Let's go to THERAPY! :-D

  • imperator

    Posts: 626

    Mar 28, 2008 6:01 AM GMT
    So I scheduled an introductory session with a shrink today; in retrospect, the e-mail I sent them asking about their services made me think "wow, how did I not inquire about this sooner?" In asking if they thought I should get counselling I told them (among other things) that my dad's dying of cancer, my bf cheated on me a year ago, I never get lonely and feel no particular drive to make new friends, and that I have a LOT of anger. Now I don't "feel" that stressed, but I devote a lot of my mental resources to introspection and self-mastery, so maybe I have myself deluded into thinking I've "out-thought" stress and have everything under control inside my own head. So now, in early May I'll be shelling out my first $130/hr to find out if a professional thinks I'm a ticking stress time-bomb, and if so, what I might be able to do about it. Of course I realise, it's kinda like asking a mechanic if your car needs work-- if it didn't when you rolled in, they can find a reason (or make a reason) that it does before you roll back out. Nevertheless...

    So, is anyone else on here in regular counselling with a therapist? What prompted you to seek a psychiatrist's services? Do you find it helpful/valuable?
  • ShawnTX

    Posts: 2484

    Mar 28, 2008 12:57 PM GMT
    I think everyone should be in therapy. I'm not saying everyone is messed up basket cases, just that we all have issues in our lives, whether they're recent or holdovers from childhood that we could benefit from sorting out and dealing with.

    I had to do mandatory 24 hours of therapy to get my natural healthcare practitioners certification and I think I'm better off for it.

    In 10 months I've had to deal with 12 deaths (friends and family) and getting laid-off, so therapy helped with giving me tools to deal with these stress-inducing experiences as best I could.

    Having to pay $130/hr. would be stress-inducing, hehe, so I'm thankful that my provincial healthcare system covered it.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 28, 2008 1:01 PM GMT
    While I've never seen a counselor or any sort of therapy in my life, I think that some of the losses that you have experienced are pretty major. Nothing wrong with doing what you've considered...... but if it were me I would always be evaluating the cost vs. return.

    That also might be short sighted as some of what they might suggest you do may take work and time on your part. I would give it a shot and see what they have to say...... give us a report back... I'm interested to hear your perceptions.
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    Mar 28, 2008 1:27 PM GMT
    I went to a shrink for several months. But it was a special case in that I was suffering from medically induced depression from my cancer therapy.

    However, I was so desperate for relief from the depression, I went to see if a shrink could help. Although I explained that how I was depressed...and the shrink himself had been treated at the same clinic and by the same dr for prostate cancer...I still got the weekly sessions. In each session, I just told him how my week had been. At first, I thought we'll maybe he is evaluating me in general to sort out any problems from the medically induced depression. After a while I started asking him what he thought about what I was saying. I didnt get any meaningful responses. And I didnt get any help for my depression. So I dropped him and saved the co-pay.

    I would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are. Now whether you are willing to get off your ass and take the necessary actions to correct them is another matter.

    Here's a year's worth of $130/hr of advice: If you are holding onto feelings about people or actions from the past, just let them go. You cant change the past. You are only dragging yourself down and hurting nobody but yourself, so get over it. Your parents did the best they could, what they thought was right, and they are only human. Get over it, them, and all the mean things you think they did.

    Take responsibility for yourself.
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    Mar 28, 2008 2:20 PM GMT
    I have never been to a psychologist or a psychiatrist, although I am on anti-depressants. There have been points in my life where I might have benefited from therapy.

    I am weird though, I have a freakish memory for life experiences in my life. I have a pretty good idea what has been behind my behaviours in the past and in the present. I am not sure going to a therapist and having them trying to discount my life experiences would be very helpful. After all they did not go through them. It is like someone trying to tell you that you "chose" being gay. My answer always is "how the fuck would you know, were you in my brain the last 47 years?"

    I have known people who have gone or are going to therapy, and to be honest with you it has not been a cure all for them, although it has prevented some of them from doing serious harm to themselves. In some cases they use the therapist as another crutch in their life and are still as neurotic as ever.

