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Does Therapy Really Help?


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#1 whitman77

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:27 PM

Hi There,

This is my question:

Does therapy really help? Or does it just throw up more that it solves?

Whitman
You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of - Eckhart Tolle

#2 jimbow15

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:36 PM

Hi

In my opinion therapy does help, it is the fact that you are talking over you problems that makes the difference.

You will also get useful feedback and insights you could not get on your own as you are too caught up in your problem.

So yes therapy does help .

Jim Bow
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed." Albert E.


Information supplied on Depression Forums by members should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for medical advice from a health professional or doctor.

#3 whitman77

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:43 PM

Hi

In my opinion therapy does help, it is the fact that you are talking over you problems that makes the difference.

You will also get useful feedback and insights you could not get on your own as you are too caught up in your problem.

So yes therapy does help .

Jim Bow


Hi Jimbow,

Thanks for your reply.

I've thought about therapy. For a year i even trained to be a counsellor. I see the value of couselling as, like you say, it gives you a chance to talk things over. I feel so much better when i address my depression on another level. Just wondered if anyone felt the same.

Whitman
You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of - Eckhart Tolle

#4 libra19890

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 07:56 PM

I've had several therapists, eight or more. When I was a teenager my parents made me go to some "gay reparative therapists," so the first five therapists whom I saw were ideologically driven and put some dubious ideas in my adolescent head. However, it was good for me to express my persistent depression to someone who understood that it was real. I think it's the rare friend or family member who can understand depression. Even as a person who has for fourteen years struggled with depression I find it difficult to listen sympathetically to others' expressions of their difficult feelings (anger, sadness, self-loathing, etc.) Therapists are professional listeners, and listening is a remarkable skill. On top of that, they may have some proactive ideas such as medicine and other therapies.

The therapist whom I saw for the longest period, a "gay reparative therapist," in spite of promoting a fundamentally homophobic worldview in every session, had one very therapeutic technique. His focus was on expression, connection, and feedback - the "double loop" he called it. It was essentially good listening, thoroughly analyzed. If I felt anger, he wanted me to express it to him until I felt that he had "gotten it." When I felt that he had "gotten it," then the double loop was complete and some healing had supposedly taken place. It did feel amazing to have that connection with someone who wanted to understand my feelings both intellectually and emotionally, to have that interpersonal connection during my conscious experience of difficult emotions which had previously been cause for shame.

On that therapist's recommendation I went to an interesting men's group called Mankind Project. This group has come under a lot of criticism, but I really appreciate it. The "Warrior Weekend" was an experience I'll never forget. I would gladly do it over again. If you're a man who feels emotionally disconnected from other men, if you have insecurities about your body, if you feel shame, I highly recommend this group.

Another technique which that therapist used was EMDR, which I never thought much of. It always annoyed me to go through the steps of repeating sentences and watching that stupid light. I'm unconvinced that EMDR works, although the basic hypothesis behind it (that bilateral stimulation of the two major brain hemispheres helps to resolve emotional conflicts) is interesting. I complained about it several times, but he convinced me to keep trying it. I think he should have switched tactics.

Two of the other therapists I saw were also "gay reparative therapists" and filled my head with their hypotheses about my sexual orientation being rooted in gender identity problems originating in early childhood. In total I saw three "gay reparative therapists," all of whom were deeply religious. This, I believe, made their hypotheses on sexual orientation a foregone conclusion. These other two were also poorly qualified, having achieved only MFCC licenses. I think they were of little use to me except that they gave me time to focus on myself and to get away from extraordinarily stilted family.

The other religious, although not specialized "gay reparative," therapists I saw were also poorly qualified and harbored unorthodox, religiously biased views on sexuality.

I've seen three secular, non-homophobic therapists. The most recent has introduced me to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which seems an interesting paradigm for changing one's feelings. Unfortunately I haven't been able to afford to see this therapist much. However, his suggestion that I choose alternate background stories to substitute for the negative ones that cause particular events to upset me, has been helpful. Apparently this has something to do with CBT, and I really should investigate more.

