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Remembering Why I Will Never Ever Have Cbt Again.


Fizzle

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I don't hate CBT, know it helps most people, understand it's value and the concepts that it embraces. I also don't want to put anyone off. It just really really really isn't for me. Never ever again thank you very much. Actually from a personal perspective I do hate CBT.

Whiling away the time through the night I came across old reruns of a series called Celebrities in Therapy and it reminded me of everything I hate about CBT. Its brought up a whole lot of old feelings and memories. I so wish that I had never had it when I was young and desperately needed someone to support me in a way that would help me.

Edited by Fizzle
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I f***ing hate CBT Fizzle so it's not just you! It seems very cold and clinical to me and very oversimplified. It can be helpful for some people as you said but I find mindfulness based therapy much more helpful. I did a course in it as an outpatient and it was really good. I have a therapist who uses Gestalt therapy which has been great but she's also a really lovely, genuine person so that probably helps too.

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I was in therapy (group and one on one) for a little over a year with a doctor who used CBT and it didn't improve much in my life either. I think hugs, cuddling and "I love you" from friends and partners does more for me than therapy ever could.

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I've had CBT and I thought it was really tiresome because a lot of it is "thought based", like "when I think this way it makes me feel that way," etc (or at least that was my experience with it) and part of my problem is the fact that I overthink. I'm on the OCD spectrum. So being asked to analyze my thoughts, or think about my thoughts, just created more obsessive thought spirals to ruminate about.

Also because of my anxiety, my thoughts tend to race and get out of control very quickly. So by the time I realize, "I must be thinking upsetting thoughts because I feel so physically nervous", (sweating, pacing, etc) it's too late since I'm already in panic mode.

Anyway, that was my experience with it. Maybe if I'd been on medication it would have worked better but I'm not sure.

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Thanks everyone for making me feel less alone. Shall answer properly later. I relate to some of what has been said. I was thinking that one of the ironies is that CBT is like one enormous big "should" and yet part of it teaches us to supposedly not should ourselves. But it doesn't model it in a sense. I am excluding Mindfulness Based CBT of course.

I totally think some people need it and I see its benefit there. I know my husband would be perfectly suited. But yes I hate it!

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Therapy simply provided a place to be able to talk about anything, get it off my chest, cry, get angry, ect., without having to burden those closest to me.

The great thing was...if I needed to talk more about a problem or a situation, I could schedule another appointment instead of getting the reply from friends "If you stop talking about it you'll feel better."

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Hi Teddy, Yes, lets hope! I actually do think I have a much clearer idea of what will help me so hear is hoping when I eventually manage to get myself into it again.

Hi Melllabella, Exactly!!!! Every time I try to convince myself I just had the wrong therapists then something comes up and I realise that it is way more than that, In fact I also have a suspicion that on the whole I am not going to a have a personality fit with a CBT only type t! As I said before, that doesnt include MCBT.

Amber, sorry to hear that, I hope you find something that does and soon!

Hi Bolt on, sorry to hear that, Glad you had the hugs for loved ones! I have benefited from therapy a lot all in all (including the stuff I have taught myself). Even all those years of CBT also probably kept me alive. It added to certain issues I had but being there with someone had some benefit at the same time I think. I do believe in treatment but just not CBT for me! It feels way too harsh and not affirming enough for me personally.

KayeElle, Exactly! I am a little different but there are similarities too to what you describe. I personally have never had much difficulty realising my thoughts are probably not useful, i have a long term habit of analysing them, and having a treatment that constantly tells one ones thinking is wrong is harmful for me. I need to be able to accept and honour my thoughts and emotions and find a way of being that is more connected, CBT did the opposite to that for me. I know a lot of people dont make those connections at all so do benefit a lot but it isnt me. I can totally see why it could kick off CBT issues.

Hi Kad! I am very glad you benefited from therapy. I am very pro therapy. And pro CBT for someone when it fits it just doesnt fit me!

Epictus this thread probably needs one of your wonderful posts describing the benefits of CBT and how it helped you so that if someone is reading and they have never had CBT before then they wont be too put off!

