This post is a follow up to yesterday's post, A Bad Therapy Session.
Yesterday I wrote about the pain. About the trauma of a bad session. About trying to decide what to do next. About being unsure of whether or not I could continue to work with my present therapist.
What I didn't say was how badly I wanted to continue with him. I wanted everything to be better. I knew that we could work through things. But I was absolutely not okay with spending another $100 to make it all better. I was not okay with paying for another session so we could work through his mistake.
I wondered if I was just being stubborn. After thinking about it a while and realizing the only way I could go back was if he agreed to work through it without it costing me anything, I wondered if I was being self-righteous and unfair. But I don't think I was.
I was saying that my time matters. That I deserve to get what I pay for. That we are equals. That just because I come to him for help it doesn't mean I have to gratefully accept whatever pittance he decides to grace me with. I was saying I matter.
So that was my decision. After lots of thought and prayer, I knew that was the only condition under which I could go back to work with him and still honor myself.
I expected him to call in response to my letter. I didn't know what I'd do if the time came for my next appointment and I hadn't heard from him. Luckily, I didn't have to find out.
He called today.
My phone rang. I looked at the number and knew it was him. I'd been expecting this but still wasn't ready. I couldn't talk to him until I knew where he stood. I just wasn't okay enough. I wasn't even sure I could get any words out if I tried. So I let the call go to voicemail.
He thanked me for my letter. He thanked me for being open and forthright. (There was even a note of what a great therapeutic accomplishment it was for me.) He said he was sorry for "blowing" our last session (his word). He said sometimes this happens. When it does, he likes to offer a do-over. Another session, as soon as possible, without charge. He said he understood I wasn't sure if I was going to come back. He said he would like me to. He said he could make time this week to see me if I wanted to give it another try. He asked that I call him back to see if we could set up a time.
After listening to his voicemail, I cried. Kind of a lot. He'd said exactly what I was hoping for. He was the person I thought he was. He honored the importance of my feelings. He made me feel of value -- like an equal.
Even still, I couldn't call him right away. I couldn't speak yet. It was about 45 minutes before I could call, which made it a little after 5:00. I knew there was a chance he'd be gone for the day and I'd get his voicemail. I was even kind of hoping to. I wasn't sure I could converse. And I did get his voicemail.
As I listened to his outgoing message, I felt a bit of relief. I could just leave a simple message and that would be that. Only it wasn't that easy. I began to speak and got choked up. I pushed through the tears to say what I needed to say. I told him he'd said the only thing that would have convinced me to try again. I told him I could try. I asked him to call me back with scheduling options.
It's not all better, but it's a start. And it's not starting over. Which I just don't think I could have done right now.
But for the first time in over a week, I feel like there's a possibility of healing. Like maybe the healing has begun.