The end of Therapy

I often contemplated the end of therapy, anticipating a time of fear and doubt. Now that I’m here, the experience isn’t the Armageddon I imagined. This might be due to exhaustion, or it could be the wobbly relationship with my Therapist, Paul.

I would say that our therapeutic relationship has been a comfortable one. His calm, laid-back character oozed an impartiality and empathy that only encouraged conversation to flow effortlessly. The initial months of therapy were testament to a life that had wadded through its fair share of trauma. I don’t know whether to cringe or laugh at some of the dysfunctional beliefs and statements from those earlier days, but it’s comforting to realise that I’ve come a long way.

It will take some time to appreciate the finer details of the therapeutic journey, but one important element missing, is my Therapist Paul. His absences have littered our therapy space since the beginning of the programme. The first few didn’t mean too much, but the strain intensified slowly, as we climbed through six, eight, and then twelve cancellations.

I wrote about most of this in my last post, so I won’t go over old ground. By the time he returned to work last week, I had managed to plough through most of the transference and the anger dissolved into a minor irritation. His absences haven’t ruin therapy, but the constant dripping of disappointment, could corrode the trust within any therapeutic alliance.

When Paul and I met two weeks ago, it was obvious that he had been talking to the Psychiatrist of the therapy team. He knew already that I had seen him on his knees. Perhaps she asked him to justify praying during work time… on my therapy time. I pretended not to notice how our accounts seem to have different timescales. I’m not stupid and know exactly what happened that day.

He would’ve looked for me in the reception area at 2pm. I’m typically a couple of minutes early, but seldom do I run late. On this particular day, I imagine how he seized the opportunity for a quickie – a prayer that is – before returning to fetch me from the waiting room five minutes later.

I wasn’t expecting him to sit in a chair and wait indefinitely, but I arrived at the therapy room approximately three to four minutes late… this is hardly enough time to apparently form a conclusion that I wasn’t coming.

We had a frank conversation two weeks ago, but it can’t be easy for a Therapist to get an earful of transference, especially if they’re not okay within themselves. It would be so easy to assume that his unreliable history demonstrates a lack of investment in my therapy. I don’t believe he’s irresponsible. Some of his clients from the distant past, are as surprised as I am.

Paul said the therapy service is offering to extend my time, but my indecisiveness changed the subject quickly. Rather than leave on the 9th December, I can stay until the end of January. I was probably being flippant and bitchy when I doubted his ability to fulfil the commitment.

Two days later, Paul phoned to change the time of our next session. He called back five minutes later to say, “Thank you.” When our appointment day arrived, I received an email from his boss.

“Dear Cat,

Apologies, but your appointment today with Paul is cancelled. Please contact re any concerns

I should’ve been annoyed, but my time with Paul is over and that feels strangely satisfying. It’s not all negative. The value of our time together far outweighs his absences.

I replied to his manager’s email. My leaving dates are Wednesday 9th Dec with Paul and Friday 11th for the group. Paul’s still off sick and won’t be available for my last session tomorrow, but it makes little difference. The end is disappointing, but it has been a wonderful experience.

 

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38 thoughts on “The end of Therapy

  1. Priceless Joy

    That’s sad that the end of your therapy with Paul has to be so disappointing and that he has cancelled so many appointments with you. But the important thing is is that it has been a wonderful and healing experience for you and that you are somewhat happy that the therapy is over. Reading your posts over the year I have noticed huge accomplishments in your therapy. All in all Paul has been a good therapist for you. Endings are always sad, but where there is an end there is a new beginning. I look forward to finding our what your new beginning is Cat.

