Therapy Script for Communication*

Trigger Scale: (1/5) *

I mentioned in my last Session Splash – May 26, 2009 Part 1* that I often bring notes of what I want to talk about to therapy. I also expressed having a hard time asking and saying what I really want to, as I am at a very vulnerable stage in my therapy. To help with this I am creating the following script, which I brought with me to my last session on June 6, 2009. I will post this session splash within the week so you know how it went.

This script was inspired by “mmaaggnnaa”, or Marie, who writes the blog “Coming Out of the Trees”. She wrote a series of posts about a script she read to her therapist, which starts here if you would like to read it. Here is mine:

Script for Therapy Session

Brief Discussion

Things I would like to discuss briefly today:

  • PTSD – purchased the book “The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook” and came up with a few questions. I also created a timeline of my PTSD progression.
  • How trauma memories are different than normal memories (see Figure 2.1 from PTSD Sourcebook)
  • How people with DID might be different at storing memories than just PTSD (see drawing)
  • Why memories come into consciousness in parts
  • Why did people like Stalin, Castro and Hussien choose their path and not me? What made this difference?
  • Feel better that my actions can be described by PTSD, but isn’t this still an excuse?
  • TV series “In Treatment” on HBO

Script Introduction

Read to my therapist:

This is going to be very hard for me to today. I am going to be more vulnerable than I am comfortable with. I may shake, I may cry, and I might have multiple panic attacks, which I would like you to ignore unless there is an emergency.

When thinking about this session I have had the following repeated thought or mantra from one of my voices: “I am not allowed to be weak. I am the mountain, that if moved will spew out Satan’s dominion and maybe even Satan himself.” I am trying to say there is a lot of fear associated with this content, I guess.

Here are my questions. You might not have answers to all of them, and I may even have the answers to some of them. I am also comfortable if you want to answer some next session so that you have time to think about the answers. Okay?

Questions About the Blog

Read to my therapist:

I feel like we have gone back and forth about the blog. At first you said you wanted to think about whether or not you would read it, but we never brought that up again. Next you told me that you had read parts and how we should use the blog in therapy only for assistance, that I would need to talk about what I wrote in session. I understood this and was not mad you had read the blog without us discussing it again, because I do want you to read it.

Next time when we discussed the blog you decided that you would not read the blog or bring up topics written there unless I brought them up in session myself. This back and forth is the first real time I have been frustrated with our sessions. However, I think it would help if right now we decide together how we will handle the blog going forward.

Questions:

  • Are you going to read the blog?
  • What parts of the blog can I expect you will have read?
  • What parts are off limits to read, if any? What parts make me uncomfortable for you to read?
  • Should we discuss issues on the blog that I did not bring up first?
  • Are you comfortable with me posting the session splashes?
  • Will you leave comments & register as a user?
  • SIDE NOTE: Raising money through Blogging for a Cause for iSurvive

Questions About My Status & Therapy

Read to my therapist:

I wanted to let you know that I am aware I do not often look you in the eye when we are talking. I usually do like to look people in the eye when I talk to them, and consider it rude not to. I am not trying to be rude, but only do this because of how vulnerable I feel here. I hope you have not felt offended. I have been wanting to let you know that for a long time.

Okay, here are my questions about therapy:

Questions:

  • Am I going too slow, or maybe too fast? Does the pace seem right for me?
  • How could I do better? What am I doing well?
  • Am I holding myself back in some way? Do I have habits that are making therapy slower? (such as over intellectualizing concepts)
  • What do you feel we should focus on in sessions right now?
  • I think you hold back too much on your assessment/comments and offer your opinion/critique more often. How do you feel about this?
  • Do you sometimes wonder if my case is too serious for you to handle?
  • Do you still think you can help me? I feel like I might be too messed up…

Questions About DID

Read to my therapist:

I trust you, but maybe other parts of me do not. This will be harder to discuss than specific abuse memories because I have spent a lot of time covering it up. This diagnosis was probably also the reason I have not wanted to work on a timeline in the past. I must have sub-consciously known that my missing time would become very apparent. I tried so hard to cover it up, I forgot that I had worked so hard to forget about it…

Answering some questions may help to ease me. Here are my questions:

Questions:

  • I had a lot of issues since our last session associated with this topic. Here is a post I wrote on my blog about this. Do these symptoms concern you? What do you think about my DID suspicions written here?
  • Do you have other patients with this diagnosis?
  • Do you have hope that people with DID can be healed?
  • Do you believe in false memories?
  • Do you believe my memories are real?
  • How can dissociation be different than repression if dissociation leads to repressed memories?
  • Discuss best friend’s reaction and if I should discuss it with him at all going forward.
  • Afraid of anger – shaky, white vision, uncontrollable urge to get MY point across and have it agreed with. Feels like it is not ‘mine’?
My Monster Has A Name… actually many. This blog is a safe place for me to share my healing journey from childhood abuse. The topics covered are at times controversial, offensive, horrific, and hopefully sometimes inspiring. Thank you for sharing in my journey.

