I have an excellent psychologist I see for therapy currently and have worked with her for over 5 years on many issues, especially PTSD. I feel fortunate to have found the right one for me, as I have been through some unqualified and useless therapists throughout the years. You truly have to ensure you and your therapist are the “right fit” for therapy to be successful, or it can be harmful. I didn’t always feel this way, my first attempt turned my world upside down…
In 1994, I sought out therapy for childhood sexual abuse, and in hindsight I believe it was a horrible decision to make. Digging into the past with therapy can alleviate the triggers of flashbacks, unspeakable dreams and memories, however, recognizing when life is becoming unmanageable, it’s time to discontinue or “back off” therapy in my opinion.
I met Betty in 1994. Crying spells were occurring at home, work, while driving – I honestly thought I was losing it. An ad in our newspaper seeking volunteers through the hospital psychology department were to partake in a study, asking if, “Are you experiencing flashbacks, troubling dreams or nightmares?” interested me, HOWEVER, ANSWERING THIS AD WAS TO BE THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. I knew nothing of therapy, and finally met up with Betty, a therapist, who surmised individual therapy would be best suited. She said it was called Psychodynamic psychotherapy.
As weeks progressed and months rolled on, I was stepping one foot deeper into choppy waters. The childhood sexual abuse issue, (PTSD) post-traumatic stress disorder, in retrospect, I wished I had let ‘sleeping dogs lie’, as these sessions left me exhausted with horrid crying outbursts and next a giant spiral into a deep, deep depression.
Depression became so severe that it was debilitating and incapacitating with hospitalization ordered. The ball started rolling into a new life; a black, muddy life spent in multiple hospitalizations, yet I still remained with Betty and therapy. In retrospect, I don’t understand Betty’s thought process, and believe at this point she was way over her head and should have transferred my case to another therapist more qualified in PTSD.
Therapy was not therapeutic – it began a path – destroying everything in my life. I was obsessed with suicidal thinking daily; taking too much of a toll on me, I wasn’t progressing, I was plummeting. Sessions became 2X per week, with every session bringing vicious crying outbursts, inside and outside of her office. Couldn’t my psychiatrist and her recognize this? I ended therapy roughly at the five year mark; therapy was useless and she broke off the sessions.
I appreciate that no one, particularly a therapist, knows the outcome of a situation, yet a qualified therapist should recognize when her therapy is doing more harm than good. Do I have this patient’s best interests at heart, or am I causing destruction? I think the downfall with Betty was she didn’t show me better ways to cope and resolve problems, or set realistic goals.
Thanks to Betty and pdoc, I lost my career/my house close to foreclosing/hospitalized 33 times/77 ECT’s/attempted suicide 4 times/lived in the bottom of a black pit for 9 long years. This could have been avoided with an experienced therapist or perhaps I shouldn’t have dug into the past at all. Transference with Betty was also a huge issue.