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Old 09-09-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
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Red face Psychotherapy???

Hey there...

I am wondering what other individuals' experiences and opinions are on psychotherapy??

I have been in therapy since a very young age due to childhood issues. I have seen a number of different therapists over the years because I moved around a lot. As I have grown older, I have been starting to question whether or not I want to keep going to someone who my insurance is paying to 'help me' but I end up feeling frustrated at times. I recently left a message for my now ex-therapist that I am switching therapists and treatment centers for psychotherapy because she has been absent so often with almost never anyone to cover her absences, which I find unacceptable.

For awhile, going to a therapist to vent my brains out until I was in tears at times was helpful for me because it was a catharsis of some sort. I feel that I have become somewhat 'dependent upon therapists' so when my ex-therapist had a leave of absence for a few weeks, I was very upset. I feel that perhaps that absence forced me to mature and use other coping skills, and while I am grateful for that, I am somewhat skeptical and leery about going into another therapist-client relationship in a few weeks. This therapist is at another facility of a different organization and I have never met her but spoken to her briefly on the phone. I am going to go to therapy every other week for now because 1) I don't want to become dependent on someone, especially with my negative experiences recently with other therapists and 2) I don't have the time to go every week, hopefully this will force me to grow more and engage in more meaningful activities aside from therapy.

I am wondering how others have coped with therapists who haven't met their expectations or if others are contemplating change with therapy or have found a balance with it. Maybe my expectations are too high, well that would be sad if that was the case, but perhaps it is. I don't know, I am hoping for the best.


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Old 09-16-2013, 01:42 PM   #2
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Are you clear on what your expectations are for therapy? What do you want to get from the experience? How will you know it is time to terminate therapy? If you can't answer these questions, you would probably benefit from a very frank discussion with your therapist.

Therapy is not an open-ended forever kind of relationship. It is something that should me a series of needs or teach you things so that you can be without it.

Just for the sake of honesty, I am a person in recovery from depression, PTSD, and anorexia who is a therapist in my professional life.

Persistence. Precision. Perfection.
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Old 09-16-2013, 06:28 PM   #3
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I had two bouts of therapy, one lasting about a year in my mid-20s, the other and more recent (2.5 years ago) about 3 months in my early 50s. Both counselors were female and both were MSWs. I had good rapport with both. Both sets of counseling followed a life crisis event. I paid out of pocket for both.

I fully understood that I would be doing the lion's share of the heavy lifting in therapy by journalling and reading books that dealt with my issues and being open to do the pain and grief work required. Both times I was "ready" to leave therapy and I suggested it myself. Maybe I'm a very "me do" kind of person.

I got a great deal out of therapy. Mainly it was a safe place to work through my past pain, grief and rage and to avoid burdening my husband and friends with stuff that they would be helpless and unqualified to address.

The last therapy will likely be the last time I will have to go. I got a lot done in that one thanks to some truths inadvertently told under the influence of alcohol. Truths that I understood that were there but couldn't quite grasp. I am grateful and relieved. My sister is still working through her issues being unwilling or able to face the pain quite yet. Her issues are control and perfectionism. Being a mess in any way was never in her wheelhouse. In a way I am the luckier of us. Fat but free.

I am a recovered binge eater, though I never worked through that issue directly in therapy because for me it was a symptom of deeper issues.

Take charge of your counseling. It is not a passive journey and of course you know the ultimate end is for you to be able to learn, cope, live and grow without it.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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Old 09-16-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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I couldn't stay in therapy myself. I tried it a number of times to resolve depression and overeating, and each time I was in such a rush to be "cured" that I just quit.

I think it was because I couldn't handle my feelings at all. Although I wanted to do therapy so I could talk about things, I was so ashamed by the things I was saying that I constantly felt like running out of the office.

So, anyway, I would take silverfighter's words to heart - what do you want to get out of therapy?
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Old 09-16-2013, 07:22 PM   #5
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I've done therapy in the past and always dropped out after a bit because I couldn't see the point. I even once told the therapist that I often dropped out because I couldn't see the point and asked her to help me with that, but I still dropped out.