    Good luck Imperator on trying to resolve some of your life issues.
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    Mar 28, 2008 2:40 PM GMT
    ............problems.jpg
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    Mar 28, 2008 2:42 PM GMT
    hmmm...ive never been to a shrink or a psychologist..though i think it would be fun
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    Mar 28, 2008 2:58 PM GMT
    Caslon saidI would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are. Now whether you are willing to get off your ass and take the necessary actions to correct them is another matter.

    Here's a year's worth of $130/hr of advice: If you are holding onto feelings about people or actions from the past, just let them go. You cant change the past. You are only dragging yourself down and hurting nobody but yourself, so get over it. Your parents did the best they could, what they thought was right, and they are only human. Get over it, them, and all the mean things you think they did.

    Take responsibility for yourself.


    This sounds good in theory but is a huge over-simplification of a process that can take years for people to get through. There's really nothing "stupid" about using a professional to provide insight that you cannot get on your own because of your unconscious motives, fears or biases. It sounds like you had a really bad, ineffective therapist - and that's unfortunate. But not all therapists are like that. Therapy is like any other profession - there are good ones and bad ones. The good ones make the search worth it. I can't even imagine where I would be if I had not found a series of amazing therapists. But I imagine it would be some version of broke, lonely and miserable.

    Imperator, don't be afraid to shop around. Check your ego at the door. Be willing to receive help. Be proactive. And realize major resistance is going to come up along the way. That's cool, just ride it out - because resistance just about always precipitates major breakthrough. It's all a very exciting journey!
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:14 PM GMT
    It isn't a bad idea, and of course as in everything there are good and bad therapists. It isn't of course a cure -- and what you get depends somewhat on what you put into it as well -- but it can help you see things in a different perspective, and come up with maybe better mechanisms for coping with the stresses in life, or to realize what triggers them.

    I would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are. Now whether you are willing to get off your ass and take the necessary actions to correct them is another matter.

    Here's a year's worth of $130/hr of advice: If you are holding onto feelings about people or actions from the past, just let them go. You cant change the past. You are only dragging yourself down and hurting nobody but yourself, so get over it. Your parents did the best they could, what they thought was right, and they are only human. Get over it, them, and all the mean things you think they did.

    Take responsibility for yourself.


    I know the above is well intended, but each person is very different, and taking responsibility certainly means different things for different peole -- if it really means anything other than a grand sounding phrase. Anyway it's not weak and certainly not irresponsible not to seek out professional help when needed -- the opposite would be true. And therapy, well at least with a good therapist, is not about 'discounting' your life's experiences, but more about integrating them and seeing them in potentially new and meaningful ways.
  • joggerva

    Posts: 731

    Mar 28, 2008 3:16 PM GMT
    ShawnTOI think everyone should be in therapy. I'm not saying everyone is messed up basket cases, just that we all have issues in our lives, whether they're recent or holdovers from childhood that we could benefit from sorting out and dealing with.

    I agree with Shawn.

    I've been seeing a therapist for awhile and would recommend it to anyone that thinks they might benefit. If you go into it thinking that it will not help, then it probably won't.
    Personally, I have a poor memory and often find myself too busy to be introspective, so I find it really helpful to have an unbiased person to bounce off my ideas and thoughts.

    imperatorI have a LOT of anger

    icon_exclaim.gif The fact that you are introspective is very helpful; however, you may benefit from having an unbiased entity to fully explain your feelings. She should be able to help you work through your anger and channel it into passion, so that it doesn't negatively affect you.

    You are paying a lot of money, so remember that you are the boss. If you are not satisfied with the results, then let them know, and give them a chance to explain or adjust their strategy. If they do not, then go somewhere else.

    CaslonI would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are.

    I disagree, Caslon. Stupidity may be one cause, but the human mind is incredibly complex, and many of us find help with a trained professional. Please don't further the stigmatization of mental health issues and disorders.

    jbedwardsI am not sure going to a therapist and having them trying to discount my life experiences would be very helpful.

