When your therapist loses interest…

I’ve seen many therapists over the years – physio, massage, family, cranio-sacro, feldenkrietz, body talk/energy… At this point you might think I’m a bit of a junky, but as a self-employed, single-parent who doesn’t like to join clubs or do things in groups, I’ve always maintained it takes a lot of service to keep this ship moving forward (and I don’t scrimp on the personal service). Oh, and forget mani-pedis and white wine lunches. This is not about treating myself. The goal is self-improvement.

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Over about 30 years of servicing myself – not in that way! Get your mind out of the Gutter!! – I’ve learned that it is inevitable that eventually your therapist gets bored with you and your problems.

I was once the poster-client for pilates and whip-lash recovery, but there comes a moment when they kind of shrug their shoulders at your usual list of complaints, questions, concerns and life events that may be adding to your problem. They may distractedly provide whatever service it is that you are there for and, here is the kicker, don’t ask when you want to schedule your next appointment.

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It’s a gasper. Even though you felt their disinterest during the appointment, you didn’t want to know this was happening. How can it be? You PAY them for what they do. Don’t they need your money? It’s not like you’re asking them over for a vegan barbeque. Nonetheless, as you hand over possibly the last fee you will ever pay them, you know it’s over.

I’ve been seeing a body talk/energy therapy person for about two years, twice a month (and yes it’s as weird and as wonderful as it sounds). They have seen me through nauseatingly painful tennis elbow, relentless restless legs, torn ligaments in various fingers, digestive issues, knees, foot, back… As I said, it takes a lot to keep this ship in shape.

Body talk is a new age-y term for someone who can identify emotional issues through your physical ailments and help you fix both. It’s much easier than talk therapy, where you do all the work and can still end up feeling like shit after. It’s not the therapist’s fault; they are just unearthing stuff that is making you do things that don’t make sense. With body talk, the therapist takes the brunt of this empathically while you try to tune in to some vague energy that is affecting your health.

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And no, I’m not being sarcastic. Seriously. This person helped me disengage from my ex so I could stop feeling sorry for him, released a blinding realization about why I left in the first place, connected me with my father who has been dead for 30 plus years and my sister who has been gone for 20. They helped me connect with my 92 year old mother so I won’t feel guilty when she’s gone, trained me to be available to my kid so I could be a real support for them, without my own feelings for them overwhelming me, and helped me identify whether the people I’m dating are worth connecting with, all while making pains all over my body go away or at least subside.

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I didn’t notice when I last saw the body talk therapist in summer that they didn’t make another appointment. After a busy fall I finally tried to pick up the pace again, but in a single return engagement I knew that I was… too well. Although my life continues to be a roller coaster of adult-child problems, business decisions, and too much dating, they perceivably fixed me. So much so that they don’t think I need to be there.

Although, most have dismissed me long before I felt fixed. Physios especially seem to operate under some kind of hippocratic oath not to carry on treatment for more than some prescribed length of time, regardless of whether you are on an insurance plan. Massage therapists are like lending institutions; as long as you make an appointment three weeks in advance they will be there to help but don’t call when you have a sore back because you can never get in when you really need them. I remember the feldenkreitz person, after a bizarre but extremely useful session working on my neck, dancing around the table as I batted my eyes side to side, drifted aimlessly away saying “Well, yeah, you should really see someone – anyone – about that again.”

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I went through many personal therapists in my early years, though I have managed to maintain a relationship with the last one for over 20 years. Prior to them, my experience was that they tend to be very situational; if you’re having a tough time after a life event, they will see you through it and then send you on your merry way having only just discovered that your mother was having an affair with the metre reader. It’s a big “Well that’s all the time we have for your life” as they look at their watch.

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Starting over with a new therapist is tedious as they all seem to like picking the same beginning point when you give them your elevator speech – ah, so you were in love with your best friend’s groom – when there was so much more that happened before that. When the current therapist suggested we could take a break, I confessed to her that I was reluctant to stop the clock because my previous therapists didn’t take me back. Hence a promise that they kept to always be available to me in the future, even if it was only once a year. Even so, I feel that they fixed me too well and there’s not that much to work on.

I have no experience with psychologists but a good friend of mine managed to become friends with hers after the requisite number of employer provided sessions and they continued to have dinner after – not sure where that fits in.

I once saw my therapist at the pool as we bread-and-buttered mommy-and-me swimming classes and it was more awkward than seeing an old lover at the Food Store – furtive eye contact, not knowing if I should smile, wishing for some recognition, knowing that her professionalism would prevent her from saying anything, foolishly feeling rejected.

My second-hand experience with psychiatrists was unfortunately quite damning of the profession. After several sessions with my anxious and depressed progeny, the psychiatrist threatened them to leave the room for having a panic attack. Huh? Isn’t that why they were there in the first place? I sensed that this particular person – now tarring the entire industry for me – was frustrated because the progeny was not following the program that the psychiatrist had laid out in their own head and dismissed the client offhandedly for “not cooperating”.

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So there are a lot of reasons why your therapist might stop seeing you:

  1. You have too many issues
  2. Your issues are all better
  3. Your 9 ½ weeks are up
  4. There are new people they have to fit in their schedule
  5. You’re not following their program of recovery
  6. You’re too slow
  7. You’re too fast
  8. You’re too flaky
  9. It all boils down to one thing: they’re human… oh and YA BORING.

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