', I let the tears come...

....just for a second, for as quick as they welled up and teetered on the edge, ready to roll, they were sucked back violently on hearing the words...'mmmm, I can relate to how you feel...I too had IVF'. UNBELIEVABLE.

Even people who have not had therapy themselves know that 'I know how you feel...' is banned. This sort of disclosure is a no no! Well at that moment, whilst nodding along to her story of failed attempts and finding success in the end, I repacked my baggage and tucked it to one side. What a shame. The neutrality I longed for had gone. Silly P. No matter how a therapist tries to persuade his or her self that they disclosed in the clients best interest, 99.9% of the time, it's not true. I'm not even sure that P has the awareness to take this to her next supervision session and she will no doubt be coming up with all sorts of hypotheses as to why I have not made a second appointment. I certainly don't have the energy to tell her.

Second time lucky hopefully, I hope this self disclosure is not a Latin American trait.


  1. Oh no! I haven't had therapy (yet) but also know that they're not supposed to share personal experiences. So all the IVF stuff that you want to talk about would be coloured by her own experiences.. bugger! Better luck with the next one..

  2. What an irritating thing to happen. What's really frustrating about it is the ex-pat minefield. You only have a small number of people who you can go to (without having to wait months while you learn the language better) and then the one you choose turns out to be inadequate. I'm on the lookout for an acupuncturist at the moment, and although I have had recommendations I'm a little hesitant to go for it for that reason.