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counseling dependency
April 9, 2001
9:13 am
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cloud
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It is 9:15 Monday morning and I just gave my letter to my counselor. She was there and so I gave it to her instead of putting it in her mailbox. And so I got to see her which made me feel good. She's probably reading it right now and I wonder what she's thinking.

April 9, 2001
6:59 pm
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Sal
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YOU DID IT!!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!

I can't wait till Weds. I'm probably more excited than you are! Please watch your expectations, and try not to leave with anything unsaid, you know, don't think, "No, I shouldn't say that," or edit YOURSELF in any way. One thing is for sure, it won't be the same any more, and you are healthier for it! (((((hug))))))

April 10, 2001
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time4change
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Good luck. Im sure you did the right thing. t4c

April 10, 2001
10:48 am
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cloud
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Thanks Sal and T4C. I really did it. I can hardly believe it. I kinda felt weird yesterday though. Like I was wondering if she thinks I'm really weird now. I don't know. We'll see on Wednesday. I hope she's not frightened of me now. The only thing I wish for is that she helps me because I only have 4 more sessions left including this Wed. Believe me, I will not hold back or edit anything about this. I'm coming clean tomorrow.

April 11, 2001
12:33 pm
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cloud
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Can't even explain how I'm feeling right now. So depressed. What is wrong with me? How could I go in there and lie when she asked me if I think about my dependency on her all the time. I said no. I made it sound like it is not as bad as it actually is. I've failed again and feel so horrible. Going to cry my eyes out again. She kept me 10 minutes after the hour was up. We talked so much. This is going to become an obsession, I can see it. I hate this. She had the person who is going to take over my case in a few weeks, come in to meet me. What if I shift my dependency onto her next? How is my counselor going to help me get over my dependency so I don't kill myself. Want to die.

April 11, 2001
2:09 pm
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Sal
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I have another theory: Do I get my identity tangled up in my counselors? Am I busy creating a "me" for her to see, melting into what her perception of me is?

It's OK, Cloud. You haven't gone backwards, just a sideways step. Can you write to her again? Own up to your obsession? Maybe you can come clean right up front with the new counselor, and confess your dependence on the previous one, and your concern over keeping the new relationship healthy.

"We're only as sick as our secrets"
(Did I say that already?)

What do you think you get out of this desperation? How does it serve you? You may have to figure that out before you'll be willing to really let it go.

Don't die. Live. Really live.

April 12, 2001
12:50 pm
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cloud
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Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life. All I did was cry. I still feel like anything will make me burst into tears. I had a big long talk with my parents and they listened and didn't judge me, which is all that I could ask of them.

Yesterday, after my session, I was so bent out of shape that I got in my car, ready to leave the school, then decided I couldn't leave. I needed to go back to my counselor. But I didn't go back to her, instead I called her from a campus phone. And I asked her if there was something I could do to stop the feelings I was having. She asked me if I was feeling worse than usual after a session and I said yes. Then she put me on hold and when she came back, she told me to try to talk to somebody else about it. That it would be better if I could talk to somebody else, like my mother, about it because she said that talking to her (my counselor) would not be helpful. This kinda made me feel rejected in a way. So then she said, "You can come in on Monday if you want" and I said, "No, I'm alright." She said, "You sure?" and I said, "yeah." (What a liar.) Then I got off the phone and drove home crying all the way. When I got home, my mom was there and saw that I was all upset. She asked me if I wanted to go out with her to the mall, because that way I could maybe get my mind off of it. So I went. And while I was at the mall, I felt like calling my counselor, but knew it wouldn't do any good. I hated myself for say that I didn't want to come in on Monday.

So anyway, I have written her another letter and I am going to put it in her mailbox right now. Maybe the only way I can be totally truthful is through writing letters. So, I'm on my way there now.

Oh yes, I am going to tell the new therapist straight out all about my dependent feelings so that way, hopefully, it will not happen again. I get absolutely nothing out of this desperation. Nothing.

April 13, 2001
12:04 am
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grass
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I don't think that your counsellor was rejecting you when she said you should maybe talk to someone else about it...for now. I think it was rather good advice, because if you talk to someone else first, in whom you trust, you will get it all out without any flowering and then when you talk to her next it won't be so hard to say, b/c what will you have to hide about yourself? someone elsw will already know. Right?

