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my experience of therapy
June 12, 2007
3:30 am
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lovemedo
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Ihave posted a number of times on other threads for those who don't know my story. I am very interested in the constant emphasis placed on going into therapy to help understand what is going on in life. Well.....after my husband died and after I had met my bi-polar, BPD ex I ended up in therapy provided free by the health service in the UK. I was "lucky" enough to have the senior psychotherapist allocated to my case. I had to complete a very detailed document prior to my first meeting, all about history, why I needed psycholtherapy etc. Before I went to this first meeting, I re-read what I had written as it had been a while since I completed the forms. I sat down and she asked me why I was there. What was my history. I was taken aback by the question and said something along the lines of....well...it was all outlined in detail on the document I sent in. Guess what.....yep! She had not even read it. IMMEDIATE reinforcement of the fact that I'm not valuable or worth enough for even a therapist who is being PAID to support me to be bothered. She did not like the fact that I did challenge that. She turned it all back on me JUST like my BPD ex (who was not my ex at the time). I always find it difficult to talk off the cuff about stuff in the session so once, to help me, I wrote down during the week how I was feeling, why I thought I was feeling it etc. I got out the paper during the session and started to try to go through some of the issues that had arisen. She stopped me. again NOT INTERESTED. She only wanted to know how I was feeling at that moment. Not what had happened during the week. "I'm not buying into that" I think was her response. One week, I cancelled my appointment. Why? My BPD ex had playfully jumped on my back and I couldn't move for a couple of weeks. I was off work and laid out flat. I was meant also to be working that week with colleagues to move stock around the building. Needless to say, being off work, I couldn't do that either. When I went to my next therapy appointment she was cross that I had missed a session because the sessions were like gold dust and other people were on the waiting list. I explain about my back and about being off work and not being able to help my colleagues so I already felt bad about that. Guess what.....that was according to my therapy a microcosm of my life. I constantly avoid issues deliberately and have let down her by not arriving at therapy and my colleagues by not lugging boxes when i'm laid up with a bad back. I ACCEPTED what she said. I posted a message on my staff noticeboard telling my colleagues how sorry I was that I had let them down by being off with a bad back when I should have been helping them and that I would make it up to them. They were aghast. What was I talking about....how could I move boxes when i was off with a bad back.. BUT MY THERAPIST SAID............. Confused??? Felt I was in a tumble drier. What was real? What SHOULD I be doing in my life to make it OK with everybody else? Finally the therapy came to an end. The last session was full of "helpful" words of support form my therapist. The mainstay of that final conversation was "plant up your front garden with flowers, then that will show people that you are welcoming, then you may have more people coming into your life". I didn't even bother to tell her that as a keen gardener (so therapeutic) my big garden is FULL of colour. Hasn't worked so far. I said nothing about it....she wouldn't have been interested. Therapy again? If that was out most senior therapist, god help the rest. Or maybe it was me all the time. Maybe you'll tell me I'm delusional. Haven't a clue. But I won't be putting myself through that again.

June 12, 2007
9:56 am
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red blonde
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Lovemedo ~

To tell you the truth - I think you got a 'bad apple'. I have been to several therapists...going to one now, which by the way, is free to me as well and I have missed sessions with her. NEVER got that reaction from her like you did with the one you are going. Mine has been supportive, caring and concerned. I have been late getting to appointments and she has called me concerned about as to why...whether I was just not feeling well, down, and just plain 'forgot' and has never made me feel that I was unworthy or guilty or lazy or just "taking up her time".

Is there anyone higher than her to whom you can voice your disappointment to and concerns that people are not being TREATED - only being made to feel worse, like you did before you started therapy? That was NOT RIGHT what she did. I would feel the same way, like WHY should I put myself through that when I went for HELP.

Please do not give up on seeking help, as I said, she was - IMO - a BAD APPLE. They are not all like that!

June 12, 2007
10:13 am
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lettingo
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Therapist are like any other profession, some are good and some are not so good. Sometimes you have to go to a few to find the one that works. I have had excellent therapist and even like the one I have now. It's unfortunate you had a bad experience. I had a bad session with a therapist once and I immediately found someone new.

June 12, 2007
10:26 am
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StronginHim77
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I have had a REALLY bad one...very similar to the one you describe. In my scenario, the N-husband completely snowballed her and I (the abused spouse) wound up being labeled the narcissist and told that it was ALL ABOUT ME!!! It was terrible for me.

Then, I returned to the psychologist who had treated me a year prior and he said that I absolutely, positively am not a narcissist...that my husband is the N...and that the therapist misdiagnosed the situation by a mile.

So, there are some poor therapists/counselors out there. Don't let one bad experience cause you to give up, however. With the right therapist, everything "clicks." You'll get compassionate concern, objective input and the constructive correction you need to grow, once trust is established. I have a fantastic relationship with my doctor. Sometimes, he has had to help me face some HARD truths about myself and my codependency. I have even left his office feeling very angry, on occasion. But he has helped me to heal and I know he genuinely cares about me and about my recovery.

So, don't give up. And yes -- a good therapist would have read what you prepared, prior to that first visit, would have been delighted to have you share what you had felt during the week, would NEVER rebuke you for missing a session or lay a guilt trip on you. I have had to cancel many sessions and have run late for a few, as well. My doctor has NEVER given me a hard time about it. Heck, HE'S had to cancel a few, himself!! It works both ways. It's called LIFE.

Keep hunting. You'll find the "right" one.

- Ma Strong

June 12, 2007
10:44 am
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red blonde
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I believe that therapist/counselors should periodically seek counseling as well. She is either going through some crisis personally or she should reconsider her position as being a therapist! Doesn't sound like she is being a credit to the profession nor wants to really help people. That is on her, not you. Especially, if it was the first therapist that you had ever seen.

