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Thread: What are your experiences with getting psychotherapy?

  1. #11
    Mr. Blue Array entropie's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    3w2 so


    I had 3 people I performed psychotherapy on:

    One sits in asylum and thinks he is an ape, one went into politics and one is missing for 3 years. So didnt went good at all :/
    Johari / Nohari

    "How dreadful!" cried Lord Henry. "I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect."
    ~ Oscar Wilde - The picture of Dorian Gray

  2. #12
    Senior Member Array Saslou's Avatar
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    Feb 2009


    ^^^ Can you let me out now, please?

    I have asked for help in the past .. One bloke was a complete asshole and wanted me to admit myself .. *sigh* .. Lol

    One man was absolutely amazing and really did help me change some of my thinking.

    Last bloke .. Well i am not sure who was the client. I already knew where is was going so able to answer his questions. Pretty much a waste of time.

    Good luck though.
    “I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower, you hung all your associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see—and I don't.”
    ― Georgia O'Keeffe

  3. #13
    wants Mifune clone minion Array Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    5w4 sx/sp


    Ive learned that, personally, I get a lot more out of psychotherapy if I show up at the session with a succinct, bullet-point summary of whatever I want to work on. In between sessions Id usually journal like crazy, which would really help me single out the issues that were bothering me the most. Then- within the 24 hours before the session- Id condense it into a list. And Id prioritize the list by putting the points that bothered me the most at the top. More often than not, I wouldnt even make it to the bottom of the list by the end of the session.

    It also helped when I formed specific questions about each of the points. To figure out which questions to ask the therapist, Id look at my list and ask myself why I need help with each of the points. Whatever questions I wouldn't be able to answer myself are the questions Id toss at the therapist.

    And finally, it also really helped me to take notes during the session about whatever feedback the therapist had to offer.

    Whenever Ive gotten lazy and didnt keep up this routine, then my experience of psychotherapy would invariably end up almost exactly like this:

    Quote Originally Posted by blankpages View Post
    I've seen a few therapists/counselors, and there was only one that I particularly liked. He treated me with such genuine warmth and respect, and I became quite attached to him. Unfortunately the therapy itself felt aimless and directionless. I was supposed to provide the direction, decide how I wanted to use each session, and I usually wasn't able to do it. I'd sort of come in every week and he'd say, bring me up to speed, what's been happening, how do you want to use this time...And I wouldn't know what to tell him. My life was very stagnant, nothing much was happening, plus I was in university and putting the limited energy and drive I had at the time into keeping up with my course work. There just wouldn't be anything new to tell him. I'd be sitting there thinking, well, everything I told you when I first arranged to see you still applies, so what am I supposed to say now?? You know all this stuff.

    Sigh. I don't know what caused the failure, so I don't know how to do it differently in the future, or if I should even try it again. Was it my own self-consciousness that kept me too quiet? Was I not active enough in initiating change outside of the sessions? Was it a poor match, even though I liked him and trusted him? He said the last time I saw him that he may not have had "the resources" to help me. I don't know what he meant by that or what "resources" I'm supposed to look for. He also said it may not have been "the right time" in my life. Seems possible, but again, what am I supposed to do about that?
    Its really easy to fall into the rut where- in spite of feeling like things arent fantastic and I want someone elses insight- it doesnt feel like the sessions are doing anything for me. There were even times- when I didnt have a list to focus on- where, much like Athenian wrote, Im certain the therapist got more helpful insight out of me than I got out of her. At least for me, having a specific, prioritized list of issues/questions is the only thing that made psychotherapy consistently helpful.

    And for what its worth, my psychotherapist felt it was really helpful as well.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

    5w4 sx/sp Johari / Nohari

  4. #14
    4x9 Array cascadeco's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    4 so/sp


    Four years ago (?? I think it was about then??) I ended up going to a therapist weekly for about three months, as I was spinning my wheels on my own and getting nowhere, and I realized at that point that I needed another source.

    I think it's important to find a therapist who will meet your specific needs, and what you specifically desire out of the process. For my own situation at the time, I mostly just needed a listening ear/empathizer/supporter, and through the process she said a few things that sparked something in my mind and cleared my mind out -- just a different approach to the entire situation.

    I ended up ceasing to go because I no longer needed the 'Listener'. She was really skilled at Relating - I think that was her strength as a therapist - but by the end of it I no longer needed someone who only related, I would have preferred instead a therapist who could give me *actionable items* to actually work on - giving me a game plan, as such. Being more probing, being more hardcore in the end and pushing me/challenging me. That said, it's important to actually *communicate* what you want out of it!! haha. Otherwise the therapist doesn't have much concrete to work with either.

