Is it possible?

cpuusage

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#1
To find a therapist who deeply listens, validates the experiences of the individual, allows them to speak freely & openly, & is with them fully in their pain, fear & suffering.

Of do they all just project all their crap onto the client, not listen to anything properly, & use whatever stupid model has been programmed into them?

i think that most of them are crap - Still not found a good one. But i'm in need of proper psychological help.
 
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#2
Very few therapists have no belief system to push or defend I'm afraid, it's human nature.
 
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Very few therapists have no belief system to push or defend I'm afraid, it's human nature.
But why do the vast majority of them have to be so fundamentally crap & not even be aware of & apply even the basics of therapeutic healing/listening? It's not rocket science surely?
 
coldwater00

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#4
But why do the vast majority of them have to be so fundamentally crap & not even be aware of & apply even the basics of therapeutic healing/listening? It's not rocket science surely?
Because for some perverse reason a lot of people who are actually lacking in listening skills, empathy, or experience, enter that field. Or they've been brainwashed by a psychology degree that teaches them we're all robots who can be re-programmed, to confuse the client by pretending like you don't care even if you do ("professional distance"), and to use "psychological" bullshit frameworks instead of human decency and common sense.
 
pepecat

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#5
I seem to be fortunate in having had a really good therapy experience.
The first woman i saw (through social services), i had 10 sessions counselling with, and she was...... well I didn't get on with her. It was a bit like she had a 'special counselling demeanour' and I always wanted to know what was behind that - if there was a real person there.
The person i had long term therapy with was WAY better. We related as people - not always as client and therapist, which was important to me, and she let me see her human side (rather than 'therapy mode'). She always listened, and never judged what i said, and was consistent with me, week after week after week, which was what i needed.
She was rather a freud fan, i think, but when i gave a slightly sniffy reaction to her quoting freud once, she didn't bother with him again, which was good. :D

I think she's been a therapist for a while, as she came across as pretty experienced, which i think helps. I reckon more experienced therapists are more able to handle whatever a client says and not be shocked, or thrown by it, whereas younger and less experienced people might be a bit unsure of the way forward.
That said, there is a danger that more experienced therapists get 'stuck' in one way of working and can't change their responses etc to suit each client, but just stick rigidly to 'formula' because they've been doing it for x years and that's what they're used to.
 
Kerome

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#6
I'm not so sure. My first real therapist in the UK was pretty average, she had a kind of 'therapy mode' face that she'd put on, it was like a mask which said nothing really, and all she did was listen without reacting, and occasionally make notes. It was like she was making a science out of not reacting, which just made me feel weird, like it was talking to a therapy robot more than a person. It was not a good experience, and needless to say not a very long term one either.

My first therapist here in the Netherlands is a much older lady, very experienced, lots of grey hair, not many insecurities, who takes the opposite approach. Our sessions are much more conversational, and she responds in a quite lively fashion, ranging from positive to non-committal or questioning, but almost never negative. So you see, good ones do exist.

I'm not sure why good therapists are hard to find. Maybe only some have the right attributes to begin with, and then only some of those go through the right experiences to develop them over a longish career into what we can see are genuinely good therapists.

But it's also the NHS way of apportioning therapists. The really good university grads go private, the best senior practitioners leave and set up their own own practice, and then it's pot luck as to what you get assigned out of the mediocre middle that's left. It might work better if you had a budget and could find yourself a therapy service with the right qualities.
 
Reach

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#7
If their own 'shit' is sorted, then yes. I had a psychologist once who was close to retirement, and my psychiatrist was also due to retire. I think some people at that age are able to be all the things you need them to be, but someone younger usually has too many issues of their own and doesn't have enough experience both professionally and personally. So yes it is possible, but rare. I would guess those that work for the NHS or BUPA or similar are probably the better ones but those are the ones you don't get very long with.
 
SomersetScorpio

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#8
I have to agree with what Splodge said.

Inevitably a therapist will form an opinion on you, and what with confirmation bias being part of human nature too, they'll filter what they hear you say so they only take notice of what proves them right.

I wonder, do therapists get external assessment? This has come to my mind several times during my sessions with my current therapist. Does an independent 'assessor' sit in on a session to check they're doing their job right?
Therapists need regulation and I believe they should be 'checked' every so often to see that they're doing their job properly. Just because they've been employed by an NHS Trust for a few years doesn't mean they're actually any good.

