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Does therapy make you feel worse?

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Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby HaxX » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:37 am

I cannot be the only one who has had this experience but...

I have had a couple of good therapists, and a buttload of bad ones, and it seems that in general when I am done with a counseling session I feel worse about myself. I feel more self conscious, more mentally malformed, more sick and more hopeless. My everyday experiences and personal quirks that I share become examined under a lens of illness, which hurts me because it seems invalidating.

Oh and of course they seem pathologically obsessed over that I have cut myself, and keep bringing it up, which makes me nervous and makes me think of it so I cut myself more. No big deal except that its annoying to have to shower with plastic bags on my arms.

I have found for me personally counseling has been, like psych drugs, an epic fail and I am doing a lot better now that I dont have someone to constantly reminded of how ill I am.
:|
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby Unknown_1 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:57 pm

You aren't alone. Therapy often makes people feel worse. I know it has for me. I think it's about finding the right therapist at the right time, a validating and empathetic therapist. I guess it might be helpful to consider what you find the most confronting about therapy, what triggers your self-harm, and perhaps that can give you an idea about what is and isn't going to work for you. Bringing these up in the initial session can be helpful, I find having things which are off limits and letting them know that (either by telling them or writing it down and giving it to them) has helped me a little.

Best wishes.
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby katana » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:14 pm

Therapy has made me angry in the past because i've felt even more like people are refusing to listen and insist on trying to force their own interpretations on me.

I haven't found the same with some mental health professionals I've spoken to who are used to dealing with things "further up the severity scale" because they had more knowledge of abnormal psychology as part of their jobs, but within primary care therapy generally ended in me being less open to it and more angry at the end than the start.

At the same time I find secondary care mental health services threatening because there is an implication of giving up control.

I don't know about therapy with people with any people with further training than that, I've never had the opportunity to try it. But what i've been doing by myself has been having some effects slowly.
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby BonjourJakk » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:39 pm

I find telling myself I'm sick is more of a hindrance then helpful. If I look at my depression and other mental problems as just challenges to overcome, it makes it easier. I used to say I was a sick person. Now I tell myself that I have mental problems which may be worse than many people, but you must remind yourself that you are not alone. Your illness is treatable. You would benefit from a therapist that just talks to you instead of making you feel sick.
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby WiseMonkey » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:17 am

You are not alone. Unfortunately, it's a common experience among therapy clients. I had similar experience in my therapy. You can see more about it on my website. (The link is below in the signature section) After I was harmed in therapy I decided to let people know about potential dangers of therapy which prompted me to create my blog.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."-Martin Luther King, Jr.
http://therapyconsumerguide.com/
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby HaxX » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:17 am

Ahhh, I see I am not alone. I think the negative consequences of therapy are not readily discussed. Of course Im sure it didnt help me that I was forced to go to a lot of my thereapists, so in me they had a captive audience. Not a good dynamic for fostering respect and trust.

We are all human, and if we live long enough we will all have problems. I feel this self evident, basic truth of humanity is callously ignored by most therapists. They see things in black and white. You are ill or you are not, you have a disease or you do not, your anger/grieving/indignation is either healthy or it is not.

Of course it doesn't help the persons self confidence to be told that when they call bull $#%^ on the therapists diagnosis, my denial of my illness was another symptom of it, so apparently my "disease" has robbed me of the ability to have independent thought. Thats comforting...

I am not a diagnosis, I am not a disease, I am not a medicine regimen. I am not a payment on your Lexus, I'm a person for f***sake
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby Ian Reynir » Tue Jan 29, 2013 4:06 pm

I mentioned on another thread about my thoughts on therapy. I tried it once, had a terrible (horribly judgemental and insulting) experience and never tried again. I'm sure some therapy can help, but I found that one or two good friends makes a big difference. The cool part is that you can play the role of the patient and the therapist! It's a lot cooler knowing that your so-called therapist (friend) has problems too.
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby WiseMonkey » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:49 pm

You, probably, will appreciate the discussion about harmful therapy on this blog http://disequilibrium1.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/a-disgruntled-ex-psychotherapy-client-speaks-her-piece/ The author describes her harmful therapy experience and some of her thoughts parallel yours. Check it out. You can join their discussion on the blog. It's quite lively over there.
"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."-Martin Luther King, Jr.
http://therapyconsumerguide.com/
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby Nightowl9910 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:10 pm

HaxX wrote:I cannot be the only one who has had this experience but...

I have had a couple of good therapists, and a buttload of bad ones, and it seems that in general when I am done with a counseling session I feel worse about myself. I feel more self conscious, more mentally malformed, more sick and more hopeless. My everyday experiences and personal quirks that I share become examined under a lens of illness, which hurts me because it seems invalidating.

Oh and of course they seem pathologically obsessed over that I have cut myself, and keep bringing it up, which makes me nervous and makes me think of it so I cut myself more. No big deal except that its annoying to have to shower with plastic bags on my arms.

I have found for me personally counseling has been, like psych drugs, an epic fail and I am doing a lot better now that I dont have someone to constantly reminded of how ill I am.
:|


I started something called Cognitive Analytical Therapy around last December, and at times I've been feeling it's making me feel worse too. There's been times I've left sessions not wanting to go back and feeling like my emotions were extra unstable as a result of going and all the thoughts/ideas doing so triggered. Yet at other times I found, upon leaving the sessions, I've felt very positive and like I gained something out of them. I do find my feelings chop and change a fair bit. It's definitely somewhat been a shock to my system after previously getting used to the experience of CBT, which for me was pretty different. If not for already knowing somebody who's been through Psychoanalytical therapy before, who reassured me that much of what I was experiencing with the new therapist was normal, I'm not sure I could have forced myself to go back for a second session as was nearly scared off the whole idea! Even now I'm still finding it hard to quite 100% trust my new therapist - although I'm doing my best to work on it, and overall she does strike me as being very good and effective at what she does.

I'm really sorry to hear about your experiences, and appreciate what you're saying by feeling invalidated and hurt by being closely examined under a lens of illness. I've had feelings along very similiar lines recently - partly because of the CAT therapy but also partly because of an issue that recently came up with a Psychiatrist I saw some months back. What you describe reminds me of a letter he wrote to my GP about my having emotional personality disorder traits. What you mentioned immediately reminds me of how much I really hated having to read and see it, and even now I'm still not quite 100% over the bad feelings about myself that doing so triggered. It is my impression that some mental health professionals are pretty thoughtless in how they choose to communicate, and forget that people with mental/emotional health problems aren't merely unfeeling objects to be described as if they were.
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Re: Does therapy make you feel worse?

Postby Danielle3298 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 10:57 pm

I know for me, therapy used to be a buttload of crap. I finally found a good one, that i really really like. He is good at what he does, but now that we have started talking about when I was molested for a year, the flashbacks are coming back, and the meds aren't making them go away. SO it's kind of a win lose situation. It makes me feel worse and better... they say it gets worse before it gets better though. :) so I'm keeping my hopes high.

Danielle
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