Also I think that if you talk to someone else first it may release some of the dependency that you have on her.

Is the reason you said no to going on Monday is b/c you wanted to prove to her that you are not dependant on her. Maybe talking to her would be good, but of course the decision is yours. I would keep writing if I were you, it gets everyting out, and gives you and her a guide line. Don't give up on this fight.

April 13, 2001
10:08 am
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Hi cloud,

interstingly enough I have been thinking about your situation off and on for a few weeks. Mainly because I not only feel for you, but it sparked questions in me because I am studying to be a counselor at my university.

I borrowed an interesting book from my supervisor at my internship at the mental hospital, called "Being Naturally Therapeutic". It clarified a lot of points I thought of, it was published in the '70s if you're interested.

A lot of times clients do have a hard time with their counselors for one reason or another. I always say, I have a lot of faith in the therapeutic process, but I don't have faith in the pracitioners. Counselors are just like you, hon. They are human, and cerainly don't have any answers. The book was interesting because it had several examples of sessions and different responses from different therapists to the same situations.

I saw a wide variety of approaches, but few seemed effective. A good therapist sets boundaries, but has warmth and is available.

In some ways, I feel like your dependency is part of a faulty thinking process.

See, my own therapist brought up a great point. The thing is, a lot of times we feel like we should have the motivation to change our behavior BEFORE our behaviors can change. Like, I know I should exercise more and I keep waiting to be motivated to exercise but it never happens!

In most situations, especially when you have a pervasive and consistent behavior pattern (over dependency on an authority figure), your external behavior has to change and you have to keep up that behavior change. After a while, you will develop intrinsic motivation to keep behaving in the more healthy way. Do you understand what I'm trying to say?

You can't sit back and wait for someone else to cure your dependency, or for it to magically change after some months of therapy. You have to do it yourself, as painful as it can be, the action has to originate in your own mind, it has to be yours!

A way to feel confident, in yourself, is to do activities that increase your sense of mastery and power. Eat at a restaurant by yourself. Go to the movies by yourself. Go to art shows or lectures by yourself. Take a class that is physical, either dance or karate or any martial art, where you learn a skill. As you master the skill, you will feel more and more confident in your ability to be independent and self-assured.

It may sound cheesy, but it works. I am working through my own anxiety from PTSD from being raped without drugs. My therapist is just a guidepost for me, a lighthouse. I don't want her to hold my hand and show me, i want to find the way myself. You will feel so much better if you find your own way.

April 14, 2001
12:15 pm
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cloud
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Grass, I guess you are right. Talking to someone else besides my counselor got me to say everything straight out. I didn't leave anything out when I spoke to my mom. Nothing. However, when I talk to my counselor, I leave out the most important parts. I guess the reason I said no to coming in on Monday was because I wanted her to think that I was okay without her, when in actuality, that couldn't be farther from the truth. All I can hope for now is that she gives me that opportunity again and that I take it. I may have to beg for it next time. Thanks Grass.

Cici, thanks for your input. I am actually also thinking of becoming a counselor myself if I survive actually survive all of this. I will try to get that book and read through it. I'm always intersted in books like that. I see your point. My behavior change has to come from me, not my therapist. I guess though, in some way, I still look to her for all the answers. But I realize the answers have to come from me; she can only guide me to them. I have this overwhelmingly intense fear of her leaving me though. I really don't see how I can possibly survive without her. You know, I really don't do anything alone. I guess I'm afraid of being alone. I do almost everything with my mother actually. But I like that. My counselor is leaving; how can I accept that? Maybe I'm not ready to give up this dreadful behavior, because if I were, wouldn't the answers be coming to me in my own head??? I don't know how to change. I think about it all the time. I think about how I can possibly change this behavior. I imagine myself actually living after my counselor leaves, and then I lose that positive outlook and begin to see myself being taken away by people, going into a hospital.

April 14, 2001
12:17 pm
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cloud
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Do you know where I have been the most honest??? On this message board. Everything is here. I'm all exposed here.

