I realized tonight how difficult it is for me to ask for some
special individual consideration. Even things that seem reasonable. M asked me if I knew why I felt that way
Was I afraid of being told No? – I don’t think about people saying no, it feels wrong to ask for something or suggest a different way of doing things unless there is a good reason for it
Do I feel like I don’t deserve the thing? – I don’t think of it as deserve or not deserve.
Do I feel like I’m not entitled? – Isn’t that the same as what you just asked me?
There is a difference between deserving something and being entitled to it. – I can’t see much a difference and I don’t really think about it like that.
So how do you think about it? What makes it wrong to ask? – long silence while I think about it but I don’t seem to have any answers. It just feels wrong
Maybe you don’t have to understand why you feel that way, maybe it isn’t a particular issue but rather a generalized feeling. – after what felt like a long silence I said so what happens
I think what comes next is realizing that you don’t have to act like your feelings are real. Maybe you can ask for things even though it feels wrong. – I don’t know if that is possible for me, sometimes I don’t even want anything until someone else tells me what is allowed
M and I were talking about my therapy sessions. I’ve had to switch from two sessions/week to one session/week because I got a new job.It is a 6 month contract job so I’ve only been able to see M after business hours and he only works one evening a week. It has been really difficult. I was out of work for about a month and didn’t know if or when I would find work so I decreased the number of my sessions then because I was concerned about my finances. Now I am working again and can afford therapy but don’t have the time. It led to some difficult conversations because I really want to see M more but I can’t and I felt like M didn’t notice how or care how difficult it was for me. Whenever I tried to discuss how therapy was changing M would say something general like “there is more than one way to do therapy” and we don’t even know if the schedule has to change, you’ve just started and maybe you will discover that you can shift your work hours to leave early one day a week and have a session at the end of the day.
My new job is completely different that what I used to do. It is an entry-level administration position where I work assisting everyone else and keep things running smoothly so they want me in the office during regular business hours to support the other staff. I used to work in a lab doing experiments where I didn’t depend on anybody else’s work and they didn’t depend on mine. My supervisor allowed me to work flexibly because I could work late or on a weekend to get my job done. That meant I could do therapy in the middle of the day or take my children to appointments or volunteer to accompany them on a class trip. The worst part is there isn’t that much work to do in my new job. It certainly doesn’t fill my day so I spend time at work doing nothing but waiting for more work. My new supervisor is very nice and told me before the end of the second week that I was too efficient for my current job. I told her I wasn’t qualified to do anything but an entry-level position because all my education and experience up to this point has been in science. She took the time to discuss other jobs at the company and encouraged me to take some training courses through my employer and introductory accounting and business courses at night so I’ll be qualified for higher level jobs.
So last week M finally told me that he hoped that we could continue to meet twice a week and that he hoped I could arrange to work longer for four days a week so I could leave early on the fifth day and have a session with him. I was greatly relieved because I had started to worry that he had given up on me and therapy and I was hoping my new schedule and job would stop me from coming during the day and then he would stop working his one night a week and so he could quit on me. After the session, I sent him an email saying I was worried I couldn’t shift my work hours and I would like to try meeting for 1.5 hour sessions once a week. I didn’t say anything after he told me he thought ideally we should meet twice a week even though I had been thinking about longer sessions for months and we have even had a couple in the past. Before the session I wanted to ask him to try that but during the session when he stated his preference for 2 session/week it didn’t even enter my mind. So I realized that asking by email was easier for me than asking in session. He responded by saying we could discuss it this week.
Tonight during the session he didn’t mention the 90 minute session and neither did I. Instead we had the discussion above about why I hadn’t asked my supervisor about shifting my hours so I could leave early once a week. Part way through the questions I realized that they were parallel situations. I don’t feel like it is okay to ask my supervisor of one month if I can adjust my schedule, still do the same hours and work but slightly differently and I can’t ask my therapist of seven years if he will see me for longer than his usual session length even though I’ll be paying him for his time. I don’t know if I’m afraid they will get mad at me, or say no, or if I don’t feel like I deserve what I want. All I know is that even though rationally I don’t think it is wrong to ask either of them, I can’t seem to do it. And it absolutely sucks to be so powerless even in your therapist’s office.