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Old 03-15-2005, 08:00 AM   #1
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Psychotherapy

What are your opinions about it? Does it work, and for what issues/problems does it work best? Or are most shrinks a bit off themselves

If anyone feels comfortable enough to share any personal experiences that would be great
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:14 AM   #2
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Hi MrsSpringsteen...I'm not online for too much longer but a quick comment...I worked as a psychotherapist for 4 years (mostly with substance abusers who also had mental health issues and who came from multicultural backgrounds). I'm obviously biased in thinking that psychotherapy is very effective, depending on what you put into it as a client. If people are really ready to deal with their "stuff" and are willing to critically examine themselves and their relationships with others, it can be a powerful tool. Much depends on the relationship you have with the therapist, so I'd recommend to anyone finding someone they "click" with. It can be an LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) or a Ph.D/M.A. in psychology. Another important issues to address, in my opinion, is that there are no "quick fixes" when exploring personal issues. Therapy is an investment of time and money, and three sessions aren't going to cure anything...and as much work, if not more, has to happen *outside* therapeutic sessions as it does during (in terms of reflection, journaling, communicating your thoughts and feelings with important people in your life, etc.)
Many people feel that drug therapy will solve everything. While antidepressants/anti-anxiety medications can be effective, all studies show that they are best used in conjunction with insight-oriented therapy.

Just my 2 cents...feel free to email me if you want to chat further!
ruffian@u2email.com
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:15 AM   #3
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p.s.
addressing the idea that shrinks are "a bit off themselves..." Psychiatrists, according to stats I have read, have the highest suicide rate among any other group of medical professionals
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Old 03-15-2005, 08:16 AM   #4
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i think freudian psychoanalysis is a waste of time. i think it might be helpful for straight, white, jewish men with money who lived in Vienna before World War 2, but that's about it.

however, talk therapy can be quite beneficial. i'm not at all embarassed to say that i have seen a counselor -- it was in the months after i had moved to washington, suddenly had a boyfriend, came out to most of my friends, was unemployed for a few months, had my boyfriend leave me, and then had to deal with being gay and alone and in a new city where i didn't know many people. it was a very, very hard time -- and i can't thank my counselor enough. i didn't have enough money to go to a psychiatrist, so i had to make use of the State of VA Health and Family Services. this is also a reason why i'm fine with paying taxes -- because of state taxes, i was able to visit someone on a sliding scale, and it improved my life immeasurably. trust me, tax dollars can and do work.

anyway, i saw this person 5 times for an hour, and having someone who's job it is to listen to you is tremendously helpful, and it's not something that a friend can necessarily do because, 1) they are probably not trained, and 2) i don't care how close a friend, there's always something emotionally at risk. an objective third party is a great way to get yourself to be honest, since you have little to lose.

my counselor enabled me to talk through my problems, to understand them better, to label what it was that was going on, and through understanding and labeling you are better able to seize control of all the forces you can and cannot control. i basically learned that i value other people's opinions of me too much, that i defined myself not in accordance with who i am or what i value, but in how i believe i am perceived by other people. while it seems obvious in retrospect -- growing up in an affluent town where children are valued most for their resumes, SAT scores, athletic accomplishments, and college acceptances -- it was a major insight for me, and pretty much empowered me to begin to take control of my life back after being shaken to my core by coming to terms with being gay.

all i needed was 5 hours, and i've been immeasurably happy ever since, and haven't needed therapy since. i've never taken meds, and never needed to.

psychoanalysis, blah. talk therapy, .

and thank you, any virginians out there, who pay your taxes. you've helped me, and i appreciate it.
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Old 03-15-2005, 10:18 AM   #5
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I figured people would think I was asking for me-well if I had the $ I would, God knows I need it but I was just wondering more what people thought about it in general

The thought of it makes me uncomfortable, though I probably most likely talk much easier w/ a stranger. But thanks for what you said anyway ruffian