    If a therapist tries to discount your life experiences, then you need to find a different therapist. A therapist helps you analyze your life experiences, not discredit them.

    Where's Obscenewish when you need him?
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:16 PM GMT
    Therapy isn't about fixing problems. It's about learning the tools with which to fix problems that perhaps your life and upbringing, your education and experience, have not prepared you to tackle.

    I went to therapy for 6 months last year - as I was confronting a couple of emotions I never imagined I'd have. I was unsure of how to address them beyond acting out or bottling up, neither of which I wanted to do.

    Therapy introduced me to some tools to 'deal' - I even made it clear to my therapist in our last session that while it seemed we hadn't talked much about actual issues at hand, he'd demonstrated the necessary techniques that I felt were useful and had helped me deal with the negatives at hand. I found it to be a successful and very beneficial experience.
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:34 PM GMT
    I believe any additional outside assistance anyone can receive in regards to their inner self is ALWAYS a great concept. Sometimes a Therapist can help, I cannot use one; I have ADD!! And when I want something I want it like YESTERDAY! And a Therapist, I feel, takes WAY too long to get to the "root" of the situation or issue, for me! I have chosen to retain a Life Coach. I know they're not licensed and what not, however I feel that he does not pussy foot with me, nor hold back. He'll verbally throw them out at me. And it works for me, may not work for everyone however that "in your face approach" TOTALLY works for me. For example, a couple years back I had fallen off the work out wagon and my mood was just AWFUL! I was lashing out at people, i wasn't focused or anything! So I had my session and we spent a good 20 minutes on it when he made me realized that my mood had been affected by the fact that I had not worked out in weeks!!
    Again, a Life Coach may not work for everyone, nor will a Therapist, however what ever you can do to gain a better perspective of yourself is AWESOME!!
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:36 PM GMT
    I have to agree with innerathlete. There are good and bad therapist out there so you may need to go through more than one if you hit a bad one.

    Like you, I had been through several very difficult, life altering changes in a short period of time. I finally sought out help and the first therapist was really bad. He went so far as to hit on me during our sessions which (though he was hot) totally pissed me off because it was an abuse of his position.

    I finally got to a therapist who really helped me work through some of the issues. As long as you're willing to really own your problems and work through them in and out of sessions, it's possible for therapy to help. If you think that there is some magic in the process that's going to make it all better just by attending, save your money.

    While I respect Caslon, his statements are accurate but a bit of an over simplification. He was obviously in a place where he was ultimately able to manage his issues on his own which is great but not everyone is in that place. In the end, even with therapy you will be the one that is taking control but sometimes we need a little push in the right direction that even the most well meaning of friends can't supply.

    I still find it very hard to admit that I ever needed help with a problem because I've always been very independent. I'm not someone who ever asks for help so paying someone for it was a big deal for me. Sometimes life just hits you hard and fast and you need to get the assistance of an experienced individual with a fresh perspective.
  • kinetic

    Posts: 1125

    Mar 28, 2008 3:39 PM GMT
    joggerva said
    Where's Obscenewish when you need him?


    Right!?!

    Admittedly, I am in therapy now and would probably be a mess w/o it.
    I also think that if you are gay and seeking help from a mental health professional, it is EXTREMELY important to be working w/ someone who specifically works w/ and/or understands the LGBT community and the issues we face.
    I actually had a fairly psychologically damaging experience dealing w/ therapists that had no clue what it is like to be gay and knew nothing about the issues I was dealing w/ and the things I was going through. -So be careful!
    Also, you might want to look into how much of the cost your insurance would cover. $130 a session sounds kind of steep to pay out of pocket.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Mar 28, 2008 3:41 PM GMT
    I think many here, myself included, have had, perhaps a "group" of significant, "changing" events in ones life. Major events. I think its how one deals with those issues that may dictate whether counseling or therapy is recommended. Its different for each person.

