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Old 10-20-2010, 10:06 PM   #1  
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Default Nervous about Therapy

Well, I am posting because I have set up an appointment with a counselor where I go to college. It's free, and the person I am seeing is qualified as a therapist, but am really nervous because I haven't been in counseling since I was around 18. I am almost 22 now, and my experience of adult mental health care is NOT a good one. I have had depression and other issues since my middle school years and had a pretty good therapy experience during that time. However, in the years since I last went, my older sister has had treatment for her mental illness and it has left me with great distrust of the mental health system. Here is a little about what happened..

Admittedly her problems were severe, but I am avid that their treatment actually did more to hurt her then help her. All they were interested in was giving her so many drugs that her nurses were getting them mixed up, and my sister was so drugged that she didn't realize the side effects on her. She was having tremors, and was wayyyy 'out of it'. They took this as some sort of behavior issue, and would basically shrug off all our attempts to tell them something was wrong. It took her an attempted overdose on all her meds before they withdrew all of them cold turkey. She was in **** for about a weeks time, going through withdrawal that could have killed her because they didn't take her off gradually. It was a blessing in disguise however because after that, she was put on only a few meds and has been doing relatively well since that time. The meds were not the only problem..she was suicidal, bipolar, schizoaffective and borderline by their labeling, in other words she would self harm, had mood swings and was hearing things/voices. Their way of dealing with this was to sedate, tie down, isolate and medicate, with occasional one on one 'therapy'. These things took a great toll on her psyche, as if she wasn't feeling crazy already. Now one can debate the safety of a person, but, I think there is a point where their coercive treatment caused her illness to deepen, and it led to her being sent to a state mental hospital. In this place, it's basically like a persons rights have been taken away. There is no right to refuse medicine, and there is basically nobody on your side. She went through several things that she could file grievances on but didn't because she didn't think she would be taken seriously. These days she is doing much better, but is basically suffering PTSD because of everything that happened to her.

With that background in mind, it is actually a great deal because of her treatment that I myself have been going through so much..Depression, PTSD like issues, past things, combined with other stress has gotten me back to needing counseling. This is why I have set up an appointment, and it has taken a lot for me to get the nerve to do so. Now I am deathly afraid and nervous to 'say the wrong thing' because I don't want someone to basically hit the panic button and cart me away somewhere. I'm really just feeling the need for reassurance that I can do this and get help..what have your experiences been??

Last edited by Phoenix301; 10-20-2010 at 10:27 PM.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:20 PM   #2  
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Phoenix, good for you for getting help! And the fact that you are where you are now means that you should be proud of yourself. You are dealing with a lot of obstacles, and it takes inner strength to live with that.

I am in graduate school right now studying for my M.A. in counseling psychology. You have to be a clear harm to yourself or others, i.e. there has to be imminent danger, for anybody to do something to you that would take away your freedom or your control. A lot of people think about suicide and other things like that, it is perfectly 'normal' for somebody in therapy to talk about those kinds of issues. Unless you tell your therapist that you have a definite plan to hurt yourself or someone else, you needn't worry. I am so sorry that happened to your sister. A big reason why I am studying psychology is because the system is largely broken, things like what you are describing are all too common. There are a lot of people in the field working to change that.

Don't be afraid to 'interview' your therapist. You have to have a connection with the person and feel comfortable with them. Studies show that the single most important factor in predicting success of therapy is the relationship between the counselor and the client. If you are not comfortable with this person, and you don't think it is just because you are nervous and it is something you will overcome, by all means find somebody you can work with and be open with. Therapists come in all different stripes. The primary thing is that you feel comfortable, accepted, and open. It's a two-way relationship, and your needs are the most important concern.

It's great that this person is free, and if you like him/her that is wonderful! If not, don't be afraid to ask if there is somebody else there that can help you, or if you can get a referral. Good for you for taking this step!
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Old 10-21-2010, 09:34 AM   #3  
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I think you got great advice above from precieuseamande. I have just started into CBT for the 3rd time. I quit the 1st time because I really disliked the therapist, which left me with such a bad impression it took me 10 more years to try again...and that therapist moved out of state after 3 appointments. THAT experience took me another year to get over!

I have only met with this person 3x now - which included a bit of an urgent session yesterday. I'm not sure I *love* her, but so far, what she is saying resonates with me or at least feels "safe" enough to try. I have my own trust issues, and given your experience with your sister - which are absolutely tragic - I can completely understand your reluctance.

You have nothing to lose by going in for 1-2 sessions. If you feel comfortable, I would express your concerns up front & see what the reaction is. That may tell you a lot...

Good for you for setting up this appointment! I completely understand how difficult that is AND the fear. This process is hard enough without the understandable distrust you are experiencing. Keep us posted - and remember, you pay them. If it isn't working out for you for ANY REASON, you have a right to just quit seeing that person. It is your health, after all.

Last edited by cherylmn; 10-21-2010 at 09:35 AM.
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