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Does therapy help?

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Hi Sasquatch

Does Therapy help ?

Well I hope it does, ~ eventually

I guess it depends on the type of therapy, and ofcourse the therapist.

I have had a lot of Therapy over the years, some turned out to be a complete waste of my time, where others did to some degree help me to move on with my life, move forward, a little.

Personally I couldnt cope with group therapy, although the docs have told me this can be a good thing to try. But Im just too shy and nervous for all that. I mean I have difficulty talking to my current therapist 1 to 1, and sometimes I barely say anything at all.

I guess it depends on how much of yourself you put into Therapy as to whether or not it actually works.

I can relate to your final paragraph, in more ways than one, but dont give up searching for a Therapy that suits you, there are so many Therapy styles out there, it may just be you havnt explored the right option yet. Dont give up :)

Take care


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Hello, Sasquatch. I'm sorry that you're feeling sad. :)

Does therapy help? It definitely helped me. I tried online therapy first and wasn't matched well with the therapist so this was not helpful. After this I went to an in-person therapist and saw him for about 6 months and it was very successful for me.

It sounds as if you were never able to connect with a therapist in therapy and didn't find the right match for you. Of late, I have begun to come to the sad realization that there may very well be less competent therapists out there than incompetent ones. I don't think it's easy to find the right one, but do believe that there are some very good ones out there if you don't give up on trying.

I have a few questions. Did you ever feel as if you were working very hard during (and between) sessions to understand things about yourself? Did the Ts ask questions which left you with a lot to think about? Did you feel involved and engaged in your therapy? If the answer to these questions is no, then maybe you might consider why. It might have been the therapists or their methods or a lack of connection. It could be a lot of things. But I am proof postive that therapy can and does work sometimes. I'm sorry that it hasn't for you. I hope you keep trying.

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Hi Sasquatch, I laughed when I read your post, not because of the subject because it is indeed sad that have not found a therapist that helped you, but rather because it looks a lot like my experience with therapy.

The first one would fall asleep in his chair while I would be talking, once I was opening up about a rape situation I had lived... Then another one told me around the age of 30 that I was a lost cause and would be screwed up my whole life (he made me mad and I got myself better just to spite him :mad:). Then there was one who was nice but who never really helped me with anything. Now I see someone who is very nice, but again I am getting nothing out of it. I don't know, I have never really found someone who made me feel like I was really learning anything. I have been in a few short term support groups that were very helpful at the time, but overall I have not found therapy to be very helpful.

I think part of it, for me, is that I don't stick with things for very long if I don't feel they help. I'll try something for 6 months or a year, but if I don't see benefits I don't bother going back...

Have you found medication that helps? Where are you with regards to depression at this point?

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Lots of 41 year olds on this board. Me too. 1986 was high school graduating year.

I think what therapy does (ideally) is give you the tools to get yourself out of painful patterns of thinking and behaving. It's then up to you to use these tools. The work doesn't stop when you leave, but having the information puts the power in your hands to be proactive with your life. If I find myself slipping back into the hole now, I can dig my way out.

I was curious as to whether you'd actually engaged during therapy.

Do you have help and support in the caretaking of your mom?

I hope you feel better.

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Ah! You seem to have received the latest panacea, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or maybe Dialectic Behavioural Therapy? The language of "tools", "thoughts and behaviour".

A quote from a CBT training handbook "If the patient fails to respond to your treatments, assume the fault lies with the patient not following your instructions, not with the therapist or treatment"

I found CBT therapists to be patronising and unable to place themselves in the patients situation. It may be of use for some aspects of some depressives illnesses, and secondary gain is an issue with some types of behaviour, and Ellis' model may have some relevance, I found it quite useless I'm afraid.

I'm with David Smail on this, the therapy industry exists purely to perpetuate the therapy industry.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hello Sasquatch,

I am sorry that you are so very bitter and cynical about psychotherapy. However, as a psychotherapist who has worked in the field of psychiatry and psychology for 30 years I can tell you endless stories of people who I saw recover from depression and other illnesses and move on to have productive lives.

