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Does therapy help?

Wynn

Wynn

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Not sure where this should go, so posting here...

I’m thinking of going along to a therapist again. Do you think they can ever be helpful?

I went to one before the summer holidays – thought I needed to talk to someone, and didn’t want to lose any more good friends by bombarding them with my troubles and woes! It didn’t really work out though. He was heavily into Freud, and just wanted to talk about my relationship with my mother and my sex life (or lack of). It took me a couple of weeks to get my head straight – it felt like someone had been trampling around in there, leaving muddy footprints and stirring up all the sludgy pools at the bottom – so much so that husband declared I was too difficult to live with, and he was planning to leave. He didn’t in the end but, all in all, not a very helpful experience!

I’m pinning my hopes that they are not all the same. I need to do something about my self esteem, which is currently somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, and I don’t want to wreck any more relationships. I’m a bit concerned though, because my support network is cr*!%p at the moment – a casualty of depression, I’m afraid. I’m still trying to nurse it back to health, so maybe now is not a good time, but then there may never be a ‘good’ time – its probably just a case of facing my fears I guess? :unsure:
 
A

Apotheosis

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I think that it is very important to find a therapist/Counsellor whom we are comfortable with; & someone who is competent. It doesn't necessarily have to be formal. I find Jungian based frameworks the most appealing.
 
connect

connect

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I would agree with Apo that it's really important to find someone you click with :). This is both on a personal level (i.e. that you find them to be on your "wavelength" and easy to talk to) and also with regards to their theoretical orientation. Freudian therapy tends not to be geared towards short-to-medium-term outcomes, but a lengthy process of introspection. It sounds like your previous therapist was heavily into really classical Freudian stuff (everything relates back to sex etc.) which few people can relate to!

There are lots of different strands of therapy; many therapists combine elements from different theoretical perspectives.
With self-esteem issues, you could look into practitioners who are more oriented towards cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) if this is something you feel might be useful.

You can find some more information here: http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/find_psychologist.html (the page is a few years old so the quoted prices are out of date)
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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I would also agree that one of the most important components of therapy is the fit between you and the therapist. People who seem to report the highest levels of satisfaction also noted that they felt very comfortable with their therapist; elements of affection, respect, admiration, trust and regard were present to mutual degrees.

Some therapies are better suited to specific disorders. For example, I'm biased towards Jungian based forms of therapy for individuals who have undergone psychosis and wish to explore the specific content of their experience. There is simply no other field that can come close in terms of understanding the imagery that is a common component of such experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapy on the other hand is reputed to be a good option for individuals coping with depression.

These two article excerpts address some of the more common forms of therapy available:

Talk therapy refers to a number of different kinds of psychotherapy where focus is principally on clients discussing problems and evolving solutions with a licensed therapist. The earliest forms of such therapy were psychoanalysis, practiced by medical doctors like Freud and Carl Jung. Gradually, other types of talk therapy became popular, including cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic, and humanist therapy. Today, psychiatrists and therapists may employ other methods of therapy that aren’t focused on talking. These include things like art therapy and dance therapy.

Most people, though, think of talk therapy as the traditional “counseling” approach. Patients see a therapist and discuss current or past issues. Just how much the therapist talks back may be indicated by their orientation with different schools of therapeutic thought. They may question, repeat back information, or confront (especially true of Gestalt therapists) if a client seems evasive. The varied forms of talk therapy consist of a therapist employing active listening and other techniques, and helping to move the client toward resolution of emotional issues.

Source: What is Talk Therapy?



Talk therapy is simply talking about what is bothering you. Talk therapy can be practiced with a friend or loved one, a family member, or a therapist. Talking about your problems can help you to spot things that are causing problems in your life. A person with a different perspective on your situation can help you decide how to fix the problems you are having, and how to deal with the things you can’t fix. Through discussion, you can find ways to handle your problems so that the same issues won’t continually disrupt your life.

Here are 3 common types of talk therapy. All of these can help people to feel better and live more fully.

