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Therapy relationship

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I have been in therapy for 1 1/2 years with a really wonderful therapist. She has helped me immensely. For the last couple of months, however, things took a sudden change. She became short with me, sometimes cutting in her remarks. I actually took a short break from therapy for a few weeks. She went on vacation. I thought she would feel better after the break. But since going back, the tension remains. I know in this short question that it is difficult to explain all the details. But, I am certain that I did not cause this change with her. I am uncomfortable returning to see her. I feel as if the therapeutic relationship is damaged for me somehow. Not sure how it got off track. I want to talk about it with her, find out what’s going on, but not sure how to approach it with her. Maybe therapy has run its course. Not sure how to proceed.

Therapy relationship

Answered by on -

A.

You are doing the right thing by asking how to proceed with this situation. Although it sounds very complex and uncomfortable, I have a recommendation for you that I hope will help.

My strong encouragement is to plan an outline for your next session. I would explain exactly what you did here and give details such as what was said and how you heard it. I would try to explain this in a way that is not accusatory, but clear and direct. “I” statements rather than “you” statements tend to work best.

Talk about the fact that therapy has become unproductive because of these feelings, and that you wanted to bring this to her attention.

This gives the therapist a chance to hear the problem and try to either account for what has happened and correct it, share a different perspective of those encounters with you, or perhaps work with you to move to a deeper level with therapy. I cannot know what direction it will take, but talking to her about your feelings is essential for either working through the issues with her, or providing some degree of closure so you can successfully end the relationship and move on.

Finally I encourage you, if you do leave, to try new therapists and explain your experience to them. This gives you the opportunity to identify your needs while deciding who best to go with.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Therapy relationship

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Therapy relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/01/19/therapy-relationship/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.