    Anyway, so yeah. I'd say just go into it knowing what you want/need to get out of it, and if the initial therapist doesn't meet your needs due to his/her own skillset, then find someone who is more suited to what you want out of it.

    Good luck! I think it's a huge step in taking your health/self into your own hands and trying to address whatever it is that is of concern to you.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  5. #15


    Quote Originally Posted by blankpages View Post
    I was supposed to provide the direction, decide how I wanted to use each session, and I usually wasn't able to do it. I'd sort of come in every week and he'd say, bring me up to speed, what's been happening, how do you want to use this time...And I wouldn't know what to tell him. My life was very stagnant, nothing much was happening, plus I was in university and putting the limited energy and drive I had at the time into keeping up with my course work. There just wouldn't be anything new to tell him. I'd be sitting there thinking, well, everything I told you when I first arranged to see you still applies, so what am I supposed to say now?? You know all this stuff.
    That sounds extremely familiar. I don't know what they hope to achieve with that kind of crap. I suppose it all sounds very PC and that they're afraid to be accused of railroading you or putting words into your mouth. Some of them don't want to be in a position where you can say they "made" you do or say things you didn't want to or feel ready for; I suspect that's what's behind that approach, a lot of the time.

    I mean, it might work for someone who's in tune with their feelings and stuff like that, who can think in advance and plan things like that. But I can't see any T being able to do that very well at all - especially not early on in the treatment - and I can't imagine it suiting a P either.

    A counsellor I know tells me that sometimes people pitch up, knowing they just need help, but their brain's a total mess and they don't have a clue where to start - that's why they came to her. She says it's her job, with people like that, to help them figure out what's eating them and why. It seems some therapists take it for granted that everyone knows what's bothering them for starters, and that they just want help with techniques of solving it.

    Another approach I encountered was the one where they take up most of the session with detailing to you their plan and asking if you understand and are okay with it. I parodied it once to a friend who asked how the therapy session went. It was like, I came in and he said "Right, now, what we're going to do today, i'm just going to tell you first what I plan for us to do today, and you can tell me what you think, are you okay with that? Do you understand that? Well, what I wanted to do was that, well, after you came in I'd greet you, then we'd check that you were okay with that greeting and I'd get some feedback off you about how that went, then maybe you could try greeting me, and I'll give you some feedback on that, and then we could try sitting down. Are you okay with sitting down? Just tell me if you feel I'm pushing you too hard here, it's no use if we go too fast, is it? So, if you're alright with that, then we can start on our greeting and see how that goes, and then we'll take it from there and see if we need to adjust the plan, depending on the feedback you give me..."

    I was like,
    I'm male and over 30, FYI.
    Preferences: 20% Extravert, 98% Intuitive, 68% Thinker, 17% Perceiving

  6. #16
    Dhampyr Array Economica's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by jenocyde View Post
    I have no experiences to share. I just wanted to wish you the best of luck, Economica.
    Thanks, jenocyde!

    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post

    I'm too good at figuring out what they're doing and why. In fact, the last time I ended up giving them helpful advice regarding one of their issues.

    But good luck! Hopefully you aren't so knowledgable about psychology that you can't benefit from this. I think it doesn't work as well once you know how it works.
    I've told you this many times, Athenian, but you crack me up! (MacGuffin, does this kind of funny count?)

    Since I am doing this voluntarily, and since I don't have any trust issues, and especially since a simple "how do you feel?" can be enough to tongue-tie me, I'm not really worried on this score. We'll see.

    (In fact, I think a chat bot asking me variations of "how does that make you feel?" could go a long way as my therapist. )

    Quote Originally Posted by proximo View Post
    Economica, I think it's incredibly brave of you to face this demon, and very wise of you to enlist help with it.
    Thanks for the support.

    Although it's been getting more 'normal' here in the UK for people to see counsellors and stuff, it still draws comments and, I think, is generally seen as a last resort. It's certainly not as ubiquitous or readily recoursed to as it seems to be in the US.
    (You're not mistaking me for an American, are you? )

    I'm not sure about how taboo it might still be over here. I know a lot of people who have gotten psychotherapy, but then I tend to gravitate toward those people.


    ^ That was as far as I got this morning, before I went on my round-trip.

    Right after the session I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and go back for another session, but five hours later I'm forcing myself to accept that he turned out not to be good enough (for me) to merit his wage, let alone the travel time and expense. I could forgive him for interrupting me at least 10 times in two hours and for not noticing whenever I indicated that I had gotten his point but continuing to develop his train of thought for another 10+ seconds. I cannot forgive him for sticking with his first opinion of a predicament after I provided him with new information (or for not at least recognizing that it was important to me that he do so and then going meta about that) and singing the same tune to me for over an hour. (I'm not going to reveal the situation, but suffice it to say that I was trying to convince him that I had acted badly (so we could move on to talking about what had caused me to do so).) I guess it just didn't compute that for once the bad guy (/girl) had shown up in therapy, willingly accepting responsibility for wrongdoing and asking for help to improve.

