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#461427 - 02/25/14 03:14 AM Therapy with intern present?
randombreeze Offline

Registered: 02/04/14
Posts: 60
Loc: WNY
I've managed to finally find a therapist who specializes in working with CSA and other sexual related trauma. On my first appointment the T asked if I minded if an intern from a local college was present during our session. This caught me off guard, but I didn't have any immediate misgivings and agreed it would be all right. My immediate thought was that if I'm in any way able to help others, especially those training to enter the field, that could only be a positive thing. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and I tend to think potential therapists could really benefit from "on the job training." I sure wouldn't want to work with a T who's limited experience came mainly from books and lectures.

The session seemed to go well, despite the fact that i thought my head would explode, as others have stated here. I basically rambled all over the place, as she tied to do a kind of family tree type background, starting with immediate family. Due the large size and complicated issues within the family, it seemed quite chaotic and all over the place. She did her best to try to keep me focused, but I felt I was jumping from one subject to the next before finishing the first thought. Despite this I felt good about this T once I left the office, and booked a follow up for this week that I'm looking forward to.

Now to the intern question. As stated earlier, I felt fine with an intern there, and hardly noticed his presence in the room. Of course we are likely a long way from getting to the heart of the matter, so to speak. The intern appears to be in his mid twenties, and I'm not sure how I feel about him, or anyone else for that matter, being present when we start to address the CSA. Not that he or any would even be present, but I'm curious if any of you have had any similar experience with interns, and how you might feel about being asked to let one participate in therapy sessions. I've already disclosed to a number of close family members, so don't feel I'd be bothered by him there but would like to hear your experiences as this is my first serious foray into psychotherapy.

Peace & Love, Paul
"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky"- Rabindranath Tagore

#461437 - 02/25/14 04:01 AM Re: Therapy with intern present? [Re: randombreeze]
cant_remember Offline

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1070

I've had my share of therapists and this has not happened to me. As you say, it is good and important to train new therapists in the needs of male CSA survivors, however I am a little surprised that your T sprung the intern on you during your first session.

That seems a little sudden.

If I were you, I would address this at the beginning of the next session, so that you and the T and the intern can spell out exactly what this means, if the intern is going to be a regular in your sessions, etc. Make sure your voice is heard and establish any boundaries that you think appropriate.

Not a huge deal, but make sure you are comfortable with it. That's all that matters. You're the boss.

I'll be just fine and dandy
Lord, it's like a hard candy Christmas
I'm barely getting through tomorrow
But I won't let sorrow get me way down.

#461478 - 02/25/14 04:56 PM Re: Therapy with intern present? [Re: randombreeze]
PhoenixRising Offline

Registered: 11/13/07
Posts: 131
I want to please people, so often say yes, when Im not actually sure. I think the therapist should have waited to ask you in the first session, and not when it seems the intern was waiting to know. While it's great to give you the option (and indeed power), it puts pressure on people like me who question my own decisions especially in the presence of an authority, like the therapist.
It might have been better to establish a one to one relationship first.
Fee free to establish boundaries, and indeed if you realize its not going to work, say so. That also is a good lesson for the intern.
Alone, we are isolated, open to persecution, abuse, violence and our own pain. Together, we are a powerful force of men, who have, despite any reason to tell us otherwise, remained with some particle of hope, some seed of a compassionate world..together we are undeniably strong..and they know that.

#461482 - 02/25/14 07:08 PM Re: Therapy with intern present? [Re: randombreeze]
traveler Offline

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 4197
Loc: resettling in NE Ohio
Paul -

it is important that you feel as comfortable as possible with the situation.

if you can see it as two heads for the price of one - as an additional resource, or another person in your support system, that would be great. it is also good if the intern can get in on everything from the beginning so as not to need additional explanations later.

on the other hand - if you ever feel like your personal choices are being overridden or like your privacy is being violated, that is not good.

it is all about you - and that is likely to be a strange and new and unfamiliar situation. most of us survivors have not had that much experience with having the power to control our circumstances. so consider it carefully - and be prepared to change your mind if or when you might start to feel differently about it.

i know when i first started therapy i would not have tolerated anyone else being there except my T. but now i am happy in a group session and can see the value in both ways.

i wish you well,
How long, LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?...
Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails....
Habakkuk 1:2-3

#461499 - 02/26/14 12:48 AM Re: Therapy with intern present? [Re: randombreeze]
Rustam Offline

Registered: 10/27/04
Posts: 474
Loc: UK
Great that you have found a T you feel good about that is so important.

I do not think that I would be able to do therapy with another person there, I find one pair of eyes on me hard enough. If you are not totally okay with it then you do not have to have the intern there.

Either way, hope you are able to stand up for what it is that is right for you, helping other survivors or educating professionals can come later if you wanted to do that.


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