Did I just break up with my therapist? Am I being unreasonable?
posted by anonymous to human relations (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have been seeing a therapist for almost a year now. It's been going well, and she's really helped me explore the roots of a lot of the self-esteem and perfectionism issues I have. I go on a weekly basis; it's expensive, but we've managed to make room for it in the budget. I want to make really clear at the outset that I like my therapist a lot; sometimes I feel like she gets a little woo-woo about feelings and such, but I do think I've benefited from the therapy, and want to continue going, long-term.
Next year, my partner will have a milestone birthday, and I really want to throw a surprise party for him, inviting both current friends as well as old college friends he hasn't seen in years. I envision doing something really nice, probably hosted at an elegant but reasonable restaurant. Because I don't believe in asking people to pay their own way at this kind of event, I've really been struggling to figure out a way to make this a reality, given the fact that we are so careful with our money and have pretty much every last dime budgeted out. Plus, since it's a surprise I need to figure out a way to squirrel away the funds for this party without his finding out, and he's the one responsible for the finances in our household.
I thought I had landed upon a perfect solution: temporarily cut back my therapy sessions from weekly to bi-weekly. I never figured that my therapist would have an issue with this, especially since she had offered bi-weekly sessions as a possibility at the start of our relationship.
I was wrong. I initially raised the issue last week, and we discussed it quite a bit before agreeing that we'd both think about it over the ensuing week and talk about it more today. When she broached the subject today, I reiterated that I really wanted to go for the bi-weekly sessions. She kept trying to determine if there was some ulterior motive behind this move; she asked if it was because we were exploring some particularly painful stuff (it wasn't); she asked if it had anything to do with her seeing another patient right before me (definitely not); she asked if she had offended me when we discussed spirituality a couple of weeks ago (not at all). I have given this a ton of consideration, and as best as I can determine this really is just about me wanting to throw my partner a terrific party, nothing more, nothing less. It is a temporary sacrifice I’m willing to make because doing this for my partner means so much to me.
So then she basically told me that she didn't think it was a wise move, because all of the progress I've made so far would effectively cease, and also she would have to charge me her full rate (she's been billing me at a reduced rate because I come weekly), so in the end I wouldn't be saving much money at all. She didn’t put it like this, and I'm reasonably confident she didn’t intend it like this, but at the time it came across like she was implying that if I did anything other than weekly I shouldn’t even bother coming.
That felt like a gut punch, and I just crumpled (yay, abandonment issues). It was the end of the session anyway, so I paid her and gathered my stuff to leave. She wanted to discuss it more, and asked if she would see me next week, and I told her I didn't know and left.
It's clear she isn't supportive of the bi-weekly option, so at this point I'm trying to figure out what to do. As far as I see it, my options are as follows:
1. Disregard her lack of support for twice a month, go anyway, and expect to pay the higher fee. While this is technically an option, to me it's the least desirable, because I don't know how much progress I could make if she's already sort of obstinate about it, and I would be paying more per session.
2. Give up the idea of the party, and continue with therapy as I have been. While this may be good for me in the long term, I really feel hurt by what happened today, and my trust in her has been shaken a bit, and it would be difficult and awkward to go back as if everything's fine. Option 2a is to figure out a different sort of party for my partner, but even if I were to have a backyard cookout, I'd still have to find a way to pay for it, and I'm basically back at the starting point. And again, this is a milestone birthday; we both have had kind of a tough year (he's dealing with a lot of difficult aging parent issues), and the man deserves to have something really special.
3. Stop going for the time being. The disadvantage of this is obvious; I definitely cease making any progress. The advantage of it is that I achieve my savings goal much faster, I could resume going full-time sooner, and it allows for a cooling-off period. But that also raises a similar disadvantage as listed in #2, in that I don't know what the tenor of our patient-therapist relationship is going to be after the drama of today.
4. Stop going for good. This, to me, is no more a desirable option than #1.
I really need some gentle perspective on this, as I'm still too close to the events of today and I'm all weepy just typing it up and reliving the conversation. Throwaway e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.