Thoughts so far on “Every Day Gets a Little Closer” by Irvin Yalom.

I started writing this blog last night but have just finished it this morning, the purpose of it changed somewhat half way through but I thought I would post anyway!

Ordinarily I would be rushing home and off to therapy tonight but it is now officially day of the first missed session. Today I still feel absolutely fine. I have thought about T a little due to the fact that I am reading her book which is about therapy and is diary entries written from both the T’s perspective and the patient’s, it is very interesting and has given me food for thought.

A few times I have read things from the therapist’s point of view and her personal thoughts and feelings towards the patient and I’ve wondered to myself if my T thinks things like that.. especially the nice, kind things.

This morning I read a bit where the T writes that they had a rather empty session and that “for once” she didn’t think about the patient afterwards for at least 4 hours….. my first thought was “ah, so maybe T really does think about me after I leave”.  That and also, that 4 hours wasn’t that long and if I entered her head in that time or any time really, I would be quite happy.

I also noticed that there is a reluctance from the patient to talk to the T about her feelings towards the T or to ask the T any questions (when asked to) and I could identify with this. What is it about therapy that makes us (me?) so uncomfortable to discuss this stuff? I am very aware that the relationship and the attachment is half of the point in this type of therapy, yet it seems scary.

It reminded me once more of the effect it has on me whenever my T has said anything affectionate to me. To look away, burn with embarrassment and try not to cry (unsuccessfully at my last session).  In the book this is discussed in a roundabout way and the T thinks it is because the patient feels she doesn’t have “the right” to invoke such a response/reaction in the T because she doesn’t deserve to.  I don’t know if that is the same for me or not, I haven’t quite decided yet.

Another thing that I can relate to is that the patient is unable to get in touch with her own anger – I wonder how common this is in therapy? Any comments on this would be welcome kind readers.

[Finished off this morning]

I noticed that the patient writes her notes to her therapist rather than about her.  I thought about perhaps trying to write some of my blogs as if I am writing to my T and seeing the difference.  However the patient did note in her write-ups that perhaps writing to the T prevents her saying certain things. I think that might be the case with me.  Who knows?

I read the sentence “I talked with a wild nervous energy” and recognised myself in that. Some sessions I go in and literally talk constantly. I come out sometimes embarrassed that I’ve spoken so much but I have never associated this with being a nervous energy.. perhaps it is.

Usually she swallows it deeply and then feels wildered and helpless with her never expressed, never acted on anger” – this touched a nerve because I am not in touch with my anger either and sometimes in therapy I can become rather helpless and depressed.

The T throughout the book so far seemed pleased if the patient made any attempt at being stern or voicing her wishes.  The T said this pleased him and it made me think that perhaps my T really wouldn’t be offended if I said something that I wouldn’t usually.

Mostly I trust everybody since I am too dependent not to. I react to someone rather than act first. They put me in my place, set my borders and limits” – this also touched a nerve. I realised that I do this. I very rarely “set the scene”, I let someone else do that and seem to fit in around whatever is expected of me. I wonder why. The patient in the book seems to suggest it’s a dependency issue which I guess would make sense. T has said that I am a people pleaser so perhaps the two go hand-in-hand.

The session gave me a lot of information and some strength. Whenever this happens, I always wonder – what would I do without you and the session?” – Yeps. Think this often.

The therapist said if she allowed herself to, she could “be sucked into her despair and self-disgust”. This made me wonder whether my T thinks this about me? Does she have to stay very aware not to be “sucked in” to my sad feelings?

On returning from a break the patient came in very depressed. The T suggested this was a passive-aggressive way of punishing the T by saying “see what you’ve done to me?”.  Again, food for thought. Do I do this? Is any depressive reaction from my T being away my attempt at punishing T?

One session the T had a cast on his leg and the patient failed to mention it. The T wrote in his notes that he wondered why. This reminded me of a time when I noticed my T had trouble getting up from her chair (I think she had hurt her back) – I wanted to ask but didn’t. Also, whenever she has had a cold I want to mention it, but never do. I wondered why we do this as patients? Do we feel it is overstepping the mark or something?  Me and my T are believers in the mind-body link and both have a book about this subject.  Sometimes when she has had a cold it has made me think straight to what the book would say which is something about un-cried tears and being “stuffed” up. I have thought that I wonder if she is okay and I wonder if she is struggling in her life but that I can’t ask that.

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11 thoughts on “Thoughts so far on “Every Day Gets a Little Closer” by Irvin Yalom.

  1. Oh my days, all of this.

    For me…

    Getting in touch with anger – I do this a bit too, I think because I’m so used to considering the other side of the story that I haven’t felt its OK to be angry if I know the full story, ie they didn’t mean to, it wasn’t a big deal, they only did it because of their life experiences yadda yadda yadda. I’ve been (productively) getting in touch with my rage recently and it’s much better! Haha!

    Dependency, letting others set THE scene, people pleaser – THIS UGH. Marge calls me and my mum ‘peace makers’ which is the same thing but I think it’s an accurate description for what we’re trying to achieve with our behaviour…we please others to keep the peace. I’ve been too afraid to be myself, speak my mind, fearing the bombs that I’ll set off. No more! Thats why I call them positive bombs when a relationship has taken a turn since therapy, because I know I am making healthy changes, and if that sets off a bomb with someone in my life, then it wasn’t a healthy relationship and it’s gots-ta-go until they can get on board dammit!

    Asking about the therapist – I’d love to know more about Marge but she purposely keeps herself as much as a blank canvas as possible so that I can play out any number of relationships in the sessions, the more I know about her the less she can take on the role of someone else because I’ll have pigeon holed her.

    I should totally just copy and paste my comments into my own blog posts lol! 😁 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I really nearly did! But I hardly have time to do a simple blog post let alone read a whole book 😁. You need to keep blogging and educate me!
        Could it simply be because they don’t tell us?? If it was anybody else and we wanted to know we’d just ask wouldn’t we? Though I do find it uncomfortable because it’s so heavily one sided, baring my soul, being so vulnerable, and getting nothing back, which wouldn’t be the case normally xxx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve read some other thing of Yalom’s which I quite liked. Should track down more.

    My thoughts on why I don’t ask about something that seems wrong with my T – lots of tangled up reasons that shift in proportion at different times. Most important ones seem to be: it feels intrusive and none of my business, and I don’t want to risk the rejection of being told “you don’t need to know” (“it’s none of your business”, “you’re not important enough to get that kind of information”); I am ashamed of being seen as selfish, because the real reason I would ask is for my own needs, wanting reassurance that I am not going to be abandoned because they’re sick or dying (this is extra hard to face up to because my job is to care for sick people and sometimes I just do not want that burden); and also it is a reminder that they’re a real person, not some perfect therapist hologram. Being real, they might do real things like hurt you or abandon you.

    Hmm, looking back on that list it is all about fear.

    Liked by 1 person

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