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What Therapy?

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Hi Goose,

It all depends on the "survivor", their personality, how much "truth" can be tolerated at a time and other factors. In my experience as a severe trauma survivor, I benefited from everything from psychoanalasis to CBT to EMDR to integrative therapies, to some touch therapies. I also think it depends on the long term effects. For example, is the adult "survivor" experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, sexual orientation confusion, anxiety, PTSD, Borderline symptoms, attachment difficulties, dissociative experiences, etc.

There are some who talk of treatment of choice (CBT frequently pops up in the literature and it does help many) and what the research shows, but that's a one-dimensional view. For example, if one's issues have to do with difficulty with intimacy, shame and attachment, the therapy could be vastly different than if one was experiencing open hostility, anger, aggression towards others, and even becoming a sexual abuser.

For me, I had difficulties establishing, maintaining and repairing interpersonal relationships deep into my 30's (it wasn't my fault, others just couldn't deal with my behavior:D), although I never struggled with issues of trust or intimacy (I was just basically f**ked up): others I've spoke to who have had similar experiences as I did (i.e. who grew up with me), did not seem to have resiliency and a hardy personality, so they had more shame, depression and trouble with intimacy and attachment. I think, just from knowing fellow survivors, that the higher one's hardiness and resiliency, the lower the level of internalized shame and the higher the perceived sense of intimacy. For those with lower hardiness and resiliency, it seems that the abuse was seen as more severe, the shame seemed greater, there seemed to be more depressive and anxious symptoms, and intimacy/trust seemed more difficult. I also seems that even tho many of us experienced the same trauma, those with compromised coping mechanisms struggled more throughout their life than those who somehow had developed/had intrinsic coping mechanisms that allowed them to move past their trauma much easier.

I guess there really is no easy answer. I do know one thing, if I felt like the therapist really took the time to KNOW me, therapy went well. The act of being truly KNOWN (existentially) can't be stressed enough, not just here, but in almost all treatments.

Edited by David O
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Thanks for that mabear and David. I am having cbt myself for a personality disorder, and I was unsure if this was suitable to this lady, I didn't want to reccommend my therapist as he specialises in cbt.

She does suffer with depression, suicidal thoughts - though not directly related to the abuse. She definately has problems with her relationships, she does have a partner and I do think intimacy is an issue also attachment or making connections with people in general. She is in her mid 30's and has no children.

Hopefully this is enough information for you.


Edited by goose
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Hi again Goose,

It seems you and I meet up here often-- I'm glad! I do have some quick thots on this now that i understand a bit more. Your friends best bet is to interview therapists. Call up 5-8, ask for 15 minutes of their time, tell them that she needs therapy but wants to meet the therapist before deciding. Most people test out a car before buying it, they hire someone to inspect a home before buying it, try on a new dress and slacks before buying them, look at several bikes before choosing one.... why can't we do the same with a therapist and our attorneys and MD's, after all, this is our very life we're talking about and those things are, well, just things!

Most therapists will be surprised but will agree for no fee. Have her ask very specific questions:

1) How long have you been in practice and what credentials do you have

2) What do you see as your specialty?

3) How many people with my condition have you worked with? Out of ___ people with my condition, how many have you had success with?

4) What kind of homework do you give?

5) Can you describe what sort of plan we would develop together?

These make the absolute best clients b/c i know they're invested in getting well.

OK Goose... that will be 50 euros please!:):D


Edited by David O
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Hi Goose,

CBT & supportive therapeutic orientations only encouraged me to intellectualize my emotions - something I had been doing for many, many years. While helpful, it didn't seem very effective in that my issues remain unresolved after all these years.

I'd at least mention to your friend the other types of therapy out there - psychoanalytic/psychodynamic...she could consult with several different types of therapists and see what's best suited for her. I know way back when I did not even know there were different 'types' of therapy - I wish I had!

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Everyone,

There is no one therapy that works for everyone. CBT for personality disorders might not work for a lot of people and talking or psychodynamic therapy would probably be best. CBT might not work for OCD but Behavior Blocking or Behavior Modification could be better.

In my opinion, and this is only an opinion, sexual abuse issues would be best dealth with in psychodynamic therapy or a variation of that, Existential Therapy, focused on the present time.

Even then, what works for one person might not work for another. The "fit" between therapist and patient is also important.


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