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i can't handle my (former?) counselor contacting me... what is wrong with me?

J

jasmin

New member
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
4
i can't handle my (former?) counselor contacting me... what is wrong with me?

I had two counselors. One I did a DBT group and worked on DBT skills with that I have seen on and off for several years. I need to have a “primary therapist” in order to the DBT stuff. After much searching I found a “primary therapist” that was willing to see me, seemed to be a good fit, and that my insurance would pay for.

Right now, I am almost to the point of cutting off all contact. And yet I want to go back to the counseling that was so helpful… but I can’t seem to keep any good boundaries with her and feel so invaded by her… and abandoned too… and I can’t take her messages anymore… to the point where I actually somewhat irrationally thought of getting a restraining order. First time in my life I have actually really felt and acted like – “I hate you, don’t leave me.”

I’m pretty sure there is another better way to handle it.

I started seeing in her (I’ll just call her “primary T” and the other DBT therapist the “DBT T”) in March of 2009, twice a week, two regular times – she required twice a week, two regular times, and I was fine with it. I haven’t seen her in person since beginning of December 2009.

The therapy with primary T was very helpful. Not perfect, there were some things that were weird and not so helpful, but some parts of it really were key things that helped me change my own life a lot.

At first she felt it was a good idea and fine for me to text and call her in between sessions. She kept encouraging it. And that was helpful for me, at first...

But in the fall, I realized I didn’t think it was a good thing to keep up. I don’t know why, it just began to feel weird. Like it was like too much contact, and I was beginning to rely on it too much. So I told her I didn’t want to communicate anything over text except for scheduling. I said maybe we could have email as a replacement. I asked if I could just send email about things I was processing through and then we could talk about them in therapy sessions. I had a friend in counseling struggling with similar problems and she did that with her counselor. There were some things my counselor really was pushing me to talk with her about that I couldn’t seem to do without crying and coming emotionally undone. I figured I could email her about those things though and start processing it that way – and maybe it would be easier to talk about in the session.

I was leary of communicating over email, not wanting to take up the counselor’s time, nor wanting anything I emailed to be taken as like the final thing – I was admant about how anything she or I emailed about would just be “in process.” She was very supportive of me emailing her...

At first, it worked very well. It seemed to “break the ice” on the tough trauma related subjects she wanted me to tell her about and made it easier to talk in sessions. She didn’t email back much outside of sessions, and I really actually preferred it that way.

But then things shifted… I’m still processing through what happened, what changed…

She started emailing and texting me. She still didn’t really respond much to what I was emailing her.

I don’t know how to summarize the kinds of things she would email or text - but the information and things she would text and email seemed so drastic, confusing, and came with huge consequences – and I had no way to dialogue with her about them, ask questions for clarification before she would act negatively about me not doing what she had communicated in the email or text.

She would often say that unless I do XYZ within a short amount of time, she would cancel all future appointments until I did the requested thing or sent the requested response. Sometimes she would threaten to just terminate therapy if I didn’t do it in time. (triggering all kinds of abandonment fears that I didn’t even know I had this intensely.)

It got to the point that anytime I got any text with her name on it, I would start to panic before I even read it. Sometimes she would email, then moments later she would call and text (both) saying I needed to check my email right away.

I soon told her I needed no more communication between appointments except for scheduling. No emails, no texts, no phone calls. It needed to all be saved for in-person therapy sessions.

I would get very upset and dyregulated about them...yet at the same time, the in-person therapy sessions all still went very well. She kept saying over and over about how SHE FELT therapy sessions were going very well too – and she would even repeatedly comment about how this was surprising her in light of how poorly I was handling the VERY SAME matters when she texted and emailed about them outside of therapy sessions.

she just kept texting and emailing... and I kept saying pls stop...

Then November on a Friday night, she called and canceled therapy appointments, and emailed a “notice” of “limits of therapy” that indicated she would immediately terminate if I did not meet the requirements in the notice. It included being required to respond to all messages from her within 24 hours.