I have no doubt that you really did read that awful comment in some type of handbook on CBT and DBT. That reflects badly on the writers of that book and not on the forms of treatment you mention. There are endless books on this subject and on those treatments who do not say any such thing.

As in every field of endeavor, there are those who are hard working and conscientious and there are those who are not. You found a manual written by someone who is incompetent.

It is unfortunate that you are one of those people who seems to be treatment resistant. What I mean by "treatment resistant" is that medications and therapies have not helped and your depression is worsening.

I am not suggesting this for you but there is new research being done on stimulating parts of the brain using electrodes similar to those who have heart devices. It is being done today and with good results but, in my opinion, it is still too new to take any chances with it. However, as this research advances and the treatment more precise, the hope is that people with treatment resistant depression will finally find real relief and become free of depression for the first time in their lives.

As for psychotherapy being a self serving and self perpetuating industry I can only tell you that those of us in the field who work everday look forward to the time when suffering from psychiatric illnesses can end forever.

Allan :)

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Does psychotherapy work? This was one of the first questions we explored as budding clinicians and the results are mixed. There's research on both sides so instead of quoting study after study, I'll jump in with both feet and offer some iconoclastic (and not very sensitive) thoughts. One caveat tho, these ideas do not always apply to those who suffer from and experience a severe and persistent mental illness:

  • The question should likely be asked differently: Who does therapy work for, for what conditions/issues is it most effective, at which time in the person's life is it being conducted, and what is the person hoping to gain from it
  • We are an over-therapized nation- a nation of people who seek treatment often at the expense of developing our own self reliance, problem solving skills and self mastery
  • Those who need therapy the least often tend to benefit from it the most (but not always)
  • It works if you're learning to better connect with yourself and better take responsibility for your feelings, thoughts and behaviors
  • It works if it keeps you in reality, after all, most problems center on the conflict between the person and reality as it is
  • It works if it if you can uncover false/irrational beliefs that bring about much suffering and pain
  • It works if the result is that the client takes direct, assertive action/behaviors towards behaving in more self loving and self affirming ways
  • It works if the person is willing to look within for the solution and stop blaming the past, parents, partners, society, events, or God for suffering and learn that they are the cause of their own suffering (of course, this does not apply equally to those experiencing a severe and persistent mental illness)
  • It works when people begin to see themselves no longer as the victim but as the primary actor in their creation and growth
  • It works if it reconnects you at a deeper and meaningful level with your spirituality and soulfulness.
  • It works and real healing is realized when people learn how to take full, 100% responsibility for their own feelings, actions, thoughts and needs.
  • It works if it prevents you from abandoning yourself and your deepest needs in lieu of looking good to the world.
  • Finally, it works when the therapist and client both assume 100% responsibility for the success of treatment

To answer the question, one need really only ask: Is talk helpful? Does having someone who listens, cares deeply for you, understands, is sensitive, compassionate and equally very challenging (emotionally, behaviorally, cognitively) help one learn to live a better, happier and more fulfilling life? This doesn't need to be researched, it can be answered individually, and some will say yes and others no.

It all depends on which lens you're looking at the issue through.

Just my $2,


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Guest existindeath



irritating therapist who insisted everything was transference when to quote Freud "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar").
Of course he said that when applied to himself.
that I WILL (no matter how hard I try not to) endeavour to analyse my therapy and they know I will.

I feel that the "unconditional positive regard", the therapist "caring deeply" is only true in the rarest of cases and if it does exist, is only transient.

This strikes me as insincere and occasionally definitely patronising. The therapist is only human and those resources only really afforded to those truly significant in THEIR lives.

Exactly; as if patients have not thought of these things or realized them. There is only so much that can be done to any extent with a therapist. That the cure or at least the alleviation of symptoms is more likely to be perpetuated by the patient themselves because of their own self awareness.

Until it is realised that each cause, progress and ultimately, the treatment of a persons depressive illness is as unique as the individual, that schools and theories only offer a broad framework, that the therapist DOESN'T know best; the expert on a person's illness is the person themselves, we will always have this discussion. And people will remain ill.