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In this one session I was watching the woman had been in a very bad car accident as an 11 year old - for 3 years she could not walk. She had been an addict and was now clean - for the last 6 months. One of the things the t kept saying was that they needed to k**l off the child her. Really? k**l it off? Take all her fluffy toys away in one go. She wasn't childlike in any obvious way and yes we often get frozen developmentally when something happens but k**l off the child? The child was there for a reason and its OK for us to have a child. It just needs to be expressed appropriately. It really irked me. That was the tip of the iceberg but probably the thing that offended me the most.

Edited by Fizzle
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If CBT means "cognitive behavioural therapy" -- I alwyas found it to be pretty useless. Not bad -- just useless. I've underwent it with several different therapists for several years -- it was a big, fat nothing as far as I was concerned.

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I'm going to comment later on this. I had a sudden bad reaction to it and want to know if it was for a similar resson. Whoever mentioned it seemed cold was right on the money. I will explain more later. Sorry you don't have a good experience with CBT Fizzle.

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Thanks everyone for making me feel less alone. Shall answer properly later. I relate to some of what has been said. I was thinking that one of the ironies is that CBT is like one enormous big "should" and yet part of it teaches us to supposedly not should ourselves. But it doesn't model it in a sense. I am excluding Mindfulness Based CBT of course.

I totally think some people need it and I see its benefit there. I know my husband would be perfectly suited. But yes I hate it!

Fizzle, whats the difference between CBT and MCBT? I think I am doing a bit of both but I am not sure. Please explain.

I do not like CBT. It brings back memories from my past and makes me more ill.

Thank you.

Edited by duck
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Glad we could help Fizzle! I actually think it tends to attract a certain type of therapist to unfortunately.

KayElle I am also a massive over thinker so it just made it worse for me too! Have you tried mindfulness? I found it particularly helpful for anxiety.

Duck MCBT stands for Mindfulness Based Therapy or Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (I think they're the same) and it's a much gentler, kinder approach. Based on learning to sit with emotions rather than being afraid of them. There's much more to it of course but it's based a lot on meditation. I'm pretty passionate about it as it's helped me a lot with my anxiety and depression.

Icarus I hope you are ok. It was me who mentioned that. It's really hurtful because we are in such a vulnerable position as patients and the wrong therapist can really do some damage. I've had 2 good therapists and 2 bad therapists so there are good ones out there thankfully!

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Fizzle/All -

I just read this and got a lot out of it - thanks.

I had tried CBT Therapy first on my own by reading books and trying to do the exercises and keep the MANY TEDIOUS charts, and diaries, and thought journals and corrections, etc.

A good deal of it made logical sense to me to the extent that yes, of course if I could change my mindset, attitude and then behavior, I would improve. Duh.

The big problem was that I couldn't. Merely TELLING me WHAT to do wasn't nearly enough. It didn't provide a 'way in.' As KayElle put nicely and I think Fizz alluded to, "I overthink. ... so being asked to analyze my thoughts, or think about my thoughts, just created more obsessive thought spirals to ruminate about" and I did exactly that.

Many of the problems you all listed above are ones that I had and I think the reasons I think it did not work (and I could not stick with it and consequently felt worse for having 'failed' yet one more treatment method!):

  • It is cold and clinical to me and either oversimplified or one-dimensional (we are not one-dimensional beings and the phenomenon of human life, let alone depression is, if anything, complex).
  • It did seem ultimately like one big SHOULD, which I found both contradictory and also--for me--a never-ending viscous cycle of never being able to do it adequately
  • Similar to the big SHOULD, I found it to be an exercise in 'tough love.' That can be a loaded term and its meaning can change with context and person. But what I have learned now that I did not realize then was this - part of my distorted thinking is that I was already always tough on myself to the point of self loathing, castigating, chastising and being certain that I was never doing 'quite good enough.' So I couldn't tolerate the tough part and it simply wasn't effective in a straight forward or untempered manner. At the root, was (and is) that I generally can't and don't really love and accept myself. This is where what DBT does, is more effective. I can embrace the paradox of accepting reality as it is--including self love and acceptance (which I rarely can provide, let alone hold)--and still wanting and working to change what I can to make a life I want to live. Some days I can get and do this, and doing it imperfectly IS doing it right. Baked explicitly into the definition and throughout the 'skills' is that there is no judgment. No condemnation. I know some of the reasons, but some I do not know, and I don't have to - it works more effectively for me. I can come at the situation and approach even myself from a place of love and affirmation even as I remind myself of the reality of cause and effect - that certain behaviors are more effective than others.