- Cognitive therapy helps you change harmful ways of thinking. If you tend to see things negatively, it teaches you how to look at the world more clearly.

- Behavioral therapy helps you change harmful ways of acting. The goal is to get control over behavior that is causing problems for you.

- Interpersonal therapy helps you learn to relate better with others. You’ll focus on how to express your feelings, and how to develop better people skills.

Source: An Overview of Talk Therapy

It might be easiest to first identify the form of therapy you think will be most helpful and then, seek a "good fit" with a therapist who is trained in that particular approach.

A third factor you'll want to consider is cost. Insurance or benefits might cover all or some costs but it might also restrict you to a specific number of sessions and even, a specific form of therapy. Paying out of pocket can greatly expand your options but you will be limited by what you can (or can't!) afford.

This article has some additional information for people considering therapy: How to choose a competant counselor

If none of the above appeals to you, you could also consider something such as a self-help workbook. You might find it most helpful to work through the book with a friend or a small group.



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nickh

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I echo all the good advice that has been given here. But I will add that from a personal perspective having a wonderful (neo)-Freudian psychologist has been the best thing that ever happened to me (as far as depression is concerned!:)). The CBT approach in my case is on the other hand not only useless but dangerously counter-productive. So it is a matter of getting the right kind of therapy as everyone has said. What suits one person will not suit another. As I say my psychologist is brilliant for me but clearly he would not suit others - however I just wanted to say that the Freudian approach still works very well for some people (well one - me - anyway!!).

Nick.
 
Wynn

Wynn

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Wow! great information here everyone - lots to think about. Its really good to know that it can work for some people. As you know, it takes a lot of courage (or it did me, anyway!) to actually contact a counsellor and turn up for the first appointment, so knowing that there's a chance it will help is important.

Did you find that things felt worse before they got better? Did you need a strong support system outside the counsellor's room?
 
nickh

nickh

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Again Wynn that depends on the type of therapy (and of course how strong you feel at the time). But broadly I would say that obviously the better the support system you have then the better for you (a bit of an obvious cliché I'm afraid!:)).

As to whether it gets worse before it gets better again that depends on the type of therapy and it is impossible to generalise. In my own case - and speaking only of my successful therapy not a lot of failures! - it certainly did; but then mine was Freudian and that is a long-term deal which you have already said did not suit you at all, so there's nothing to be disheartened by there! That type of therapy is also incredibly tiring so yes a good support system.

Cognitive therapies are generally meant to work far quicker and be easier.

It is all a matter of finding a therapy but above all a therapist with whom you are comfortable and feel answers your needs. I wish you the very best of luck in the search. Mine was a long one but it was well worth it in the end.

Nick.
 
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ramboghettouk

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It takes a lot of money for a decent therapist, those mind councillers mind offered are just completing their training as one friend put it they should be paying us

Phoned up the minster centre the local psychopherapy place they say they don't deal with schitsoprenia

Was looking on the net for people in london, found one guy who says he's a graduate of middlesex uni in philosophy and psychology, so am i, remember him, feel pissed off because at the time i couldn't do a counselling course didn't have the money and also they used to ban schitsos from counseling courses before the disability discrimination act

One mind counciller said now i've got the money with the benefits, in fact it wouldn't be enough as in your last year you have to be in therapy which i can't afford also to get the benefits i first had to have my health deteriate all over again
 
spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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ramboghettouk: ...as one friend put it they should be paying us

lol Terrific idea! After all, if you're dealing with schizophrenia, you're going to get ego and personality development, trauma, abuse, relationships, depression -- it's practically a whack at everything in one go.

i couldn't do a counselling course didn't have the money...

I don't think I've run across anyone yet who can for anything more than a few sessions, at best. I try to steer people towards self-help options as a result because that's often the most that they can afford. But I would dearly love for some Jungians in training to take up the cause. As you say, it would be an excellent training ground, and is, in fact, how Jung began his career. It's also been said that Jung underwent a fairly substantial crack-up of his own. I can't help but feel that this gave him additional insights and compassion into the experience.