Before I started therapy I hoped for someone to take charge of my problems, to diagnose and prescribe. I felt out of control and I wanted someone to take control the way doctors do. I wanted analysis. I wanted to know the causes of my problems. I wanted Sigmund Freud to trick my subconscious into evincing its secrets and then to analyze them and prescribe specific treatments, putting me in control of my emotions. Unfortunately therapy hasn't been this straightforward. Only "gay reparative therapists" have attempted to provide that kind of service for me, and the goal of treatment was always heterosexuality, not happily living my life as my true self.

In conclusion, my recommendation is for everyone who is depressed to try therapy for a while. You should shop for the right therapist. Maybe your first therapist will be wonderful, but maybe you will feel that he is a waste of money. If you're not satisfied, try another. You should definitely feel that your therapist understands your feelings. You should feel comfortable speaking freely about embarrassing events and feelings. I think you should feel that he is personally invested in your well-being, not just there for the money. You should sometimes feel better after a session, like a burden has been lifted and you're lighter and free to be happy.

For me, just making an appointment with a therapist gives me hope and lifts my mood. Including a professional in your search for freedom from depression is a major proactive step. If you can pull together the money for a therapist, what else could be a better expenditure? Without your health you haven't got anything. This is especially true of mental health.

Good luck!

#5 SoulSurvivor

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 08:18 PM

I think it depends if you connect with your therapist- I was told by the psychriatrist I saw last week- that he "wasn't into talk therapy" all he wanted to do is prescribe medication- so after waiting a month that was what I got... he was a real jerk- you wonder what he went to medical school for?

So I am going to try this new person on Monday- but she is just a intern from the University while I wait yet another month and a half for my regular doctor who has seen me for the last 4 years at this free clinic he is volunteering at- but looking back.. I am not sure if he ever helped me
Always forgive your enemies....nothing annoys them so much....
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#6 whitman77

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 12:08 PM

I've had several therapists, eight or more. When I was a teenager my parents made me go to some "gay reparative therapists," so the first five therapists whom I saw were ideologically driven and put some dubious ideas in my adolescent head. However, it was good for me to express my persistent depression to someone who understood that it was real. I think it's the rare friend or family member who can understand depression. Even as a person who has for fourteen years struggled with depression I find it difficult to listen sympathetically to others' expressions of their difficult feelings (anger, sadness, self-loathing, etc.) Therapists are professional listeners, and listening is a remarkable skill. On top of that, they may have some proactive ideas such as medicine and other therapies.

The therapist whom I saw for the longest period, a "gay reparative therapist," in spite of promoting a fundamentally homophobic worldview in every session, had one very therapeutic technique. His focus was on expression, connection, and feedback - the "double loop" he called it. It was essentially good listening, thoroughly analyzed. If I felt anger, he wanted me to express it to him until I felt that he had "gotten it." When I felt that he had "gotten it," then the double loop was complete and some healing had supposedly taken place. It did feel amazing to have that connection with someone who wanted to understand my feelings both intellectually and emotionally, to have that interpersonal connection during my conscious experience of difficult emotions which had previously been cause for shame.

On that therapist's recommendation I went to an interesting men's group called Mankind Project. This group has come under a lot of criticism, but I really appreciate it. The "Warrior Weekend" was an experience I'll never forget. I would gladly do it over again. If you're a man who feels emotionally disconnected from other men, if you have insecurities about your body, if you feel shame, I highly recommend this group.

Another technique which that therapist used was EMDR, which I never thought much of. It always annoyed me to go through the steps of repeating sentences and watching that stupid light. I'm unconvinced that EMDR works, although the basic hypothesis behind it (that bilateral stimulation of the two major brain hemispheres helps to resolve emotional conflicts) is interesting. I complained about it several times, but he convinced me to keep trying it. I think he should have switched tactics.

