Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ergo Therapy.

Alright, I've taken a power nap on the sofa and I've walked the dog, so now we'll see if I can come up with anything sensible. I may have to go back to the sofa and power nap some more, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

I actually power napped for a long time, so you shouldn't see it as one short burst of a nap. It was just very immediate and intense and that's why I call it a power nap. I lie down and am almost immediately sound asleep.You'd have to shoot off a cannon to wake me up and I stay asleep until I just as suddenly wake up and get up immediately as if I never slept at all.

Those first few minutes determine my mood and in that time I can become happy or sad. If I become sad, there is only one thing to do and that is to sleep some more. I am on the verge right now of being unhappy and it is not something inside of me that is making me so, but I am unhappy because of how the ergo therapy went yesterday morning.

I think it was too intense and too emotional and too dangerous and somehow I feel that I am implicated in it, although I know this isn't true, but because I am the bearer of some knowledge that the rest of the group does not bear, I feel a certain amount of responsibility.

You see, I know a very awful story about one of my co-patients that she just shared with me herself in the strictest confidence and yesterday, the therapist, who also knows the story , tried to get this patient to tell this story to the group, using me as an example of why it would be possible, because of the patient's extreme fear that she would be ostracized by the group if she told them the story.

I iterated to her how this knowledge made her not repulsive to me, but how it made me care about her more and made me respect her more. The therapist made me repeat that, so the patient would understand that very well.

Anyway, the whole thing became very emotional, and another patient walked out, and in the end the story was not told and now maybe never will be, although it should, but it should not be forced out of her. The patient who walked out had a half an hour of one to one counseling and the rest of us were fine and concerned ourselves more with the patient who didn't tell the story.

But it has left a bad aftertaste with me and I feel as though I've done something wrong. As if I'm implicated in a crime. I feel dirty and ashamed and I can't talk about it with anyone. That's why I'm writing it all down here, without going into the details of the story, because I can't.

I hope somebody out there understands my situation and gives me some feedback. I feel used, I guess, although I suppose the intentions were good.

I hope I made this an understandable story and not too confusing. It helps to write it all down.



Frances said...

Hmm. the therapist was using power and group dynamics on you and managed to manipulate you in a way you don't like now that you have come back to your own way of thinking.
Your description of the way the therapist behaved and was so different yesterday made me wonder at the time whether the switch was a deliberate one. Sometimes a therapy group can get into a comfortable little groove where everyone just starts feeling okay with themselves and secure and maybe not thinking there is too much need to work hard at getting better. I have heard of a switch of therapist or a pretend new member of the group being brought in to shake things up and it can be therapeutic - I hope that is what was happening and not what I can tell you fear, that this other therapist is actually dangerous and power-mad.
Don't worry about it Irene. It may have been difficult for some people to take and it may have hurt some and discombobulated others, but it probably didn't do too much damage. It may have helped, it may have shaken things up so the group can move forward to another stage.
Meanwhile,it might help you if you look at how she managed to get you to drop those barriers and forget some of your principles. That way you can prevent it happening in the outside world. Sometimes therapy is just direct practice of dealing with the hard knocks of life.
I should try to forget about it, but if it is really bothering you, speak to your SPN about it. Otherwise wait and see what happens in the next session, your usual therapist may have light to shed on it and may be able to explain away some of the bad taste in your mouth.
Power is dangerous and group dynamics can lead to all sorts of interesting experiences. However they can tempt us into joining in on the strong side to protect ourselves, if we are not too aware of what is going on. You can't be blamed for trusting the therapist, you have learnt to put trust in people quite recently - she was in charge and she decided what was going to happen.
That's my take on it at second hand. Of course, I wasn't there, so I can't tell if this is right.
What do you think?

aims said...

I'm with Frances on this Irene.

I think the therapist was trying to shake things up as well. She certainly brought out something different in you and she was trying to help the others as well.

I don't think you should feel guilty or dirty in any way. She was only trying to show this person that someone knowing her story didn't see her as a monster. That is was okay to let it out.

