I happened to have been in her office earlier in the afternoon on the day that I found out I was pregnant with Max. That was the last time I had seen her until he died. Another patient of hers is a friend of mine and by the time I called the therapist (a couple of weeks after losing him), she had already heard the news. She told me that she was so glad I got in touch and that she really felt she could help me. I felt hopeful. It was early. I don't know what I was expecting, but I did feel like if anyone could help me, it would probably be her. In the same conversation, she told me that since the last time I'd seen her, her prices had gone way up - that instead of charging $150 (or in that range) a session, she was now charging over $400. But, considering my circumstances she'd let me have the old pricing if I bought a package of six sessions. I knew I'd probably need at least that many so I didn't really think twice. Though I did take pause to contemplate the absurdity of charging over $400 a session to others. But, "good for her" is what I thought. She IS really good. I am sure that there are people willing to pay that much.
Of the six sessions I paid for, I only ever had one. At the beginning of the session, she told me that she had a dream or a vision that Max was reincarnated and was coming back to me. She told me to focus on that (which I did - until about six months ago - I actually became obsessed with the idea of him being reincarnated). She also told me she thought having another baby would be a good idea because when her dog died, she was super sad for about a month until she got another dog. That felt like nails on a chalkboard to me. It was the first (of MANY) times that someone would compare my child dying to their experience of losing their dog. I know that for many people their dog is their "baby" - but I don't know any non-elderly person who expects NOT to outlive their dog. For that, and MANY other reasons, it is not the same. It just is not the same.
The session I remember was amazing. She did a guided mediation with me, where I actually reconnected with Max and my grandfather. They were right there. I could practically feel my lips on his cheeks. Just thinking about it now makes my heart hurt. Looking back I can't explain if it felt so real because there was some realness to it, or if I was just so early in deep, traumatic grief that my mind was playing tricks on me. I remember telling her afterwards how much I felt that I needed to come back soon. She reminded me how lucky I was that I had paid for the package since her prices had gone up. I felt like I needed her to get to him. She told me to repeat the mantra "My baby is coming back to me". I did that.
The next session got cancelled and I can't actually remember who cancelled. I want to say her because I know I was on pins and needles waiting for it. Anyway, doesn't matter, it didn't happen. I wrote her to reschedule and asked if she thought we should try and do the same thing again or if there was something else we should do. She wrote back to say it was up to me and I should think about it because I only had two sessions left and that her prices had gone up so she couldn't give me the same prices for the next package. She also seemed to think I'd bought fewer sessions than I had.
At this point - a couple of things.
1) I know that therapist are not our "friends". They are service providers and we are their clients....BUT....I believe that we want to feel like they care about our well-being. I hope that the reason that they have chosen to heal others as a profession is because they actually care, even a little, about those people. Every time she reminded me of her prices, I felt like I didn't matter. And, by the way, I already deeply felt that I didn't matter. Without Max - my life made no sense. She made it clear over and over what a "great deal" I was getting. Only thing was that in reality, I had pretty much just gotten the worst deal life could have dealt. I don't have the words to exactly articulate this feeling but there was a GIGANTIC disconnect.
2) I felt VERY vulnerable. She had connected me to my son (whether real or imagined - it didn't really matter). I suddenly felt completely dependent on her. It was clear that she was ready for me to be done with this "discount" package of sessions she'd sold me. I knew that she knew how vulnerable I was and wondered if she was just hoping that I had lost track of our sessions. When I look back now, I really believe that she had just lost track. But, I don't think that I was important to her at all and it hurt my feelings that she simply didn't remember that she'd only seen me once.
This experience has stayed with me for many reasons. It was incredibly hurtful. I felt taken advantage of, ashamed, and vulnerable. I wished that I hadn't felt so anxious to prove to her that she was wrong. If I had been in my right mind, I would have simply thought that is was kind of annoying that she kept reminding me of her prices and then chosen my words better in reminding her that we had only met once. But, I wasn't in my right mind. When she decided not to see me anymore, I felt like my only hope for connecting with Max had just been taken from me. To her, it was a business decision...but for me, it was as if she was taking Max away from me again. If I am really honest with you, I have to say that it made me really contemplate taking my own life. It was a thought that kept coming to me anyway and this split had nearly put me over the edge. I hated myself for getting angry with her and I hated her more for not caring enough to put the business aside and show me compassion - woman to woman, human to human. In the weeks following this incident, friends started disappearing and I felt like I couldn't even pay someone to care. It was an extremely isolating and traumatizing experience on top of everything else.