Anyhow, I don't know that I said anything new there, but that has been my experience.

Edited by gandolfication
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I do have to add in relation to the idea of '******* off the child,' etc., that I cannot shake this notion, belief, and perhaps concomitant legitimate need.

What I mean is that there really does seem to be an aspect of stunted maturity about me, a choice and refusal to make mature, adult choices in so many small and large ways. I do believe that although complex, a choice runs through this as with life in general. This is a great hope and a great burden (and perhaps because of this? I seem unable to fundamentally love and accept myself - I don't know).

(On a side note, it still seems bizarre and contrived to be admitting that I my maturity wast stunted, because I was such a straight arrow who was 'old' before my years, ultra focused and disciplined through law school, etc. - but it just didn't' work out as I got older, had to work, had increased responsibilities, lost purpose and motive and struggled for meaning).

But anyway, I just mean that I have great difficulty disentangling this or knowing quite what to do about it. DBT provides some answers when I'm learning/practicing/immersed in it, but for me there does seem to always be this tension or balance or dialectic between needing to be self-compassionate while at the same time, needing to f**king grow up and grow a pair. Sorry to be crass.

I've discussed this here with some others in the past, but I still struggle with it. My suspicion is that my ability to be more mature, grounded, authentic - in short to be the 'better me' is directly proportional to the degree to which I am able to love and accept myself as I am. That seems to be the right answer one would hear on Oprah and in most books of a touchy feely nature. And it certainly sounds right. I just don't feel like I have any way to evaluate what is correct here. Oh well.

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Ok, I will share a little more. I had an extremely brief experience with it and probably wasn't long enough to determine if it was right for me but I was referred by my counselor to try a site called mood gym. Took me a while to remember but eventually I went and tried it out. I log on and create and account. I didn't know really what to expect but tried to keep an open mind during it. The site asked me questions on a rating scale. Being asked questions like this wasn't new but I felt turned off because I could see right away what the "correct" healthy answers were and what answers were "wrong." When you finished section one you were chosen as a character based on your answers. To my surprise, there was a "correct character" and every other character was flawed. It basically said you need to be like this character and change. I didn't like that too much. And the questions were too simplified. I took methods last semester and learned the term mutually exhaustive and mutually exclusive which meant that only one answer can be chosen and at least one answer has to be chosen. There were some where I could pick 2 out of the 4 answers shown. Some of them I couldn't narrow down to just one. It was frustrating. The testing was too rigid and didn't allow for flexibility, therefore, I couldn't give the most accurate information. So after 30 mins I just quit and never tried again. I felt sad and since I wasn't the "chosen" character I felt bad. I have a history of comparing myself with healthier, better people. I did later get referred to try DBT which I will have to talk with my counselor the next time we meet. I was told CBT isn't for everyone but can be very useful if you have certain conditions.

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Gandolfication: You had some very good thoughts there. Seems like you do have maturity but have trouble acting and having the struggles get the best of you. You obviously know key fundamental parts about being an adult and grown up. I struggle with it too. I reached a point where boom I grew up more which opened up a flood of new responsibilities. It wasn't very helpful as all the new information and wisdom heavily overwhelmed me and still is. After I got out of the worst of depressive episodes after 15 years, I had more time to think about other stuff and was not ready to be bombarded with catching up. I too try to balance self compassion and pull yourself together. Although I am very hard on myself. I agree with your very last paragraph though.

