At what point did you decide to seek out a therapist?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. earllogjam

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    When do you know you need professional help to get you through a problem? How do you go about choosing one? How does it help?
     
  2. nudeyorker

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    Depends on the problem, my first suggestion is talk to your doctor who may have a referal for a specialist in the area you seek help with!
    If you want to PM me and tell me what the problem is I might have a suggestion.
    Good luck!
     
  3. B_Think_Kink

    B_Think_Kink New Member

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    When I couldn't walk down the street without thinking people were judging me. After I'd pushed every person out of my life. When I was unable to focus my life on anything positive.
     
  4. B_Italian1

    B_Italian1 New Member

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    You know you need help when your problem is interfering with your life big time.

    I looked in my insurance book and picked out all of the ones nearby, and then called to see which one could see me the soonest.

    I don't have much faith in therapy and avoided that part, but the meds were a miracle.
     
  5. frizzle

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    I was forced into one as a child because of my anger problem.
     
  6. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Yeah. Same here. I had, in the terminology of the day, "a nervous breakdown," when I was 7 or 8. The doctor just had me draw a lot of pictures but never talked to me beyond that. I didn't think it did much for me so we stopped going.

    I have a love/hate relationship with the mental health profession. My extensive experience with it has showed me there are a lot of bad mental health professionals out there.

    I just saw two people for my current issues. One was very helpful if a bit weird. The other ignored my reason for being there completely, focused on my history, handed me a packet of Effexor and told me to come back in two weeks. He was a total asshole and I didn't return to him.

    The key to finding a good therapist is to educate yourself about what is going on, what you want to get out of therapy, and then interview potential therapists as seriously as you'd be interviewing nannies for your kids. Write it all down and bring it with you. Ask about their experience with the sort of issues you have, what goals you are seeking, and what method the therapist thinks is best to achieve those goals. Ask about their credentials and years in practice.

    I found another therapist via Body Electric who I am very excited about seeing and hope he will be able to help me with achieving some of the breakthroughs I need.

    The key to success is finding the modality that works for you. I have seen at least 15 or 20 different shrinks of various sorts from classical analysts to the new agey. The smartest one I saw once told me, "You know far more about your illness than we do. You have to guide us." He was right. Be proactive, don't be intimidated, and if something isn't going the way you like then say so just as if you would say when something is going the way you like.

    My last warning is fairly simple even if it is sad. Be sure the person you see is gay-friendly. I've run into a few therapists who were quite repulsed by my sexual orientation even if it is no longer a DSM classification.
     
  7. earllogjam

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    Thanks nudeyorker. :smile: I think part of the problem is that I don't exactly know what the problem is.

    Most of the therapists I know have many many personal problems. You would think they would be the first to get their act together but alas I think it is part of the attraction to the profession for them. Not to say that there aren't great therapists out there as I am sure they are but how do you find them? It seems like I'd be interviewing a person for a job I knew nothing about.
     
  8. 36DD

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    I knew when I could no longer repress the built up anger and feelings of worthlessness I had worked so hard to conceal after my rape. When my own daughter was raped it all came out like a flood...I sat in bed for a solid week just crying and lost 12 pounds.
     
  9. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Then the first thing to ask yourself is what do you want to get out of it? You may not know what the problem is yet something has drawn you to the idea that therapy might be helpful for your situation:

    • What would you like to be able to think or believe about yourself that you do not now?
    • Are you noticing different close friends, family, or associates saying the same thing to you? Do they seem concerned about something? Sometimes others can tell us more about ourselves than we can.
    • Have you changed habits or found that things you used to do no longer satisfy you?
    • Are your long-term relationships with close friends, family, or associates changing?
    • Do you find yourself reacting with greater emotional intensity to situations that did not provoke those reactions before?
    • Have any of your core beliefs (spiritual, love, career, self-image) changed recently?
    Sit down by yourself and seriously ask yourself these questions. Ask those close to you if they have noticed any changes and ask for honest replies. What you say to yourself will give you an idea of the issues you should address in therapy.
     
