I had my second session with new T yesterday. I like her. I like that she’s straight-forward and intuitive. She definitely uses a lot more psychobabble than old T (wow..odd to call her old T), but I don’t mind it, and I might even like it, because I majored in psychology and really love it.
Even in just the second session, I can tell that maybe, just maybe, she could help me break free from my personal prison. It helps to go to a therapist with a different approach. I was nervous going to a body-based therapist, maybe because I’m afraid of my body. I had thought that I didn’t have much of an issue with anxiety anymore, but new T immediately noticed that my breathing is always very shallow. She said that it keeps the brain and body on alert, constantly looking for danger, but that if I can learn to eventually breath deeper, it will calm down my whole system. She told me that she could tell how shallow and tight my breathing was because she got the same feeling in her chest that I always have. She asked if I learned about mirror neurons in school, which I did in my neurobiology course. She talked about the neurons and how they allow her to attune to me and what I’m feeling, and that’s how she was able to pick up on how I was feeling. I basically knew all of that, but I still liked hearing her explain it. It gave me some reassurance that she knows what she’s talking about.
The session was still a bit of an “interview,” but she was completely fine letting me talk about whatever I liked, even though she still had questions for me. At one point she had me picture a time when I felt joyful – the time I was the happiest I’ve ever been – and she had me picture and remember as many details as possible, including sensory details. Then she asked me to name it so that, if we need to, she can say the name of that memory and it will help pull me back into a positive space. I liked that, too – she helped me create a safe, happy place that I can go to when I need it rather than trying to imagine one, which is what I’ve tried to do in the past with old T.
I know that it’s also a resource that I can use if/when we do any trauma work. And it makes me feel a tad more reassured going into this whole journey knowing that I have that resource – and that this T knows enough about trauma that she’ll be able to tell when I need to go to that place.
By some things I’ve said, she already knows a good portion of the extent of my trauma “background”. I haven’t told her directly, but based on the fact that I told her I was in a therapy group through the local women’s shelter, and she knew which group I was talking about, she knows why I was there.
We also talked about dissociation and how much I know about my tendency to dissociate. I explained that my last T had talked about it with me, which also made me remember that my very first T had mentioned that I dissociate as well. She wanted to know what it feels like for me when I dissociate, and then she also asked me if I have ever lost time and how much time I’ve lost. I do like that she’s knowledgeable about all of this, but at the same time it scares me that she’s going to “know” me sooner than I’m ready for that to happen.
We then did some breathing at the end, and she had me notice the speed of my breath and then, through deep breathing, notice how much it had slowed down. She seemed tickled when I told her I also felt a release all the way down my arms after I’d taken some deeper breaths. She asked how I was feeling at the end, and I told her I was nervous. She said it’s completely understandable that I’d be nervous after she asked me so many questions. She apologized for unsettling me but said it helps to know all of those things. Her apology triggered me a bit, though. It sounded horribly similar to my father apologizing for doing something awful but then saying that it was because I did x or y. I didn’t share my reaction with her, though. I don’t feel quite to the point where I am ready to just mention things like that, especially when she barely knows my story.
I almost started to dissociate after she made that statement. I didn’t, but I was starting to drift before I caught myself. When I left, I tried to go out the door, but it was locked. New T came out and apologized profusely, apologizing if it scared me. It didn’t, but I suppose I can see why she might apologize for that kind of thing.
I’m, of course, nervous again for my session next week. She said that she would be talking a lot next week and that she’d be teaching. I have no idea what that means, but it intimidates me. We’ll see. I’m just glad it seems to be okay-ish so far. I had wanted to share some of what has gone on in the past week, especially what I found out about my father (which has still haunted me), but I decided I didn’t feel comfortable enough. Part of me still wishes I had, though. It’s been a rough week, and it would have helped if I could have risked to open up about that.