I’m worried I disappoint my therapist.

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi. I have alot of social anxiety and depression. I have been seeing a therapist for a little over a year. She has helped me alot with coping skills for my anxiety. However, I have alot of self hatred and I self harm. I have a really hard time using the coping skills we have talked about over and over again, to change my thoughts. Because we have talked so much about what I need to do,and yet I have such a hard time doing them and I end up not using coping skills and I end up hurting my self, I feel like I am a disappointment to her. I feel like, I’ve been seeing her for over a year and I’m always letting her down and like maybe she’s getting tired of dealing with me and maybe I’m waisting her time. She has never really said anything like that however, but sometimes I feel shes frustrated. I guess my questions are, Do therapists get disappointed by their clients? Do they get frustrated and tired of going over the same things? Should I tell her I feel like I disappoint her? And also, Is over a year a long time to be in therapy?

A: Therapists are only human. Yes, we sometimes get frustrated. Yes, we sometimes feel disappointed. But mostly we feel frustrated and disappointed with ourselves that we haven’t been able to do enough to help. You may be picking up some of those feelings from her. On the other hand, you may be judging yourself harshly. When people do that, they sometimes start thinking other people are judging them too.

One of the most important differences between talking with a therapist and talking with a friend is that it’s safe to talk about hard things without risking the relationship. So yes, you should talk to your therapist about how you are feeling. She’ll be able to help you sort out how much of what you are sensing is about her and how much is about yourself. That conversation may well move your therapy forward.

As for your other question: Therapy takes as long as it takes. You are dealing with some serious problems. Please don’t feel under pressure to solve them all yesterday. This is also something you could talk with your therapist about.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Apr 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). I’m worried I disappoint my therapist.. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/04/12/im-worried-i-disapoint-my-therapist/