See also: The Mandela Experience: Schizophrenia & Self-Disintegration


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spiritual_emergency

spiritual_emergency

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Wynn: Did you find that things felt worse before they got better? Did you need a strong support system outside the counsellor's room?

An excerpt that speaks to that issue from one of my favorite therapist/authors. She's Jungian based but the information still applies...

... Does that have to be done through processes like psychoanalysis? Not everyone is going to be able to find the therapist to get them there.

I don't think it has to come through psychoanalysis. I mean not many people will get there if it did. I think it can come through life, with an experience, through loss--if people care enough about consciousness. You know, what does this loss--of relationship, of my partner in love, the job--mean? Suffering does seem to give us a chance to really come to consciousness.

I think the world we're in so many people would rather go into an addiction or into unconsciousness. The journey I'm talking about is a conscious journey and certainly many people in the past, through their religious faith, have gone on this journey. But, I do see psychotherapy as a speeding up of the psychic process.

In the Middle Ages people were terrified of miners and blacksmiths. Miners went into the earth and raped it before the jewels or minerals were ready to come out. They thought this was going against God's timing and that they would be punished. A lot of people have similar feelings about therapists and analysts, that they are raping the unconscious by putting this kind of heat on the psyche. What this process does is speed up the maturation process and one has to be strong to take that kind of fire. Not everybody that goes into therapy goes into the fire.

Source: An Interview With Marion Woodman

Jungian-based psychology is also referred to as "depth psychology" because it penetrates deeply into the psyche. Freudian-based approaches probably do the same. Other forms of therapy, such as CBT, tend to stay closer to the surface. Whether or not the therapeutic process is painful probably depends very much on how deep you go but it's always important to remember that you are under no obligation to go somewhere you don't want to go. If painful emotions are brought to the surface -- yes, it may be difficult to deal with them and you may find yourself doing so outside the boundaries of your therapist's office. In fact, good therapy should follow you out the door because that's where you live.

It sounds as if something similar happened for you the last time and you found yourself feeling angry at your partner. If you do opt for talk therapy, let your therapist know what happened last time. Maybe there are some perfectly valid reasons for why you're angry at your partner, or maybe you're simply projecting some old pain upon him. A skilled therapist can help you work through these emotional patterns and conflicts.

As a final note... I suspect that some people expect that therapy is a sort of cleansing process that leaves you feeling better about, well... everything! I'm not sure that's true. I think it's quite possible that good therapy allows you to accept everything -- the good and the bad -- without resisting. For example, in your own case, you noted you have esteem issues. So maybe you never felt loved enough by your parents (I don't know, I'm just speculating). Therapy can't change what actually happened. But maybe it can help you come to terms with that loss, grieve it, possibly forgive it, and perhaps most important, stop being controlled by an old set of beliefs and expectations. Those are the sorts of potentials talk therapy can offer but it can't guarantee a pain-free process.


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T

TheFinalShowdown

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but then there may never be a ‘good’ time

Then just say there will be times
 
T

TheSeparateRoom

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Don't give up, therapy does help.

I just want to add that I think you must also be careful not to go in with expectations of a fast and total recovery or change, because that will definitely not happen.
What makes one sad or anxious or having difficulties to cope in relationships or in one's life is not one single event, it's a long line of patterns, and it will inevitably take time and some failures along the line to get some insight first, and then to see some changes.

The therapist should be able to provide at best a safe space, and give you general directions and clarifications, but you will be the one who leads the journey, while the therapist should adapt to your needs and follow you in your journey.

Your personal journey may be more on the surface, or it may entail going back to primitive emotions. This should depend on your own needs and not on the type of theory your therapist subscribes to.
That is why I think that for a therapist to subscribe to one school of thought in particular and to the exclusion of others is not in the best service of the patients.

If you want to read my blog on my own therapy you can click on my name, the link should lead you there.
 
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