After 6 months of therapy, I feel I have nothing to say anymore. Is this how it should be ?
June 9, 2012 5:34 PM   Subscribe

After 6 months of therapy, I feel I have nothing to say anymore. Is this how it should be ?

I'm seeing a therapist for 6 months now, half an hour, once a week. I decided to go after a bad breakup, very sudden and unexpected after 7 years.
It was really helpful during the first months, it helped me a lot to understand what was going on, what are my personal issues, and of course going back on my feet.

After I completely recovered from the breakup, I decided I would continue to see him, because I know that I have issues, mostly social skills and usual dissatisfaction, but nothing serious. And even If I feel well, maybe even better than before my past relationship, I think it can only be beneficial.
My problem is that I feel I have nothing to say anymore, I could spend a whole session trying to think about something to say. I'm usually not a very talkative person, and there is no interactions with him which doesn't help me. He says nothing at all, except "yes" and nodding.
I already told him how I feel about this, and he wasn't very helpful.. he just says that I should talk, whatever comes up, something significant may be deeply buried in my subconscious.
Now I don't really know what to do, I'm considering stopping seeing him, because clearly it became useless, but at the same time I'm wondering if he's bad, or just a bad fit, or if this is not the right method for me, or even if this is how it should be..

Any advice ? If you were once in the same situation, how did you overcome it ? Is a therapist supposed to be silent like this ? I think maybe some feedback or guidance would help me, but it this possible without any influence ?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've been in therapy for different reasons over the years, and a lack of things to say, after you've poured out your heart for quite awhile, is my first sign that the relationship with your therapist is starting to wrap up.

The most important thing, I think, is how you're feeling now. Do you think there are unresolved issues, or is your silence because you're generally feeling pretty okay?
posted by xingcat at 5:39 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

I'd look for a new therapist. You tried telling your current therapist your current therapy was unhelpful, and he was unresponsive.

If you want to continue therapy, look for someone else. Perhaps ask your PCP for a recommendation.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 5:41 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you don't feel there's really anything you need from therapy right now, take a break. If your therapist isn't being responsive to what you need (interaction in order to sort out issues), then seek someone new.
posted by Garm at 5:47 PM on June 9, 2012

FWIW, I do not believe it is possible to be "completely recovered" from the breakup of a 7 year relationship in six months. So I'm going to guess that you do in fact have more to say but just don't want to go there right now.

More than that, or perhaps aligned with that, you may well need a change of therapist. The nodding/yes thing is a particular syle of therapist. I find it utterly fucking useless. I have always screened for very interactive therapists and they are certainly available.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:50 PM on June 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

Which kind of therapy are you in? Is this person doing psychoanalysis or some kind of similar style? Look through this list and try to figure out which one your current therapist best fits into; you need to figure out if it's the overall school of thought or the individual therapist's personal style that's at issue. I'm pretty darned sure you're not in interpersonal therapy or some kind of eclectic style (which my last long-term therapist was - she does a bit of everything.)

If you still think there's stuff you want to work on, I suggest you find another therapist, preferably one who you know uses a different style, and possibly a different methodology. CBT can be helpful for general coping strategies, and lots of kinds of therapy can help you with social skills (though a lot of it will be "figuring out what's upsetting you and deciding together how to try and challenge either how you think of it or how you respond in that kind of situation.")

It's also OK to take a break from therapy for a while and see how things go. It's not an "all or nothing" kind of thing.
posted by Fee Phi Faux Phumb I Smell t'Socks o' a Puppetman! at 5:55 PM on June 9, 2012

Have to echo what others have said...when you feel like you have nothing to say, it probably means that it is time for you to move on from that therapist, or that you might just not need it anymore. I had a really excellent therapist for 7 years, and we never ran out of things to talk about or discuss. But before her, I went through 4 who I felt like I just sat with for the entire session. Finding a new therapist is the worst (I am dealing with that right now as I moved 4 hours away from my excellent therapist), but if you feel like you need some more help working through issues, then that's what you should do.
posted by sc114 at 6:53 PM on June 9, 2012

Half hour sessions? I've never heard of that and I'm in the business. Hour long sessions (or often 50 minute sessions) with someone who can *lead* you through a process might be more useful.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 7:13 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

oh I don't know.

