Tut…

th57TBTZLQWhat is it with my Therapist? When we first met, my only concern was for his reliability. It might have been his very – and I mean VERY – laid back manner or his general scruffy appearance, but while we got on brilliantly, something raised questions about his professionalism and his suitability to facilitate weekly therapy sessions with so many different people.

At the beginning of the therapy programme, Paul suddenly had three weeks off due to a stiff neck. The cause was an inappropriate desk and chair in his office. The Department never did implement the changes.

I had a sneaky suspicion there were office politics going on and it might result in more time off. I wondered why he didn’t attempt to improve his own seating arrangement rather than continue to jeopardise more sick leave.

What really fuelled my irritation today was a text message from the Department saying,

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, your appointment with Paul has been cancelled forthN9VHOWM6 tomorrow.”

What? Again? It could not have come at a worse time… I’ve reached a crucial stage in therapy.

Since therapy started, sessions have been working through all that crap from childhood to arrive at where I am today… ready to talk about ME, ready to “observing the feelings.” I anticipated this week to be a milestone in that process.

These last few days have been tough. The depression is at a low point.  ‘The feelings’  are simmering beneath the surface, waiting for guidance and ultimate release.

th7IJG5ZHAToday, I am gutted… disappointed… Sure, Therapist get sick like the rest of us, but it’s strange that reliability was always a concern. Four weeks sickness in six months doesn’t quite cut it for me.

In situations like this, I try to think of a “higher reason,” some things are just not meant to be. Maybe the absence will materialise as positive, but all the same… Tut!

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40 thoughts on “Tut…

  1. Ellen

    I’d be disappointed also. More than that some weeks, as that hour can seem like a lifeline. I’m sorry that happened. Plus, getting such a bureaucratic message – yuck. At least with me, my T would call me himself, and tell me a reason. You are left dangling and imagining. And four cancels in less than a year is a lot.

    BTW, my T also has a somewhat scruffy appearance, because he doesn’t like to shave, but doesn’t like a beard either, so it’s mostly in-between, and he doesn’t buy new clothes often it seems, so his clothes seem mostly about a decade out of date. But I still like how he looks. And, he has been completely reliable about appointments – I don’t think he’s ever cancelled – so it could be your T’s appearance really isn’t related to reliability. But then, he is cancelling a lot, so maybe in your case it is.

    Hoping your spirits lift soon.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I don’t think his appearance reflects reliability, although I probably question his motivation more than professionalism, He gives me the impression he gets worn out and maybe even depressed sometimes
      When he had 3 weeks off, no one would tell us what was wrong or whether he would even be back. Each week they would text the day before my session to cancel.
      It’s only a 18mth programme and with his 4 weeks absence, my therapy has been cut down to 17mth.
      Oh well, I’m never slow in speaking my mind, so they’ll get it on Friday. 😛

      Thank you, Ellen

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  2. kat

    reliability is probably the cornerstone of the trust we build with our therapist. how can we trust them if they are not available when they are supposed to be? we depend on them, we put our life in their hands, literally.

    i wish you the best in working with Paul, but i hope you can get more reliability.

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  3. Priceless Joy

    When I started reading your post today, it reminded me of one of my psychiatrists years ago. So many times (I would say at LEAST 10 times) I would show up for my appointment and they would tell me something came up and he wouldn’t be able to see me that day. I felt like a bouncing ball really. I would make a new appt. and show up for that hoping that one wouldn’t be cancelled. Sometimes it would be sometimes it wouldn’t be. Come to find out he was fighting demons of his own (rumor had it that it was heroine) and he ended up shooting himself in the head. Very very sad. It really crushed me. It made me realize that it isn’t always “about me.” I felt like I was too involved with my own problems and wanting to get well to be able to see the obvious. What hurt the worst, when I went to a psychiatric hospital about 50 miles away (BEFORE he committed suicide) one of the psychiatrists there told me that Dr. K. had tried to get an appointment with him and he wouldn’t see him. Two months later, he was dead. If only he would have seen him. So, I’m only telling you this so you can see the other side of the coin. I really hope you can talk to someone that can help you deal with what you are dealing with if you aren’t able to see him soon. (Hugs!) xo