I recently started taking antidepressants, prescribed by my primary care physician, and I feel like now I could see the point in therapy because my brain has been fixed and can actually see the point in life.

I also did really well with a sort of "homestudy" with The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbooks for Anxiety and Depression.
It's about commitment, not motivation.
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:34 PM   #6
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Thank you all so much for your heartfelt replies.

silver- thank you for your honesty. I haven't thought about all of those questions but I think it is a good idea to have a frank, candid conversation with the new therapist so we can make a good plan. I have been in therapy for so long that at times I have wondered if I would be in therapy for all of my life. Having not had regular therapy for over a month, I feel that I am a bit sick of the psychobabble and I will be going every other week for awhile, I went to therapists weekly for a long time but I feel that every other week is best for me at this point. I keep planning to meet my new therapist but because of my surgery, I may have to reschedule again, she has been very understanding. Thank you for your advice and for sharing your experience, that was very kind of you.

vintage- thank you for your encouraging and insightful reply. I think that therapy does have a purpose in life for some people but I feel that I have grown too accustomed to having a regular therapist, perhaps this is forcing me to grow and do some work on my own. My psychiatrist says I am on a constant self-improvement kick! I am always intrigued by the self-help/psych section of bookstores and I have had a lot of those types of materials on my bookshelves. I think that I am slowly learning that I can't be dependent on a therapist alone for my psych needs and recovery. I am a very independent minded and determined individual, I think that I can do a lot on my own too. Thank you!

mazzy- I understand that not everyone has great experiences with therapists and everyone has their own unique perspective on counseling and other treatment modalities. Thinking about your question, what comes to mind immediately is how there are different types of therapy, for example, I will be going to physical therapy after my surgery and in my experience that has been a more short-lived treatment as far as the amount of sessions, but there are so many things to take away from it as far as how to maximize its benefits. Perhaps I can look at psychotherapy from the same lens, that it doesn't have to last forever, I can glean hope and insights from the therapist and on my own to reap the full benefits. Just like a physical therapist gives exercises and may suggest other things at home, I can pick up certain reading materials or go to a group that may maximize the psychotherapy benefits. Thanks! That was a real lightbulb moment for me

seagirl- thank you for your advice and for sharing your experience. I appreciate the book recommendation. I understand that some people drop out after awhile, I feel like I am starting to reach that point in my life or at least I am getting close to it yet I still want to go to therapy for some amount of time even if it is less often than before. For my health care insurance, I have to form a 'treatment plan' with the therapist and I hope that will help me set some goals and outline some vision of what I would like to achieve in therapy, I don't want to be in therapy forever. Thank you so much!
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Old 09-17-2013, 10:51 PM   #7
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Just wondering, are you addicted to therapy?

Therapy can be a good thing, but sheesh!?

Maybe it's time to give up that crutch and just live.:hug

Get a hobby, get a dog or cat, plant a garden, meditate, yoga, take a dance class, do something that is your personal therapy.

Not trying to be snarky, but sounds to me like the therapy has become the norm, a habit or whatever, instead of helping.

Do you think you would feel relieved if you just gave it up for a few months? You can always go back if needed.

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The human body is capable of amazing things! But without the mind, it is nothing. Get your mind in gear and the body will follow!

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Old 09-18-2013, 02:07 PM   #8
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Well, you have a good point. I have been going to therapy for so long that I felt dependent on therapy and that's not healthy. I was going to see a new therapist soon but things have been delayed because of the surgery. To be honest, I am so sick of talking about my emotions and my feelings, I want to make progress in my life and stop talking about everything.

I know that therapy can be helpful and serve a point but some people don't benefit if they don't want to go or have little interest in it. To me, it has become a habit to go to therapy and I don't think that is healthy.

Only so much benefit can be learned in an office. The things that are very therapeutic for me are volunteering, walking, swimming, playing guitar, spending time with loved ones and those people who I care about.

Maybe for now I will take a break from therapy. It is arduous, tedious, time consuming and sometimes it feels pointless spending so much time in therapy.

Thank you.

Take care.
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