Don't give up on the whole profession because of HER bad attitudes.

June 12, 2007
3:00 pm
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Rasputin
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Well, we all get bad experience with folks from all professions & all walks of life. I've had rude tellers, co-workers, sales people, doctors.

My advice is: follow your heart, period! If you feel UNcomfy around someone, just change them. You have every right to be treated with respect. I happens with all of us.

My best to you (((Lovemedo)))!!!

June 12, 2007
3:41 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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I think a GOOD therapist is worth their weight in gold.

that being said, like anything else, you have to weed thru alot of garbage to find the good ones...needle in haystacks they are.

I am sorry you had such a bad time of it...it does sound like there was something "off" about how she treated you...definitely not with respect.

I was going to jump to her defense and say perhaps she wanted to hear YOU tell her why you were there, why YOU felt the need to be there, etc...cuz sometimes it sounds different than what we put on paper. BUT the way she treated you thereafter was inexcuseable.

I know some doctors also focus on "today" for the fact that you can't change the past, while others go back to family of origin and start there, believing that you have to fix the past to get to the present.

every person is different.

I had a few bad ones...one of them I called the "hag"...she was bad and made me cry repeatedly. She WAS right a few times...and that hurt...but her approach did not help my fragile mental health.

In the end, I found that therapy could only get me so far, and that my own desire to APPLY what I learned was more important. So, instead of going to therapy to talk about it, I took action instead.

And for me it worked...but my issues were small in comparison to the deep trauma that many here have suffered.

As many have said, therapy is important, but realistically, therapy with the RIGHT therapist is the ONLy way to go...and sometimes you have to try a few out before finding one that "fits" right.

June 13, 2007
4:48 pm
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lovemedo,

I'm appalled by what you describe of the way that therapist treated you!! And I don't blame you for not being willing to put yourself through a similar ordeal again. But I hope that if you have continued issues that you would like help with, you will be able to find someone better to work with.

I agree with rising that a *good* therapist is worth her weight in gold, and I'm happy to say I have just completed over 5 years working with a good therapist. She helped me heal several issues that were causing terrible pain in my life, and I'm in a very different place now thanks to all her respectful, intelligent and intuitive work and support.

She is not the first therapist that I tried to work with, but for whatever reasons I didn't "click" with any of the others. And also I think it was partly a matter of timing; counselling didn't work for me until I was really ready for it to work.

That therapist you saw may have been the 'senior' one, but that is obviously no indicator of her being the 'best'. Unfortunately, as other posters have said, there are incompetents in every field, and psychotherapy is no exception. Unfortunately, incompetents in some fields can do much more harm than others.

I would encourage you to shop that therapist to the NHS, if you have the energy to write a letter of complaint. They should know they are paying out for very substandard practice, and it might help you as well to speak up about the very poor treatment you received.

I do hope you will get to have the experience of working with a good therapist sometime, if you still have unresolved issues that are beyond what you can heal with peer support.

regards,
kroika

June 13, 2007
5:05 pm
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taj64
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I one had a first time visit with a therapist and when done I felt good, still unsure about things but it felt good. I came out into the parking lot and my car had been towed. And I came back even more upset that when I started the visit. Apparently I had accidently parked in a lawyer's spot. There was no parking and I just parked in first spot I could find. SO I see the therapist and I am out there crying because I did not know what to do. That therpaist did not look my way, ignored me. I was so angry that i instantly got better and did not need to go to a therapist after that. I realized some just want your money and get paid to be well a therapist. But as a person, in real life, she was a jerk like so many other people out there. Go figure! I paid my $100 to get my car. Part of my depression was lack of money and being depressed can cost serious money. I was cured instantly and saved myself over six weeks of planned visits. But serisouly I think you know a good one after a few visits. You can go by instinct as well.

June 13, 2007
5:33 pm
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Anonymous
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(((Lovemedo)))

So good to hear you venting about therapy. I had exactly the same experience in the last 8 months with notes and all. They were residents! I kept trying to give them my vote of confidence and discounting the damage they were doing to my self esteem. Finally, I said enough. Got a pet. Started flower arrangements (ikebana). And started feeling much better.

I wish I could go without therapy and medicine for depression. I have money issues. But I need someone to talk to. Thank HP Ive had other therapists to know some are better than others. But they all have a fish to sell. The ones that tell what you wanna hear or the opposite are the worst. I prefer the one that walks with me, remember my story, ponders and makes suggestions. Im honest enough with myself and others to deserve good therapy.

Hope you have better luck and more professionalism.

June 14, 2007
8:28 am
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lonely and addicted
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It has taken me 17 years to find the right therapist. Keep looking, if I had an experience like you I would have told her goodbye at the beginning.

The right counselor is out there, you just have to keep looking!!!

June 15, 2007
5:55 pm
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lovemedo
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Thank you all for your comments. It was reassuring to know it wasn't just me. I did tell her at the start how I felt about it but it was always put back onto me and I felt it was a big personality clash. You know how we pick up vibes? Well, lots of negative vibes from the start. She was a bit of a cold fish, I felt. I stuck it out for nearly 3 years, getting nowhere. I'm gaining far more understanding and support from being on here, if I'm honest. I've learned such a lot from you guys in the last 6 weeks. BTW it's been just over 6 weeks of NC now. Very low tonight though. I was involved in a collision in my car a couple of months back and may be prosecuted. First accident I've been involved in since I started driving years ago. Though prosecution is unlikely, I had a letter from the police about it today and nobody to ring or talk to for support. That's when it hits hard isn't it. I knew then that if M had phoned at that moment my resolve would be broken. Of course, he didn't but my mood dropped considerably and I had been doing so well over the last couple of days. Oh well......two steps forward, three steps back, I guess.

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