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    1. Cat Post author

      What a lovely comment, Joy, thank you so much. It is disappointing, but it has been a great experience and I’m glad you are a part of that journey. Yes, the journey continues. The therapy service recommends I do trauma therapy for the PTSD, but I’ll wait a few months and see how it goes. Here’s to new beginnings 🙂

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  2. D. Wallace Peach

    I ditto every single word Priceless Joy said. The path of growth and healing never actually ends, and it certainly isn’t always a smooth one, but you have come so far, learned new skills, gained perspective, and your future is so much brighter. I too am looking forward to reading about your continuing journey into wholeness. ❤

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    1. Cat Post author

      In some ways, eighteen months therapy is just the beginning, Diana, and the future definitely looks a lot brighter. Thank you for being a part of that 🙂

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  3. manyofus1980

    All those absences would’ve called me a great deal of trauma, I don’t know how you managed to get through them. I’m glad you found there be useful though even with the absences. I’m not sure I would’ve had such a positive review at the end if it was me in your position

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  4. edwinasepisodes

    It must seems strange for you Cat, but I am sure that you are ready now armed with all that you have learned. Like the others. I too look forward to seeing and hearing how you are doing 🙂

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  5. Dawn D

    I am pleased to read this post. Not because of the end of therapy, not because of the cancellations with Paul, but because I sense peace within you. And that is priceless.
    My feeling is that, maybe, through his absences, Paul still helped you achieve something. He helped you achieve the belief that you are able to do this without him. Because I think oftentimes, this is what is so scary at the end of therapy, it’s to have to imagine life without that support system, that time we had gotten so used to, become dependent on sometimes.
    I know it’s very different, but I will compare it to the things I have grown to learn about myself through my latest relationship. Not having someone constantly there for me enabled me to stand stronger on my own two feet. Maybe I’m assigning my beliefs to you, but this is what I felt reading your post.
    Regardless of this, I wish you all the best in the coming year, no matter where your path leads you.
    Many hugs sent from my part of the world.
    XOXO

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    1. Cat Post author

      I feel peace within me too, Dawn… it’s just brilliant! And I agree wholeheartedly about Paul helping me to achieve something through his absences, but also through his presence. He is a good Therapist. Often the ending of therapy is a very scary time and some can’t bring themselves to take that plunge. Your not assigning your beliefs to me. Therapy is a relationship between two people with a common goal and the dynamics of a personal or a therapeutic relationships are very similar… that’s why I’ve remained distant with Paul, just as I do on the outside.

      Thank you, Dawn, always appreciate your input

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  6. Ellen

    You sound quite detached Cat, and in the circumstances, that’s probably wise. I would be furiously angry, personally, Even the supervisor’s email to you seemed ridiculous – if any concerns? And sent the day of the appointment? OMG. These guys wouldn’t last long on the open market if they had to sell their services.

    Wishing you real well as you continue with another phase of your life.

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    1. Cat Post author

      I know, Ellen, the manager’s email was a joke. She’s a nice lady, but I often wonder how she managed to get the position. Thankfully, there’s a clinical manager, the Consultant Psychiatrist, DrJ, The other Therapists on the team seem to be top notch, but Paul has issues that I would rather not know about. He’s either Mr Hypochondria or there is something more serious. Either way, I don’t want to extend therapy time with him

      I’m not sure if I’m detached., The last two months have been full of all sorts of emotion… so many things have come together and the transference with Paul was difficult, but I learned a lot. I’ve worked hard and now I feel exhausted. I might feel sadder in the NY. I need a little time to digest, so will be looking forward to the end of the group this Friday. I’m sure I’ll catch up with Paul in the new year. I’m considering looking into trauma therapy for PTSD in the spring… see how it goes. Thanks for commenting

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  7. mandy

    The end of anything is weird. Whether you were ready, not ready, there’s that unknown that leaves you with the ” now what happens.” You’ve come a long way, Cat. For you to go through all the difficulties at the end and not come away in a state of panic but still recognizing that you did see a lot of benefit to the time you put in– well you should be really proud of yourself. I sure am proud and inspired by you my dear friend.

