Psycho-Babble Psychology | about psychological treatments | Framed
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Something that worked for me!

Posted by Aphrodite on June 10, 2005, at 19:54:45

I've been mostly AWOL (because I'm mostly depressed), and more recently have struggled with a lot, A LOT of suicidal ideation. Usually, just connecting and getting support from my T gets me through, but I got to a place a couple of weeks ago where I was really stuck by a cycle of panic attacks followed by deep depressions. On one very miserable day, I called him, which I very, very rarely do, and he said, "Stop thinking. Just listen to my voice and do everything I say." What followed was an overwhelming list of things I had to do and report back to him with. It was a more CBT approach, but with a twist. There were 2 lists: one was for calming, and the other for occupying and accountability. Surprisingly, doing these helped me out of that moment of despair and through another bad moment a week later. They also really helped in our connection.

All the activities hinged on getting through 15 minutes, and then the next 15 minutes, and so on. I was to set my alarm and only focus on that time. First to calm myself, I was to watch a candle flame for 3 minutes. Another calming activity was for me to take in things in my field of vision top, bottom, left and right and then all at once, and to do the same with sounds. He says it changes brain waves -- it seemed to calm mine down.

And then I was to occupy myself by doing the following things over a weekend to give to him the next week. I was to collect 5 pieces of my young child's art and bring to him. I had to write my 10 favorite therapy moments. I had to write my favorite movies and why I liked them. I had to write my favorite books and songs and why I liked them. I had to write about reasons why I thought I was a good mother and 5 of my child's cutest sayings or expressions.

For "little Aphrodite" I was to bake something I liked as a child and indulge and tell him what it was. He asked me to write all my favorite stories, books, shows, etc. from my youth. He asked me to go on a walk, pretend he was with me, and write about things I saw and what I would have said to him if he were with me on that walk.

It all seemed asinine while he said it, but I'm dutiful and compliant (I guess he was using that!), and kept myself thoroughly busy with my assignments and didn't have time to feel all the pain. I ended up bringing him vast amounts of writing and said I felt guilty about giving it to him and didn't expect him to read it. We did other things in that session, so I thought it was "busy work" and doubted he would look at it. The next day, I had a long voice message from him saying how much he enjoyed what I wrote, that he felt he had gained a lot of insight, and he said he felt closer to me and thanked me for the work.

Assignments designed to refocus my energy really worked, and he has referenced many of the items in sessions since then. We had a particularly bonding session regarding the list of my best moments in therapy.

Just thought I would share this in case any of it resonates as something that would help you. I was surprised it worked for me, I usually think I am just SOOO complicated and it seemed way too simple! -- but also *very* grateful that it did.




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poster:Aphrodite thread:510798