So, its been a while since I have heard those words, speaking to someone on the phone is a rare, strange, antiquated idea. Why speak, when you can text, instant message, snapchat, tweet, WhatsApp etc. etc.
Sending someone a message asking if they can talk usually is met with silence whilst they stroke their chin thoughtfully pondering the correct response to such an unusual and absurd suggestion.
Therapists, especially therapists, NEED! to answer immediately to a message, its a thing us in therapy know, if they don’t answer when we NEED them it is to quote Anne (with an E…great Netflix show!) “truly tragical”.
In our minds, at certain times, especially when we are feeling low or vulnerable sending a message to our therapist is our call out, we want to feel remembered, that we are of some importance to them, that they are there for us. Its a little like a child meeting a teacher outside of school, children worldwide are continuously shocked that a teacher has a life outside school ( who knew… huh !) Surely the teacher/therapist is sitting, quietly awaiting her pupil/client to show up, contemplating everything that was discussed at the last lesson/session. Her thoughts completely focused on that particular person.
Some things a therapist does not have are these:
- Shopping to do
- Chores or other issues to deal with
- Other clients
- Their own issues and worries
- Other places to go/other people to see.
- Self care time
And the list goes on.
The last couple weeks have been stressful, lots of different sad situations coming my way, so obviously am feeling a wee bit vulnerable. If I messaged a friend and they did not reply, I would (rarely) A. pick up the phone to them. B. wonder if I had done something to upset them, and then pick up the phone and call them. C. Get mad at them and then pick up the phone and call them. D. Forget about it and then eventually pick up the phone and call them.
The relationship to a therapist is obviously unique, as much as we would sometimes like them to be, or on a bad day even have a little fantasy that they are our friends ( or mother/father… but that’s a whole different conversation) they are not, and they have boundaries which can not be crossed.
It is difficult though to remember that even if your ( or mine.. because ultimately I am actually talking to myself here) therapist does not reply immediately, or one day later or two, or even acknowledges your message at all, that does not mean that they think you (or me) are:
- Have no boundaries
- Not important
- your issues are meaningless ( to those they see with “real” issues).
And any other millions of tangled messages your brain sends to you, hitting you over and over again, bringing down your self love and self esteem.
I know that I and others, will scribble a message and press send, swearing or “shouting ” at the therapist, telling them in our frustration that we don’t need them, want them, they are no good anyway etc, then quickly try to “delete for everyone” in the warped hope that maybe they would have glanced at the message, and seen you have deleted a message, and as a consequence we hope they have thought of us, even if for a fleeting moment.
So, next time your feeling low, and really really need some care from your therapist, here’s something to try…. write a blog!