Am I too much for a counselor to handle?
July 24, 2012 3:25 PM Subscribe
What is a therapist supposed to do for a client?
posted by thrasher to health & fitness (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I have now had two visits with a licensed clinical social worker; my insurance will pay for a total of 6 visits. The visits last 45 minutes.
In the first meeting I outlined the fact that I'm an adult child of an alcoholic, that I'm kinky, and that I'm in a challenging, confusing relationship that lately I felt I needed to get out of. She listened and asked a few questions, I told her that what I'd read of cognitive behavioral therapy seemed like a good match for me, she said she could assign homework if I wanted, I laughed and told her if it was hours of written stuff I probably wouldn't do it. It was, in general, a "getting to know you" type meeting. I decided I like her.
Because of the 4th of July holiday and various other scheduling issues, the next meeting was something like 3 weeks later. In the interim I'd been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma on my nose (see my previous question) and am scheduled for surgery in a month. I have been freaking out about that and juggling it with my relationship difficulties.
In the second meeting we talked a lot about the dynamics in my relationship, particularly in the context of this new health issue (he's arrogant, brutally honest and likes to push my buttons, sometimes even when I'm feeling vulnerable - like now. I'm insecure, oversensitive and prone to catastrophizing even at the best of times, but especially now.)
I talked at full speed for the whole 45 minutes, hardly letting her get a word in edgewise, trying to vent everything without forgetting or leaving anything out. She did say she felt like she should be seeing both of us, and I explained that due to his suspicious nature, my partner would be totally against that. At one point she mentioned his arrogance, interrupted herself, laughed and said something like, "he'd hate that I just said that about him, wouldn't he?!" She was very empathetic, but near the end of the meeting, everything just kind of petered out. I ran out of things to say and looked to her for something, anything useful or productive. she looked bewildered and said "I don't know what to tell you! I guess just keep meditating, work on your mindfulness... I definitely think I should see you every week until your surgery."
I've done a tiny bit of reading on meditation and mindfulness, but haven't discussed it at all with her - it seemed weird for her to suggest things I'm not really sure how to do. I was exhausted and out of time by that point and didn't call her on it, but I walked out feeling confused.
What exactly should I be getting out of this? Is the idea just to go vent, or should she be offering some sort of guidance?
I'm sorry if this is scattered. Please feel free to ask questions, I'm sure I've left out important details.