Thursday, June 23, 2005

My Dilemma Resolved

Last week I ruminated all week about what to do about my therapy situation. I was feeling oh-so-guilty as I pondered why I was not connecting with Kathryn, why I wasn’t willing to commit to this therapy relationship.

When we finally reached each other by phone, I was prepared to call it quits. But as we talked, she persuaded me to come just one more time so that she would at least have the opportunity to summarize what she had learned so far. I also started to talk about what was making me uncomfortable. When I mentioned the lack of eye contact, she immediately understood and responded with such empathy that I was really touched. So I agreed to one more visit.

As the week progressed I still had pangs of guilt every time I considered stopping therapy – guilt that I hadn’t really given it a chance, that I had copped out for entirely the wrong reasons, concern that my meditation friend who recommended Kathryn would be disappointed. When I saw Rebecca on Sunday and told her about all this guilt, she read my tarot cards and said maybe the timing just wasn’t right. She emphasized that I would know what to do.

But I found by Monday that I was actually looking forward to seeing Kathryn on Wednesday. When she hadn’t appeared from behind one of the many doors by 7 AM (our appointed time), I panicked that I had the date wrong, the time wrong. So I knocked on the door from which she always emerges and she was there, looking happily Chico-ish.

I already knew that this was not going to be the last session, so I focused on how to fix what wasn’t right. She was making eye contact and for the first time I noticed that she has really pretty eyes which are quite friendly. When I told her that watching her write things down for 50 minutes made the situation entirely too clinical for me and that I didn’t like the barrier created by her movable writing surface, she swivelled it out of the way and put down her pen. Immediately her voice relaxed and she started gesturing with her hands – what a difference.

I told her that I was afraid there were topics I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about with her and mentioned my dream of last week. I told her how very different Anne had been from me – a somewhat frumpy older woman who never emptied her trash can and very likely was a lesbian. And I had already mentioned how very different Rebecca and I are. I never had any problem telling either of them anything, probably because they were so different. I expressed my idea that her similarity to me and to my female friends perhaps made it harder for me to talk about crazy dreams or sexual matters.

But then I said to myself, “What the hell?” and decided to tell her about last week’s dream about the babies. We spent a lot of time talking about its significance, especially given the fact that it was the very morning that I was coming to therapy. She is amazingly good at making important connections.

She told me a little about her approach to therapy, which combines psychotherapy with psychoanalysis. I really didn’t even know the difference. She described psychoanalysis as occurring on a couch with the therapist out of view of the patient. I blurted out, “That is exactly the situation with I am having a massage and my eyes are shut. That’s when I am most able to just let everything go, often not even remembering what I have said.” She also said that patients undergoing psychoanalysis often come to therapy several times a week.

I have been having some worries about paying for this therapy at $175 for 50 minutes. I am sure my insurance will pay as much as half, but it is still pricey. I see myself back in the position I was in at age 5, having to choose between kindergarten and dancing lessons. So I decided to set out one more “demand” and see if she would go for it. I proposed that we meet every other week, realizing that it might be slow going at this rate, but that it made financial good sense. She agreed.

So I will see Kathryn next week and then every 2 weeks thereafter.

Upon the completion of my time, as I got up to leave, I had the distinct impression that we both wanted to hug each other in congratulations for the fact that we had navigated some tricky waters and come out in a calm pool. Everything was resolved, at least for now, and I was encouraged that she was willing to make changes, compromises, to ensure that I feel good about my therapy. Of course, we resisted the hug, following that age-old requirement of no physical contact after the initial handshake. I still think this is a stupid idea, but not one I am ready to challenge! After all, I got everything I really wanted.

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