• Share. Be Supported. Recover.

    We are a friendly, safe community supporting each other's mental health. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Everything is falling apart!

P

Poppyflower

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
86
I have been getting Cognitive Analytic Therapy for my eating disorder and today was session 15 out of 20 sessions but it went horribly, horribly wrong and now I can't go back. In today's session, the first one back after the Christmas break, I just tried to express my anxiety about how I don't feel I will have made enough progress by the end of the sessions but the therapist didn't really reassure me on that so I got very depressed.

Then I said I wasn't sure if I should bother with the last 5 sessions and she got defensive, snapping at me that it's my choice. I realise now I went about it the wrong way but I was only trying to get some reassurance that it is worth going to the last sessions. I didn't mean to be disrespectful or ungrateful or anything.

I ended up having a full-on breakdown, made a massive fool of myself, and saw my therapist for the cold-hearted, inept therapist she is. I never want to see her again but I don't know what will happen now. I still have an eating disorder and don't feel like I have made any progress towards overcoming it or even managing it. I don't want to abandon treatment but feel like I have no choice.

I don't get CAT. All I've done for 15 sessions is talk about the stress in my life. The therapist thinks she has helped me to see that I use my eating disorder as a coping mechanism for when things feel out of control, but I knew that before I even started therapy. Knowing that doesn't help me change things.

I thought therapy would help me to address my body image issues and help me work to change my attitude to food and weight. I thought I would be given strategies to cope with changing my eating habits and gaining weight. It hasn't been like that at all. We've barely even talked about eating, food and weight etc. I'm so confused.

I seriously don't know what to do. I have badly messed up and I think I have ruined my chance to get treatment. I can't afford private therapy.
 
Last edited:
prairiechick

prairiechick

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Messages
6,207
Location
Out of Context
I am so sorry you are struggling so much, and that therapy ended the way it did. I'm afraid I don't really know what to suggest. Is it possible for you to request a different therapist based on personality conflict? What about hospital outpatient programs? I'm not sure where you live or what kinds of services are available. It totally sucks not being able to afford private therapy.
 
B

bnmaxi

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
8
Location
Bucks, England
I hate therapists that deal with eating issues because most of them have never been through it themselves. They don't understand fully what it's like and it's hard for them to truly be able to help because of this. To be honest, I've personally always compared them to people who work at rehabs or with drug addicts. The majority of nurses that deal with substance abuse have never actually been on drugs before let alone addicted. They want to help but just can't fully understand why someone would kill themselves slowly with substances and not try harder to break the addiction. ED's are addictions in someone, it's a mental addiction. Your mind gets completely consumed by the control it has over your body and the twisted thoughts of perfection become your driving force making you willing to do anything ie lie no matter who it hurts. It's exactly the same thought process technically of a drug addict or alcoholic but the only difference is that you can't actually control it. You can't help the way your mind feels and there is no physical component like a substance that is altering your mind to change and make you feel this way so it's a lot harder to overcome. I think that even though therapists understand and sympathize with this they will still never fully understand why once excepting you have a problem you can't change the way you think. But we all do things we know is bad for us. ED's are mental addictions and it's the only mental illness I somehow sickly enjoyed having because it gave me control and made me feel better when I saw the success of my methods. It makes you feel so good but it pays a really high price. The way I see it is therapists can and will only say so much, at the end of the day even though it may make you feel better to talk to them , you are just another name on their list of CLIENTS to see that day. They get paid from speaking to you and they don't ever truly understand. This isn't your fault and it's not all of them. There are some absolute lovely, caring, AMAZING people who work in mental health departments but usually therapists aren't those type. Sorry for the rant lol. My advice would be to change to a different therapist if possible, although I know how difficult and long of a process that can be. Speak to people on here about your issues, if you need someone to talk to I will definitely listen and try and give you the best advice. I think that speaking to people who can relate and understand what you're going through because theyve been through it and overcome it themselves can help a lot! Don't give up on yourself! Don't feel like you aren't beautiful, or you aren't worth it because you are! There will always be someone out there for you no matter how hard it is to find them, there is always someone willing to help. Don't give up and stay strong. x
 
AliceinWonderland

AliceinWonderland

Well-known member
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
15,696
Location
UK
This happened for me too with CAT. I got to session 15 and was so disillusioned I quit, and didn't do the final sessions. The therapist said this is common, for people to feel like quitting around the 15 session mark, like it's some sort of watershed that has to be got through, and the feelings of wanting to quit have to be resisted, and all would turn out peachy. I saw it differently. Like you, I didn't 'get' CAT, I too felt the sessions were spent mostly in describing my problems, but as the ending began to loom, I thought 'hang on, when do I get to learn strategies to address these things?', and it dawned on me that the very simplistic things the therapist had already suggested (e.g. see friends more), were pretty much all that was on offer. I was incredulous that there really was so little to this type of therapy. I felt conned, and I wouldn't have bothered opening up and describing all my feelings and struggles if I'd known there was going to be so little solution offered. My therapist was also frustrated and blaming about me wanting to give up. She told me it was my fault if the therapy hadn't worked, because I hadn't tried hard enough. She wasn't a horrible person, on the whole she had seemed quite empathetic and compassionate, but in my view, the tool she was required to use (CAT) wasn't fit for purpose, and because she couldn't admit that, she blamed me. In a way she was guilt-tripping me, and that isn't very nice behaviour, as well as being unprofessional.