Anyway, i'm sure there are therapists with more self-awareness around. Are you thinking of paying for it privately? I think that might be a better option sometimes, the only trouble is it's totally unaffordable to people who probably need it the most. x
 
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Anyway, i'm sure there are therapists with more self-awareness around. Are you thinking of paying for it privately? I think that might be a better option sometimes, the only trouble is it's totally unaffordable to people who probably need it the most. x
After a recent conversation with someone, i have e-mailed a local private therapist. i've not going to get anything on the NHS. i'll await a response.
 
pepecat

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#10
I wonder, do therapists get external assessment? This has come to my mind several times during my sessions with my current therapist. Does an independent 'assessor' sit in on a session to check they're doing their job right?
Therapists need regulation and I believe they should be 'checked' every so often to see that they're doing their job properly. Just because they've been employed by an NHS Trust for a few years doesn't mean they're actually any good.
They all get supervision regularly with an older, more experienced therapist. Usually it's once a month, and from what i can remember having read the NHS gumph, its standard for NHS therapists, and i would imagine also a requirement for anyone working privately but a member of a professional body like BACP.
I think supervision is for the therapist to discuss their cases with someone else - sort out any transference issues with them, figure out ways forward with difficult clients, all that sort of thing, but whether that's an independent thing and a sort of 'check' on how they are doing as therapists, i don't know.

I guess the thing is with therapy is that it is very hard to judge if someone is 'good' at it or not (apart from the really crap / inappropriate ones), because each client is different, and what suits one client might really not suit a different one, and each client gets on differently with each therapist.
Irvin Yalom writes some good stuff about therapy - 'Love's Executioner' is one, or 'The Gift of Therapy' is another. He's always quite open about his own shortcomings and issues when dealing with clients - for example he writes that he was always 'repulsed' by fat people, and then has an overweight client, and it's interesting hearing how a therapist deals with issues like that.
 
SomersetScorpio

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#11
I have to say there are people that do psycho-spiritual counselling in my town (it's a bit like that here.. which is why I like it).
It sounds like something to consider in the future, when i'm in a better position to do it financially. x
 
BillFish

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#12
To find a therapist who deeply listens, validates the experiences of the individual, allows them to speak freely & openly, & is with them fully in their pain, fear & suffering.

Of do they all just project all their crap onto the client, not listen to anything properly, & use whatever stupid model has been programmed into them?

i think that most of them are crap - Still not found a good one. But i'm in need of proper psychological help.
I had two girls in their twenties visit my house for counseling.They were very professional and proficient. I understood and was aware that their technique was following a structured plan to encourage me to open up, but it felt natural and comfortable and put me at ease.Also think the actual location you receive your counseling matters.In a formal setting in a clinic or hospital simply wouldn't work for me, but I was very comfortable chatting to them on my own terms in my own house and living room. They were guests in my house, and anyone with good intentions is welcome as a guest in my house.:p
 
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AliceinWonderland

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#13
To find a therapist who deeply listens, validates the experiences of the individual, allows them to speak freely & openly, & is with them fully in their pain, fear & suffering.
This would be the ideal wouldn’t it? My experience: over the twenty plus years I’ve been in the mental health system, I’ve had long term psychodynamic psychotherapy, plus a short course of Cognitive Analytic Therapy, and a few sessions of CBT. More recently, now that the NHS no longer offers the sort of therapy my psychiatrist currently thinks would be most helpful (psychodynamic), I have paid to see one privately.

NHS therapy – the person I saw for long-term psychodynamic therapy was very good, very skilled, listened really well, wasn’t at all prescriptive or invalidating, and understood well the issues that had affected me, and helped me understand the past roots of my current experiences. She was very good at gently pointing out connections which were like a lightbulb going on in my head where previously I hadn’t understood why I am the way I am. Without that help I doubt I would be alive today, or at least would have had a very different life to the one I’ve had. I was very screwed up and handled that pain destructively and self-destructively.

