Have you ever run into your own therapist at a 12 step meeting?

It is a bit forward of me to start out with tossing this question out, “Have you ever run into your own therapist at a 12 step meeting? I say it’s forward of me because I’ve been absent from here for months upon months! This I recognize, and it’s been on my mind that my absence has grown longer and longer with each day. How to explain it? A good part of it is the fact that I’m well aware that my anonymity is not what it used to be, especially once I was Freshly Pressed. It’s been oh so hard to feel free to write on here. Also, recent struggles led me to isolate big time, and that isolation stretched to this blog as well.

But back to the original question, has anyone ever run into their own therapist at a 12 step meeting? I ask because this just happened to me this very morning with the therapist I wrote about here. What made it awkward is the fact that I’m still trying to sort out my feelings as to whether or not I want to continue working with her. She has many moments of brilliance and insight, but then I get annoyed when she says she will make a certain phone call, and then does not or it takes her two plus weeks to do it. We spoke about the phone call thing, and she apologized for it, but she said that she usually follows through, and I did not call her on it. She thought I was unhappy about that particular time we were discussing when she failed to make a particular phone call she had committed to make. I could have used my words and said, “No, you’ve done this before … ” Alas, I did not, and that is my issue to own.

I say all this to say that I think all of this colored my own pained reaction when I ran into her. She asked me if I was ok with it, and I said yes, which was not the complete truth. But what is one to do in the moment? After all, she’s a person too. She’s entitled to avail herself of 12 step meetings. Afterwards, I wanted to talk to her and assure her that I usually go to the 10:30 meeting, and that I would not return to the 9:00 a.m. meeting, that I was just there because I had a breakfast to attend, and decided to take in an earlier meeting. But it was not to be, as soon as the meeting was over she quickly scampered to someone and started what looked like a serious conversation, so I just left.

I would love to hear others experience with this kind of situation.

2 thoughts on “Have you ever run into your own therapist at a 12 step meeting?

  1. Good to read you here again! It’s ALWAYS difficult to encounter a therapist outside of therapy. It is a boundary issue. I’ve had agreements with therapists in which we agreed not to acknowledge the therapy relationship in public. Beyond that, the comfort level of being at a meeting that also includes the therapist can still feel like a boundary violation. I think it would be wise of you to attend a different meeting, simply to keep the meeting yours and not also hers. You do not have to share this with her! I hope you are doing better. Take care! Cinda

  2. Thanks for the post! I am both diagnosed with DID and have a history working as a clinician. You are right on point. One of the most healing and motivating experiences I have ever had was the milieu aspect (being with other peers with DID) at Sheppard Pratt (http://www.traumaatsp.org/) and PIW (http://thecenteratpiw.com/).

    When I came home after one of the inpatients, my therapist began a “Dissociation” group. At that time, I was the only one on her caseload who met criteria for DID, but the others were DD-NOS (now Unspecified Dissociative Disorder). Even still, this was the most helpful outpatient group I had ever attended. Unfortunately, it disbanded after a year, but since then I have run into the other women in other groups run by my therapist and we always have this strong, supportive bond.

    I like that you mentioned Alcoholics Anonymous, too. What a good point. There actually is a 12-step support group for trauma survivors — so the concept of mutual self-help and support definitely exists in our world!

    Hope to hear more of an update soon. Be safe and well!

    -Nel

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