Mellabella: Thank you! For the most part I'm hanging in there. It is tough when you have a therapist who makes things worse. Sometimes it is because you both are just compatible or other times they can insensitive leeches in the wrong field. I mostly had really good therapist. Very lucky. Psychiatrist on the other hand... I can compare some to crooks.

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I did not have the bad experiences with CBT that others have mentioned. Maybe it was my CBT therapist. CBT liberated me in a way that depth psychologies, family therapy, Jungian and Freudian analysis and Mindfulness therapy did not.

I grew up being very hard on my little brain. And CBT taught me how to stop. It taught me how to feel sympathy and compassion for my little brain, how to encourage it rather than discourage it, how to comfort it instead of beating it up mentally, how to really appreciate it and respect it and love it deeply instead of disliking it and hating it. So for me, at least, it was the most powerfully releasing and powerfully liberating emotional experience of any therapy I had thus far experienced. When I started to learn to love my little brain "no matter what" I suddenly found that a wall had broken and I was able to feel deep compassion for every human being and even for animals and plants and all things.

For me it was almost a religious experience. It was as if the thoughts that blinded me suddenly fell away and I could see again; as if the black and white turned into vivid colors. I do not disrespect the other therapies I experienced and in fact, since experiencing CBT, it seems like I can see the truths and goodness in other perspectives more than before, that I can actually treasure what I learned from the Freudians and Jungians and all the other schools. I am profoundly glad that there are many schools of psychology and psychiatry. Thank Goodness! And I am happy that there are many paths open for healing and the relief of pain and suffering.

I have a wonderful little book where the founders of the various schools of psychotherapy converse about what they see as the helpful and unhelpful aspects of the various therapies. It is interesting because it is a kind of dialogue between the actual founders of the various schools. I can't help but hope that the face to face dialogue enriched everyone there who participated. That is what I like about the Depression Forums too, the passionate dialogue.

Edited by Epictetus
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I have done a very, very good job denying my mental health issues my whole life. I always would say I came into this world afraid of everything and everyone. I know I was terribly anxious and stressed but refused to give into them. I denied my emotions with expertise which may be why I never had panic attacks but I did every so often, even when I wasn't depressed, have sudden urges to suicide, out of the blue, for seemingly no good reason. I would have to do my level best to fight the urge to say, jump out of a moving car. But as I said, besides for a few very brief bouts with severe depression, I was so good at suppressing most emotions I really had myself fooled into thinking there was nothing wrong with me. If I looked hard enough they were there but I just chose to not look. And then the walls came crashing down and my emotions went out of control. Crazy over the top out of control with constant thoughts of self-harm and suicide, no longer just random. I somehow managed to survive that 3 year period and see that I can tolerate extreme emotions, which was in a way liberating, and I am now trying to learn mindfulness to turn my self-image around with the help of a book but I did not know much about there being different types of therapy so I looked up DBT and was quite shocked what I read. It was like I was reading my life story. DBT is designed for people with self-destructive tendencies who have what they call emotional vulnerability. People can be hard-wired to have extreme strong unbearably intense negative emotions that come on quickly and are hard to control. This is compounded if the person is exposed to an environment that is invalidating. My father criticized so much I developed a self-image that I am a failure and could never do anything right. He was that way with all his kids but I was the only one who found it hard to cope with life and of course my struggling while my siblings didn’t just made me feel worse about myself but now it makes sense. I am not just weak, my brain is wired for strong emotions. I am not sure knowing this is a good thing or a bad thing. I think I kind of thought simply changing my self-view would fix all of this but it may mean that I will continue to have a lot of difficulty regulating my emotions. Well anyways, thanks for making the post. It’s always good to learn more about ourselves, see ourselves a little deeper.

It is funny, I am an avid dreamer and used my dreams to help me sort things out. One dream I had was basically saying that we are taking things slow so as to lessen the shock of it all. I will acknowledge that my self-image was really very fragile at that time I can see why I didn’t come across any of this info sooner. I think it would have crushed me. But I guess that is a good sign. I do feel more capable of dealing with my strong emotions. I just have to say my life isn’t amounting at all to what I thought it would turn out to be but hopefully I can one day say my emotions aren’t controlling me, I am controlling them.