The CAT which I had after a gap of about ten years was not helpful. The therapist seemed to understand my issues well initially, and to be compassionate at first, but then said some invalidating and unhelpful things, basically saying that if the therapy wasn’t helping me, then that was down to me not trying hard enough. This therapy made things worse rather than better. I don’t think that was all down to the therapist (she was newly qualified so not very experienced), but also to the fact that CAT wasn’t suitable for my issues.

Likewise CBT just made me feel worse about myself. The therapist was ok, but it was the wrong tool. Cognitive type therapies just increase my guilt and self-criticism.

Private therapy – Years ago I thought some CBT would help and had one exploratory session to see whether I thought it would help, but the therapist was cold, blunt and I knew she wouldn’t be able to help me at all. This was before I realised CBT wouldn’t be helpful anyway.

Then a couple of years ago I saw a counsellor, who was very helpful for the few sessions I saw her, but it was a short term thing, not intended to be in-depth therapy. She was lovely, very empathetic, and it helped me through a tough time.

Last year I decided I wanted some longer term therapy. With it not being available on the NHS I looked for someone private. The first person I found, was very experienced, but I found her cold, she put words into my mouth, and made assumptions about my actions. That was four sessions worth of money wasted (my psychiatrist was all for my continuing with her, because he thought I was just resistant to being helped, and needed to break through that – he was wrong).

So I pressed on and found someone else (although I felt like giving it all up as a bad job), my current therapist. And she is fairly close to the ideal you describe. She is experienced, listens carefully, is compassionate, seems to ‘get’ the pain of current and past feelings, makes me feel that it is understandable to be the way I am, and is managing to gently break through my shell of feeling that I am unlikable, unworthy, and unable to be cared for. If I feel she has misunderstood me, she is open to being corrected. She is not perfect, some stock phrases she has I feel are overused and that’s mildly irritating. Sometimes she gives interpretations of things that don’t chime with me, and I say so. But the bottom line is I feel she understands where I am coming from, and feels healing and understanding is possible, but at the same time isn’t unrealistic about it. Also I am more aware this time around that a lot of the work of therapy takes place outside the sessions, where I am working through things by myself and then bringing them to the session to work on them some more. The benefit of long term therapy seems quite slow and imperceptible, and sometimes not very obvious (in my experience), but it is definitely there. It’s hard when you are paying for it and you feel you have to make every minute count. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to continue with it given what it’s costing, probably not as long as I’d like to.

So, some good, some bad experiences, some good experienced therapists, and some crap experienced ones. Some making easy money for little return, some worth the money. It’s a helluva responsibility being a therapist, the potential for damage could be great if the therapist isn’t any good, and most clients are going to be vulnerable and damaged in the first place. It’s difficult to know how to find a good private one, when you can’t exactly find out who is any good, it’s a bit pot luck (apart from making sure they have the relevant professional qualifications and affiliations, although that was no guarantee in the case of the one I wasted four sessions on).

Good luck with it all cpuusage.
 
Per Ardua Ad Astra

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#14
I have chiefly been under psychiatrists. I was always told that psychologists and 'talking treatments' are not appropriate for those with schizophrenia. Medication has always been the mainstay of my treatment.

Psychiatrists came and went, and some one would refer me to psychology for additional help and support, but often I would be knocked back. Eventually, I got to see a psychologist, and I found him quite helpful. I underwent Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). It was okay I suppose. It helped me a little, and I was able to draw some threads together and get some understanding.

I have been re-referred to him recently, and we have discussed my attending a long-term 'democratic therapeutic community' for one day a week, over several years. The way psychology works now here though, is that there are initial 'screening' assessments, and then you're put on a waiting list to be seen. It's going to be months at least before I see him again.

I was once offered CBT by a Primary Care Mental Health Practitioner. She told me I could speak with her over the phone once a week for an hour, and gave me a 'reading prescription' to take out books from the library. I thought wtf, no way. I was too embarrassed to go to the library and hand a form in like that!!

The fact is, for most of us, our primary diagnosis isn't the only issue. There are aggravating factors. Anger, anxiety, being really down, hearing voices. These things feed each other.
 
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The fact is, for most of us, our primary diagnosis isn't the only issue. There are aggravating factors. Anger, anxiety, being really down, hearing voices. These things feed each other.
Can be very hard to see a deeper resolution to it all can't it?

i do come across with a lot of 'apparent competence' - it seems very difficult for people to really understand what my experiences have been like & difficulties are. The realities have been a lot of struggle over the years.

