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highanxiety

When do you say "enough is enough" with therapy?

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I have been in therapy a long time.  Mostly to help deal with personal relationships, family, health and of course depression issues.  Out of the many therapists I have had I can say four were of actual help to me learning why I feel the way I do and teaching me coping skills for example.  Others can mean well but be completely unqualified to deal with your specific problems and will continue to see you until you put on the brakes.  And sometimes it is about the money.  My last therapist I fired after three months, because he did not seem to have knowledge in any of the fields his website cited, which i why I chose him.  And he insisted I was in such bad shape I need once a week therapy instead of every two like all my others before.  And since he was not in my insurance network I paid him cash each time.  He opened up some bad wounds that had already been dealt with in previous therapy, and kept insisting I needed to focus on those.  In short a huge and expensive disappointment.

So I have taken a break from therapy for four months and I think I feel the same as if I was still in therapy.  In other words, maybe I've gotten all I can from therapy, and being on this forum, and connecting with friends going through the same thing seems to be taking it's place.  I asked a friend recently who has taught Psychology at major universities how I should proceed in finding a new therapist, as I was striking out on the ones I was picking.  He asked me  " You have been in many therapy for many years, what exactly are expecting a therapist help you with?"  I hesitated and then thought I don't really know.. The only thing I could think of was just having someone objective to vent too every two weeks.  I"m getting older and more settled in my ways, still suffering depression certainly, but for me I don't know if therapy is the answer any more.  

Kind of wondered what your take is on this subject.  I know every one is different, and this is my own individual experience.  Sometimes I wonder if I just got kind of addicted to therapy when it really wasn't helping and figured enough is enough.

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1 hour ago, highanxiety said:

" You have been in many therapy for many years, what exactly are expecting a therapist help you with?"  I hesitated and then thought I don't really know.

That is an honest and thoughtful answer. And I don't think taking a break from individual psychotherapy is a radical idea at all. I stopped seeing a therapist a few years back and instead, attended DBT classes, learned helpful coping skills. 

When those classes ended, I found a depression support group where I unburden/vent, connect with others like me, get/give support. I think some of the most comforting words in the universe are "me too" - I didn't realize how much I needed to hear that until I heard 20 peers say it in some basement room. It feels good to be heard, understood and be among others like me.

In my experience, a lot of growth, healing and support can happen outside the therapist's office. I'm going back to office visits next month but it'll be different this time because I'm different. Now I have a separate space to word-vomit and some skills to help deal with strong emotions. Maybe I'm ready to unearth some fragrant corpses from my past, unpack some of the boxes I marked "warning: do not open". 

 

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I have been in therapy on/off for many years. The therapist I have been seeing for the past 2 years helped me the most. She has helped me to see that not all things that happen are my fault, taught me coping skills and encouraged me to try new things (yoga and meditation).

I think the most important thing about a therapist is to find one you feel safe and comfortable with, who will listen with objectivity and offers solutions that will help you in the long run. 

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I think it is fine to take a break from therapy after many years. If something extra difficult comes up in life, you might want to go back for help to get through that time. I just think everyone needs support of some kind in their lives. 
BW

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Back when I saw my first bonafide therapist in my 20s, I had no clue about what was going on with me, what therapy was, etc.  Suffice to say I've acquired a little experience since then.  And I've taken many breaks, for a variety of reasons.

Therapists, imo, are good to a point.  But, some have agenda$.  The worst have been interns and I usually advise people to avoid them, despite whatever supposed reassurance that the intern has a supervisor.  They've been too inexperienced and/or unclear about their own issues to be useful to me.  One was downright unethical, but it wasn't even worth the battle. 

Ironically, the fact I've been able to dump therapists - whatever the reason - probably speaks to the progress I've made.  That I can size up a therapist pretty accurately in even the first session - that is, I'm interviewing them as much as they're interviewing me - is another indicator of the progress I've made.  They don't intimidate me.  I even walked out on one when it was clear, after only 20 minutes, she was out of her depth on HIV.

When the last one got stuck on a figure of speech, would not respond over at 3-4 sessions concerning emotions I was having, and put me in a position of having to fight to keep the sessions on track, that's when I walked.  To me, he'd simply abdicated his responsibilities...and I didn't give an eff about his reasons.  He wasn't forthcoming about it, had a bit of a "star" complex, and it destroyed the trust we'd built.

That was late last winter.  Since then I've certainly felt at times I've needed therapy and missed it, but I'm just damn sick of having to rehash old sh*t with someone who has prepackaged answers more suited to the naive 20-something Mark.

I'll draw a parallel.  For years I was in Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics.  Even was a sponsor.  But I finally had to ask myself about diminishing returns.  Though being a sponsor, for example, certainly was useful to me, it eventually became a PITA.  And that didn't help anyone, especially me.  What I can say is that those 12-step programs have provided me with tools I've now used for decades, at some times more successfully than others, believe me.

So, I come here, where I can be a total mess if need be (and folks usually accept that) and, as you said, to vent.  Or perhaps provide encouragement to someone who needs it.  That'll just have to do for now.

Edited by MarkintheDark

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In my experience the therapist has to have an end point in mind and they need to discuss that with you. A good therapist will only want you there so long as they are being helpful to you. Their ultimate goal should be to equip you with the tools you need to handle life's slings and arrows on your own.

It should not be a never ending cycle but something you can use when you actually need counseling on how to handle things.

Peace

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I've had 5 LPCs or psychologists over the past 15 years, a I've only ever left one. The  first one I had at 15. My parents and the therapist made the decision to end it because it wasn't going anywhere. I was switched over to another one immediately, who I saw on and off for about 5 years. He ended it because he said he didn't know how to help me anymore, and I wasn't even sure what I needed from him. I was 21 at the time.

The third one I began to see in 2015, and I ended it nine months later because he clearly didn't want to work with me, and had made himself entirely unhelpful. That was by far the most negative experience I've has thus far. I am currently working with an LPC and a neuropsychologist. I've been seeing the LPC for almost four years now, and the psychologist for roughly two.

The psychologist I have found to be the most helpful, but he has very little availability anymore. I'm thinking I'll discontinue with him at the end of this year simply because I hardly get to see him. 

I've also been seeing an art therapist for the past ten months, and our final session is planned for this week. This is the only time a therapist and I decided on an end date ahead of time. I haven't enjoyed art therapy very much, and I never felt comfortable completely confiding in her.

Edited by SqueezeWax

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