Edited by Michelle38
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Gandolfication: You had some very good thoughts there. Seems like you do have maturity but have trouble acting and having the struggles get the best of you. You obviously know key fundamental parts about being an adult and grown up. I struggle with it too. I reached a point where boom I grew up more which opened up a flood of new responsibilities. It wasn't very helpful as all the new information and wisdom heavily overwhelmed me and still is. After I got out of the worst of depressive episodes after 15 years, I had more time to think about other stuff and was not ready to be bombarded with catching up. I too try to balance self compassion and pull yourself together. Although I am very hard on myself. I agree with your very last paragraph though.

Mellabella: Thank you! For the most part I'm hanging in there. It is tough when you have a therapist who makes things worse. Sometimes it is because you both are just compatible or other times they can insensitive leeches in the wrong field. I mostly had really good therapist. Very lucky. Psychiatrist on the other hand... I can compare some to crooks.

Thanks Icarus,

Good post. Btw, I dig the avatar and what I take it to symbolize.

mallabella, I may not know have seen the post about a therapist who makes things worse, but if that is ever true, I should think it is high time to leave that therapist. (maybe you did already).

Best.

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mellabella, thank you for explaining what MCBT means.

I am doing the regular CBT and I think it is overrated and it is a waste of my money. $140 per session every week is a lot for me. I also think CBT may help people who are overgeneralizing and not those who are seriously ill like me. For example, my sisters overgeneralize but they are not ill therefore CBT may be useful for them.

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Epictetus,


I liked your post and am glad you've had what sounds like a great experience with CBT.

I wanted to ask a couple questions about this.


Could you point to any particular source material (a book, website or program) that you think embodies or presents CBT in the way that you're describing?


I am interested because CBT principles ARE still a part of DBT, and I like to think that the somewhat tougher discipline of CBT techniques and practices are what a more holistic DBT approach prepares me for and that in part I am and need to move toward anyway.


And second, I would be interested in checking out the book you refer to about the founders of the schools conversing about the most helpful parts of their ideas. Can you share the title?


Thanks,

-g
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mellabella, thank you for explaining what MCBT means.

I am doing the regular CBT and I think it is overrated and it is a waste of my money. $140 per session every week is a lot for me. I also think CBT may help people who are overgeneralizing and not those who are seriously ill like me. For example, my sisters overgeneralize but they are not ill therefore CBT may be useful for them.

I think $125 - $140 is a ton for almost anyone for CBT or DBT. I won't say I think it's not worth it for DBT - it is and i think will be invaluable to me, but still it is making it very tough for me to continue even after I've gotten my current insurance to pay a tiny part of it.

I do agree with you that for a lot of people who have become seriously impaired with certain types of depressive or mental illness, they're just not going to be able to do and apply and access CBT practices in and of themselves.

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^hmm, that must be dependent on type of insurance. for me my doctor charges like $110 a session but i only pay $25 and my insurance pays the rest. so its basically a small co-pay like seeing my general care doctor.

"In this one session I was watching the woman had been in a very bad car accident as an 11 year old - for 3 years she could not walk. She had been an addict and was now clean - for the last 6 months. One of the things the t kept saying was that they needed to k**l off the child her. Really? k**l it off?"

that just sounds like a bad therapist. but what that post illustrates is when looking for a therapist, make sure the person is a good fit. dont just stick with someone simply because you started seeing them.

as for cbt itself i dont have much experince with it so i wont comment on it, but if anyone is looking for alternative treatments dbt i highly recommend.

Edited by bigmike092
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Gandolfication: Thank you! It does symbolize something. Ironically It had no specific deep meaning when I first had it but then realized the story of Icarus related to things I was dealing with. It is also the name of one of my favorite songs and the name of my favorite Nintendo character :)

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