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Some more therapist questions - Input Junkie
May 7th, 2010
10:57 am

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Some more therapist questions
I didn't get any recommendations from my recent post, but that might not be too surprising-- my flist isn't especially localized, and what I was asking for was pretty specific.

dcseain suggested that I'd have lowered the barrier to posting if I'd screened the comments. Would that have made a difference to anyone?

In any case, at this point I'm curious about what good people have gotten out of therapy, or improvements they've noticed in people close to them. What sort of therapy was it?

I know two people who were more pleasant to be around after they started taking anti-depressants. The interesting thing was that they hadn't noticed any difference in their behavior-- they just thought that other people had become nicer.

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From:nancylebov
Date:May 7th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Well, just posting that first query made me feel a lot better, and cleared a little inertia. This may be a clue.
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From:andrewducker
Date:May 7th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)
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I found counselling very useful. Spent about a year in it, mostly giving myself the self-confidence to do things I kinda knew I needed to, and the courage to look at myself more closely and see what it was I really wanted/needed. Helped a lot by a counsellor who was smart and very good at challenging the things I said if it looked like I was ducking the question or contradicting myself.
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From:dr_zrfq
Date:May 7th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
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FWIW, screening the comments wouldn't have made a difference to me. Had I any useful suggestions I'd have made them, with or without screening.
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From:elektra
Date:May 7th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
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I meant to answer the first post, and didn't get around to it . . .
I just started with someone new, that I'd recommend but she's a bit far for you (since I'm in Delaware). Would you like me to ask her if she recommends anyone in south Philly?
You can get a feel for her at:
http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/name/Allison_E_Finch_LCMH,NCC,MEd_Middletown_Delaware_53250

and
http://www.counselingforwellness.wordpress.com
Let me know.
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From:romsfuulynn
Date:May 7th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
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My general experience is that therapy works. For most people. The anti-depressants can be quirky - we went through four for my mother (86) before finding one and it's gradual, but it's very real.

My own take is that any kind of talk theraphy, including all the variations, is like cleaning out the attic, and rearranging all the furniture, dragging out bits you may want. You go in and rearrange the furniture you didn't even know was there and get a sense of what you've got. In the end, it's your own furniture, the therapist just helps you rearrange it and try out different places for the couch and the bookcase and the easy chair. Which pieces to keep and which pieces to sell or junk. (This is my own metaphor for what happens, and may not work for you - there are these point of chaos, or at least there were for me, that are disruptive, but in the end you settle in to a new organization.)

My number one piece of advice is to find someone, and if after two or three visits you don't feel right about what is happening, find another one. Mostly a first visit should be about goals. "I want to explore X (I think I have some standard symptoms that indicate depression) and I also think Y (I think that there may be Y contributing factors." And set up an initial timeline I'd like to explore this for two months of weekly visits and see where we are.

My experience (not all that broad) is that they mostly ask questions, and then let you listen and really hear what it is you just said.

Therapy changed my life, although I don't think it changed me all that much. I learned about what my triggers and drivers are and made peace with a lot of them for both happiness and sadness. I learned where some really painful parts of growning up had left me weaker. I also learned about my strengths and how to make the most of them, I think.

I learned more about how to listen to people in my interactions with them (particularly those with whom I had the closest relationships) and how to say what I wanted.

Don't know if this helps - my observation is that most people can get some pretty good results in a fairly short time with anyone halfway competent who is a reasonable fit.
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From:lilairen
Date:May 8th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
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I didn't have anything to say, screened or no. I haven't even been in Philly except once in 1990 or so, and that was a day trip to a museum for summer camp.

I have no idea what type of therapy I did when it helped - and it helping required me actually wanting it rather than accepting that other people felt I needed it and going and not opening up because I didn't trust or particularly like this woman, so wtf. I found my therapist as a referral from a friend who has some similar issues, as I figured that would mean that I could do okay with her. I interviewed her, it went well, so I did weekly appointments until I was late enough in pregnancy that getting there was too much.

Therapy is hard. I only started because I had hit an emotional rock bottom, and it got worse for a good while once we started digging. Then we got to putting things slowly back together. I ... am not sure how to talk about it coherently. Sometimes things shocked her, sometimes she asked me about ways of dealing with them. It was a very question-based thing, with the occasional gentle suggestion.
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From:firecat
Date:May 8th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
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I value the techniques of cognitive-behavioral therapy; they help me manage the negative thinking that goes along with my anxiety and depression.

However, I need antidepressants to actually put a dent into the negative feelings. With CBT, I can prevent myself from going on long morbid fantasies that cause me to spiral into a pit, but I usually can't think my way into a good mood.

I've seen a transpersonal therapist. Mostly in the office we did CBT but she also encouraged me to work with symbols, shamanism, and magick on my own (I was already inclined in that direction).

Doing therapy helped me to feel that the problems I was dealing with were pretty normal. Besides the depression, I was in therapy specifically to improve my relationship skills, including partner-choosing skills, and I think I made some improvements.

Edited at 2010-05-08 03:57 am (UTC)
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From:arundelo
Date:May 8th, 2010 07:52 am (UTC)
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I hope you get better.

I think antidepressants probably helped me, but it wasn't a drastic effect. Similarly to one of the things schemingreader said, I think the main thing that helped me was just doing something about it (namely, seeing a psychiatrist).

(I've been doing well for a while, so we're slowly reducing my dose to nothing.)
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