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    1. Cat Post author

      It is so difficult not to feel frustrated. Of course, they’re only human and things do come up, but let us just hope it is from time to time rather than All the flippin time! 😉

      Thank you for your supportive comment, it means a great deal to have the support around my blog

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  4. Cheryl-Lynn

    Oh darn, I think I lost my comment under Tracesofthesoul…so here is another go at it. Yikes, that is quite frustrating and I feel for you, Cat. I hope writing is helping you (I know it helps me a lot on my other blog where I just let it out). I hope this doesn’t drag on too much for your sake. Perhaps take this time to journal or write more here…remember, that it may be helping you to share but it is also helping many others to grow just a little more. Blessings, Cheryl-Lynn

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Cheryl… yes, writing is my saving grace, it never fails to unravel or reveal something new. I also hope this doesn’t continue. This afternoon, when I should’ve been at therapy, I did spend an hour or so writing. I’m in two minds whether to post just in case it might trigger some other people’s demons. I do tend to write graphically about it and I’m never too sure of its suitability for a blog

      Thank you, Cheryl, your comments are always greatly appreciated 🙂

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      1. Cheryl-Lynn

        You know it is always a good idea to write what is in your heart and your mind. Reread it before posting and if there are parts you prefer NOT to share that is totally up to YOU…we are adults and if you find it may be heavy you could perhaps add at the beginning of the post “may be triggering to some readers”. So it is our responsibility not yours. does this make sense?

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  5. littlevoicetalks

    Tut, tut, tut. I think one of the most crucial traits in a therapist is reliability and consistency. Without structure and routines, it is easy for us folk to drift off into no-man’s-land and then find we have ceased therapy altogether and find ourselves in the thick of the torment and behaviours that are truly unhelpful. I hope his ‘neck’ resolves itself fast. But really? How hard is it to rock up and talk with someone therapeutically. Grow a pair. I’ve taught countless classes with a dislocated rib and I have to teach lifting heavy weight or spinning like a maniac on a spin bike. Some people are just too quick to take leave. Tut xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      I completely agree, those are the top two ‘must-do’s’ for any Therapist. Of course, maybe something terrible has happened… a broken leg or a death in the family… or maybe it’s another friggin frozen neck 😛 This is only a 18mth programme, but I’ve already lost out on one month. If he continues to be a wimp, my therapy will dwindle to nothing…. well, slight exaggeration there, but you know what I mean.

      Thank you so much for understanding, it’s very supportive

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  6. Grainne

    That would be so frustrating, having to wait on pins and needles until the day before therapy to find out if your appointment is on or cancelled. Surely they could havs given more warning….and a “stiff neck”? Geez, i don’t like to judge but who needs weeks off for a stiff neck? How does that prevent one from providing therapy? (Hugs). Sorry you were let down this week. I hope you get to explore what you are focused on next week. Xx

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    1. Cat Post author

      Not knowing makes it even more frustrating. When he was off 3 weeks, they waited until the day before session was due before letting me know, even though they had known he wouldn’t be there all week. Don’t worry, though, I’m never shy in speaking my mind and I will make my position clear at group therapy on Friday, which is run by another two more senior therapists.

      Thank you, Grainne for dropping by 😉

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  7. cardamone5

    If you are making good progress with him, then I say hang in there. His absences are frustrating, but it’s really hard to find someone who can help guide you through childhood, depression, feelings. They are worth their absences once found (in all the years of being depressed, I never found anyone who got me, called me out on my shit, whom I felt comfortable letting down my guard with, got over telling them what I thought they wanted to hear.)

    If you feel that that progress can be continued with someone else who is more reliable, then switch.

    But you are entitled to feel frustrated. So often in this depression management, the struggle to know whether our feelings are valid can be debilitating, so I can reassure you that your feelings are valid…if you needed me to say that!

