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I'm too attached to my counselor . . .help!
April 11, 2000
10:52 pm
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sepowe
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I am a 21-year-old female college student in Maine. I've been seeing a counselor on my campus for about 8 months now. She's helped me through so many issues. I never imagined life could be so bright and wonderful. Here's my problem: I'm graduating from college in May. I know my relationship with this counselor will be cut off. We've been working toward a termination, but I don't know if I'll ever be ready to move on. It's going to be so difficult--I'll never see her again! How can I cope with this? How can I make it easier? I don't want to turn into a pest!

Help!!

April 11, 2000
11:11 pm
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NatureL
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Consider your upcoming termination of counseling with her a lesson in life in letting go, and try not to think of it in the negative connotation that you will never see her again. In other words, "reframe" this change as utilizing the strengths and lessons you have learned from her. Realize you are an adult who now must stand on your own with all her teachings in your pocket to guide you. She will always be with you through your use of those teachings in dealing with life. While it will, no doubt, be difficult to discontinue these sessions, each day will be easier as you immerse yourself into your career and so on. You're so fortunate to have found someone you can feel this way about and who has helped you so much. Good luck and remember to "reframe" the change.

April 11, 2000
11:28 pm
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Ima
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I feel the same way. There's something that seems so immature about my dependence... I want to "reframe" the change, to not obsess, or base my emotional health on this counselor, whom I am supposed to be having only a professional relationship with. Yet it's hard to separate the two. There's also an element of rejection that scares me. I know it's just a passage in life.
So why is it so scarry and uncomfortable? Sorry I'm no help, sepowe... Thanks, though, for bringing it up. It helps to type it through.

April 12, 2000
2:50 am
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grace
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Wow, what timing for this thread! I am nearing the end of my sessions (tomorrow is my second to last appointment) and I'm feeling the same things as sepowe and Ima. I feel so much stronger and better, yet I'm afraid to let go of this relationship because it somehow feels like all that time spent and emotional sharing disappears. It's scary. And the thought of being totally on my own….My psych. tells me that I can continue seeing her until I feel fully ready to leave, but I wonder if it'll ever get any easier. Though it would be nice to continue and have someone to provide guidance throughout life, the combination of having resolved major problems and insurance and money running out is prohibitive. I like Naturel's advice on reframing and will try it. But it is also nice to know there are others feeling the same and to be able to type out my thoughts as well. Thanks.

April 12, 2000
7:35 am
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janes
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Is this called counter transference?

Naturels response is right on!!!!

Every transition in life can be scary... but you all sound like you are ready..just scared.

Good Luck

April 12, 2000
1:47 pm
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Ima
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And what do you do with all that heart that you shared,is it safe? My life, hurts, pains, secrets, etc. are in her file. What will she do with it? "Desire for reparenting" --a label I relate to. Is that transference, Janes? I want to always have a mentor, a mom, to run to who understands, doesn't judge, but also doesn't charge $100/hr!!! No one I know will fill the bill.

April 12, 2000
6:13 pm
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janes
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It has to be safe...there are rules. Of course there are unscrupulous counselors..but they don't really have anyone to tell your secrets to now do they. If they did there would be lots more blackmail going on.

If you have improved your self and life by sharing your heart then actually tho' you have given...you have also recieved.

We all want someone else to be "responsible" for our hearts. But the best thing for us to have is a responsible self we can rely on.

One can always find a friend, mentor, "mom" figure.

You may need to "reparent yourself."

April 12, 2000
8:45 pm
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chris-tina
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I know Exactly what you are talking about. I recently transfered schools. But, I didn't know until a week before I transfered (I thought I might be moving, but wasn't sure.) So, although I thought that my sessions might be ending, I wasn't sure, so didn't really prepare myself for it. She asked me how I felt about it, but since it hadn't really set in yet, I didn't have anything to say. I urge you to talk to her about it. I regret every day that I didn't. It isn't the same taking about it to my new therapist. I didn't realize how dependant I was on my counselor until I was walking out of her office the last time, and broke down. That was four months ago. I still miss her so much and have nightmares about it. I can't seem to find a way to get over it. I wish I could. I just wish that I could see her once more, although I know that that is impossible.