    If one is intuned with oneself I think you can sense the warning signs.. anger being one of them. If you think you may benefit, why not try it out?
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:41 PM GMT
    ahh therapy...

    I go twice a week. Been through a lot of stress lately (laid off, ended 9 year relationship, mom, aunt and uncle all with cancer, yada yada yada) But i have been seeing different therapists for years. i finally found one who is empowering me to grow the way I need to. I am also finally ready for that growth to begin.

    I think I am just echoing a lot of what has been said, but...

    - Keep an open mind, meaning open your mind to yourself.
    - Don't look for answers to your problems, look for peacce with yourself and learn what makes you tick.
    - don't settle with the first person you see. It took me 7 years and 3 therapists to finally get the right one.
    - Do it for you and you only.
    - Timing. Therapy has to come when you are ready.

    Good luck. And remember, you don't have to be screwed up or in need of help just to see a therapist. Its a healthy and natural way to just help your overall personal health.

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    Mar 28, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    If a therapist tries to discount your life experiences, then you need to find a different therapist. A therapist helps you analyze your life experiences, not discredit them.

    I agree, but what Caslon said triggered my feelings about some therapists. In the past "don't blame the parents" has been an adage. Good therapy is not about finding who to blame it is about objectively looking at the reasons why you behave or feel the way you do. My parents did not do their best, I don't think anybody really does their best when it comes to something as complicated as parenting. Their upbringings impacted them, which in turn impacted their parenting.

    To be blunt I'll be the first to admit I was a neurotic little kid. My earliest memories are from 2 1/2 years of age, being told I could not go on vacation with my family because I was not yet toilet trained. I stayed behind with a baby sitter for weeks on end without family. Needless to say I was depressed. icon_cry.gif

    Was that experience the only reason I suffered from anxiety as a kid and teen? No, but it certainly didn't help and I don't think a therapist would have helped me understand the reasons why that particular event happened.

    I feel the best reasons to go to a good therapist are either; life has given you too much to cope with all at once (like ShawnTO) or you really do not understand what is behind your feelings.

  • Squarejaw

    Posts: 1035

    Mar 28, 2008 3:52 PM GMT
    Caslon saidI would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are.
    That is demonstrably untrue.
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:59 PM GMT
    I went to therapy for a few months and it was the best thing I have ever done for myself.

    Before I suffered horrible depression for months at a time. I was an insomniac who got a full nights sleep once or twice a week if I was lucky. I had zero interest in sex, relationships, friendships, anything to do with other people.

    I had been working through a very traumatic event I experienced as a child by myself. But my own solutions often lead to new problems. I was not an unhappy child, but depression became a coping mechanism for that trauma. My flights into depression made me uninterested in other people, which lead to isolation. And so on.

    Therapy gave me a new way to view that trauma and my coping. It gave me a new set of tools to deal with them. Were it not for therapy I would not be the happy, productive, social person I am today.

    How's that for an endorsement?

    So Caslon, my personal problems were not for want of action or an inability to see the source of my problems. While I am sure your statement can apply to some people it is far from universal.
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    Mar 28, 2008 4:22 PM GMT
    Caslon said

    I would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are. Now whether you are willing to get off your ass and take the necessary actions to correct them is another matter.


    Caslon, I always enjoy your posts and often relate to them, but I can't believe this post. You and HndsmKansan always stand out to me (at this board) as two people who are rational and kind and offer good advice. Perhaps your gifts are due to your upbringing, but we all don't have the same experiences, sensitivity, temperament, issues or background.

    People can bury their problems or acquire habits that they've used as defense mechanism without ever seeing that those bad behaviors have calcified onto their personal habits over the years. Some people are raised by parents who have poisoned their minds with limited and prejudicial thinking and tore down their self-esteem. The human psyche is full of so many possibilities and is exposed to so many variables that can shape us that I am surprised that anyone reaches adult age in any form of mental stability. I've been in therapy for years because I have a very complicated mind and I see things in a very complex way, and while I am a lot of things, I don't consider "stupid" to be one of them.