Feel it would be good to be able to just pour out a lot of the stuff that goes/has gone on, openly & freely - within a therapeutic setting - i don't want to hear any more theory/suggestions on it all - have heard it all.
 
coldwater00

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#16
Can be very hard to see a deeper resolution to it all can't it?

i do come across with a lot of 'apparent competence' - it seems very difficult for people to really understand what my experiences have been like & difficulties are. The realities have been a lot of struggle over the years.

Feel it would be good to be able to just pour out a lot of the stuff that goes/has gone on, openly & freely - within a therapeutic setting - i don't want to hear any more theory/suggestions on it all - have heard it all.
Is exactly the same with me - 24 weeks of CAT was enough to put me off mainstream psychological therapies for life. I don't want to have my experiences framed in a pre constructed paradigm, that is adjusted to suit the therapists own requirements. I want someone who genuinely cares, who wants to listen, who wants to let me explore what I think my issues are in my own way. Its just lunacy that therapy has to be designed as a "treatment" rather than a deep exploration between two people.
 
SomersetScorpio

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Is exactly the same with me - 24 weeks of CAT was enough to put me off mainstream psychological therapies for life. I don't want to have my experiences framed in a pre constructed paradigm, that is adjusted to suit the therapists own requirements. I want someone who genuinely cares, who wants to listen, who wants to let me explore what I think my issues are in my own way. Its just lunacy that therapy has to be designed as a "treatment" rather than a deep exploration between two people.
Yeah I can really relate to this.
Especially the part about it being a "treatment". Personally I don't see how therapy can even be considered a treatment, how they expect someone to walk away from having had therapy with a less severe illness/cured/recovered or whatever.. maybe they don't. I don't know.

Like your new profile piccy, by the way. x
 
AliceinWonderland

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Is exactly the same with me - 24 weeks of CAT was enough to put me off mainstream psychological therapies for life. I don't want to have my experiences framed in a pre constructed paradigm, that is adjusted to suit the therapists own requirements. I want someone who genuinely cares, who wants to listen, who wants to let me explore what I think my issues are in my own way. Its just lunacy that therapy has to be designed as a "treatment" rather than a deep exploration between two people.
Yeah, I felt that about CAT too, my therapist constructed a flow-chart (a f*ckin flow chart!) to encapsulate my issues. Then there were these things called 'exits' which were supposed to be the magic route out of feeling/behaving as I do, and one of these was to see friends more. Well if seeing friends more was the answer, doh I think I'd have come up with that one myself before now. I ended it thinking 'Is this all there is? Is she really saying that if I just do x or do y, my problems will get better?' I just don't buy it.

I don't want to diss CAT/CBT therapies completely because they work for some people, but for me, no, I really dislike that approach and don't think it's ever would work for me. And these cognitive based therapies seem to be all that is offered on the NHS these days, certainly where I live. They are flavour of the month, and I think the reason for that is they are cheap, quick, and are easier to do measurable research on.

But the therapy that has helped me, I feel, has let me "explore what I think my issues are in my own way". I guess psychodynamic psychotherapy does have it's own underpinning paradigm, but in the instances where it's helped me, it's not been rigid or overt, it's hasn't felt a case of "use whatever stupid model has been programmed into them?" as said in the OP. I don't feel my experiences are distorted/reframed to make them fit into a pre-existing framework, to suit the therapist's convenience. Then again, maybe this is because the therapist and I have the same basic belief that my current problems are due to childhood formative experiences. Maybe if I turned up for psychodynamic psychotherapy with the belief that childhood was irrelevant to my problems, then the paradigm would come into play to shoehorn my experiences into that model. But there is the approach in psychodynamic therapy that the lead is taken by the client, and what you want to talk about is entirely up to you, the therapist isn't going to suggest what you need to be looking at, or what you should talk about today. I've had sessions where the we've sat in silence for long periods because I haven't know what I want to say, and I'm ok with that, it basically gave me the message that the therapist isn't there to direct me as to what my problems are, but to listen and respond to what is important to me. And to be with me supportively while I work things through.

Horses for courses maybe, but this sort of therapy works for me. But the bottom line for me is that a therapist listens well, and is caring, probably what matters most in the end.
 
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