Two of the other therapists I saw were also "gay reparative therapists" and filled my head with their hypotheses about my sexual orientation being rooted in gender identity problems originating in early childhood. In total I saw three "gay reparative therapists," all of whom were deeply religious. This, I believe, made their hypotheses on sexual orientation a foregone conclusion. These other two were also poorly qualified, having achieved only MFCC licenses. I think they were of little use to me except that they gave me time to focus on myself and to get away from extraordinarily stilted family.

The other religious, although not specialized "gay reparative," therapists I saw were also poorly qualified and harbored unorthodox, religiously biased views on sexuality.

I've seen three secular, non-homophobic therapists. The most recent has introduced me to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which seems an interesting paradigm for changing one's feelings. Unfortunately I haven't been able to afford to see this therapist much. However, his suggestion that I choose alternate background stories to substitute for the negative ones that cause particular events to upset me, has been helpful. Apparently this has something to do with CBT, and I really should investigate more.

Before I started therapy I hoped for someone to take charge of my problems, to diagnose and prescribe. I felt out of control and I wanted someone to take control the way doctors do. I wanted analysis. I wanted to know the causes of my problems. I wanted Sigmund Freud to trick my subconscious into evincing its secrets and then to analyze them and prescribe specific treatments, putting me in control of my emotions. Unfortunately therapy hasn't been this straightforward. Only "gay reparative therapists" have attempted to provide that kind of service for me, and the goal of treatment was always heterosexuality, not happily living my life as my true self.

In conclusion, my recommendation is for everyone who is depressed to try therapy for a while. You should shop for the right therapist. Maybe your first therapist will be wonderful, but maybe you will feel that he is a waste of money. If you're not satisfied, try another. You should definitely feel that your therapist understands your feelings. You should feel comfortable speaking freely about embarrassing events and feelings. I think you should feel that he is personally invested in your well-being, not just there for the money. You should sometimes feel better after a session, like a burden has been lifted and you're lighter and free to be happy.

For me, just making an appointment with a therapist gives me hope and lifts my mood. Including a professional in your search for freedom from depression is a major proactive step. If you can pull together the money for a therapist, what else could be a better expenditure? Without your health you haven't got anything. This is especially true of mental health.

Good luck!


Hi libra19890,

Thank you for taking the time to write your well thought reponse. I agree that there is nothing more worthwhile to spend money on than your health. I guess I am just coming from a slightly different direction which some people may not understand. I am just unsure that the mind can heal the mind. People I have met who have been to therapy seem to have just filled up their mind with more mental chatter. The guy who was teaching me counselling was a bit unbalanced himself!
I have never spoken to anyone who "got better" after seeing a pyschiatrist. I have not spoken to many people about this though so I may have just spoken to the "wrong" people.

I feel that meditation and spirituality are far more a source of help. Have profoundly helped me in very dark times. Of course then I find more problems and forget what I had previously learned. I am still undecided about the therapy thing.

Thanks,
Whitman
You are not just a meaningless fragment in an alien universe, briefly suspended between life and death, allowed a few short-lived pleasures followed by pain and ultimate annihilation. Underneath your outer form, you are connected with something so vast, so immeasurable and sacred, that it cannot be spoken of - Eckhart Tolle

#7 uksarah

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:26 PM

I've had several therapists, eight or more. When I was a teenager my parents made me go to some "gay reparative therapists," so the first five therapists whom I saw were ideologically driven and put some dubious ideas in my adolescent head. However, it was good for me to express my persistent depression to someone who understood that it was real. I think it's the rare friend or family member who can understand depression. Even as a person who has for fourteen years struggled with depression I find it difficult to listen sympathetically to others' expressions of their difficult feelings (anger, sadness, self-loathing, etc.) Therapists are professional listeners, and listening is a remarkable skill. On top of that, they may have some proactive ideas such as medicine and other therapies.

