Tag Archives: therapy

Well … it’s started.

I’m just home from my last session with my therapist for five weeks. That’s right – I won’t see him again until five weeks from today; and we’ll have no contact at all: no phone calls, no emails, no notes in the mail.

It feels good; well, by that I mean that I feel appropriately unsettled by what’s going on – but not devastated.

Some of the emotions I’ve felt leading up to this last session are:

  • anxiety
  • anger
  • frustration
  • sadness
  • fear
  • concern (for my therapist)
  • pride (that I’m coping so much better in preparation for this break, and that I’m in touch with my feelings to a greater extent than in the past), and
  • gratitude (for the work we do together).

By the time 4:50 rolled around, though, I felt at peace. I’d said what I needed to say before our last session ended. I’d felt what I needed to feel.

Am I worried about the next five weeks? Not right now. I’ve started a special notebook, in which I’m drawing a picture for each day of the separation. (I started it on day D-3 last Friday. Today is Day Zero.) I feel stable within myself, especially now my body is free of those awful steroids. I’ve made appointments with other support people during this period.

My dearly beloved and I are in a good space right now, and I know my family and friends will be there, if I need them.

I think I’m going to be OK, and that feels good ūüôā

thanks heart

 

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Book Review: Psychodynamic Counselling in a Nutshell

Readers often ask me about psychodynamic psychotherapy; the whole concept of a therapist who works hard to be unobtrusive can seem strange – as my mother once exclaimed, “So he just sits there and listens?!”

What a psychodynamic therapist actually does is far more than listen, and  Psychodynamic Counselling in a Nutshell offers a readable yet rigorous introduction to the field for patients and even professionals reading about psychodynamic therapy for the first time.

Susan Howard walks the reader through both the theory and practice of this style of counselling, and also addresses ethical issues, its history, and potential pitfalls for the both practitioner and patient. The pitch and tone of the book are accessible without being condescending.

While there are other books about psychodynamic psychotherapy I’m fond of – The Science of the Art of Psychotherapy (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology), for example, provides a more rigorous treatment of the science behind the approach –¬†Psychodynamic Counselling in a Nutshell¬†remains the book I’d recommend to anyone wanting an introduction to the topic.

A definite five stars, without reservation! Enjoy.

//

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Dreaming of Icecream

My father loves icecream. I think it’s partly a generational thing – it was such a treat for him, as a kid, that it’s secured a special place in his gastronomical heart.

Icecream isn’t top of my crave list, though lately I must admit I’ve been thinking about it. I don’t feel compelled to go out and buy any; I think it’s just that winter has well and truly set in here, all blustery and cold, and icecream is such a summery treat.

Speaking of blustery and cold: my state has¬†set some sort of PB this week for weather warnings. I can’t remember the details, but it certainly has been windy and wet! It reminds me of the town I grew up in. Winters there were bitter; in fact, the winter after we left, things got so cold that the old folk were evacuated to warmer climes … or something like that. It was¬†some¬†time ago.

In the CBD on Tuesday, walking across the Yarra River, I got a taste of that driving, freezing wind and the good old horizontal rain which is so useful for blowing cobwebs away (and umbrellas, and – as I saw, glancing down – a heavy gold earring from an unfortunate pedestrian). Perhaps it was experiencing that same weather, so familiar to me from childhood, which has me dreaming of icecream.

Well, I think I might stop writing now. I don’t want to start fixating on icecream, and possibly craving it: I have bigger problems to worry about. My therapist is about to depart for an extended break. We have a session today, another on Monday, then I won’t see him for five weeks. Five weeks! I only realized this last night. He’s actually only going away for four and a half weeks, but checking in my diary, I saw that because of timing, there would be five weeks between Monday’s appointment and our next.

I can handle this. I know I can. In fact, I’m going to blitz it. (Keep up that positive self-talk, DB.) I’m going to use this time to live mindfully, notice when I miss him and the circumstances surrounding that sensation, and generally being awesome.

And rewarding myself with icecream occasionally, because sometimes Dad knows best.

ice cream

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Psychotherapy: All the Dirty Little Secrets Your Therapist Doesn’t Want You To Know! (Book Review)

James A. Stump has written a short, shiny e-book which is not only a delight to read but also offers a succinct introduction to the world of counseling and psychotherapy.