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  8. Glynis Jolly

    It’s miraculous that you made it through the therapist’s lack of concern for your time with him. I’ve been reading your blog for just over a year and you’ve eloquently expressed your distress over his neglect. I’m glad it’s over for you. You’re a stronger person now, and I can only assume that life is going to be more manageable and adventurous for you. ❤

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  9. breakingthecycle716

    Good outlook, Cat, I would be seriously annoyed, but then I’d ask myself what good does that irritation do, and isn’t it evidence of my controlling nature? You are a more understanding person than I am.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Elizabeth… I’m not too understanding! I did go through two months of kicking off and throwing my dummy out the pram. However, I realised eventually that these sort of disappointments happen in life all the time and I’m not too good at processing them… this was good practice Thanks so much, lovely to hear from you

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  10. drgeraldstein

    You attitude about all this is commendable, Cat. Sometimes emotions creep up on us, as you know, so the story may not be over, but you seem to have the strength to take on whatever comes. Best wishes.

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    1. Cat Post author

      It might not have been so commendable a few weeks ago when I was throwing a drama… transference isn’t such a bad thing in therapy. Thanks Dr.G

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  11. dgkaye

    Rather disappointing end, but I think you still came out on top after this year Cat. One door closes now, but many new ones will open for you. Cheers to a bright new year. 🙂

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  12. patternsofsouldevelopment

    Sooner or later, it was prone to happen – I’m sure that, if asked, your answer will be that you wouldn’t imagine yourself being in therapy for an indefinite time. I remember back then, in your beginning posts, how your mood used to be downcast, and how you have been gradually changing, transforming, like the metamorphosis of a butterfly. Through your writing now, with your approach to this challenging moment of transference, I can sense a new you, a strong, beautiful person (it’s not that you weren’t before, it’s just that you couldn’t see that yourself at the time); it’s been a long way, Cat, and I am happy for you and happy to see my theory confirmed once more: I strongly believe that there is a purpose in all that; the dark journey through tribulations and depression (even the things that caused it) is meant to deliver us stronger, more adapted to manifest the potential, the creativity that otherwise would lie there, unknown, undiscovered, under layers of self-demeaning and self-depreciation. Endings bring in new beginnings: your new journey through light is only beginning, and I would be even happier to have it confirmed once more in a couple of years… Enjoy the new you!

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    1. Cat Post author

      Thank you so much for such a lovely and supportive comment. I would agree that there are many changes since the early blogging days. New beginning are still out of focus, but I trust they are there. It’s nice to know someone has been reading my blog since the start and even better that you recognise change… thanks 🙂

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  13. hurthealer

    I’ve followed your posts and not always had time to leave a comment, but it’s wonderful to see how far you have come and how much insight you have. May you continue to grow from strength to strength. 🙂

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  14. Sharon Alison Butt

    Hi Cat, you’re more patient than me. I like closure and that ending would have frustrated the hell outta me.

    But I’m glad you are able to look at the positive side of your relationship.

    There’s definately something not right there and I don’t get why he would feel the need to pray, meditate or whatever he was doing, right before your session. He must have wanted you to catch him for some reason unknown to us all.

    Anyway, I wish you a blessed 2016. My ‘following’ preferences seem to have changed by accident and I’m not getting any email from any blogs now. I will have to go onto my desktop pc and fiddle about with the settings again.

    (Just before Christmas, I started following a few more bloggers and ended up with 483 emails in one day, as a few of them blog about 50 times a day – no joke. So I must have cancelled everybody by mistake!)

    Regards x

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    1. Cat Post author

      Hi Sharon, lovely to hear from you. Yes, the ending is a little frustrating, but I can’t be bothered trying to work it out. He didn’t come back to work after the Christmas break, but I plan to meet with another Therapist from the same therapy team for 2 or 3 sessions… sort of step down/closure sessions. As for his praying, I did wonder why he said that he keeps his faith private, yet he chose such a public place to pray. It’s a communal room that is booked for clients, which makes it worse because it is technically my space 🙂
      I know what you mean about emails. I can’t deal with the dozens each day and tend to delete all of them. I follow people via the WordPress reader. I have no idea how to turn notifications on/off

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