For most of us we choose to go into psychotherapy on our own.
It is usually because of two reasons:
1. We have a past with negativity in it which we feel is inhibiting us from having a happy, fulfilling future; and/or
2. Something is currently going on in our lives which is making us feel very depressed and/or confused and we feel we need someone to talk to about it.
In both instances we want someone to help us work through the issues we have, so we can have a healthy, happy, successful, liberating future.
We choose a psychotherapist to go and talk to.
Whether we choose a psychotherapist through a recommendation from a friend, relative, healthcare provider, or by just randomly searching online, or through the telephone book, we make our first appointment, thus beginning a relationship with our psychotherapist.
During the first therapy session the client can usually tell if he, or she is going to be able to work with the therapist. It’s usually the therapist’s appearance and personality that plays a major role in our decision, but if you know a little about psychology, so does the type of psychotherapy he, or she chooses as a method of treatment. The therapist I currently have uses Freudian Psychotherapy.
The more sessions we have, the more we get to know our therapist better and vice versa, the more he, or she gets to know their client better.
Over the course of therapy we discover that trust, confidentiality and feeling that your therapist really does care about you, or can do a great job of pretending he or she does, are major factors in whether you feel you can continue therapy with this therapist you have chosen and how successful the therapy will be.
We know that overall this is a business relationship. The client pays their psychotherapist for the 45-50 minutes (common time for a session) of therapy. Basically we are paying the therapist to listen to us. We fully understand that. We are paying for a “friend.” If we stop paying, we lose that “friend.”
If we have gone through some, or most of our lives feeling that no one cares about us, a feeling we definitely don’t need is to feel that our therapist, someone we pay to care about us, doesn’t.
I know first hand that the therapist-client relationship is hard for the client and it is hard for the therapist. It’s very hard – some of the times more difficult than others.
I have been in psychotherapy with the same therapist for 13 years – since my OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) became exacerbated and I can honestly tell you that still to this day, therapy has its ups and downs.
I have been with several therapists over the course of years and I can honestly tell you that with each one I have had successes, lulls, setbacks and conflicts. All is common in therapy.
A psychotherapist has a Code of Ethics he, or she basically follows I.e. what they can and can’t do and how personal they can, or can’t get during the therapist-client relationship. Some of the issues include: how much of a monetary gift a therapist can accept from a client, what is and isn’t appropriate in regard to a social relationship with a client….
At this website you can find links to the Code Of Ethics of some of the most common mental health professions: http://www.goodtherapy.org/ethics-therapy.html
Usually it is the therapist following the Code of Ethics which makes the client feel hurt and rejected by the therapist. There are therapists who take it much too far, even beyond the guidelines of the Code of Ethics. The therapist tries his, or her hardest not to get personally attached to the client, but at the same time they have to understand how their ‘coldness’ will make their client feel.
As a client myself, I know we feel that to this person, who we are revealing all of our personal self too, we expect them to be somewhat warm, at least act like they care about us and especially not make us feel that he, or she also doesn’t like us, or want to be bothered with us.
Sometimes it can be the therapist’s priorities as a therapist that creates a conflict and leaves the client feeling hurt. I had a therapist who cut me off in the middle of a sentence when my 50 minutes was up, which made me feel that the therapist was more interested in the money she was making than in helping me. It was downright rude to do that to me.
It’s all about boundaries but boundary crossing in psychotherapy is an elusive term.
A therapist shouldn’t indirectly insult his, or her client, or make a client feel rejected by their therapist. For example, I read on the Zur Institute website in regard to accepting appropriate gifts from clients, that the “therapists’ hesitation, uneasiness or refusal to accept appropriate gifts is likely to be perceived as rejection and may harm the therapeutic alliance.”1
I believe everything in moderation. I believe a therapist can follow the Code of Ethics on a human level, without hurting the client’s feelings.
I have had a therapist(s) hurt my feelings many times.
If you feel your therapist has hurt your feelings and/or is creating your therapy more around his, or her needs, than your own needs, I have two suggestions:
1. Talk about it with your therapist. As with any relationship, problems with the therapist-client relationship can be overcome. Before deciding to quit therapy, especially if the therapy has already been long-term, discuss with your therapist what he, or she did or said and how it made you feel. If your therapist is willing to work it out with you, great. If that doesn’t help…
2. Find another therapist.
There IS the right therapist out there for you, no matter how long it takes to find one and…
Never, ever give up.
This is a good link to find a therapist: http://www.therapistlocator.net/
1. Zur, O. (2010). Gifts in Psychotherapy. Retrieved August 6, 2010 from http://www.zurinstitute.com/giftsintherapy.html.