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Re: Therapist Orientation? I'm a little lost

Posted by Lyrical13 on January 1, 2004, at 10:59:18

In reply to Re: Therapist Orientation? CBT or psychodynamic?, posted by DaisyM on December 26, 2003, at 13:43:22

OK...I have been to tons of different therapists over the years but don't know how I would label their different techniques. I was a psych major for quite a while (this was 10 years ago) and am familiar with the terms but I'm getting confused (and I have no clue what DBT is). I've also read a lot of self-help stuff looking at family systems, birth order, growing up in a dysfunctional family...with divorced parents, ACOA kinds of stuff. I'm very analytical and with most of my therapists we've looked at why I do and feel what I do, where that came from (past experience, family dynamics etc) and also look at my thought processes and do some reality checks. I think this falls mostly in the CBT camp. But it seems to me in my experience that my therapists have used a mix of techniques. The therapist I'm working with now mostly listens and we talk about my feelings, concerns, worries, etc. and she offers suggestions, asks questions to make me think, suggests things to read, suggests strategies...sometimes the questions she asks aren't always easy or what I want to hear, but they are usually quite helpful. But I am at a point in my life where I have been through a lot of different tx and have worked through the denial and I feel like I have a more objective picture of myself and my behavior...that I feel OK enough about myself to acknowledge that I have dysfunctional patterns of interaction that I need to work on without that affecting my self-worth. I am in a place where I realize that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes and all I can do is try my best. I look back over my history and can see how I've grown. I can see steady improvement over the years. I couldn't have ever done it with tx alone though. I definitely need the meds. That was the problem with earlier tx. I worked with a therapist (and this was a clinical psych student) who was a warm, caring wonderful man who had me working through David Burns' book and handbook (New Mood Therapy? Feel Good Handbook? something like that) It was helpful but I felt like I wasn't "doing good enough...wasn't trying hard enough..." etc. Basically I was failing at tx because if I was good at it then I would be feeling better. I now see that in my case (chronic major depression for 13 years...very cyclical...worse time is Aug thru Jan...) all the tx in the world can't help if there's messed up brain chemistry. I didn't start really feeling better until I did meds AND tx.

Anyway, when I looked for a therapist this last time, I didn't really go into it looking for a particular style because I didn't know what I wanted. I just asked a couple of trusted friends with medical knowledge of docs in my county who they thought was good for my particular problem. I really like my current therapist and pdoc and think this will be a team that will work. My last therapist was someone that I worked with since 1996. The last time I saw her was fall 2002. OUr system was that when i was in crisis I would be in tx for a while...every wk or every other wk with appts further apart as I got feeling better. After a few months she would say "I think you're doing pretty well. you know what to do. Call me if you need me" and we would d/c tx. Next time I had a rough time I'd call and we'd resume tx. It was helpful but I felt like there was something missing. My current pdoc says with my type of problem I should always be in tx. Just less often when I'm doing better. Now it looks like I don't have depression with GAD but rather BP2. This is a whole new thing to me. I'm a little skeptical about tx forever but for now I do think I need to stay in even when I'm "feeling good" cause there are problems on the other extreme that I haven't even addressed yet (spending sprees, multiple projects, sleep issues, etc)

Well, I rambled on and on about this. I guess the bottom line is: 1) I have no clue what kind of tx I'm getting and 2) it seems like my tx has almost always been a combo of different techniques.


PS my current therapist and my previous therapist are both MSWs vs psychologists. I don't know if this makes a difference.




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poster:Lyrical13 thread:293462