Monday, December 14, 2009

How much time do you spend thinking about therapy?

Last night as I chopped ingredients for quesadillas, I was thinking about therapy - last week's session, what we might talk about this week, and of course thinking about therapist. It made me wonder if I obssess about it more than others. So I am putting the question out there. How much do you think about your process and is it -
  • Processing a previous session
  • Previewing/planning an upcoming session
  • Just thinking about your therapist

Any therapists that might reply - how much time thinking (or should I say obssessing) about therapy is unhealthy. Makes me wonder how much therapists think about their patients and sessions between sessions. Replaying something said - wondering if your response was off base or not helpful in the situation.

As a follow up - I ended up not going to the holiday party that we were both invited to and spent most of last week talking about. At this point, it just didn't feel *right*.


  1. I don't think that you think about therapy more than other people. Well, maybe there are some people that don't think about it, but I don't know of any. I read the forums on psychcentral and there are a bunch of people who are constantly posting about their therapy and their relationships with their therapists. It makes me feel better to read this.

    I do tend to think about it a lot. A day or two after the session I think about what went on in the session, and of course I think of things I could have said. Then I start to think about the next session, what I am going to talk about. I go through the whole dialog with myself and my t and what I'll say and what he'll say. Of course he never says what I plan for him to say, so these mental dialogs are never coming true.

    But I think it's good in a way because I do have insights into my thoughts and feelings as a result of these imaginary conversations with my t. And I also refine what I want to talk about with him in the next session.

    When I think I'm thinking about it too much I use my stop thought techniques to get my mind off of it. It can really take over, and I know that is not good.

  2. I think about therapy/my therapist a lot. Nearly all the time, if I'm not distracted by something else I'm supposed to be doing. I go to sleep at night be pretending I am near her (a comfort thing) and I spend a lot of time each day thinking about the process. Part of that is trying to work with the feelings and continue to process in the week by myself (this is my driven 'I will get this done' part I think) but it is also a kind of longing/yearning for therapy and being with her.

    Partly I think this is ok. I can accept that there are parts of me that need her and want to be with her. If I can do this then I am halfway there to working with these parts and acknowledging their needs. Also I feel if I immerse myself in it I might get through it quicker! I'm not sure if this is true or not ...

    For me the process is also via email. So getting emails or writing them to her during the week obviously makes it more likely that I think about our work.

    I would say most of it is processing, either the previous session or some kind of continuation of it. I think a little about the upcoming session but usually only a couple of days beforehand. I spend quite a bit thinking about her as well.

    I think there is a danger it can become an obsession and you have to make sure you are living your life as well. That said, if you are aware of this and you are living your life then I don't think it is wrong to think about it.

  3. As a therapist how and what I think about my therapy and clients has changed over the years,

    In the early days I would say that I thought much more than I do now when out of sessions.

    However I certainly still do so and as you would have seen from my blog I can often end up writing a post about a client or a particular session so I would have thought about that client.

    Now its more when I have a reaction to a client that puzzles me a bit or when a client has said something that I did not expect or reacted in a way that I did not predict. Often in a session I will make predicitons to myself about how I think a particular client will behave about a particular thing in their life. Most often my guess is right but sometimes it isnt and then I would tend to think about that.

    Sometimes if I have been reading about a particular area like say suicide and a client presents something in that area then I may think about that and how it all fits together.


  4. I actually think about my therapy quite a bit. I find it bothersome that I think about it so much.

    I tend to go over the session I just had for a number of days. I will run through different scenarios in my head on how the session could have gone differently. I will often reflect on certain things that she said or stuff that came up for me. Although I sometimes find that I don't remember much of the session. And sometimes my emotions seem to run high after a session.

    A few days before my next appointment I start thinking about what I want to talk about. I'm not sure why I persist at this endeavour as it always changes the moment I walk into the room. And that is if I can even remember what I wanted to bring up.

    I do think of my T fairly often. I have even dreamt of her a couple of times. I know she has thought of me at times in between sessions because she has told me that she had thought of me when she read or saw something that pertained to what we were talking about. But I am sure she does this for all her clients. I realize that she is the only therapist in my life while she has many clients.

    I pretty much think about my therapy constantly in one form or another. But I also think about many other things.

  5. I think about therapy a lot. Especially after a difficult session... Usually I end up writing about it, on my blog, or whatever.

  6. Hmph... I just wrote a lovely long reply, and naughty Wordpress lost it. I'll try again...

    I also think about therapy fairly constantly. If I'm not processing the last session - thinking, analysing, rationalising or just over-analysing something my therapist said or did - then I'm thinking about the next session, or the process in general.

    I also spend a lot of time thinking about my therapist. Mostly I wonder what she does with her "perfect" family in her "perfect" house and her "perfect" life. LOL Rationally I know she's not "perfect" but when you know little of someone's life you wonder. Or you obsess, I'm not sure which.

    So based on all these responses, OLJ, I'd say we're all on a spectrum of "normal" .... either that or we are all completely obsessed and bordering on insanity!! ;)

  7. Thanks all for the replies. I would say that thinking about, even obsessing about therapy and our therapist seems normal. Perhaps more so for those of us who average once/week or more.

    Tony - I found your comments interesting about considering how often you are correct about a reaction of a patient/client - seems inevitable.

    Funny - I asked my T what she was doing over the holidays and when she told me her plans, I felt I could spend the two weeks hiatus NOT obsessing about her. And it has been true to an extent.