Psychotherapy Stories Articles

Wake Up! When Your Therapist is Sleeping

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Wake Up! When Your Therapist is SleepingAlthough not all that common, psychotherapists sometimes fall asleep in session. Probably more common in traditional psychoanalysis (where the psychoanalyst is sitting behind and out of view of the patient), it far harder to do in more modern, time-limited psychotherapies where each session is more of an active, working period between therapist and client.

What is one to do when one is confronted with a sleeping therapist?

Stephen Metcalf, writing in New York magazine, set to find out by going back and talking to his prior four therapists, all of whom had fallen asleep on him. Was it him or them?

Meeting Again for the First Time

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Meeting Again for the First TimeIt’s Friday afternoon, and that means clinic. It’s 1 p.m., and that means I’m walking to get Samantha from the waiting room for our therapy session. I take a deep breath before I open the door, and find myself looking forward to our session.

“Hello, Samantha,” I say, “I’m Dr. Hufford. Come on back.”

I always reserve the same room for our work, hoping that it will help her to remember that we’ve met before. Samantha and I have met many times before, but for her, every session is like meeting again for the first time. She is stuck in an unrelenting present, experiencing life about an hour at a time, before her anterograde amnesia — an inability to remember new events — sweeps the memories away, floating just out of her reach.

“Cognitive difficulties” is the way that her medical record describes it. A more sterile understatement is difficult to imagine. Samantha remembers everything from before about 15 years ago. She remembers going to college, having friends and ambitions, and falling in love. But her description of the accident is distant and clinical; a factual recitation of what she has been told happened. In a casual conversation you might not realize that you were talking to someone who would, only hours later, have no recollection of ever meeting you. 

Just Say No: 10 Steps to Better Boundaries

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

No
Up until recently, “No” was dirty word to me. As a stage-four people-pleaser, my vocabulary was rich with affirmatives: “yeah,” …

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