Friday, February 20, 2009

Week 1: Repair and Continue or Closure?

Two weeks ago, I met with DT to discuss our ‘relationship – whether it was possible to repair the break and continue working together, or come to the conclusion that we should draw closure, for now, leaving the option open to continue at some point down the road. I spent 2 days preparing for the appointment. I needed to be ‘clear’ on what I thought I needed from her, what I didn’t want, my interpretation of ‘our therapeutic relationship’ the past several months, as well as issues around trust, boundaries and approach. Being in the business world, I have no fear of public speaking, and I had decided in my mind that I needed to treat this meeting like a business meeting. I needed to be confident, clear, direct and unemotional. Everything based on fact, not emotion. Of course, it isn’t exactly like a business meeting because there are ‘feelings’ involved.

I arrived at her office with 2 copies of my ‘presentation’, one for each of us, as well as articles and books that I had read recently about trauma, PTSD, DBT, etc. I could tell by the look on her face that she was surprised by the information I provided as well as my communication skills that day. In her initial communication about the meeting she said that we should take the time to “honor” our work together, and that’s just what I did. I needed her to understand that I am an intelligent, educated, articulate adult (well, most of the time) and if we were not able to come to a consensus (if she were to continue her recent controlling, non-communicative, clinical, ‘treatment by diagnosis – not person) I would end the relationship because it was not helpful for me.

DT had said, in her email about the meeting that I should be honest and candid (I was) and she would do her best to understand and ‘explain’ her position. I told her that I had complied with everything she ‘suggested’ (as I remember, it was more of an order)…I had started DBT, regular visits with PDOC, medication compliant, SI and SIB behavior reduced to nearly nothing….and yet, rather than make any improvement in “our relationship” – I was continually frustrated, feeling that she could no longer hear me. In fact, I went into the meeting with preconceived notions or expectations. If this were the end of the road with DT, so be it. I would get through it, I’ve lived through worse. We did not make it through everything that needed to be said, no conclusions were drawn at the end of the meeting. DT asked me if I would at least commit to an appointment the following week to continue our conversation. I agreed.
I left that meeting feeling like she HEARD me. She heard every word I said – and she heard it from “Adult, Professional, Confident, Intelligent Grace”. And I’m not sure she’s seen that side of me before…she has fought many times with angry and fighting Grace. She has comforted sad and lonely Grace, she has tried to reason with self destructive Grace, and she has witnessed dependant and clingy Grace on an occasion or two. But as I walked out of her office that afternoon, with my head held high, knowing that I had done the “best” I could… I glanced at her face, and I knew in that moment that she had *HEARD* every word I said.

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