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Elizabeth 🙂 You’re so right, I am making excellent progress with him and probably wouldn’t dream of changing, but it is frustrating all the same. I will, however, let my feelings be known to him and the two group Therapists because it really shouldn’t be happening. Who knows, maybe something serious happened, in which case I will probably feel guilty for slating him 😉

      Many thanks for your validation, it does help

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  8. mandy

    Cat, I’m really sorry to hear this. Frustrated for you because I’ve been there. Setting aside the fact that, yes, therapists are humans, too, still, they’ve taken on a unique position, where their job involves people dealing with heavy self-esteem issues. It doesn’t take much to knock us back down to feeling unworthy, guilty for taking someone’s time–being a “bother….and if they truly do a disappearing act, we instantly feel rejected and abandoned. So, on to them…I have a family member who is a therapist who deals with severe depression. And believe me, it does affect his work at being a therapist. It really pisses me off because I want to say, “why are you doing this to your patients?” But he’s too stubborn–after all, he went to college for this…I’ve had two different therapists who were so depressed that one wrapped herself in a blanket while we talked–and both, I ended up being the counselor for them. Anyway, this issue pisses me off. I would demand some kind of real explanation of what his deal is. If he has cancer then that’s horrible. But you then need another “somebody” that is reliable and you can count on. I’m sorry to rant, Cat. I just don’t want you to suffer because of them. You’ve come way too far!! ♥

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    1. Cat Post author

      I agree, they are in a unique position and that’s why I suspect the neck was an excuse for his own depression… unable to face other people’s problems, maybe even on the brink of burn out, similar to your cousin. It is a very difficult job and I think it takes a certain person with extensive training to withstand hours of listening to many harrowing tales each and every week. I might be wrong, maybe something genuine has come up, but it’s strange this was my initial impression on our first meeting.
      Never mind, Mandy, I’m not slow in speaking my mind and will have a few things to say at Friday’s group. 😉 It has been a difficult few days and I did try to write about it today. I might post it later or maybe wait until tomorrow because it is a little graphic about childhood. I’m always worried other people might be upset by CH abuse.
      Anyway, as always, I am grateful for your kind support and understanding 😉

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  9. your mirror

    Good evening Cat. You are such a pleasure to read that I would offer myself to listen to you! I have skype if you want…
    Anyway, take it as an exercise, because yes the role of a therapist is to help you in finding the way to serenity and building up your self esteem/self respect, but the point lays exactly in the meaning of the word “help”!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you for your very kind offer, but I do not have a cam and struggle to use a blog, let alone Skype 😉 I am touched that you enjoy reading my posts because I always feel they are very intense, maybe repetitive in some parts….plus…. I’m not a very good writer… so, it is nice to know someone actually enjoys reading.
      I’ve been hesitant to ask until now, but I am assuming your blog is mirrorgirl?

      Many thanks for your comment

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  10. your mirror

    You write very well and repetition is not a repetition but the evolution of your thoughts about a subject.
    I do not have a blog, I am too lazy and I would feel too exposed. Instead, I use your “repetition” to evolve mine!!! A bit parasitic I reckon, but you do not lose anything in the end!!
    Ouf I was so curious to talk to you, amen, anyway we say “curiosity killed the cat….” and I am the fox with the grape….

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    1. Cat Post author

      Strange, I was reading a blog mirrorgirl, she’s a psychologist in Norway…um… I seem to have thought you two were the same person.
      You’re very welcome to email me at any time, if you would like. I can’t give my private email on here, but if you emailed at mytravelswithdression@gmail.com, I can email back from private email

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  11. manyofus1980

    That is not very professional! I’d be looking for a new therapist! Reliability is a huge thing for us. Its almost as important as building trust and safety in therapy. If you cant rely on the therapist, that doesn’t say much for how therapy will go! XX

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  12. Sharon Alison Butt

    Gosh, you’re right to be concerned. Maybe he needs a therapist too? And maybe his therapist needs a therapist. The list is endless but that’s no comfort to you. Your only hope is that there IS a counsellor who doesn’t charge anything, knows everything about you so you’ve no need to fumble for the right words, is the best listener and never misunderstands your tone, never gets irritated and most importantly, you don’t need to book yourself in, or leave the house to meet him. His name is Jesus and he knows absolutely everything about you. Oh and… he actually likes you too. 😊

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    1. Cat Post author

      I do feel a little guilty for moaning about him because he is one of the better psychotherapists, it’s just he’s had a couple of his own issues. Hopefully it’s all a one off kinda thing.
      Thank you for your kind thoughts, Sharon

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