The therapist whom I saw for the longest period, a "gay reparative therapist," in spite of promoting a fundamentally homophobic worldview in every session, had one very therapeutic technique. His focus was on expression, connection, and feedback - the "double loop" he called it. It was essentially good listening, thoroughly analyzed. If I felt anger, he wanted me to express it to him until I felt that he had "gotten it." When I felt that he had "gotten it," then the double loop was complete and some healing had supposedly taken place. It did feel amazing to have that connection with someone who wanted to understand my feelings both intellectually and emotionally, to have that interpersonal connection during my conscious experience of difficult emotions which had previously been cause for shame.

On that therapist's recommendation I went to an interesting men's group called Mankind Project. This group has come under a lot of criticism, but I really appreciate it. The "Warrior Weekend" was an experience I'll never forget. I would gladly do it over again. If you're a man who feels emotionally disconnected from other men, if you have insecurities about your body, if you feel shame, I highly recommend this group.

Another technique which that therapist used was EMDR, which I never thought much of. It always annoyed me to go through the steps of repeating sentences and watching that stupid light. I'm unconvinced that EMDR works, although the basic hypothesis behind it (that bilateral stimulation of the two major brain hemispheres helps to resolve emotional conflicts) is interesting. I complained about it several times, but he convinced me to keep trying it. I think he should have switched tactics.

Two of the other therapists I saw were also "gay reparative therapists" and filled my head with their hypotheses about my sexual orientation being rooted in gender identity problems originating in early childhood. In total I saw three "gay reparative therapists," all of whom were deeply religious. This, I believe, made their hypotheses on sexual orientation a foregone conclusion. These other two were also poorly qualified, having achieved only MFCC licenses. I think they were of little use to me except that they gave me time to focus on myself and to get away from extraordinarily stilted family.

The other religious, although not specialized "gay reparative," therapists I saw were also poorly qualified and harbored unorthodox, religiously biased views on sexuality.

I've seen three secular, non-homophobic therapists. The most recent has introduced me to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which seems an interesting paradigm for changing one's feelings. Unfortunately I haven't been able to afford to see this therapist much. However, his suggestion that I choose alternate background stories to substitute for the negative ones that cause particular events to upset me, has been helpful. Apparently this has something to do with CBT, and I really should investigate more.

Before I started therapy I hoped for someone to take charge of my problems, to diagnose and prescribe. I felt out of control and I wanted someone to take control the way doctors do. I wanted analysis. I wanted to know the causes of my problems. I wanted Sigmund Freud to trick my subconscious into evincing its secrets and then to analyze them and prescribe specific treatments, putting me in control of my emotions. Unfortunately therapy hasn't been this straightforward. Only "gay reparative therapists" have attempted to provide that kind of service for me, and the goal of treatment was always heterosexuality, not happily living my life as my true self.

In conclusion, my recommendation is for everyone who is depressed to try therapy for a while. You should shop for the right therapist. Maybe your first therapist will be wonderful, but maybe you will feel that he is a waste of money. If you're not satisfied, try another. You should definitely feel that your therapist understands your feelings. You should feel comfortable speaking freely about embarrassing events and feelings. I think you should feel that he is personally invested in your well-being, not just there for the money. You should sometimes feel better after a session, like a burden has been lifted and you're lighter and free to be happy.

For me, just making an appointment with a therapist gives me hope and lifts my mood. Including a professional in your search for freedom from depression is a major proactive step. If you can pull together the money for a therapist, what else could be a better expenditure? Without your health you haven't got anything. This is especially true of mental health.

Good luck!


Hi libra19890,

Thank you for taking the time to write your well thought reponse. I agree that there is nothing more worthwhile to spend money on than your health. I guess I am just coming from a slightly different direction which some people may not understand. I am just unsure that the mind can heal the mind. People I have met who have been to therapy seem to have just filled up their mind with more mental chatter. The guy who was teaching me counselling was a bit unbalanced himself!
I have never spoken to anyone who "got better" after seeing a pyschiatrist. I have not spoken to many people about this though so I may have just spoken to the "wrong" people.

I feel that meditation and spirituality are far more a source of help. Have profoundly helped me in very dark times. Of course then I find more problems and forget what I had previously learned. I am still undecided about the therapy thing.