  10. simcha

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    When do you know you need professional help to get you through a problem?

    Speaking from my experience, I knew when I was in so much pain I couldn't stand it anymore. I was in spiritual direction in seminary and the work I was doing was bringing up issues from having been abused as a child. I thought prayer, spiritual direction, diet, exercise, study, and work were going to be enough to see me through. I just kept experiencing more and more pain. My spiritual director at the time asked me, "Are you suffering enough yet to seek help?" He convinced me that the pain was inevitable. Suffering was a choice.

    How do you go about choosing one?

    I used his recommendation. He was a psychologist who worked at the seminary where I was going. I interviewed him and he asked me not to make a committment to the process of psychotherapy until we had met three times. He offered to give me referrals to other psychotherapists so I could interview more, if I wanted. After three sessions I felt that I had found the guy to help me through that particular stage in my healing process. I worked with him for a year until I ultimately came to understand that being gay wasn't a choice, it had nothing to do with having been abused as a child, that I was worthy of friendship and love, and that seminary wasn't for me.

    How does it help?

    Personally, a therapist calls me on shit that I miss in analyzing myself. For me it's sometimes easier to help others see what they need to work on and less obvious when it comes to my own issues. A good therapist guides me through my own process of realizations and helps me to find meaning so that I can cope with life. The answers are within me. A good therapist helps me to find my own answers. Also, when I'm clueless the therapist is there to give me tools to cope when I really don't know what to do. These tools might work for a time until I find other tools that are more in line with who I am and how I need to be.

    As a therapist I see myself as a guide. The answers come from the client. Most people know what they need to do to heal. Most people who come to therapy need a guide to help them see what they already have. And sometimes I see people who truly do have some gaps and handicaps. These times I have to help them to work around these gaps and handicaps in order to become more functional so that their lives can become more personally fulfilling to them. Most people are "normal neurotics" who given a chance to look at themselves in a mirror and shown what stands in their way can find their own solutions. Then there are the minority of people who truly harbor mental illness who do need more direction and ways of coping with true deficits.

    I would NEVER be a psychotherapist without having my own psychotherapist. The psychotherapist uses himself/herself as the instrument of change/healing. In order to be in top form, it is always necessary to tune my instrument/work on myself. Also, in working with others, there is always the counter-transference. The stuff that gets triggered in the psychotherapist that is the psychotherapist's own material to deal with. I use my psychotherapist to deal with issues that come up through working with clients who trigger places inside my own psyche where I need healing.

    And, I would never keep a client with whom I clearly couldn't work. If a client were to trigger too much for me, I must put ego aside and refer that client to another psychotherapist. That is the ethical thing to do.

    There is this concept of the wounded healer. I am a wounded healer. I live in the world. I experience life and the human condition. I get damaged and twisted like anyone else. I work on myself to the extent that I'm working with just a little bit more than my client's are working with. If my client surpasses my own healing process and development, our time together must end and it is my duty to refer them to someone else if they wish to carry on the work.

    Most therapists are wounded healers. The good ones are aware of this and are working on themselves. The bad ones aren't aware of it and react to their clients' issues in a way that can hurt their clients. Unfortunately a few bad apples in the bushel tends to ruin the bunch for many potential clients.
     
  11. 36DD

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    My therapist helped me to find out what my trigger points were for my feelings of worthlessness, and now that I can recognize them, I don't struggle with that as much...though I do have bad days still...
     
  12. Osiris

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    I knew I needed to go when I spent a full month locked up in my house, everything being delivered, broke up with my girlfriend, and cancelled all business and social engagements. That was over 20 years ago.

    Sometimes it takes someone we love very much telling us we need to go for our own good.

    Different ways of making that call happen to everyone. If you feel you are at that point, err on the side of being good to you and go. The worst that can happen is you get a stronger more secure you out of it. I know I did.