She said she would meet with me again, only after she and I met with the DBT T. She said the purpose of that meeting was for me to tell her what my concern about her was that I was “not telling her” but had told the DBT T. The only concern I expressed to the DBT T was how I was not handling her texts and emails well and wanted advice how to not get so upset about it. The DBT T was great… and it was all stuff I told the primary T, many times over.

But the primary T felt it had to be something else and that whatever concern I was saying to the DBT T was the very reason why “the therapy was not working” and I needed to talk with her about it, and clearly I was comfortable enough to tell the DBT T. So at the meeting the DBT T and I explained, no, it was just me asking her how to stay contained about the emails and texts that I had told her I didn’t want and couldn’t handle…

I have no idea why she felt the therapy was not working back then!!! It was. So I told the primary T all the things that did work about therapy and were helpful. At the end, she said I did a great job and the info was helpful and we would have appointments again.

She briefly went over her “requirements.” I told her that some of the “requirements” I just could not do and felt very invasive. When we were with the DBT counselor, the primary therapist was very workable and cool with things. She said we could meet again, just her and I, and talk about what we both needed to make the therapy work and revise it and come up with a “contract.”

I explained I needed some time to think about her “requirements in therapy” and that I actually thought a contract was a great idea – one that we would BOTH sign. So we met. Just before the second appointment (post meeting with the DBT T) she texted on a Sunday afternoon and said she would not see me at my normal Monday appointment time unless I faxed her by 5pm that night a signed contract to her. Before she had said I had 4 weeks to come up with a final version... and no explaination for the change in deadline.

I didn’t even know quite what she wanted in the “contract”… So I emailed her a draft and she responded that it wasn’t sufficient. No specifics of what was a problem with it. I came up with a “temporary” contract with the changed terms about all communication outside of therapy sessions being only about scheduling and not having to respond within 24 hours.
I changed it to include that it would be revised in two weeks after I had more time to think about it.

Everything else was the same as she had listed on her requirements. She said it was acceptable.

She and I signed it had two great appointments after that. She said at the end of all the appointments that it went very well and I did a good job. The last appointment with was the first Thursday in December. Then the next Sunday night, three days later, she called me at 9:30pm. She said she was canceling my regular appointment time the next day (on Monday) and she was not rescheduling at this time and then she hung up before I could say a word.

I can’t even begin to talk about what has happened since then.

To say the least, she continues to text and email and leave voicemails about anything BUT scheduling.

I have not seen her since then, she has not followed through on re-scheduling, and she won’t say she has terminated. She got angry when I told my insurance she did. She won’t stop texting and emailing me, and even calling (usually just saying to check my email or respond to her text right away.)

My insurance won’t cover anyone else because she has not terminated, and because she keeps telling them she will see me once I meet her requirements… of which I have no idea what they are anymore. SO the insurance says you need to just do what she wants...

And she keeps emailing and texting and calling… But no actual conversation. I keep pleading her to stop emailing / texting /calling until we meet - she said we would meet with the DBT T in December, then it was post-poned, then twice a time was set up in Jan, then Feb 4, now she has moved it to Feb 26.

So I respond to all her messages with "ok, well I will respond to all her emails and requirements when we meet."

Now she says she will terminate if I don't meet them, and ASAP, and they keep changing. And I don't know what I need to do.
Ugh, I have rambled on too much. The last two weeks it has gotten so bad I have been at my wits end.

I want to just tell her and my insurance bug off. I want to just end it all…
But I’m thinking there has to be something better…

any ideas? feedback? anything?

what is wrong with me?
 
KP1

KP1

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
1,500
You are not in the wrong. This therapist sounds unprofessional and is not maintaining boundaries. She could be damaging your mental health. I don't know what country you are in but it would be worth researching her qualifications and seeing if there is a professional body she belongs to.If there is it may be possible to make a complaint.
Hope it works out for you.
KP
 
J

jasmin

New member
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
4
yeah, I am begining to think that...

