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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Concerned Interest

I have a counseling appointment today.

I've been trying to understand why I don't like this therapist. I thought at first, that I was unfairly comparing her to Therapist, but I'm realizing that's not it. Tolkien Boy said something to me today that helped me understand what bothers me about visiting with her. He said: I'm... interested in how you're feeling. There is no further involvement in this post pertaining to Tolkien Boy. I'm saying this because the following remarks have nothing to do with him, my feelings about him, or our friendship. He simply made a comment that helped some things I've been wondering about click into place.

Interest--this is what bothers me. I've often had people interested in me. Clinical interest is good and proper, especially in a therapeutic setting. But my problem is that I think I've had enough. The therapist is "interested" in things that are deeply upsetting and personal to me, and I'm tired of sharing those things with people who barely know me, who will forget about me five minutes after I leave their offices, who are only interested because I pay them by the hour to tell me what a bad lot life has dealt me, and then tell me to carry on doing the things I've been doing because they don't know what to tell me next. I don't want "interest" anymore.

I want someone to say (s)he cares about how I'm feeling. I understand this is completely inappropriate in a therapy session. But I always felt that Therapist cared. I knew he didn't. I was very aware that I was deluding myself. But it felt like he cared. It felt as though what I said was important. I was willing to share anything with him because I knew it would help me find peace--but mostly because I felt that he really wanted to hear what I said because he cared about me. I know, that was a silly thing for me to feel. Nonetheless, I made more progress with Therapist than I thought possible, and I believe it was because I felt safe with him, and because I felt that I was more than a science project, social anomaly, or favorite pet.

So, today I get to go sit through another hour of verbal dance with my new therapist. And I'll walk away wishing I hadn't gone. I'll wish I could trust her. I'll wish I dared to really tell her what's hurting me. I'll wish she could pretend to be more than just interested. I'll wish that she could care about me...

So, if you ever ask me a question, and I dodge it, now you know why. I'm not sure if the question is asked in polite human interest, or if by some miracle, you care--not about the answer, but about me.

I really don't want to go to my counseling appointment.


  1. From what you've listed of your interactions with Therapist, I think he really DID care, and that's what made your sessions with him valuable to you. You aren't deluding yourself - I think whether or not he intended to from the start, he cared about you and how you were doing.

    It's possible that the same relationship will develop with new!therapist, but it takes time and building of trust and all that jazz. Who knows, though, maybe she'll start caring at some point.

  2. 1. I've had therapists who care and others who don't. The ones who cared were more effective.

    2. When I asked if you were going to be in Utah when I'm there, it wasn't out of polite human interest. So, um, I'm waiting for an answer.

    3. Do you disable full post feeds so that you can keep track of who's reading because we have to actually come to your blog in order to read the whole post?

  3. Ditto Drex. Hope the session went okay.

  4. Wow, I feel you. It's hard having that interaction where you really connect with a therapist and then have to switch to another therapist that you don't easily "feel it" with.

    The truth of the matter is, Samantha, that you have the power to heal yourself and you have the Lord and His atonement already at your fingertips. Regardless of if your therapists truly "care" or not (which I'm almost positive they truly do care or else they wouldn't be in the field) it's my belief that the client is the one that has to care about herself/himself first before he or she can believe that others care.

    Do you know how amaizng you are? I feel like I can't tell you enough how truly special you are. God loves you and He trusts you with this trial and you are succeeding! Own that!

    I admire you for your strength and for going to your therapy sessison, even if it's uncomfortable. I love you.

  5. you mention that a therapist "caring" about how you feel is inappropriate in a therapeutic relationship. this may have been true in the old-days, sterile sessions of psychoanalysis; however, in the world of therapy today, especially among social workers (yes, I'm one of them), aspiring counselors are taught in their graduate education that actually "caring" about the people with whom one works is an essential ingredient to being a good therapist (assuming appropriate boundaries are maintained with regards to the therapeutic relationship). In short, you very much ought to have a therapist who actually cares about you and your feelings. as you've already noticed - therapy with someone who cares makes for better therapy.

  6. My dad is a psychologist, and I can't even begin to describe how much he cares about his patients. He thinks about them and stresses about them and empathizes with them and makes himself available to them pretty much 24/7. I'm sure some are more interested than caring, but other therapists (like my dad) have a capacity for caring that most of us can't even conceive of.