Thanks too Irvine-I think if someone has a chemical imbalance drugs are necessary but I've seen many other people who don't have that get in trouble w/ them. It's all up to the individual of course.
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Old 03-15-2005, 10:43 AM   #6
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I have mixed feelings about it. Irvine's experience is certainly what I consider to be a great use of therapy with a great outcome. I was in therapy for about a year going on 10 years ago and I actually had a terrible experience. I was going through some heavy stuff and for awhile the therapy seemed to really help. After a year, I decided I had given it all I had to give and was ready to move on. At the time I wasn't sure if I was done with therapy in general or just done with this particular therapist, but the latter I knew for sure. So I told her I felt good about our work (which honestly wasn't the whole truth but it was all I was comfortable saying to her) and that I wouldn't be continuing to see her and she totally flipped out. She told me she was so upset about my quitting therapy that she herself would have to resume sessions with her own former therapist!! Can you imagine a therapist saying that to a client? I looked her in the eye and said, "If I'd wanted a guilt trip laid on me I'd have called my mother. Goodbye."

She called me a week later and left an apologetic message on my machine. She admitted she had crossed a professional line and had become emotionally attached to me and felt terrible about the whole thing. She wished me well and hoped that our ending had not left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole experience of therapy.

So of course therapists are human, too, and while I think that what she did could have been devastating to a less healthy person, I was able to move on and I did appreciate the insights I'd gained throughout the year of working with her.

I guess in general I feel that unless a person has serious disturbances in their psyche, short term therapy is in my opinion the best use of it. The people I know in long-term therapy, the ones who see their therapist twice a week for years, never seem to get anywhere. They spend so much time in their heads analyzing things that they never really get beyond it. There's an old saying that the more attention you put on something, the bigger it becomes so I think there is wisdom in putting just enough attention on something to gain a certain amount of understanding, and then it's time to move on if possible and put that understanding to work instead of just wallowing in it.
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Old 03-15-2005, 10:51 AM   #7
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bravo to joyful girl.

i think the main benefit of therapy is that it should equip you with the tools of insight and language to empower you to identify what is making you unhappy, to give it a name, to understand how it is operating on you, and then hopefully you can work on dealing with it. no therapist is going to solve your problems for you. i had a friend who went to some therapy and quite because he didn't think that the therapist "got" him. well, that's not the therapist's job. their job is to help you "get" you. i worked very hard in those sessions, and that's why i think it went so quickly and so easily.

as for medication, i have one friend who is on all sorts of things and has been for years, and he really isn't much better, except for the fact that he is no longer completely suicidal. so i suppose that's progress. but i do think he regards his therapist as more of a drug dealer than anything else, and i'm not sure he has a real, vested interest in getting well, as he regards those who are not depressed as, well, unintelligent. he has a vested interest in maintaining his depression, because it does make him feel special in a way that nothing else does. taht he's watching the world go by and feeling detached and thinking he can see through it all and understand everyone's motivations and that it's all such bullshit.

sadly, while he is extremely intelligent, the joke is on him. and i think, in this case, therapy isn't making him better.

but then again, as i said, at least he hasn't killed himself.
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Old 03-15-2005, 11:04 AM   #8
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by joyfulgirl
[B]I She told me she was so upset about my quitting therapy that she herself would have to resume sessions with her own former therapist!! Can you imagine a therapist saying that to a client?

Oh, blech...you handled it so well Sounds like she had serious boundary issues...

MrsSpringsteen, how cool to post a "general intellectual question" kinda post--awesome forum, too! I didn't know if it was about you or someone close to you, so I sort of blathered on in generalities
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:48 PM   #9
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It's OK It was interesting to read what someone who was a therapist had to say. I'd be interested in anything else you had to say in general about the subject.
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Old 03-15-2005, 01:54 PM   #10
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I've seen a few different therpists in my time. Never for any long periods of time, but I think they worked.
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