You probably had a lot of stuff to say before because you were talking about things that were about being "In the world," Out There. Now those things seem to have resolved, and here you are In Here (in the therapist's office).

This would be a good time to try to just feel what you're feeling and think what you're thinking and tell the therapist. And those feelings and thoughts INCLUDE your disappointment in his response to you.

Therapy isn't just discussing what you define as your "problems." It's also about letting your problems find you (so to speak). So -- you say you have some social issues. Allow yourself to have them in the room with the therapist and see what happens.

You could tell him, for example, how it feels when he doesn't respond in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Explore that discomfort. How does it make you feel? awkward? do you think you now have a responsibility to maintain the "conversation" because he's not pulling his weight? does that make you angry? disappointed? depressed?

To disagree with what a number of others have posted here: when you don't have a lot to say anymore, sometimes that signals the beginning of therapy rather than the end.

Now it's not about your relationship anymore (although it still is,of course) -- it's about you. Lots of chatting is not necessarily going to help you, but trying (and I know it's hard) to sit in a quiet room and see what comes up for you might get to some of those other issues you mentioned.
posted by DMelanogaster at 7:19 PM on June 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's definitely something that happens.

It might mean that you don't have anything that feels pressing enough to discuss with the therapist right now. It might mean that you and this therapist aren't a great match. It might mean that you're resisting a breakthrough. It might mean that you're uncovering some issues about opening up to a therapist, or to this therapist, or to anyone who shares certain qualities with this therapist (gender, age, whatever).

I have had each of the experiences above in the course of therapy.

On the other hand, my brother saw a really, really good therapist (this guy was considered a superstar in his local community of therapists) for five or six months, and then the therapist told him that as far as he was concerned, there was no need for him to come back because (per the therapist) my brother had an excellent handle on his issues and they had worked out lots of good strategies in the sessions, and that basically my brother was done. For the near future, anyway.

When he told me this, I howled with jealousy, because at that point I had been in therapy for twenty-something years (on and off, but mostly on). Of course I was happy for him, but Jesus Haploid Christ I was jealous.

So maybe that's you. Maybe you're done for now. Something to talk about in your next session?
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:33 PM on June 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with Sidhedevil's second paragraph there, but I want to add that sometimes you just have to take charge with a therapist. I've had periods in the past when I had a tight budget and a specific goal, and I approached my therapist and stated my goals and my timeline and we treated it like a 10 week course in [whatever].

Right now I'm in very intense long term therapy, on the order of four hours a week, and I find a week when I feel like I have nothing to say at all usually precedes a week when something huge happens. But I haven't had weeks and weeks with nothing to say.
posted by looli at 7:37 PM on June 9, 2012

Everyone is different, and there are people who go to therapy to cope with a specific situation or deal with a particular issue, and once that work is done (whether it be 6 months or 6 years), it is no longer necessary for them to continue. Other people are in therapy for years to deal with a variety of issues or chronic mental health matters, and while there may be a break here & there, there is never really a "done." Other times, people switch therapists because the person they are seeing has helped them as much as they can & now it it time for a different approach or perspective. It's really hard to say because everyone's situation is so unique. If you feel like discontinuing therapy, then maybe you should go with that impulse. I'd start, however, with stretching out the time between sessions rather than just stop cold turkey. Once a week is actually a lot, maybe every other week would work well for you, maybe every 4-6. I would try that before abandoning it altogether. Whatever you do, it isn't an all or nothing proposition or a forever decision. You can cease therapy and always start up again if you feel you need to, either with this therapist or a completely different one. Good luck!
posted by katemcd at 9:38 PM on June 9, 2012

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