    Imperator, I think you've made a great decision. I have never met anyone who couldn't benefit from having some therapy to fine tune the mind at the least, and to deal with some heavy issues at most. I am guessing that you have already looked into the possibility but if you have insurance you could probably get them to cover about 20 sessions a year with just a small co-pay from you. I pay $19 for a $150 session with my current shrink.

    As for the use of therapy, I went into it thinking that being gay was my life's biggest problem among other things but as I progressed I realized that how I was dealing with it and reacting to all things was my biggest problem. A talk therapist, like I started with, helps you to say aloud thoughts that have stayed somewhat nebulous in your mind. Sometimes just hearing that thought said aloud can show you how wrong it is and sometimes your shrink will challenge you on that viewpoint and your defense (or lack thereof) can help you to identify the true source of angst or flawed thinking.

    I switched over to a cognitive behavorial therapist (CBT) last year and that has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. It wouldn't have worked without a background in talk therapy first, though. a CBT challenges you to make changes in your life and gives you (as mentioned in other posts here) methods and techniques to change your approach to dealing with anger, unhappiness, frustration, etc.

    I have a tendency to not fully express myself in person and largely because I have a complicated thought process that can muddle the issues. Therapy has shown me how to put a priority on those issues and then express them in an effective manner. That's just one example.

    Like your gym workout, you have to make therapy work for you. You can't just show up and expect the therapist to tell you stuff to do any more than you could show up at the gym and expect a trainer to lift the weights for you. Your therapy session is your "free zone" where you can say anything without being judged, and to a person who has none of the biases of your friends and family. It sounds like to me that you've identified the right approach and that you are on the right path. I hope it works as well for you as it has for so many of us.
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    Mar 28, 2008 4:28 PM GMT
    Caslon said
    I would say you have to be pretty stupid not to be able to examine your own life and realize what your problems are. Now whether you are willing to get off your ass and take the necessary actions to correct them is another matter.


    You all are right. I cant believe I wrote that. ... icon_eek.gif... I didnt even recognize it at first as mine.

    Ignore the above ... icon_lol.gif

    bed.bmp
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    Mar 28, 2008 5:20 PM GMT
    To answer your questions...

    Yes, I'm in regular counseling with a therapist. I go about every two weeks, and my psychologist is awesome! He challenges my thought patterns and behaviors (that's the best way I can describe it).

    What promted me was realizing that I'd been suffering from depression since I was a kid. I always just thought I was weird (since that's what my family told me)...not so much.

    Do I find it helpful? More that you can imagine. I also picked a psychologist over a psychiatrist because I wanted to avoid medication if I could. If at some point my doctor decides meds are the way to go for me, I'll cross that bridge. So far, he thinks I'm doing pretty good...I do too icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 28, 2008 5:21 PM GMT
    What bothers me about some of the therapists I've had is that they are to passive...in other words, they want me to do all the talking. I like a therapist that can engage me and draw things out of me that I might not normally think to talk about on my own. (And we all have those.) I think talk therapy is a generaly positive thing, and most people should try it. But I know some people come away discouraged because they didn't learn anything or didn't feel it was productive. Like a peronal trainer, you may need to try a few different people before you find one that is appropriate for you.
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    Mar 28, 2008 6:14 PM GMT
    Reading these posts, has confirmed my belief that there are a lot of very resilient and wise gay people on RJ.

    Kudos to everyone who realized they had a problem and sought help, it is not something that is easy for a male to do (I should know being a pig-headed so-and-so).

    I have come across some "adults" in the gay community who have not taken that step. They seem to be going down a path of more self-destructive behaviour. They are abusing drugs or alcohol, practicing unsafe sex, or being abusive to others.

    The analogy I would use about trying to live your life as an adult with underlying psychological issues? It is like driving a car in bad weather at night without the headlights on. You know how to drive, but you can't really see where you are going.
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    Mar 28, 2008 6:18 PM GMT
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