Saturday, March 6, 2010

A psychotherapist's life

Sometimes the life of a psychotherapist is a funny old thing! I had a bit of a strange one the other day.

I saw this woman who is in her 40s. I have know her for about 20 years, counselled her husband, kids and I am sure I will counsel the grand children in the not too distant future. I know her very well and we have had a good therapeutic relationship over a long time.

Anywise I had not seen her for about 6 months and she makes an appointment. When she gets there she starts to give me an update of her life, what has happened with her relationships and other significant life events. This is always a good thing for the therapist as we are all professional busy bodies and nosey parkers who like to pry into people’s private lives.

I got my curiosity satisfied and during her talking I asked her a few times what was she wanting out of this consultation. I never really got an answer to my question on each occasion. So as the end came closer I had decided that this was a check in consultation and an ‘I am just wanting a bit of security’ consultation.

She had been widowed about 7 or 8 years earlier and since that time she had had a few relationships but nothing serious. However in the last 6 months she met a guy and he was shaping up to be quite serious and in her mind this could turn out to be quite a long term relationship.

Right near the end of the session I asked again what was she wanting out of this meeting and she said, “I want your approval” (about her new man). This took me back a bit as I wasn’t expecting such a thing from her as it was not really her style to assume that position in relationships - seeking approval.

Will this get approval?

So firstly I had to quickly jump into my Parent ego state to work out if I did approve or not, as I hadn’t even thought about such a thing. Then I thought, well what happens if I don’t approve! I can’t lie to her.

But the point at hand is here we have a 44 year old woman, who is quite competent and has been successful in her career, coming to see me and wanting my approval about her new boyfriend. I find it just a bit odd. Such is a psychotherapist’s life I suppose.



  1. I like it when a proposed contract comes at the end.

    Perhaps in a round about way the person is "feeling around" for her own sense of "Parental" approval. I hope she answered her own dilemma in the end.

    Though, its much easier to get someone else to give the permissions.

  2. Yes maybe that is so kenoath,

    getting her own sense of approval


  3. I will say I am pretty new to the psychological stuff, needed some help to stop a crisis in marriage, and I have a feeling that the TA is the way to go, it appeals to me and it kinda helped, though I know it can be temporary and nothing is given forever, you just got to work on it.
    So I searched the net for reads dealing with TA and landed here. - that's a short background on what I am doin here :)

    And having read this blog entry I ask myself: isn't it supposed that we have problems, overcome it, and the therapist helps us not only with the immediate relief but also should give us a "fishing rod" so we can deal with our future problems without repeatedly going to the therapist. And your entry suggests that it's the opposite - I have my therapist and my children will have problems so they will have to go to the guy like me? Isn't it that I, being experienced and kind enlightened, can help my children (I mean in most typical situations, of course I don't cover extreme traumas here) to cope with their every day struggle on their own?
    What do you think?

  4. "But the point at hand is here we have a 44 year old woman, who is quite competent and has been successful in her career, coming to see me and wanting my approval about her new boyfriend. I find it just a bit odd. Such is a psychotherapist’s life I suppose."

    I don't understand why you say this occurance is odd. People are seeking approval all the time and they go to the strangest places to find it. You can be standing at the supermarket check out and the lady will look up at you, tell their story and ask for approval.

    I consider that odd. There is no way that i would seek approval from people who have popped into the shop just to buy some milk. And even if i wanted to, i'd make an appointment atleast for a cuppa somewhere private or something - and that would only be if they were on my "I can/choose to trust this person with my life" list!

    So... there you go. If I were alone and needed a 'life choice' approval - i would probably do the same as your client. Hmm... now that is odd.

    So...*giggles* do you have milk and sugar in your cuppa? Cause Tony, apparently this idea is not so odd to me. Wow! I just found that out about me... just then!

    Happy Tuesday to you

  5. Also... I don't understand your reaction when she stated that she wanted your approval. Did you forget about the 'transferance'?