I have thought about her terminating. I’m sorta ok with it. Except for:

- My insurance says that she is telling them I am not complying with her contract for behavior (even though most of the stuff on the contract was not about “behavior” but information she wanted, and even the DBT therapist says the primary counselor says I am “behaving” well.) Regardless, whatever is being said, the fact that this primary counselor is not seeing me because of some perceived or real breaking of some unknown or known behavorial rule – the insurance is now using as grounds to deny all mental health care services, saying I clearly can not benefit. (Even the forensic psychologist disagrees but is now mad the isnurace won’t even call him back to pay him like they promised)

- Everytime I try to see a new therapist I am extremely guarded. I gave in to the primary counselor and gave her much detailed info about very vulnerable things, much to her demand, partly tyop my want. My last appointment with her we talked about the details of a secxual assult I had never been able to talk about. She said it was wonderful what I said and the connections and breakthourghs I had in that session. The three days later she calls on a Sunday and says future appointmenst are canceled, no reason given, and hangs up before I can even ask why or say a single word other than hello. I just can’t seem to try to do another therapy relationship and be vulnerable

- The counseling with the therapist was very helpful, even the DBT counselor and my doctor who have known me for a long time agree. I don’t even know why she thinks it wasn’t helping. Niether do my doctor nor the DBT counselor. So many ujnanswered questions, no clarity, no understanding what the problem even was…

- And it was very helpful. I miss the therapy, with her, and just that kind of therapy in general because it was really helping. I can’t find anyone else period, let alone someone else my insurance will pay for…

- I think the changes needed were to have limits on communication outside of appointments and then it would be even more helpful. I am not sure what to do about the demands for all the records… some of it I just can’t financially afford, and I am confused about why and what else she needs, especially when so many releases she has not acted on.


I think one reason I hesitate is thinking about how I have a pattern of really good relationships with family, friends, proffessors, co-workers, bosses… but really struggle with anyone who is trying to “help” me. When I do have relationship problems, when my relationships become unstable, it’s when they move into a place where someone is trying to help me – in a way that is more one-sided than balanced. And in therapy… that’s what the relationship is most if not all of the time. It’s not exactly a two way thing entirely…
And that is the very place in the rest of my life, outside of therapy, where I have really struggled relationally.

So I am having hard time thinking all this mess is just a counselor that is a
bad fit and/or me having horrible boundaries or something.

Why do I even struggle so much to keep good boundaries with her? Just say no. Terminate or not, I can’t push myself to do more in therapy than I know I can handle without coming emotionally undone. Including allowing texts and emails and invasion into all things in my life without explaination or reason or even any CURRENT appointments with me within 3 months...
 
KP1

KP1

Well-known member
Founding Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2008
Messages
1,500
Well I've been in therapy for quite a while and I can't imagine my therapist behaving like this.
It may be the relationship has broken down and if that is the case it won't be therapeutic for you to continue.
If it is still possible to continue this would be after a face to face meeting where you felt safe to bring up your concerns with her.
I know working through issues and dealing with emotional pain in therapy can be very tough but you need confidence and trust in your therapist to keep going.
Take care.
KP
 
R

reno340

Active member
Joined
Apr 17, 2010
Messages
31
Location
USA
I would be interested in knowing what her "demands" are and what things she is texting you that are not about scheduling ect. that is upsetting you. Something does not sound right.
 
Rosepoet

Rosepoet

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Apr 25, 2010
Messages
532
Location
Gower
This is not right if you feel uncomfortable you must find another counsellor and discuss this The whole point of counselling is you set the pace the counsellor listens you talk the whole emphasis is on you no way should she contact you outside your allotted sessions as you have described you are very needy at this moment step back and set boundaries
 
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