8 Comments

  1. Then it would be important to refine your list and prioritize. A therapist should be a good support for you. And it’s important that you know where he/she stands on some of the major issues. If your therapist is open on some of these, there would be no reason (or little reason) to ask so many questions. A therapist should understand this and provide you with answers in the course of therapy without you having to resort to lists of questions like this. This is just good basic collaborative therapy/healing skill. If you are frustrated that you don’t know where your therapist stands, then you are absolutely right for bringing this up.

  2. Okay, I see what you mean/meant, yes, and I agree with everything you said.

    You also pointed a few of my personal issues:
    1. Want black/white answers to things
    2. Want to know if I am (or the things I do are) ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; I know this is totally a matter of opinion, but for some reason I always think a therapist should know – yeah right! They are not God…
    3. Wanting answers to unanswerable questions, such as “What is the meaning of life?”

    Some of these questions are also from a child’s perspective, as I have recently uncovered my ‘core’ injured self – might be part of it too. One thing though, you said “working hard and what you are doing well should come up a lot” but my therapist and I NEVER discuss this. I am always wondering if I am on the ‘track’ I should be on, but I guess that is up to me too, huh? Oh well…

    Thank you so much for talking with me about this – I feel a lot better to present it to my therapist – second try!

  3. What’s factual truth is important in a court of law. Even there you have some leeway.

    My main point is that your script could be made into a book or many volumes of a book. It’s good you wrote them all down though. I suggest you try answering them.

    Still, many of these questions should be a part of your therapy. Knowing that your therapist thinks you are working hard and what you are doing well should come up a lot.

    A lot of the questions about right/wrong are just not answerable. Sometimes it is what it is.

    The questions mostly have a sense of black/white, either/or. When the reality is that it’s more complicated than that. And I know it is for you too.

    Paul

  4. Thank you Marie! I am glad that I saw yours otherwise I would have floated through without ever asking these things directly.

    I already brought this to therapy once and chickened out! I will try again tomorrow.

  5. Hello Paul-

    Thank you for your input and encouragement. I think I wrote this script (never have used one in therapy before) because I am having trouble asking all sorts of things, not just direct questions I need my therapist to answer. Some of these:

    – are for therapist to answer
    – for therapist to help me answer for myself
    – to see what therapist beliefs are (i.e. false memories) because I am at a point that I’m not sure she has enough experience (trainee and not full-fledged therapist yet, although I have never had any issues) or if her views will hinder my progress
    – to simply start discussion on hard subjects for me

    I agree that the answers are probably not as important as the overall general sense of things.

    Thank you though for pointing out that some probably won’t be answered now. That is most likely true. I also realize now that there is a lot here and I probably won’t cover it in one 2-hour session!

    I like that you also pointed out that it doesn’t matter if what we remember is factual/truth anyhow. My therapist is always telling me this. It is important that we deal with the surrounding beliefs, feelings, and patterns anyway…

    I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am still denying my abuse on and off – I call it being on the denial fence.

  6. Oh, I should add that I do have a written script for my more infrequent (one a month or every few weeks) with psychiatrist/DID-trauma specialist. I do that because our work is focused on finding answers to things and we have limited time (usually 30 minutes or so). I used to have a script off and on with my last therapist because our work was focused on intellectual understanding. With current therapist, our work is focused on experiencing and acknowledging feelings and being more aware. This is not really script ground for me, especially since often I will have a script and then when I step over her threshold, there’s a huge shift inside and everything changes to make the script not relevant.

  7. This is huge MM. I hope you don’t think, though, that all these questions are going to be answered immediately. Many of these are, in fact, probably not answerable by your therapist. Some of these are questions only you can answer. Some answers will become known to you as you heal. The answers will change. For example, sometimes I know I’m pacing well, other times I know I’m not.

    I’m just taking one example, picked at random. You asked your therapist “Do you believe in false memories?” This is a difficult question and a tricky answer. Of course people can have false and distorted memories, this is known. The question is what is the personal truth. We don’t have to sort out what precisely is fact and what precisely is exaggerated or distorted. The point is to have a reasonable personal narrative that has the essential highlights which remain intact. Especially if you have parts, how you perceived events was processed differently. I have told therapists about death threats and such. I largely think that was how the younger parts of me experienced some of what was happening. Whether it was true or not is not relevant anymore.

    Hope this helps.

    Paul

  8. Wow, MM!

    This is so cool! Your words feel very strong to me . . . I am so proud of you! Good work! I’m looking forward to reading how it went!

    – Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)
    http://mmaaggnnaa.wordpress.com/

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