The dedication reads:

This little booklet is dedicated to all clients who want to improve their lives through their examination of faulty beliefs and behaviours

and Stump delivers, outlining the reasons people seek therapy, phases of the therapy process, when an individual might consider counselling, modes of therapy, finding and choosing a therapist, privacy and financial concerns, and more. Although written for a North American audience, I believe most of the content would translate well across borders¬†– the chief exception being information particular to the USA’s health system, though even that I personally found helpful, as I mentally translated it into an Australian context.¬†

Stump’s writing can be delightfully direct: “So get it into your head: Nobody else is gonna fix your life for you. You are going to have to learn how to be different. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.” I might have found this confronting, if he hadn’t established his credentials as someone who obviously – and thoroughly! – knows his subject matter. As it was, I really enjoyed this down-to-earth approach.

I’ve been in therapy for, wow, eight years this year – though due to one therapist retiring and an interstate move, I’m into my third therapeutic relationship. This gives me something of a knowledge base from which to assess Stump’s work, albeit from a consumer’s perspective. In my opinion, there wasn’t a false note in the book. I’d highly recommend it as a resource for someone who’s considering counselling or psychotherapy, either for one particular issue or, as he puts it, “if you’re wondering ‘Why am I such a mess and why is my entire life all screwed up?'”

If I had one minor bone to pick, I’d say that to me, counselling and psychotherapy are two closely related but slightly different processes; but, hey, I’m neither a counselor nor a therapist, so what would I know?!

This e-book is also very affordable. My recommendation? If you’re considering therapy, or you love someone who is, grab this little treasure with both hands. It’s a quick read – I got through it in about an hour – but well worth the time spent.

My rating? 5/5.¬†Do you have a favourite book on therapy or counseling? I’d love to hear about them! Feel free to comment in the space below.

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Yesterday afternoon was grey and dreary …

… and filled with urges to SH and questions about my worth in the world; however, as I stated so strongly to my amazing online support group, I survived! Multiple triggers?¬†Sure; let’s have ’em!¬†Insecurity about the future? Bring it¬†on. I have the [mental] technology. I live to tell the tale.

Since my last mood plummet, I’ve had numerous ‘danger periods’ – times when I could have slumped dramatically, the way my mind does. However, I’ve managed not to, and also (mostly!) managed not to engage in problem behaviours at the same time. OK, I am procrastinating about some things, but nothing which has a looming deadline; and I did overeat yesterday afternoon – but, again, I had sort of planned to, as a comfort mechanism during a hard time (though I would admit to a smidgen of regret about¬†having overeaten so damned well, now).

My therapist is away for a week. The great progress we’ve made in this area is that I was able to¬†acknowledge to myself and him how much this scares and upsets me. In the past, I have known this, but not been able to own the knowledge or feel it. During our last session before a break, I would have felt an increasing “itchiness” to be out the door, so the period of nastily-anticipated separation could begin. Yesterday, I just cried.

Another horrible thought is that I’ll be getting a significant phone call early next week, and he won’t be around to help me cope with it if the news is bad. There’s a part of my mind which tells me: “That’s pathetic! You should be able to cope by yourself!” but I understand I might need support. While some critical people might look at my relationship with my therapist and say I depend on him, I would reply that I don’t; I rely on him – big difference. He’s really the only one of my professional team I can rely on. So many people in my personal life have battles of their own that it’s difficult to believe I can rely on them for emotional support. I feel like a burden. He doesn’t let me depend on him (I started writing an explanation about this, but it became too convoluted; you’ll have to take my word for it) but he is someone I can rely on, and he’s now gone … still, I do have friends I can count on. Good friends. Friends who come through. I’m a lucky woman.

So, yes, yesterday was a dreary afternoon, full of greyness and tears, but characterized by survival, strength and successful strategies. I’ll do my homework from my psychologist now, and type: “I am proud of the fact that I got through yesterday afternoon!”

Goodbye for now, sweetlings. May your Saturday, when it arrives, be relaxing, refreshing and reinvigorating.

xx DB

Survivor

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