Being cared for versus being cared about

Yesterday during therapy we discussed something that happened during last weeks session. Last week, Eileen and me were talking about me being a partner in our work, about us working collaboratively with each other. Eileen had said that she saw me as an equal in the therapy process. Then she said “I dont see you as someone who needs to be cared for” “It is not my job to care for you”. At the time I didnt say anything about what she’d said, but later that night when I went home and was writing about my therapy session, things started to hit me, thoughts, feelings, everything came crashing down around me. Parts of me were feeling sad, angry, overwhelmed, let down, disappointed, vulnerable, I started to wonder, does she care at all? Am I imagining she does when actually she doesnt? The thing is it was so confusing, because, a week earlier, we’d had an exchange during our session that I felt was so raw, so real, so honest…she’d said to me that she hated how I was alone and on my own during this difficult time of year, how she hated that I felt so unsafe. I knew when she said that that her words came from the heart. That she meant them and was being sincere adn not just saying things just to please me or something. So that is where the confusion lay. She cared, but she’d said I didnt need to be cared for? She wasnt going to take care of me? It wasnt her job? So yesterday we discussed this and after we did it made a lot more sense. She apologised for saying what she did, in the way that she did. She said it definitely wasnt her intention to hurt me or cause me pain and grief and harm. I said how I felt about it, that I was confused, let down, disappointed, and I felt disconnected from her because of what she’d said. She said being cared for is not the same as being cared about. That she cares about me but that she isnt going to care for me because she knows I have the resources and am very capable of caring for myself. That to care for me would be like her taking me by the hand and saying now you need to do this, or that, for example you need to put on your coat, eat every day, come here and be here for a certain time…etc. That the fact that I show up each week at our arranged time, for example, means that I know enough to know my schedule, I am taking care of my own arrangements, I am not so sick and stuff that I cant care for my self. I hadnt thought of it like that. Then she said me using the word treatment for our therapy process is not really ok, because doctors treat patients, therapists dont. She does not consider herself to be treating me. A client is not a patient. Psychotherapy is not the same as for example a doctor who treats a patient with tablets, in order to fix a problem. She said I do not need fixing in her opinion. Therapy is about her guiding me to come to my own resolutions. When she put it like that it made much more sense and I felt much better about it. I knew deep down that she always cared for me and about me. It was just the two exchanges were getting so mixed up and muddied in my mind. Then I was focusing on the negative connotation that I thought she’d said when she really hadnt meant to be negative at all or to upset or hurt me in any way. It was so good to be able to talk it all out yesterday. So freeing. And Eileen was so happy that we did. She said she was so glad I’d decided to mention it to her. I told her I wasnt going to say anything about it. And she was like “I’m so glad you did”.