April 14, 2001
4:16 pm
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cloud
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This has so obviously become an obsession for me. It's all I think about. I wake up in the morning, and the first thing that pops into my head is, "How am I going to live without my counselor?" I go to sleep at night and it's the last thing on my mind. All day, I can think of nothing else. Everything that I do, to try to get my mind off of it, doesn't work. If I'm talking to someone else, my mind is drifting. If I'm trying to do schoolwork, my mind drifts. Everything relates back to this whole ordeal. When I think of school, I think of how she's going to leave me. When I think of this lovely springtime weather and how the summer is approaching, I think of how she's going to leave me. I've tried exercising, studying, wathing television, talking to others on the phone and in person. The only time I am not thinking about her is when I'm sleeping. And probably then, I am dreaming about it.

April 14, 2001
5:42 pm
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grass
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I am just wondering how old you are? B/c in my teens I was exactly the same, it was obout a teacher. I admired her b/c she had qualities about her that I didn't, I so much wished that I was as strong as she was. I thought about her all the time, my friends even noticed that I constantly referred to her in conversation, I would even think about what it would be like to live with her. It went as far as feeling like she was watching me all the time. I know, I gets frustrating...you so much want to get her out of your head, but you can't, she seems to be as much a part of you as you are yourself. You have melted your self-concept with her. I suggest that you really think about your relationship with your mom...has she ever really been there for you emotionally while you grew up? Maybe she was b/c you said you talked to her the other day obout all this. Maybe then...did your mom confide in you about stuff in her life? (reverse rolls).
hunny, I want you to know that it will go away one day, you are recognizing it and working on it. It will hurt when she does go, but I know that you are going to take that hurt and you are going to figure it out and put it in it's place. šŸ™‚

April 15, 2001
9:55 am
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cloud
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Grass, I am 20 years old/ female. In my teens I did the same thing with 2 teachers and one other counselor. Gosh, it hurts. You're right, I have melted my self-concept with these people. With the last teacher it happened with, I actually went as far as wanting to become her. In all aspects. I modeled my whole life after her in everything. Everything that she had, I bought. I majored in the same thing that she did. I wanted to become her fully. It is now, that I am realizing how wrong I was. It is now that I am struggling with these issues. And it is with my new counselor that I have discovered these things about myself and am working on with her. But she has now become my newest obsession. I don't want it to become as bad as it was with that high school teacher. I don't want it to become that I feel the need to BECOME my counselor. Right now, it's just at the dependency stage (which is enough in itself.) The strangest thing is that I still don't see how any of this relates to my mom. We are so close and always have been.

April 16, 2001
2:02 am
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grass
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It's o.k, maybe it has absolutely nothing to do with your mom. I guess that in my experience it did.
But there may be a need that you lack that makes you so dependent, b/c honestly if you weren't getting some kind of benifit from it you wouldn't do it.
I see alot of hope for you...I'm 20 too :). Life will straighten it's self out...I know šŸ™‚

April 16, 2001
11:00 am
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cloud
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Thanks Grass. I wish I knew where my need came from. And I wish I knew how I benefit from this. All I feel is torture.

April 16, 2001
9:43 pm
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Sal
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Is there a sense of relief or gratification that you get when you see her or talk to her? Is it an addiction to that "high" that tortures you til you get to see her again?

April 17, 2001
7:53 pm
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cloud
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Yes, there is a sense of relief. That's exactly what it is. I'm going again tomorrow. Wish me luck

April 19, 2001
11:12 pm
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Sal
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CLOUD... where are you? How did it go yesterday? Please write...

April 21, 2001
4:15 pm
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cloud
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Sorry I haven't written. Been lost in a depression ever since Wednesday. Things have gotten worse. I panicked after my last session and wound up returning to my counselor, desperate for help. But she could not do anything for me. I left once again, in a deep depression. I have hit my lowest point. I've been relying on Xanax to get me through, but it hardly helps. I'm lost.

April 21, 2001
10:20 pm
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Sal
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I'm sorry Cloud. (((hugs)))

April 23, 2001
2:30 am
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Dear Cloud,

It sounds like you are having a very difficult time right now. I have been counseling for a while now, and I am wondering whether or not your counselor has been able to move you through a process of any kind and help you through the issues that brought you to her in the first place. I guess what got me thinking about this was reading what you wrote about having only a limited number of sessions left, and the fact that you have been in so much pain over your dependency has probably sapped lots of your energy away from being able to do the work you were hoping to do when you entered into this counseling relationship.

