My Second Therapy Session
So I posted about my first therapy session here (https://www.thelearnermum.com/post/starting-therapy-for-ptsd).
I felt apprehensive about this session, but at least had an idea of what was in store - I had been told it was a history taking session.
Unfortunately, it didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped. Apologies in advance if this sounds a bit mean, whingey and I don't sound a very nice person! It began with me having to request the zoom link be sent, and the therapist said she would 're-send' it, implying it was my mistake for not having it (it was not in my spam). Then, once the session started, I was asked if I did my questionnaire in advance, as I had been instructed to. This questionnaire was sent the day before the session, and I completed it straight away. She looked and said she could see it was marked as incomplete. I assured her I had done it, and her response was that I hadn't, as it wasn't on the system. She asked if I could do it now, and I found the email, clicked the link and lo and behold " You have already submitted this questionnaire" appeared. I held my phone to the webcam and she questioned whether this was the correct questionnaire email. I had to go back and show the date on the email, ask her to watch me click the link and see the message. Only then was I believed, and this might sound harsh of me, but I was really quite wound up by this. I did not appreciate the tone around "show me the email", "wait I didn't see the date properly show me again" etc.
From there she asked how I had got on with dream completion - I explained what I had experienced and done, and she misunderstood me slightly before saying "I think you got confused, dream completion is...". Again, this annoyed me. I had read up on dream completion after the session - I knew what it was and again was not impressed by the patronising tone and accusatory way of saying "you got confused".
Wow I sound really mean writing this!! I am being honest, but should stress I wouldn't usually be this critical of others, but when I am opening myself up, I feel I deserve to be treated with respect and empathy a wee bit more.
She then asked if I read up on EDMR and CBT as my homework, which I had. I told her I wasn't as confident in the look of EDMR (just my opinion here, I since put it out to twitter and some people say it was great), and that I would prefer CBT. I told her that the fact that I had just started crying when she mentioned my trauma 2 mins prior to this shows that this is what I need to change - I want to be able to not cry and even though it is 'harder' to relive the experience, I think it might be what I need to do to get better. She pulled a face and said "oh ok, you are the only person who chooses this". I honestly felt a bit judged for this, and she all but said if you want the harder route so be it, which wasn't the kindest, and she clearly recommends EDMR but said it is my choice.
We then moved on to a personal history. She told me she wanted my life history, and not to go fast as she needed to type it up as I spoke. Now, personally I think this is a near impossible task to just condense 30+ years into 20-30 minutes. On top of this I will say, and I fully appreciate how lucky I am to be able to say this, that I have had a trauma free life up until this point. I have had up and downs and struggles like every human on this earth, but I have not experienced a huge childhood trauma etc like many folk have had to endure.
So she asked me to begin with school, did I make friends ok? I began "So school was ok, I was quiet but made friends and-" I was cut off at this point with an extremely patronising "okay okay slowwww down" with a combined movement of her hands up and down. I apologised and waited then said "so I made friends ok, I didn't love school but did ok-" - once again "okay slowwww, calm" and those hands waving up and down. Now, the "calm" really got to me. I speak quickly, it is part of my accent/the way I speak (I always say I get my monies worth out of each breath). But I was honestly speaking slowly for her benefit at this point and I didn't need to calm, I wasn't worked up telling her about school at all. Saying "calm" had the opposite effect - I think most people know this?!
It continued like this, with the pauses for her typing twice as long as the time I had spoken. Honestly, it was painful. I found myself thinking 'well, I will miss this out and that isn't so important' just to get through it quicker. Then occasionally I would remember something and say sorry I forgot before that this happened, and she would say "well that is important to mention". This is my life in 20 minutes, I am not getting everything in! I also felt her patronising tone changed a bit when I told her my career history (obviously won't disclose anything on here #ImBatman) but I don't like when people suddenly seem to have more respect when they know what you do - we should all respect each other regardless.
She then asked me if I could tell her my trauma. I asked will I have to pause again for you to write it and she said yes. I personally can't keep flow or track of what I am thinking when I have constant huge pauses, and again found myself skipping over for the sake of time. I understand her writing my history, but with my trauma I really need to be able to just say it at my own pace. I cried through the whole thing, and she kept telling me to breath. I never built up the courage to tell her this triggers me - I remember people telling me how to breath/breath through the pain and I just couldn't do it, so anyone saying about breathing sets me off further. I will tell her this next time if I can.
By the end of this I was the colour of a beetroot on my webcam, squeaking words out between quiet sobs. She did tell me well done for getting through it, and said I had done well because "I *had* told you that you didn't need to tell me everything". Again, shocker, this wound me up. She hadn't said that and it was like because I was so upset she was covering herself.
So next week will be more background before starting any therapy, but I have decided since to stick to my guns and ask for CBT. Yes it is awful reliving it, but at the moment I cry every time and I want to move forward with my life.
I am also not entirely confident in my therapist as you may have detected, but have decided that ultimately treatment hasn't started yet, so I will give her the benefit of the doubt and wait until she starts the treatment. But I have been advised (thank you lovely people of twitter) to consider asking to swap if she isn't right, which has given me some comfort. I might have judged too soon - my first impression was her ignoring that I was crying, launching into EDMR and CBT methods and frequently swigging from a can of coke while I was talking. It is hard to undo a bad first impression! And the can of coke persisted through the second session...
The rest of the day I couldn't shake off the anxiety and felt totally drained by the whole thing. I really hope this helps me. I will update next week, please click the heart below if you are following my journey through all of this, it would be nice to know :)