Remember what you told me? That I can't responsible for healing others. That I must look after me first.

The same goes for you.

I can see exactly what you are saying and know how you must be feeling. I know I would feel the same for a bit without knowing what the therapist was doing. I'm sure the person looked at you as if saying 'why did I tell her!'

You were told because you are safe and a friend. Keep that in mind. You are still safe and still a friend.

I think you also need to talk to this person and see what reaction was had by her. Does she hate you for knowing? I doubt it. Does she hate you for trying to show her the way you see her? I doubt that too.

She might be angry at the therapist for a bit but she'll most likely get over that as well.

My question is - how did the therapist know that you know?

Try to focus on how the therapist opened up your world a bit and made you experience new feelings.

The woman chose to tell you her secret. You aren't guilty for that. You didn't ask to know. Remember that. She must go forward along with you now that she has brought you into her circle.

Again - don't feel guilty Irene. I too think it's all going to be okay in the long run.

jeannette stgermain said...

You are not responsible for what the therapist does.
You are not responsible for another patient(s?) not being able to handle their emotions!
You only told about yourself. So you did nothing wrong.
What you can do is go to the therapist and tell how you feel about the whole situation. Therapists make mistakes too you know!
Be encouraged, for you cannot control what other people do or feel. You are only responsible for yourself, my dear friend!

Maggie May said...

You didn't do anything wrong, Irene, so there is no need to feel used or guilty or upset or dirty or any of those negative things.
You were there for this other member of the group and she managed to confide in you one to one and you have kept that confidence.
I was interested to see what Frances has written and I think she is right.
You must let it go. You cannot be responsible for the therapist or any of the other patients.
Nor should the therapist force anything on any of you...... but I don't think she was doing this, was she?
Sleep well, my friend X

Mean Mom said...

Did it seem that the therapist was bullying the patient into telling her story, rather than persuading? I suppose you felt that you were somehow siding with the bully? Well, you weren't. You were just being open and honest with the patient and must have been rather startled by the whole procedure, I should think. I can understand why you felt used.

I don't agree with the therapist's actions. I think that the patient did well to share her awful story with you and shouldn't have been pushed into sharing it with others, if she wasn't ready. I know nothing about therapy, however, so I've probably got it all wrong! I/we can only have faith and hope that the therapist knew what she was doing and hasn't set the patient's recovery back. Let the therapist do the worrying! She carries the responsibility.

laurie said...

a fine line between encouragement and forcing. i think the therapist pushed you and the other patient a bit too far. i'd be upset too.

and re power naps: i love them. i nap nearly every sunday, but only occasionally do i fall into one of those intense and deep sleeps. they are infinitely refreshing, once i shake off the grogginess.

i hope today is a good day for you!

Anonymous said...

I think the therapist may have been trying to shake things up too. The problem with that is that you can't always control or guide what happens next!

I can see how you feel manipulated and used. I don't like the idea of the therapist doing that. The therapist should have recognized that the patient wasn't ready to share with everybody, that she had told SOMEONE and that was enough for her at that moment. Baby steps.

As for why you were chosen to bear that explosive knowledge, who knows? You must project safety and empathy and that's what that patient craved at that time. I have also told certain stories to certain people at certain times, and only later is it clear why I turned to them (in fact, I did that once,years ago, and it turned out that the friend I spoke to had previously been a counsellor in a womens' shelter, and she promptly urged me to get myself into therapy!)

It's very hard to hold such intimate knowledge of another person, but try not to dwell on it and try to focus on the fact that you were helpful to her in some way. It's not YOUR story, it's hers, so try not to make it yours.

And if nothing else, now you know that you will not allow a therapist to force you into such a situation again, that if it ever happens again, you will politely decline. You may also feel that it's just too much for you to bear for people to share their deep, dark secrets with you, so you may choose to politely decline to listen to them, too. You must look after yourself first, right?

And as always, I am blown away by your courage in writing about this! You are SO strong, Irene - and yes, your writing was quite understandable!

Be good to yourself!