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July


That's not my therapist! Tuesday July 23, 2013

Have you seen those books for very young children; the 'That's Not My...' series? They are very simple board books with the repeating refrain (with appropriate kinaesthetic pictures) 'That's not my bunny: its tail is too woolly/That's not my tractor: its wheels are too shiny.'

When you get to the last page 'That's my bunny' there doesn't seem to be a necessarily logical reason behind the ownership claim; 'its ears are so soft', but there is nevertheless recognition, resulting in resolution (and, of course, finishing the book).

It can be like that with therapists. There's a saying that one day you'll get your prince, but you have to kiss a lot of toads first. And one person's toad is another person's prince in chartreuse doublet and hose!

I've lived with depression for 43 years and, oh boy, have I seen a lot of counsellors and therapists.

Did any of them help? Mmm, some of them did – a bit. Did any of them hinder? Oh yes! But the woman I have worked with over the last three years has done the most amazing job. I have my life back and I have control. Now I manage my condition, it doesn't manage me.

So there will be 'your' counsellor/therapist out there, but you may have to turn a lot of pages to find them. You may have to pay for a few sessions to see if they are right for you – and don't be afraid to say 'this isn't working for me'. Your therapist may not even be a therapist yet. Fifteen years ago when I first met Rosalind, she was a landscape architect – she only trained as a therapist a lot later on.

And don't expect the recognition to be (recognisably) logical. 'That's my therapist – he wears such a nice tie' may not make sense to your left brain, but the right side of your brain knows exactly what's going on. You may need a different form of therapy to your friend, just as you may need different drugs. It's different strokes for different folks. But don't give up – and keep on kissing those frogs!

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

http://moodscope.blogspot.com/2013/07/thats-not-my-therapist.html


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Comments

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 8:03am

I totally agree, lovely post. Certainly what one person needs may not be right for another. I didn't warm to my current therapist at first but knew at a gut level that she was what I needed - whereas past ones, have either made little difference or even been a setback. It's great to feel like progress is possible but did take 4 attempts to get there.

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 8:34am

I did a sum and realised I too have suffered from depression from 45 years too. Amazing to realise. But 3 therapists on, and lots of time to process information and find out what the triggers can be, I now also feel I can fight back and limit to self and others. Thank you for your help.

Justin Havens Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 9:37am

Hi, I'm a therapist (in training!) and I'm always interested in what 'works' - much of the research says it isn't the technique or approach, but the relationship. Having said that, my question to Mary is 'what approach did your successful therapist use!'

I too have heard dreadful experiences that people have with a therapist, which is always saddening. Vote with your feet if you feel it isn't working.

Any comments on this?

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 10:07am

Lovely post. Thank you. nasogastric.x

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 10:07am

As the blog said it is an individual preference. Some patients will respond to an intellectual or factual approach, whereas someone else may be encouraged by a warmer encouraging manner without understanding the science behind the advice. Basic communication rules apply though. There are so many variables to individual personality, which may be daunting for a therapist, but I don't understand how so many seem to get it wrong. From a client service point of view they have all the time in the world to listen & get to know their client. I presume therapists are so focused on the disease and the symptoms of that they forget there's a person there first & foremost. It's like focusing entirely on basic tasks without first working out a strategy. Learn a little bit about how the individual patient communicates & how they are motivated, what they need from their therapist and you should be able to respond to their needs whatever your natural personal style. That should work for the majority, but in the end there'll always be someone who you genuinely don't respond well to or who doesn't respond well to you, is a chemistry thing or a result of one/other of bias/prejudice, which could be for most arcane reason. In this instance therapists should understand dynamic pretty quickly (they do see clients all the time, whereas the client is the vulnerable one) & be happy to refer them on rather than continuing to take their money. My two cents worth, but not an expert on therapy, we all communicate and develop relationships with people on a daily basis though & is an extension of that in my opinion.

Exidia Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 11:10am

As someone with many years experience as a "client", and about to take up training I can only applaud what you say here, but I would add a rider, that different approaches work at different stages in the process. I've been very fortunate to have had two excellent therapists in the last 10 years, the first very analytical/intellectual the second much more "where are we going from here". Both approaches worked well for me, at that time in my life. I think you're correct in that it is up to the therapist to try to work out what it is the client needs, but I will only be certain of that when I'm "on the other side"!

b Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 11:10am

Brilliant and funny. Has made me think a lot. Haven't really found anyone I've clicked with yet. It's a bit like dating isn't it?

Justin Havens Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 1:45pm

Maybe they should have client/therapist speed dating events!

Working out what the client needs is the cornerstone of therapy, which is one of the reasons why I have trained as an integrative therapist - this allows greater scope and flexibility to respond to the person. The best (this has been researched extensively - see book called 'The heroic client' way for a therapist to work out client needs is simple - ask them! And do it repeatedly, ideally at the end of each session. Good luck everyone!

Mary Blackhurst Hill Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 2:26pm

Hi Justin,

I'm always happy to chat about the therapy techniques I've experienced, but this probably isn't the right forum here. If you email Caroline she can forward your query onto me and we can take the discussion from there.
Kind Regards, Mary

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 5:23pm

I have had loads too. Some of them were really screwed up and I ended up knowing more about them than they about me. One was struck off for having sex with his female patients - a couple of years after I stopped going to see him. (I am male and not very pretty!) He used to take calls from a major celebrity patient during our sessions; but he was amazingly charismatic. I really struggled with CBT when I was in hospital a few years ago but having run out of money am now back with the NHS and going through CBT - and whilst some of it reminds me of the Wellness Adviser in Reggie Perrin I think I am finally ready for something simple (possibly simplistic) and simplistic.

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 6:01pm

I thought I was the only who struggled with therapists! I've had so many over the years and some have done more damage than good! found one who was able to help me. I believe you should keep trying until you find one thats right for you.

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 7:29pm

I don't think its helpful to say that someone might have to pay for therapy I would like to have therapy I have depression all my adult life but cannot afford to pay for it and have only been offered cbt on the nhs which wasn't very helpful so I have to go without. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to afford the help they so desperatelty need

Anonymous Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 7:31pm

It's a great idea to keep trying until you find the right one but they all cost money and the nhs doesn't provide support for people who need therapy

Justin Havens Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 8:14pm

CBT, EMDR and counselling are provided free by the NHS in some places, but usually limited to 20 sessions max, and more often, 12

Julia Tue, Jul 23rd 2013 @ 9:58pm

I think the NHS is improving it's counselling services. It used to be dire. I got so fed up going over and over the same thing every time I saw a new therapist under the NHS, I gave up in the end. Each counsellor seemed more interested in my life story than trying to help me, almost as if they were learning from me and it made them feel better hearing about all my problems. Now they have been trained not to ask too may questions about ones' history and to start from the present. Much less intrusive and helpful. It's such a pity that private counselling which may be so much more useful is so expensive and out of the reach of most people. I know counsellors have to make a living too and some have gone through expensive training. But the NHS is getting better from my experience. Still not good enough sadly for those who cannot afford even 5 sessions at £45 a time. Private therapy is an unaffordable luxury for most.

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