Is my therapist reading this?

Anonymity is a beautiful thing. I never intended to disclose my identity on this site. That has given me enormous freedom to just purge what’s in my head onto the page. This is the first time in my life I’ve been able to do that.

What came up in therapy today, among a lot of other stuff, is the fact that I grew up afraid to say what was on my mind. My brother and sister were fiery and there were a lot of arguments around me. After a conflict was over, I would be present when my parents discussed how troublesome their other two children were. In my tiny mind, I interpreted that as them being less lovable. I decided that to be loved, I needed to comply. I had to be kind and affectionate and not cause any problems.

In blogging, I’ve been consistently amazed that people not only read what I write, but that so many of you connect with me through it by leaving comments or sending an email. It’s validating. And it blows me away how supported I can feel by the kindness and acceptance of these strangers. I value so much having this space to say exactly what I need to say.

A short while after I started writing this blog I gave the link to my therapist and to my wife. I can’t remember what the reasons for doing this were. It was probably about them being the two people I feel truly want to understand me. And I know that I can almost always explain myself better in writing than face to face. It was an attempt to feel closer to them I suppose.

I write a lot about my therapy here. I write about my relationship with J, something I can hardly ever find the courage to talk to her about. But in therapy, J and I don’t discuss this blog and what I’ve written here. I can probably count on one hand how many times it has come up over the years.

At the same time, I have this uneasy sense that J reads what I write about our sessions. It feels uneasy because she doesn’t tell me that. I wouldn’t have given her the link if I had a major problem with her seeing this. But I can’t help but feel that there is this strange parallel process going on between us; me explaining myself here without talking to her, and her reading and hearing it without telling me that.

It could just be paranoia. I have no idea whether J really does read my posts. But every now and again she comes out with something that seems too intuitive to be anything less than mind-reading if she hasn’t visited this site. Like our session yesterday.

I was talking about feeling suicidal last Thursday. We spoke about this for about a minute or so, and then she launched into asking me about what’s happening between us. That seemed totally unrelated to what I was saying. But it was exactly what I’d written about here on Friday.

Last night I couldn’t sleep because I was full of anxiety. There were several things on my mind, but the conversations in that session featured heavily. I wanted to just ask J outright whether she started that discussion because of what I’d written over the weekend. But that felt confrontational. It felt accusatory. I was scared of how I’d feel if she said she hadn’t read it and I thought she was lying to me. That thought really freaked me out, because while I am insecure, on the whole I do believe she is genuine with me.

This was on my mind so much today, that I did manage to overcome my nerves and bring it up in my session. J’s response was odd. It was almost like a politician’s answer. She said she asked me about our relationship because she was concerned about me after the session, and how what she’d said about her grandchildren had impacted me. I could see how that made sense.

This led to a long explanation about J’s preoccupation with the fact that her leave is coming up and she wants me to feel better about our relationship before she goes. I was grateful to understand that a bit better, but at the same time it stirred up my feelings of being a failure – a difficult client. And I just don’t want to be a problem.

As the session went on, I couldn’t really focus on much more she said or asked me. I just kept thinking about how she’d given this long-winded response to what I’d said about her reading my blog, without actually saying at any point that she had or hadn’t read it. I felt like she was avoiding being clear about it. This blog all of a sudden became an elephant in the room.

So I don’t know what to do next. I don’t feel good about any of this. I don’t feel any easier about J going on leave. I don’t feel more secure. It’s unsettling to feel as though there is a chance that J has been reading everything I’ve written, but doesn’t want to share that with me. It’s equally unsettling to think that this is all a problem I have totally imagined and in fact J just knows me incredibly well and is genuinely intuitive.

I know the solution is to just ask outright about it and explore what it means to me if she reads my posts. Part of me likes the idea that she would come here to check in on me in between sessions. But I want to know about it. I don’t want it to be this odd, second therapy process that goes on in silence. That feels awkward and unhealthy.

Knowing what I need to do doesn’t help. I am too fearful of damaging my relationship with J to be so direct about it. The tentative attempt I made today was terrifying and huge for me. It’s tough because while I don’t have the courage to address it, I also can’t bear sitting with the feeling that it is between us.