Thanks,
Whitman


Hi whitman77 iv been to 3 different therapists in the past and from experiance i believe it does help but i believe that it helps if you find a therapist that you can connect with.

My new therapist is about the only one that i have ever connected with and it has helped me in many ways.
Its not just the talking thats helped but my therapist helped me realize things about myself i never realized like the patterns of which i spent a lot of time and energy on and i was so caught up in the past that my mind was no in the here and now and i never realized that until my therapist pointed it out.

She has also helped me by giving me things to think about and goals to set. Like a couple of weeks back she said i should spend more time doing things that i enjoy and to try not to use all my energy dwelling on past evens but instead to focus on the present.

To me therapy was one of the best choices i made. I used to find meditation helped me but when i feel low i find it hard to meditate when i calm my thoughts things are ok but in my case thats easier said then done. I used to meditate a lot i even have a collection of music for that but i dont do that as often as i would like to.

I believe there is some form of help out there for everyone and that everyone of us is different it took me years to find the help i needed for a while i believed that maybe therapy would not help me but therapy i believe is only as good as the therapist.

One therapist i had would just sit there and nod and maybe repeat a few things back that you had already said. The next one well she was great but my sessions got cut short by the doctor.

My new one well shes been greate and iv felt safe enough to open up to her and although i only has 6 sessions booked and then they are suposed to review that but instead she has given me more sessions and the time and care i need to get through the past and the problems i encounter. I just feel she cares and has helped me analize what i am feeling and to really think about what is going through my mind when i am in a negative frame of mind.

Therapy i dont think is for everyone but i dont think it hurts to try therapy and hopefully find a therapist that you click with. There are so many different types of therapists out there and some of them have different areas of therapy they work in.

Hope this helps.

#8 rehill

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:27 PM

I have been seeing my psychiatrist for 7 years and he has been an immense help. I am doing much better than I was, and while I still have a long way to go, I am feeling more alive than I have in years. My doctor does both therapy and meds and I feel very blessed to have him.

Yes, I think therapy helps. I believe understanding the why's of how we behave, think and react helps us go a long way toward changing those negative behaviors in our lives. At least I know it has helped me. It may be a long process, but definitley one worth pursuing.


#9 libra19890

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 06:44 AM

I've also been skeptical about therapy when I've noticed that so few people are ever cured. Therapy definitely brings our focus to our feelings, and for some of us that may be important. For me it was, but then all I thought about were my emotions and that became more mental chatter, like you said. A therapist could help you identify some triggers that you haven't addressed, such as bad relationships or job stresses. That could be immensely helpful.

I like the idea of meditation. But then, depression gets in the way of such goals, doesn't it? They say exercise is excellent for alleviating depression, but when I'm depressed I can't get myself to the gym. If I do go to the gym while I'm depressed, I feel miserable the whole time and leave discouraged. Isn't meditation similar? When you're depressed it's difficult to get in the zone. If it's different for you, then I wonder why you don't become a full-time meditator.

By the way, there's a very interesting TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor that you might enjoy. I highly recommend watching it. I found her very uplifting.

#10 libra19890

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 07:00 AM

I've also been skeptical about therapy when I've noticed that so few people are ever cured. Therapy definitely brings our focus to our feelings, and for some of us that may be important. For me it was, but then all I thought about were my emotions and that became more mental chatter, like you said. A therapist could help you identify some triggers that you haven't addressed, such as bad relationships or job stresses. That could be immensely helpful.

I like the idea of meditation. But then, depression gets in the way of such goals, doesn't it? They say exercise is excellent for alleviating depression, but when I'm depressed I can't get myself to the gym. If I do go to the gym while I'm depressed, I feel miserable the whole time and leave discouraged. Isn't meditation similar? When you're depressed it's difficult to get in the zone. If it's different for you, then I wonder why you don't become a full-time meditator.

By the way, there's a very interesting TED talk by Jill Bolte Taylor that you might enjoy. I highly recommend watching it. I found her very uplifting.




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