So adequately stated as each person is unique and cannot be broad framed.

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I feel that the "unconditional positive regard", the therapist "caring deeply" is only true in the rarest of cases and if it does exist, is only transient.

This strikes me as insincere and occasionally definitely patronising. The therapist is only human and those resources only really afforded to those truly significant in THEIR lives.

I'd have to say it's all in how you want to look at things. I had a sense with my former therapist that he enjoyed seeing my progress and that he even enjoyed accessing the parts of himself that I needed. I know, without question, that he was sincere in his caring for me. We had a strong bond and one that I still carry with me.

There is a lot to be said in the power of giving. Allowing yourself to receive actually invites another to care for you. If you enter into therapy unwilling to offer yourself or unwilling to allow yourself to be soothed and comforted, it will also be difficult for the therapist to engage with you. You don't want to go as a witness of the process, you want to be deeply involved in the process. And you have to be willing to look deeply at yourself and work hard.

I've read articles about how brain scans can actually change after successful therapy. I have no doubt that mine has. Unconditional positive regard from my therapist, a deep bond with him and our combined efforts led me down the path to a successful therapy.

And in looking through David's list, I'm a "yes" to just about everything. Very interesting.

Also, even in my limited capacity of trying to offer support to others here on the board, there are many that I have come to genuinely care about. What is it that makes you feel as if the caring of the therapists is insincere? It's probably true, though, that some are likely more genuine than others.

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You need to have a rapport with, confidence in and a belief in the therapist and that they know better than you for it to work. I have none of these.

I have tried everything except maybe shamanism. Witch doctors are hard to find. I'll just work through the loss, grief and anger on my own.

I truely wish you could find a therapist who could help you.

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You need to have a rapport with, confidence in and a belief in the therapist and that they know better than you for it to work. I have none of these.

I don't think they always have to know better than you, Sasquatch. What they do is help you to help yourself. The whole therapy experience for me was almost like unlocking some new part of my mind that had been dormant for close to 4 decades. The therapist took me to that place in my mind with his questions, but the answers were mine. And then my brain took off with it. The insights build upon each other. It's like letting go...You relax your mind and stop fighting the different thoughts, give them a chance and see where it takes you. You might just surprise yourself, Sasquatch. Try not to underestimate your own intelligence to be your own healer. The therapist doesn't fix your problems by knowing more, he/she helps you open the door to finding the ways yourself.

I have tried everything except maybe shamanism. Witch doctors are hard to find. I'll just work through the loss, grief and anger on my own.

It's possible to do this as well... I'm sure that many have. I'm sorry things are difficult for you. I'm sorry you are hurting. :) There is a lot of support on here. Keep talking with us.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Sasquatch,

I agree with IrmaJean that the therapist need not know more than you.

I will reiterate that, in my opinion and experience, therapy does work. Of course, there is nothing that works for all people all of the time.

I believe that you have some basic misunderstandings about psychotherapy as it exists today. We no longer speak about "schools of therapy." Those do not really exist. Rather, there is an eclectic approach in which lots of tools are used.

However, basic to psychotherapy is the strength of the relationship between therapist and patient. That relationship exists in the here and now. It is through that relationship that all types of issues get worked out.

It seems to me that you never had a therapeutic relationship that was strong, meaningful. It is somewhat surprising because, contrary to what you seem to think, the UK is a nation in which psychology and psychotherapy have a strong foundation.

Perhaps reading some of the workd by Irwin Yalom, MD, will clarify some of this for you.


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You failed to mention before that you were a fully trained therapist, yourself; now I'm intrigued.

Can I ask, how did you approach your patients, and how did you hope they would approach you?

Or, have I misunderstood, and this training was all a sort of self-help?

In particular, I'm curious how you feel that an atmosphere of "trust, rapport, etc." develops, in a therapeutic setting, and do you feel that such "connectivity" is always "false"? Or is that just how it felt to you?

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