Day 23: What is your opinion on therapy? (It can be any type, some examples are: group therapy, talk therapy, social skills training, exposure therapy, ERP,DBT, CBT, ACT, marital counseling, and many more)
I will only comment on the therapies that I have personally experienced. I strongly believe that what therapy works for you is the right therapy. It just may not be right for anyone else and that’s okay. The experience of mental illness is an individual one. It can be shared with other people but it will never be the same for them.
I tried CBT last year because I thought the structure of it would help get past my defense mechanisms. In reality, while some of it helped me to re-frame my thinking, overall I found CBT depressing. It was all about what was wrong with me and how I was doing things. By the time it came to solutions I was already so far down in the hole it was a bit of a lost cause. Maybe this was an instance of the wrong treatment at the wrong time for me.
I have an ACT workbook and I love many of the ideas in it. It is a practical approach that appeals to me and is not demoralising. You accept that you have what you have and then you work with that not in combat with it. I like their idea of the chessboard where you are not one side, black or white but you hold both, you are the chessboard. It just made sense to me.
I do not like drawing therapy. I think in words not drawings. I barely feel my emotions so drawing them is near impossible for me. In not being able to draw I get really frustrated with myself and it feeds into my natural lack of confidence and critical self talk. Then I think about what they want, just to get the hell out of there and it is just black, everything is black. That cuts out the drawing as it is a solid black colour in. Which is not very helpful to anyone.
I can not talk to a cushion and pretend its someone I need to talk to. All I see is the cushion. It will always be a cushion to my concrete thinking. I can write a letter to that person because once again it relies on words and writing, two things I can fall back on.
I have tried talk therapy and it becomes confusing. I often end up in the role of the helper rather than being helped. It is a natural part of who I am. I try to keep a professional distance but I am just not any good at it. I find it hard to simply blurt out what is stressing me etc etc and do better with questions. But that feels too passive and ugh I just suck at talk therapy.
I don’t do well in group therapy for pretty much the same reason as talk therapy. I can be empathetic to my own detriment. I get overwhelmed in their pain and just bury mine as insignificant in comparison. Plus I have to go out of area so that I am not in group therapy with ex – clients. It would be uncomfortable for all of us.
I do exposure therapy on myself. Things like wearing my togs on a public beach confronting my fear of being observed, body image issues and discomfort in social settings. I know I will need to do more of this as I progress and I believe it works no matter how stressful the process is during applying it.
I am waiting to get into a group for DBT. I want to learn those skills. I pretty much counsel myself at times so it would be good to have some more tools to support my doing that. I do well with tools.
It has taken a while for me to get fully engaged in/with external help and sometimes I can still be obstinate or unconsciously resistant.