I personally have a problem with short-term time-limited therapy like CAT and CBT. If you have any sort of issue with abandonment and rejection, I think the fact that you are out the door and on your own after a set number of sessions, whether you feel ready for it to end or not, is very hard to deal with. I think the fact I quit when I did was not just because I was finding it ineffective, but also because I wanted/needed to be in control of when therapy ended, not have that decision imposed on me. Also, I think twenty sessions just isn't long enough to address some problems.

poppyflower said:
The therapist thinks she has helped me to see that I use my eating disorder as a coping mechanism for when things feel out of control, but I knew that before I even started therapy. Knowing that doesn't help me change things.
Exactly. I came out of CAT thinking well, bascially you didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, and you haven't shown me how to effectively change anything. All you've really seemed to say is 'well now you know this you can change it'. I already knew this, and haven't been able to change it by myself, that's why I'm here :mad:

poppyflower said:
I thought therapy would help me to address my body image issues and help me work to change my attitude to food and weight. I thought I would be given strategies to cope with changing my eating habits and gaining weight. It hasn't been like that at all. We've barely even talked about eating, food and weight etc. I'm so confused.
I'm sorry the CAT hasn't helped you with your eating disorder. It sounds like the therapist had an agenda and stuck to it, and didn't really listen to what it was you wanted help with most. It really is crap.

poppyflower said:
Then I said I wasn't sure if I should bother with the last 5 sessions and she got defensive, snapping at me that it's my choice. I realise now I went about it the wrong way but I was only trying to get some reassurance that it is worth going to the last sessions. I didn't mean to be disrespectful or ungrateful or anything.
How do you feel now? Do you still feel you never want to see her again, or does part of you think you might go to the last few sessions (if this is still an option) just to see if anything can be still got out of it? It sounds like if you were only after reassurance, then you were still hopeful that something could be gained.

I don't know what to suggest really, but just wanted to say that you're not the only one to have had this experience. I know someone else who had the same experience with CAT and was equally frustrated, so we're not the only ones. I really hope it works for some people (and I don't want to offend anyone who's had successful CAT or negate their experiences), maybe there are better therapists and we just got poor ones, but at the end of the day for myself I felt there's a limit to what you can do in twenty sessions (especially if therapy ending is always going to bring up feelings of rejection and abandonment), the principles of how it's supposed to work I don't find convincing, and for me I think it was never going to help no matter how skilled the therapist. It makes me angry that this is usually all there is on offer these days, short time-limited CBT/CAT, when for lots of people longer open-ended therapy would be much more effective. It may be more expensive to offer longer term therapy, but it's a false economy to offer short-term things if they don't actually work. Sorry, I know this doesn't help you. Can you tell whoever referred you that the CAT simply didn't address the issues to do with your ED, and see if they can offer anything else (I know it's a long shot)?

poisonlacedblade said:
My advice would be to change to a different therapist if possible, although I know how difficult and long of a process that can be. Speak to people on here about your issues, if you need someone to talk to I will definitely listen and try and give you the best advice. I think that speaking to people who can relate and understand what you're going through because theyve been through it and overcome it themselves can help a lot! Don't give up on yourself! Don't feel like you aren't beautiful, or you aren't worth it because you are! There will always be someone out there for you no matter how hard it is to find them, there is always someone willing to help. Don't give up and stay strong. x
This is lovely advice from poisonlacedblade, and much more positive than anything I've been able to come up with :doh: Try not to feel bad about losing it, I think it's understandable when something so important you were pinning such hope on turns out to be so disappointing and useless. I don't have an ED, but hopefully talking to people here who do will provide some understanding and advice, and hope that things can get better :hug5:
 
P

Poppyflower

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Messages
86
Thank you so much for the responses. Unfortunately I don't think I can get another NHS therapist. The mental health service in my town comes under a London-based NHS trust, even though we are 50 miles away from London! And one of their eating disorder therapist travels to my town from London just two days a week, I think, which is madness for such a large town. And also means I don't have a lot of options who I work with.

However, after the whole situation with my therapy session and massive meltdown, my therapist called me a couple of days later to see if I was okay and she was also trying to contact my care coordinator and psychiatrist. The fact that she did end up showing me some compassion has made me feel able to return and I am going back next week.

I am not very hopeful about the last five sessions and have a strong suspicion that this will all have been a waste of time but who knows? Maybe I will end up having some kind of epiphany when it comes to my eating disorder?

I am grateful for the supportive responses and it is interesting that I am not the only to have become disillusioned with CAT at this stage. It is a strange therapy!
 
H

Helena1

Well-known member
Staff Member on Leave
Joined
Oct 11, 2014
Messages
10,582
Location
UK
I hope you do get some benefit from the 5 session.
 

Similar threads

Top