Monday, May 4, 2009

Patient/Therapist Methods of Communication *Would really appreciate your comments* ~ if possible*

Dear therapist has been encouraging me to reach out to other 'survivors' for support for quite some time. I am not comfortable walking into a support group for incest or CSA survivors, at least not at this time. I enjoy writing, and expressing how I feel through writing, so I started a blog. During the few months I have been writing, and reading other blogs, I have found comfort and support. Dear therapist knows I blog and read other blogs.

Last Friday during my appointment with DT, she asked me about other survivors and the methods of communication they utilize with their Ts.
Some examples:

1. Emails: accept email/return emails - limitations?

2. Phone calls: self or group practice. Accept phone calls, if so, time limits (ie: till 10pm), must be dire emergency? If group practice, do Ts share 'on-call'?

3. Text messages: accept and/or return?

4. How long are sessions?

5. How often do you meet w/T?

6. Do you also utilize other 'clinical' support? (PDOC or any type of group therapy)

7. Is T open to negotiating terms/modes of communication?

8. Have the methods (boundaries) changed during the course of treatment? (ie: T used to accept and respond to emails, now he/she does not, or T used to have no limit, but now responds only set # of times per week)

If you are reading, I would really appreciate it if you would take a moment to respond to the questions above.

Thanks so much!!
~ Grace


  1. My name is eeabee and I blog at sparks in the night (

    I've been getting a lot out of reading your blog (I just found it recently)--I have had some of the feelings in therapy that you talk about and it helps to hear how real they are to others too.

    Anyway, here are some of my answers to your questions.

    1. emails, I can send them but no commitment to answering them (so I don't really bother unless it's just to send something to read together in session)

    2. phone calls before 10 p.m. and okay on weekends if it's pressing (like if I feel in danger of self-harming) but I find this fuzzy since I don't really know if I'm going to act on those impulses until I do

    3. no text messages (or maybe she wouldn't mind if I sent them--I'm not sure--but she wouldn't reply that way)

    4. 50 mins unless I want to pay beyond my copay for an extra 10-15, which I often do

    5. twice a week usually

    6. I also do group therapy and see a PDOC every two months but that's really just medication management

    7. I don't know if she would negotiate the terms/modes of communication at this point--I think it's set but I haven't asked lately

    8. I don't know that there have been changes except that she was willing to try responding to emails and found it too much of an extra thing--she doesn't check it very much period so it didn't seem like the best option

    another thing, I had a little bit of the experience of my T not knowing how to deal with self-harm (she hadn't worked with it before though she works with eating disorders and addiction all the time) so she turned to pushing the DBT idea too; she didn't insist with me though (which I think is fortunate for me--it seems dehumanizing); there was a period where I felt she was trying to use its ideas in our sessions though and it felt a little like what you talk about with the change yours went through--it did feel like a pulling back/withdrawing and I did feel a lot of pain over it. it seems like we're finding a way to work together now though that doesn't feel like that phase did.

    thanks for sharing your experiences so honestly. I like your biting sense of humor about these awful times--like your in accounts of the joys of DBT.

  2. I'm not currently in therapy, this has been my experience in the past:

    1. One therapist never gave me his email, but another encouraged me to email her. I never did because she annoyed me.

    2. I was never given my therapist's direct number. I was told to call the main office and they would triage the call.

    3. N/A Didn't have a cell phone at the time.

    4. 45 minutes to 1 hour

    5. Once per week to once every two weeks. (I think that's all my insurance allows.)

    6. I see a psychiatrist. I also attend a peer-led support group.

    7. It never really came up.

    8. It's hard to say. I had to end therapy prematurely because of my insurance.

    Hope that helps!

  3. eeabee, Thank you for commenting, and for the feedback that you share some of the same feelings and experiences in therapy...for me, it is also helpful to know that I'm not alone, and I'm not completely insane :-)

    Superlagirl, thanks for the helpful info! I appreciate your candid responses (IE: I didn't because she annoyed me...LOL!)

    ~ Grace