Does everybody love / hate their therapist?

I had a difficult therapy session yesterday. Getting in touch with my inner child always makes me feel so vulnerable. Even when we don’t actually talk about the abuse I suffered. I felt shut off, like I needed to protect myself from feeling close to my therapist. She picked up on this and asked me why, but I didn’t know how to explain.

Perhaps other people out there who have been working with a therapist for some time might understand how I feel. I need my sessions with her. They are the most important thing that happens in my life right now. She is so incredibly important to me, and although I know she cares, I also know that I am just her client. Her life would be no different without me, but I would be devastated if I couldn’t see her any more. I suppose its a cliche, but this dynamic means I both love and hate my therapist.

I feel like she holds so much power, because when I am with her, I get to share my most genuine sorrows, fears and regrets. But of course this is all on her terms. It feels so comforting to sit with her; the familiar books and smell of the room, as well as her empathy, make me feel safe and held.

The problem is that it is only for that hour, for that brief time I’m there. And when I really open up and delve into the darkest stuff, it is almost thrilling to be simultaneously vulnerable and secure. I get a rush of adrenaline but I know I am safe. The dreadful thoughts that I feel completely alone with when I’m out in the world lose their hold on me, just for a moment. And I feel comforted. I feel so comforted. I wish I could carry that feeling home with me and keep it to use when the desperate times inevitably return.

But this isn’t possible, so it makes sense sometimes for me to try and protect myself and not connect during my therapy sessions. Often, the hour I’m there aggravates my emotions. It feels like we are digging into an open wound, leaving me feeling raw, sensitive, fragile. My defences are disengaged and when I walk back out into the world I have a frantic scramble to contain it all back in my head. What I need more than anything in that moment is comfort, and I just don’t know how to do that for myself.

Image: Creative Commons
Image: Creative Commons

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