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Bridgeydidge

Bad Experience With Psychologist

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I've already posted a bit about this experience in my introductory post, but I wanted to say a bit more. I've always felt like psychotherapy can be a great help to depressed people, but I'm starting to lose hope in that.

Yesterday I had a bad experience with a new psychologist. I won't be going back to her. I walked in feeling not great but ok, and walked out feeling like bursting into tears. It was also very expensive, so I paid a lot of money to make myself feel worse.

She seemed friendly enough in the beginning, but clinical, and it felt very clear that I was the patient and she was the professional, and she was doing her job. I told her about some of my self-destructive behaviours and I felt like she was judging me for them. She focused on that and the fact that I'd had suicidal thoughts in the past (Even though I assured her I wasn't suicidal at the moment) She asked me endless questions about my coping behaviours, treatments I'd had in the past, details of my other doctors, and the details of the suicidal thoughts I had. She seemed to have no interest in getting to know me as a human being, or the root cause of why I feel like this in the first place.

Basically, she made me feel like a bit of a freak. I want to talk to someone who talks to me like a fellow human being, takes an interest in me and my life, and doesn't judge me. Do you think that too much to ask?

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Hi Bridgy.

Sorry it went so badly. I do think you can find someone who will be able to help you. It took me a long time to realise how different different psychological approaches feel when you are having therapy. Do you know what approach she uses? If she had a website you should be able to find out from there. Examples would be: CBT, DBT, gestalt. person centered. psychodynamic etc etc etc. I have realised that there are two factors. One is that some t's are bad at their job or make mistakes. The other is that often a t may be well suited to someone else but not me.

It sounds like you personally need warmth and reassurance in therapy from what you said above. Certain approaches are much less or more likely to give you that.

It may be that she judged you or it may very well be that she didn't at all but was being fairly clinical about the evaluation. Thorough discussions about your history, treatment and what worked and didn't can be very helpful and wise to do at the beginning but it sounds like her demeanor didn't do it for you.

Edited by Fizzle

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Thanks for your response, Fizzle.

From the information on her website, this psychologist specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialetical Behavior Therapy, and Mindfullness techniques. I'm open to trying all of these things, but I also feel the need to have some kind of personal connection with the person helping me.

You are right, I do appreciate a warm and reassuring approach, and that has worked for me with people I've seen in the past.

I'm not sure if she was really judging me or just being overly clinical, but all I know is I felt a lot worse after seeing her. But it's a very personal thing when you're dealing with such matters, so finding the right person can be a hit and miss process.

Since I wrote that post I've found someone else and made an appointment with her soon. From her website I found she deals with a wide range of different techniques including hypnosis, which I've been thinking of giving a try. I actually got to speak to her personally, and although it's hard to tell from a short phone conversation, she sounded friendly, warm and non-judgemental. I'm feeling a lot more positive now and I'm not giving up on getting help through psychotherapy.

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That makes perfect sense to me. The first one is a behavioral therapist. These t's see themselves more in a teaching role. Learning skills can be helpful but I will give you an example from my life. I did CBT when I was young/younger and I think it made me worse. I was terribly sensitive interpersonally but didn't admit it to myself or others, The tougher teaching stance made me feel self hating and disempowered. Or should I say I took it and made myself feel self hating and disempowered. Sadly also more disconnected from myself which was my biggest problem.

I did need skills but only started getting better when I had enough talk therapy first. There wasn't anything wrong with the first therapy I had. It was more that I had big issues in certain areas that got triggered by it.

It sounds to me like you might be a little similar. Look for the approach of the new t and make sure she is registered with a mainstream psychology organisation if she does hypnotherapy. I would avoid NLP from what you describe.

It sounds like you would benefit a lot from mindfulness and DBT but maybe not quite yet?

Edited by Fizzle

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I just checked my new psychologist's website and she's registered with the Australian Psychological Society. :)

I have a little bit of experience with CBT but I don't think it did me any good. The whole idea of drastically changing your thinking felt very unnatural and superficial, and the negative thoughts always ended up coming back in some form or another. I'm sure it works for some people, but I don't think it's for me.

I've bought a book on mindfulness and read a bit about it online and it seems like a far better technique, and something that I think could benefit from. I'm not familiar with NLP or DBT but I'll do some research on them.

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I've already posted a bit about this experience in my introductory post, but I wanted to say a bit more. I've always felt like psychotherapy can be a great help to depressed people, but I'm starting to lose hope in that.

Yesterday I had a bad experience with a new psychologist. I won't be going back to her. I walked in feeling not great but ok, and walked out feeling like bursting into tears. It was also very expensive, so I paid a lot of money to make myself feel worse.

She seemed friendly enough in the beginning, but clinical, and it felt very clear that I was the patient and she was the professional, and she was doing her job. I told her about some of my self-destructive behaviours and I felt like she was judging me for them. She focused on that and the fact that I'd had suicidal thoughts in the past (Even though I assured her I wasn't suicidal at the moment) She asked me endless questions about my coping behaviours, treatments I'd had in the past, details of my other doctors, and the details of the suicidal thoughts I had. She seemed to have no interest in getting to know me as a human being, or the root cause of why I feel like this in the first place.