Photo: Surian Soosay, Creative Commons.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. La Quemada says:

    My therapist knows I blog, and sometimes I print out a blog and bring it in for her to read. But I haven’t given her the web address. We talked about it a little, and we decided that the blog is for me, and that I could choose individual pieces to share when that felt appropriate. I like that arrangement, since it leaves me free to write about therapy too. I don’t tend to say anything negative about her (she’s great!) but if I want to, I can write about times I think she’s made a mistake or hurt my feelings. Or I can write about not being sure if I want to tell her something yet.

    I do think you’d benefit from bringing this up with your therapist. It seems to me that if she is reading, you should know about it. (The same way my therapist will say at the very beginning of a session, “Your insurance company called me…” or “I read the email you sent me…”). It makes everything very clear. It also seems like you can rescind your permission by simply asking her not to read. Professional ethics would keep her away then from the blog, even if she did still have the address.

    I am sure that if she’s a good therapist, it won’t hurt your relationship to bring it up. (And if she does read your blog, you will have brought it up by writing this post!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Sounds like you’ve got a good arrangement there and some sensible boundaries around your writing. Yeah I know I need to bring this up and talk about it properly with her, and I know she won’t abandon me for it, but I still get scared of being so direct with her. It’s a tough one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bethanyk says:

    My therapist knows I blog. I actually hope she reads it because it would mean less for me to be forecoming with. It is also easier for me to write than speak. But I know what you mean because It is as sometimes my therapist is psychic. I think that therapists, really good ones, know how to read us and do know intuitively things about us, it doesn’t mean they are reading our blog. In reality. I know that she would have zero time to read my blog but i have wondered the same

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      You’re right about feeling like they’re psychic sometimes. I guess I like to think I’m not so easy to read. But then J has been staring at me for 3 hours a week for years so if anyone is going to have the ability to read me it’s probably going to be her!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bethanyk says:

        That’s kind of how I felt. She can read me, my body language, the tone of my voice, very well

        Liked by 1 person

  3. manyofus1980 says:

    my therapist knows I blog but she doesn’t have a link to my blog. we do talk about what I write sometimes, she knows writing helps me process.I’d bring it up again with her. And ask for a straight answer. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I’m trying to build the confidence to bring it up more directly. Problem is she is going away at the end of the week and I won’t see her for two weeks. So I’m concerned about messing things up right before she has her leave. I’ll see how this week goes.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rayne says:

    I gave my therapist the link to my blog about a month or so after I started it. I know she reads it, as she openly tells me that she does. Sometimes we use a specific post I’ve written as a starting block to our session. The whole session doesn’t resolve around the post, unless it’s something important that we need to discuss. Most sessions we don’t even talk about it. In a previous session I had written a post and she asked me to tell her about it. I told her that she read it so I didn’t need to tell it to her again. But I told her more detail and actually uncovered a lot more. So it’s helped me a lot. Everyone and every therapy relationship is different, so what works for one, won’t necessarily work for others. I think you should talk to J about how you feel. That’s what therapy is there for. It’s a safe space, and in order to build up a stable, healthy, trusting relationship with our therapists, we shouldn’t hold anything back. I used to do that, and it was frustrating sometimes. But since I’ve started being completely open and honest with her (even telling her when something she said had hurt me), our relationship has grown and the trust and bond we’ve developed is really strong. So I encourage you to be completely open with J. I know it’s scary and feels like a risk, but it’s worth it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks for this. It’s helpful to hear that you had similar difficulties with being open and you’ve managed to overcome them somehow. I know my fear of taking risks is holding me back and keeping me out of an honest, secure relationship with J. But the insecure feeling doesn’t help me feel like taking those risks and making myself feel even more vulnerable. I guess I just have to keep going and keep trying and eventually it will start to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rayne says:

        It will happen when you’re ready. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Kira says:

    My therapist reads my blog all the time and we discuss the things I write in it. That arrangement wouldn’t work for every therapist and client but it works for us.

    Liked by 1 person

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