April 12, 2000
10:19 pm
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Ima
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janes, I don't want someone else to be responsible for my heart. Just someone to hold it for a while. Let me look at it objectively, from a distance. "Moms" are not just lined up, waiting to get involved in my life. Plus, because of past mom-stuff, I'm pretty particular. Now that there has been someone I could trust, I really, really, don't want to let that go. Not mature, I know.

chris-tina--Could you call your counselor, and get some closure? Write a letter, even if you don't mail it? I don't know if that's healthy advice, but I relate to that struggle. Maybe as you write, you could "reframe" your time with her, remind yourself of what you learned, what you've come through, and maybe what we face will be less daunting. OK, so I'll write it out, too. I think it will be helpful, because just writing this to virtual strangers helps my perspective. What about you, sepowe?
And janes, I don't worry about my secrets getting out, I think I worry that she will discard it and me with it. I know that doesn't make me a less valuable person, yet...

April 12, 2000
10:45 pm
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sepowe
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Wow. You guys are really wonderful. Ima, you and I could be siblings. Your comments reflect my feelings exactly. I, too, found a mother-figure in my counselor. She's even hugged me a few times, held my hand, and told me that she believes in me. My mother never did that! She's also a very strong feminist, which is very important to me. I tried another therapist once who couldn't relate to me at all. It didn't work. This lady cheers me on all the time. She's looked at pictures from my vacations, she's read my work (I'm a writer) and she suggests books and movies she thinks will touch my heart. She's usually right! I will feel like I've lost my best friend in the world. What hurts most is that she won't feel the pain like I do. She's used to this. It's not fair, is it?

S

April 13, 2000
4:23 am
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grace
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How fortunate you have a such a counselor. My therapist is very impersonal, almost cold you could say. I've seen her for 2 years yet I know very very little about her. Whenever I ask her personal questions like if she has siblings, she gives a very brief cryptic answer and turns back with a question. She would never say things like she believes in me and never touches me - not even a handshake. Still, since she has helped so much I am sad and afraid to let go, so I can imagine it being even harder for you because of the closeness you've shared.

Maybe she won't feel the same intensity of pain that you do (remember that therapy is mostly one-sided), but it's highly likely that she'll feel some loss as well, esp. since she thought of you a lot (with book and movie suggestions for example). You have touched her life and there's no erasing that. Anyway, that's just my 2 cents.

April 13, 2000
7:38 am
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hazza
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HI Guys,
try to remember, the pain you are feeling is because you are losing what you see as a friend and mentor. this is natural to feel sad.
after all it is not the bill you are missing or their office is it, it is the friendship.
also remember you are feeling better because of the work YOU have done. you can continue this work by yourself and still feel good.
maybe this is an indication that you are ready to have friendships and are ready to relate to people and build MANY conections with many people.
I felt the same when i left one place i was lodging at because my land lady was a mentor to me. But you do move on and find other people who you get on with.
as someone said on here, it is an oppotunity to learn how to move on and let go healthilyk, a good lesson too, that will help you in many ways in life. Go thorough this and you will learn to be self dependent. as Natual said turn it into a positive in your mind, it is the best thing you can do.
HAzza

April 13, 2000
9:34 pm
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sepowe
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I was wondering if anyone can tell me what to expect from the "termination session." It sounds so brutal! I know it'll be a sad, tearful occasion for me. Please help me prepare.

S

April 13, 2000
10:42 pm
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soos
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Dunno. But I'll anxiously await your report. Milestone. But not the last. When is "the last session"? I'll be praying for you, that you will say all you want to say, none of what you don't, and that it will be a healthy closure. Please post back! You're my brave ground-breaker!

April 15, 2000
1:00 pm
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Ima
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sepowe-- are you out there? Did you have your "termination session"? What a terrible title! Just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you.

April 19, 2000
6:24 pm
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sepowe
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My last session with my therapist was today. It was very touching. She was full of words of wisdom and support. I'm going to miss her, but she made me feel strong. I think the feeling will last a while. I'm graduating from college in a week. I have a degree in English. Next, I'm off to Madison, WI to become a certified EFL teacher. I hope to move to Europe to teach for a year or two. After that, who knows? Grad school?

Thanks to all of you for caring so much. I was so scared about the outcome of this, but it looks like it's going to be okay. Bless you . . .

S

April 19, 2000
8:27 pm
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Ima
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YAY!!! HOORAY!!!! HURRAH!!!!
You did it, and survived! I'm so proud of you!!! Thank you so much for the update. When I wonder what I face I'll remember your bravery. When I don't want to face "the end" I will remember your strength. I'll say "Remember sepowe" and I'll wonder what that name means:)

Relieved and rejoicing with you!!!!
I'm a

April 20, 2000
10:31 am
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chris-tina
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Congrats!!! I'm so happy for you that your last session went well.
Good Luck! (You're going to love Madison!) -Chris-tina

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