    As for choosing one, there are referral services and even ask people you know who have gone. There is no shame in therapy.
     
  13. Dave NoCal

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    Earl, you have gotten a number of very thoughtful responses. Jason, as always, strikes such a great balance of compassion and clarity.

    My thoughts are that you don't have to be in a total crisis to seek therapy. In fact, you may benefit more from being able to go into it in a measured and thoughtful way. I would say that a time to go for therapy is when what your are doing isn't working the way you want it to, you don't know why, and have run out of rational alternatives. One person I knew explained it: "I've realized that I have have a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" (cleverly playing on the words of Winston Churchill). He demonstrated keen insight that was a major assest in his quest to a more satisfying life.

    Finding a helpful therapist is a complicated task and it helps to have gotten some recommendations and to have some understanding of different models of practice. It may be important to interview several and to have some idea of the kind of person you can more easily, or can't, connect with.

    It works in different ways. For example, behavior therapy tends to focus primarily on behavior and much less so on its meaning. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on how we think ourselves into impasses and how we can thing ourselves out of them. Neither of these is focused on working through past hurts. It's the future that counts. This can be helpful and fast. However, they may "paper over" deep hurts that re-emerge under specific stimuli or stress.

    Carl Rogers developed a model called client-centered therapy. It's key approach is "unconditional positive regard." This can be helpful to people who struggle with doubt, low-self esteem, and problems with confidence. It leaves much to be desired for people who need to be called out on their bullshit.

    More psychodynamic models try to integrate past experience, especially past hurts and deprivations, to unconscious and preconscious conflicts that get acted out in self-sabotage. In addition, these models tend to place value in the idea that the realtionship with the therapist can be a "corrective emotional experience." Interestingly, perhaps, I once read a research report that found that when behaviorally oriented therapists seek therapy, they tend to go with therapists who practice in the psychodynamic model. Go figure.

    This is oversimplified but might be a usefull addition to others' wise comments. Good luck in your search. Feel free to PM if you like.

    Dave
     
  14. IntoxicatingToxin

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    Well, when I first saw a psychologist, I didn't choose to. My high school counselor saw all the scars on my arms from cutting myself with razor blades and had a bit of an intervention. She immediately called my mother out of work and had her take me straight to a hospital for a psych evaluation. My mother also chose the psychologist that I saw after leaving the mental ward of the hospital, and it was just through word-of-mouth.

    Since then, I've gone back to psychologists twice. I decided it was time when two things happened... one, I was more sad/angry/frustrated than happy. And two, when I just couldn't figure out the answer to the problems myself.

    Basically the psychologist helped me to get a grip and make sense of what was going on so I could process the info and remove the cluster fuck of emotions that I was experiencing. I'm getting ready to go back to see a psych again if I can get my dad to pay for it.

    Oh, by the way, I keep going back to see the same psych that my mom took me to when I was 17. He's freakn amazing.
     
  15. SLee1963

    SLee1963 New Member

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    I am just getting started on fixing myself since I did not know I was depressed I thought all was well. Bills were paid, roof over our heads. Then the wife decide that I was just lazy Yeah right I have been depressed they figure for the better part of my adult life but now it has been really bad for the last 5 years. Lost the wife, she gave up the kids did not that is nice but they are to be kids and not worry about their dear old dad. It really hit me that life was not as good as I thought it was. Money does not by happiness.I havve seen many dr's and Therapist as well just takes time some people can do it on their own. Roy Masters has been teaching ways to deal with it for years. He thinks we do not need meds and dr's. Kind of different way of looking at things but he does get results Foundation of Human Understanding - Home Page Good luck at least you are asking and getting real answers out here Best of luck.
     
  16. jason_els

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    Fantastic post Simcha!

    And thank you Dave!
     
  17. Purplesaurus

    Purplesaurus New Member

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    When I realized I didn't have any problems is one of the biggest problems you can have.
     
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