Basically, she made me feel like a bit of a freak. I want to talk to someone who talks to me like a fellow human being, takes an interest in me and my life, and doesn't judge me. Do you think that too much to ask?

I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Was it your first session with her? Sometimes, during the first session, therapists will come across a little more stilted because they are gathering information about you. I've had that happen a few times. I went in with certain expectations and came out upset, but gave them another shot and they were different and more relaxed and warmer next time.

Hope you find what you need.

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That makes perfect sense to me. The first one is a behavioral therapist. These t's see themselves more in a teaching role. Learning skills can be helpful but I will give you an example from my life. I did CBT when I was young/younger and I think it made me worse. I was terribly sensitive interpersonally but didn't admit it to myself or others, The tougher teaching stance made me feel self hating and disempowered. Or should I say I took it and made myself feel self hating and disempowered. Sadly also more disconnected from myself which was my biggest problem.

I did need skills but only started getting better when I had enough talk therapy first. There wasn't anything wrong with the first therapy I had. It was more that I had big issues in certain areas that got triggered by it.

It sounds to me like you might be a little similar. Look for the approach of the new t and make sure she is registered with a mainstream psychology organisation if she does hypnotherapy. I would avoid NLP from what you describe.

It sounds like you would benefit a lot from mindfulness and DBT but maybe not quite yet?

My t does mindfulness-based CBT and doesn't come off like a "teacher" at all. He's very warm, a great listener, and we just chat. He works in skill stuff very gently and as it comes up and fits in with what we're discussing. I think it all depends on the therapist, his background, and his personal style.

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That makes perfect sense to me. The first one is a behavioral therapist. These t's see themselves more in a teaching role. Learning skills can be helpful but I will give you an example from my life. I did CBT when I was young/younger and I think it made me worse. I was terribly sensitive interpersonally but didn't admit it to myself or others, The tougher teaching stance made me feel self hating and disempowered. Or should I say I took it and made myself feel self hating and disempowered. Sadly also more disconnected from myself which was my biggest problem.

I did need skills but only started getting better when I had enough talk therapy first. There wasn't anything wrong with the first therapy I had. It was more that I had big issues in certain areas that got triggered by it.

It sounds to me like you might be a little similar. Look for the approach of the new t and make sure she is registered with a mainstream psychology organisation if she does hypnotherapy. I would avoid NLP from what you describe.

It sounds like you would benefit a lot from mindfulness and DBT but maybe not quite yet?

My t does mindfulness-based CBT and doesn't come off like a "teacher" at all. He's very warm, a great listener, and we just chat. He works in skill stuff very gently and as it comes up and fits in with what we're discussing. I think it all depends on the therapist, his background, and his personal style.

Hi Rhyl,

I think to accurately describe what I mean i would have to write a few pages and my brain isn't there at the moment. Briefly though I don't think of mindfulness based CBT as CBT and rather think of it, acceptance and commitment therapy, and DBT as the same thing, ish. I know they are little different to each other but the focus is on mindfulness, acceptance and self compassion and feels very different to be on the receiving end of these.

I also think behavioral therapies when done by someone who uses talk therapy with them , someone who uses a combination of approaches, or when it is done by an experienced trauma therapist, feels very different. Lastly, when I say teaching I do not mean the same as a teacher standing in front of a class and rather mean that the therapist is imparting guidance actively. As you say various things (such as the type of behavioural therapy, if the t is a trauma or attachment therapist and the persons personality) can make that feel less confronting. It is however still a form of teaching regardless.

At one point of my life I could not cope with anything like that at all sadly. Who knows, I may have felt differently if I had ,met your t. But then it doesn't really sound like he is just an ordinary t from what you have shared. Seeing a non behavioural therapist for the first time was such a relief it is hard to put it into words for me.

I must say that I personally am very relieved if the t does a thorough evaluation and takes details of my history and treatment. It makes me have more hope that it won;t go wrong! I understand that Bridgydidge found it invalidating though.

Edited by Fizzle

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This counsellor specialises in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialetical Behaviour 
Therapy, and Mindfullness strategies from the evidence on her webpage. 
Both of these stuff I 'm open to doing, but I still feel the 
need to have a form of intimate link with the person who is supporting me. 


 

You're right, I love a warm and reassuring attitude, and 
with people I've met in the past, it worked for me. 
I'm not sure if she honestly 
judged me or was simply too clinical, 
But all I know is that, after 
seeing her, I feel a lot worse. 
But when you're concerned with such things, it's a very personal thing, 
so choosing the right individual can be a hit and miss operation. 
I found someone else and made an appointment 
with her shortly after I wrote the message. 
I learned from her website that she works with a wide 
variety of various approaches, like hypnosis, which I was thinking of doing.
Actually, I got to talk to her directly, and while it's hard to 
say from a brief chat on the phone, she seemed friendly, fuzzy and non-judgmental. 
I feel a lot more optimistic today, and 
with psychotherapy, I'm not given up seeking support.

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Sorry to hear about your bad experience. It's good that you talk about it. Let your emotions pass and don't hesitate to try again. You'll find one who  will give you peace.

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