Saturday, May 7, 2011


The lady shrink is still having me write down every time I feel like there's a rage inside me. Every week I go, and I bring my paper with my list, and she keeps it. I imagine her sitting around the dinner table with her family, or out to lunch at a fancy restaurant with other shrinks, pulling out my paper while saying, "Wait, check out THIS one..." while they all laugh and the group of shrinks try to one-up each other with who has the most psycho or pathetic patient.

So I asked why she's keeping them. She asked if it bothers me. Obviously. But I tried to be polite and just said yes, that I want to know what she's doing with them. She wouldn't tell me. We went around in circles, and finally I got annoyed.

Me: Can I have my lists back?
Her: Why do you want them?
Me: Why do YOU want them?
Her: I asked first.
Me: I don't care.
Her: You seem upset.
Me: You seem observant.
Her: Do you not trust me?
Me: They're mine. I wrote them.
Her: ...
Me: So can I have them back?
Her: Would you like to answer my question?
Me: No thank you. I would like my lists back now.

So she gave them back. I asked if she made any copies.
Her: Why do you think you don't trust me?
Me: This is just how much I've got.
Her: How much trust you've got for me?
Me: Just in general. For everyone.
Her: Okay. You know when people have trouble trusting, they often feel very alone.
Me: I'm never alone.
Her: Let's explore more of this next week.
Me: Okay. But I'm not leaving the lists here.
Her: Tell you what: keep making them each week, and don't lose them. You can keep them, but just put them in a safe place, okay?

Are we going to publish a book together about rage or something?


Lisa said...

I imagine she will ask you to look at all of them together in a few weeks and see if you see any patterns.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster. Your relationship to your shrink is symbolic of your relationships to others in your life.

Tam said...

I did therapy in my 20's for a couple of years & on the initial session the therapist asked me to sign a release form so she could share our sessions with the other shrinks in her practice.

Evidently, they would get together & share client issues to assist each other in their practice/techniques.

I signed the form (I'm such a good girl ~ i do what others ask of me) & then on the next session & asked for the form back & said I wasn't comfortable with her sharing my issues with others. (?)

This post reminds me of that session. She didn't want to give me back the form either. I think it is a shrink thing ~ something tangiable that they can use to problem solve...but for them or you? :)

I felt violated & it sounds like you did too. Her responses to you sound a little katty (?sp). If you don't feel safe at your sessions with her maybe consider changing therapists. I changed to someone more metaphysical which was very healing for me at the time. I'm not religious but I needed the spiritual comfort & the next therapist provided a haven.

You're working hard; mentally, physcially, emotionally....& spiritually? I hope you find a connection with a therapist you love & trust ~ it facilitates the healing & shortens the angst. :)

Take care ~ T

teki said...

My first thought was the shrink was keeping them to go over later. When you're in session, (hopefully) her attention is on you and listening to you. Later, she would be able to reflect on the lists and the notes she took during your discussion. I believe the hour she spends with you isn't the only time she is thinking about you and the things going on in your life. Just presenting another possible reason. The therapist is also bound by HIPPA rules and standards, so she definitely wouldn't be sharing your lists with friends and family. Clearly if you're uncomfortable, speaking up is always in your best interest.

Megan said...

If you're uncomfortable with her keeping them, it's absolutely right to ask for them back. However, I also wanted to echo the sentiments of other commenters. Therapist often keep things in a file and use them to reference later on. I seriously doubt there's anything fishy or weird about what she is/was doing with them. It's normal for a therapist to keep such material.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what Lisa said. And I don't think she's using your case for dinner table conversation. I've been to several therapists over the years. Some helped, some did not. The one that helped me the most was the one that I was finally the most honest with about my feelings. And I have to say that I didn't always like what she had to say or some of the things she had me do. Today, I'm totally grateful that she was in my life because she did make a difference. Ironically, she is also the one I spent the shortest amount of time with. Probably because for once I trusted that perhaps the therapist might know more about me than I did. I think she was ultimately the one that was successful in helping me because I gave in and allowed her to so so.

Anonymous said...

Trust is earned. What has she yet done to earn your trust? Does refusing to answer your simple procedural question of why she is keeping your lists earn your trust?

Nina said...

I agree that she's probably keeping your lists so they can be used for reflection/analysis later on. But I really don't like the whole "let's turn the question back on the client" thing that some therapists do. It's a simple question. Just answer it.

But I guess it IS her job to probe and if she sees some sort of underlying issue, then maybe this is an opportunity to explore that. It doesn't make it less irritating though.

tami said...

Therapists don't solve your problems. They help you understand your issues and help you learn how to deal with your issues in a healthy manner on a go forward basis. There is no recipe, every person is different. What works for one, will not work for another.

Writing down your triggers is the first step in identifying what makes you angry. Once you know what makes you angry, then you learn how to deal with that anger.

Keeping the lists is a way to evaluate your success. A way to see how far you've come. You care enough about your future to see a therapist, so let her do her job. If she tells you exactly what she's doing, her fear is that you will revise your answers and not be true to your responses. Therapy only works with honesty and trust.

She is not sharing your identity, secrets, or fears at the dinner table. She is trying to help you. Let her. We all want the best for you. You just need to believe that.


Kizz said...

Therapy is a place where being polite isn't required and, often, is detrimental to the process. But you have to be comfortable and to trust in order to unload real feelings on someone, like anger. So, and I'm just guessing but I've got a decent track record on things like this, she's having you keep a record of your rage feelings and how you handle them to see patterns and identify feelings. You asked for them back because you don't trust her which was an opportunity for her to bring up the question of trust and how you navigate that feeling with people, her included. I'm sure that the reason she was keeping them was just to ensure that they were available when she felt it was time to look back at them and that time would come once you two had developed a little trust. I hope that you find her....whatever she needs to be in order for you to receive the help she can give.

P.S. Ditto what teki said about her being bound by HIPPA regulations. She can't share them with her family or Josh's family or anyone without your permission.

Yankee, Transferred said...

If you were uncomfortable with her keeping them, I'm glad you got them back.
If you don't trust her for some reason, maybe you should find someone else. Give it a little time.
Thinking of you.