    I guess my search for a competent therapist is on again.


    Other contributors to the thread, thank you for your support and for sharing your experiences and especially for the advice about taking responsibility for the sessions which I found/find most useful (although I can't really imagine myself ever not doing that and then some but still ).

  7. #17
    Protocol Droid Array Athenian200's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Economica View Post
    (In fact, I think a chat bot asking me variations of "how does that make you feel?" could go a long way as my therapist. )
    You're free to try.

    Eliza test.

    As far as I'm concerned, it's better than a human psychologist because it's not opinionated, listens to you, has no prejudices, hang-ups, or any of it's own issues obscuring the situation, and helps you come to your own conclusions rather than ramming an idea down your throat.


    It sounds to me like you're not really willing to listen to a therapist's judgment and thinking over your own. Your frustration and disagreement with the analysis indicates that. The only thing that seems like it will satisfy you is when you find a therapist that agrees with your self-assessment and assessment of the situation, and instructs you accordingly.

    You may very well be right, but I think the irony is that you might actually be using therapy to AVOID the issues you need to face. In other words, to believe you're confronting the issues or "doing something about them," but actually delaying taking action or changing the way you live in the ways that you probably already know you need to. The reason I know this is because, well... I'm doing this myself. My biggest issue, by far, is being TOO aware of my psychological issues and not simply living, or taking action to confront the issues.

    Since you're forming opinions about their competence so quickly, you're betraying the idea that you already have an opinion about what your issues are, and trust yourself above therapists to judge the rightness/wrongness of your own behavior accurately. And if you do, that means you probably need to do something about them, not talk about them.

    I'm not a licensed therapist and I make no guarantees as to the soundness of the above advice. It's just my opinion.

  8. #18


    I'm afraid I'm inclined to echo Athenian's thoughts this time... but with a different conclusion. I think you ought to stick with one therapist for a good six or more sessions before you can really judge whether they're doing you any good or not.

    I know I said counsellors never did me much good, but the spiritual advisors I've seen have been immensely helpful to me. Because seeing them regularly was a condition of the training I was receiving for the job I wanted, I had to stick with them regardless of what my personal opinion was, and that opinion often sounded a bit like your summary of your therapist today.

    But I discovered later on that, most of the time, that was my arrogance and impatience speaking. And because I had to stick with it, they had time to prove me wrong.

    So, stick with it. Therapists are not psychic or superhuman. They have to get to know you first, just as you do them. No first session is going to be that brilliant, and even the good sessions subsequently will often seem to you to be no good, until you've had time (and it can take a long time) to reflect on them in light of experience and feedback from loved ones.

    Just think, it'd be a real one in the eye for that false self, if you were to exercise humility and give up the judgement on something to someone else, suspending and overriding your own. Easier said than done, I know, but from experience (as a person very prone to arrogance and narcissism myself), it's about the only thing that'll enable you to start making true progress.
    I'm male and over 30, FYI.
    Preferences: 20% Extravert, 98% Intuitive, 68% Thinker, 17% Perceiving

  9. #19
    Banned Array
    Join Date
    Jul 2009


    My therapist drove me insane. Before the third session I was sensing a lot of weird things in my own life that he would say were down right good because he wanted me to explore them. What, you might ask were the crazy things? Well, this is not a really good description, but, things such as feeling and also thinking things and then following that, seeing it all play out on certain television channels. And hearing my entire life story broadcasted on my little radio as I was resting in the afternoon. And abnormal thoughts about normal things; making up stories about neighbors being mean when in reality they are nice, conscious people. Lots of little things that added up to, well, craziness. So I stopped going, but the "visions" continued.

  10. #20
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Array Mole's Avatar
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    Mar 2008


    I've had good experiences with a therapist.

    I think this is because I have attended a therapist, not because I am psychotic or even neurotic, but because I was captivated by reading about a particular therapy, such as Reichian therapy. So at the first opportunity I attended a Reichian therapist.

    What we discovered was that I am naturally exuberant. And that a delightful way for me to express my exuberance was by dancing.

    I don't dance for performance. I dance from the inside. I listen to the inner music and let my body enjoy itself. So you might say, I dance for joy.

    Or you might say, I practise a form of meditative dance. And I love to share my meditative dance - for joy shared is joy doubled.

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