I am (for now) making no comment on this morning’s final session with C, other than that everyone who predicted that last night’s uncharacteristic indifference would not continue after, say, 10am today, would not have been completely mistaken. I do not want to think about it so meh, let’s just ignore it.
So, therefore, here is something not-so-completely different.
As per Lovely GP’s advice in the afore-linked post, I contacted the Nexus Institute – a voluntary sector organisation offering ‘counselling’ to those who have been a history of sexual abuse, whether chronic or acute – last night. Given my phone phobia, I emailed them with the following:
Dear Nice Lady That Works for Nexus (NLTWFN)
My GP suggested I get in touch with the Nexus Institute to discuss the possibility of receiving counselling with yourselves.
I am coming to an (enforced) end of psychodynamic therapy on the NHS, which only began to touch on my history of child sexual abuse. Unfortunately this therapy has left me re-traumatised as, despite long term mental health difficulties, I had not faced the issues before (partly due to dissociative symptoms, partly due to conscious ‘blocking out’), and to this end my GP felt that addressing these issues with yourselves specifically could be helpful for me.
I understand that there is a waiting list for your services but I would be very grateful if you could perhaps advise me if and when an appointment might be available. Perhaps you might also advise on how many sessions you are able to offer and provide any other information that you consider relevant.
I live in the [my area] area. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to email me; I check my email several times daily and it is the fastest way to get in touch with me.
I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your help.
That was about 7.30pm last night. I was astonished when the woman wrote back with the following within 45 minutes. In my last job I would religiously check and respond to my email at strange out-of-office hours, even in the middle of the night, but I thought that (twats like bankers aside) I was fairly uncommon in doing so. So I was quite impressed with her quick response:
Thank you for your email. I think if you would email me a telephone contact number I could call you tomorrow and give you a bit more information about ourselves. We do have a waiting list but it varies on so many different things eg we offer outreach work in [blah]/[yadda]/[etc] areas and also the [la la la] area but if you are available and able to attend the [dum dum dum] office and don’t mind if you see a male or female counsellor the waiting time for ongoing therapy could be as little as 6 weeks. Again depending on how flexible you are with your time you should get an assessment within a week or two. I look forward to hearing from you.
As it happens, the [dum dum dum] office suits more than any of the rest that she mentioned, so that was something of a win, though I was horrified at the prospect of having to speak to her on the phone. Even so:
Thanks very much for your quick response. I won’t be available tomorrow morning but you can contact me in the afternoon or on Friday if that suits better – the number is 666-666-666-666-666-666.
To be honest the [dum dum dum] office is probably the easiest office for me to get to so I would be more than happy with that. For some reason I think I’d prefer a male counsellor but that certainly isn’t set in stone and something I am happy to discuss.
Anyway, thanks again for getting back to me so promptly and I’ll talk to you shortly.
All the best
I have been lying on the sofa under my duvet since I got home this morning and what with all the drugs in my system I was fortunate enough to doze off for a while in the early afternoon. When I looked at my phone, there had been a missed call from a ‘Blocked’ number. Why must organisations/companies/offices ‘block’ their fucking numbers? Why don’t they just show outgoing calls as coming from their main switchboard as my former employers at least had the decency to do? As if the phone wasn’t shit enough to have to fucking use.
Anyway, it rang again with a ‘Blocked’ number at twenty to three so, expecting it would be NLTWFN, I took a massively deep breath and answered the evil bastarding thing. It was indeed NLTWFN.
Basically, the craic is this. Because I am a dolescum and am therefore flexible on dates and times, can go to [dum dum dum] office, and am at least theoretically tolerant of a ‘counsellor’ of either gender, she reckons I can get an initial assessment next week, from whence there is approximately a five or six waiting list for the actual therapy. Apparently they receive loads of cancellation appointments each day and then seek to allocate them to other listed clients on a first-applied-first-served basis so all being well, she or her colleague will ring (damn) me in the next few days to give me mine.
I asked how much therapy they are willing/able to give, and she said that they usually work on six week rolling contracts, but that they can offer up to 26 weeks of therapy (six months, of course). Whatever way she phrased it, she seemed to infer that although the therapy didn’t have to last six months, it usually did (or, at least, that it certainly wasn’t a problem for it to do so). I didn’t ask her, but presumably they are well enough established that they can advise on other individuals for you to contact thereafter if needs be (not that jumping around from one therapist to another sounds like a lot of fun to me, but there you go). She said that because I have been involved hitherto with a “third party” (C), they would have to contact him after the initial assessment to double check that he felt that this was a suitable follow-on from the ‘treatment’ he gave me, but she said that it almost always is considered thus, so that that shouldn’t be a problem.
So that was that really. How strange to move so quickly from C(unt) – N(exus); I certainly wasn’t expecting that as a possibility. Another issue – which unfortunately involves an unwanted allusion to C – is that my fighting with the Trust isn’t over, even if my engagement with their Psychological ‘Services’ is. C said that it isn’t unknown for them to contract out therapy to the private sector, thus footing the client’s bill, and he wonders if that is a possibility for me (why the fuck not just pay those you already pay, you fuckwits?!). ”They won’t fund traditional five-times-a-week psychoanalysis,” he told me (oh really, I’d never have guessed, thanks C), “but they may be willing to fund something.”
I’ll believe it when I see it, but for now we’ll see how things with Nexus proceed. I’m a bit nervous about the possibility of the ‘counsellor’ – a word I hate, even though I know that ‘counselling’ is distinct from ‘psychotherapy’ and is thus the more correct term – being a female though. I still can’t work out what my aversion to women is – though, as I have discovered (most notably on Saturday!), it certainly does not by any means apply to them all.
But that said, the thought of pouring my heart out to one terrifies me. I remember when I met Margaret, my erstwhile CBT therapist. I had booked the appointment without knowing the therapist’s name – something that I have very definitely learnt from – and simply expected that it would be a man. I have no idea why really. When Margaret greeted me that first time, I was horrified. (As it happens she was actually a nice woman, quite intelligent too, but we never ‘clicked’ in the way I did with C, and even if we had, CBT simply wasn’t appropriate for me).
The reason that I told Nexus that I was flexible on this issue is that they are open to you changing your ‘counsellor’ if you don’t “click” with him or her. Whilst I’d prefer a man, if I get the right woman, it could be OK. Regardless of their sex, if I don’t form a decent rapport with them, then I can seemingly ‘change’ them anyway, even if it does mean going back onto a waiting list for a bit.
So, whilst I’m cynical about what counselling as opposed to intense psychotherapy can do for me, I suppose their willingness to see me so soon is something considerably to their credit, and it is worth giving them a chance.