I noticed that you said this would be your 4th time to have counseling. I wonder if you have sought counseling for the same reason each time, or for a variety of reasons. Have you felt that the therapy was beneficial to you in the past?

I also saw where you said that you were dependent on some teachers and your first counselor. I think this is a sign of hope in a way because that means you've managed to survive this kind of thing before. That's a clear demonstration of your strength and intellect.

I wonder if you have ever considered whether or not you might enter counseling relationships as a means of establishing a close bond with a person, rather than as a way to process problems, issues, or concerns. Is it possible that this is a safe way for you to establish a nurturing relationship?

I think whatever your reasons for going to counseling, you are doing the right thing. I also would say I don't think there's anything "wrong" with you or anyone else who becomes dependent on their counselor. In my own experience providing counseling, I would become concerned if my clients did NOT become dependent on me to a point. I also think that a skilled counselor will be assessing the potential for dependency and address it appropriately as needed.

You are in control of your own therapeutic process. You are the one with the wisdom to know how and when to disclose something to your therapist. Don't be so hard on yourself if the time isn't right now. It will work itself out if you commit yourself to allowing it to happen.

The counseling process is sometimes a lot like a very round rock resting at the top of a mountain. Once the balance tips, it will just begin to roll. You can try to hold it back, and you might succeed for a time. But eventually you will become tired of expending all that energy, step aside, and allow the process to flow naturally. Relax. Try not to be so hard on yourself. Just be where you are, and take in the scenery, so to speak. The rest will happen in due time. Trust in yourself and in your process.

Hope you are having a great day today!

Sincerely,

Mal

April 23, 2001
11:00 am
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cloud
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Mal, thanks for your input. Yes, I am having a very hard time. I have only 2 sessions left. You're right, I really haven't had the chance to work on things I went to counseling for in the first place. but other more important things have surfaced in the process that I think need attending to more. I have sought out counseling for a variety of reasons including depression, anxiety, and other things. Some have been beneficial. The one I'm seeing now, I saw last year around this same time and she helped me tremendously with helping me to discover positive thinking. I went back to her this year for anxiety problems. I guess I enter counseling when I'm in a dilemna. and then I wind up dependent.

April 23, 2001
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Dear Cloud,

I wonder if depression and anxiety might not be symptoms, and not really the problem. In other words, there must be some thing(s) at the root of the anxiety and depression. Perhaps if you are able to work at the root issues, you'll find your anxiety and depression will begin to lift. What has happened in your life that you believe causes you to feel anxious and depressed?

I hope you're having a good day, and not feeling too stressed out about approaching the last of your therapy sessions.

Hang in there!

Your friend,
mal

April 24, 2001
1:41 pm
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cloud
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Mal, you are probably right. The depression and anxiety are symptoms of underlying problems. But I feel that some of the underlying problems are so hidden inside my brain, that I can't even get at them. The depression I've been feeling lately is not so much a biological depression as it is emotional. I'm depressed because my counselor is leaving. I'm depressed because I have to go through a separation that I feel I'm incapable of surviving. This longing for her not to leave me makes me so sad and in turn, causes me to feel symptoms of depression such as hopelessness and sadness, among others. The anxiety and panic I feel is also in a way related to her leaving because every time I leave her office, I feel a sense of panic. Like I can't possibly go another week without talking to her. That's why I make up excuses to go see her, like to leave her a letter, or I call to ask when I can come in to drop off a letter.

The hour or two before my session every Wednesday, I am extremely anxious, but almost in a good way. Almost like a high. Then while in session, I'm more relaxed, but at the same time nervous about the hour passing, and then when she says, "See you next Wednesday at this same time" my heart sinks and I feel severely depressed and at the same time panicky. This is when I get desperate and try to stall as much as possible. This is when I cry and this horrible feeling last through the rest of the day, into Thursday, into Friday. Then by Saturday, I'm still recovering, but knowing that the next Wednesday is getting closer, I feel a little sense of relief. By Tuesday, like today, I am "getting ready" for tomorrow. Preparing myself. For that one little hour. Almost excited in a way. But now, awaiting the next Wednesday, means wishing for it to come sooner, which in turn, means that the last day will be here and then I will be lost forever.

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