Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 446

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What my therapist says about posting here.

Posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 6:14:07

I'd love to know what you think. I think he's right on the money. He began with this little anecdote about a woman who was sexually and emotionally abused as a child. She was in a bad state when they first met in the eighties. She had decided to join a support group, which he thought was a good idea. (This was pre-internet, remember.) She had gotten much better. It helped her to know that there were others like her and that she could find ways to cope with this.

After three months, however, and because no therapist was present at this group, it turned into a victim session. Everyone complained and cried about their victimization, and instead of supporting each other in recovery, they supported each other in remaining victims.

He concluded that three months in the same group may be the therapeutic limit. And in his client's case, I think he's right. But as folks come and go here, maybe the group is renewed often enough? Or maybe it's different if you're not always the victim.

Some folks on the board seem to have their good times and bad times--sort of equally. When they feel good, they offer support and advice to others; when they feel bad, they ask for the same.

It's the others I wonder about--the few folks who always need help, whose conditions never seem to change. Is this board helpful, or does it somehow keep them victims of their condition? Remember, this is not a judgment of anyone. I am just wondering what people think about it.

I say it can be good to have a place to whine on the internet, as you'll whine less amongst friends and family!

Any thoughts?



Re: What my therapist says about posting here.

Posted by katekite on June 28, 2002, at 12:16:11

In reply to What my therapist says about posting here., posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 6:14:07

This is a great topic beardy.

I think group therapy and internet support are two very different things.

I have asked several therapists over the years if they would recommend group therapy for me: usually during OK times where I was hoping to work on social anxiety, when I felt isolated. Of all the times I have asked, only about a month ago did my current therapist come back with a phone number. It seems that there are a lot of therapy groups out there and not very many good ones. Many of the good ones are full. Who's leading the one your therapist mentioned? Obviously not a therapist who's good at it, or it wouldn't have degenerated into such a mess. Some therapists can be great at one-on-one and terrible at group dynamics. So having not ever gone to group therapy, yet, I'd question that they get useless after 3 months -- I'm pretty sure some people find them helpful and progressive for a lot longer. Seems like if it becomes totally useless after 3 months something was wrong with it from the beginning. Either that or everyone is completely better.

Now as far as the internet goes, this forum seems really supportive. The one criticism I've heard of internet support groups that seems valid is that if people spend too much time in them they don't spend enough time in the 'real' world getting to know real people. In the real world social skills: listening skills, body language etc are important. Here it barely matters.

This isn't group therapy. There is no leader, no one helping us along and provoking thought on particular subjects. We just agonize over whatever we want to here. Once in a great while someone else will answer with a great suggestion that we find really helpful. Most of the time its just nice that others seem to care. To me it seems more like lunch with a bunch of people you barely know, but instead of small talk we talk about things we actually care about.

There are certainly people who make their illness who they are and maybe being here is not really good for them, maybe all this information etc just helps them focus more on it. Maybe they need to turn off the computer and distract themselves from thinking about it. Seems like those are a minority. (I don't have anyone in particular in mind.) Since there is no way to know who among the posters might be keeping themselves ill (or a victim) we can't assume anyone is. Since people who want to keep themselves ill really believe they are, there is no way to reach them over the internet: at least I don't think there is.

I too have seen people post the same things over and over. That just says to me they haven't heard anything that helps enough, yet (or they forgot they asked already, LOL). Or sometimes you see that someone answers everyone with the same answer (for example that jesus will help) -- to me that says they need to say those words, for themselves. If people rephrase their problem enough, or those who reply rephrase or change their answers, eventually something will click (I believe). And if it doesn't, at least we all feel we are trying to help ourselves. The drive to help ourselves, to take control over our lives, has to have an outlet. We can't just pace back and forth all day waiting.

It doesn't seem to me that this place keeps anyone a victim. I do think it solidifies a feeling of similarity to others who have psychological difficulties, because here you will be sure to find someone who is somewhat similar. But if you post here to begin with you identify yourself as someone with a psychological problem. Finding others who share the same issues is usually considered good. In realms outside of mental illness, that's the essence of making friends!

Some may continue to be more comfortable with people with psychological issues than those without. That in itself is a psychological issue and shows they are in the right place. Ooh I think I'll start a thread on this.

Why why am I so verbose, beardy? I can't just be concise! I want to be concise without drugs.

That's the end of the message.



Re: What my therapist says about posting here. beardedlady

Posted by judy1 on June 28, 2002, at 12:22:59

In reply to What my therapist says about posting here., posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 6:14:07

I think what your therapist said was interesting, and may be true in some cases. Personally group therapy is frightening to me (even if it is led by a therapist), because I would feel judged. And I have been forced to go when hospitalized- and would last 5 minutes before fleeing the room. But I'm aware my illness is a shame-based one so I am more susceptible to that situation. Honestly I have never felt judged here, and if so I've conveniently forgotten. So when I find someone who is struggling with the same issues I am- but is much further along (Terra), I feel like I've been given a gift. Without the fear of a group of new faces with different ideas. Obviously I speak for myself here, I'm sure others find group therapy beneficial (my therapist certainly wants me to try). As far as posters who never get well- I guess I haven't noticed that, but I avoid many threads for fear of being triggered so I'm sure you have a better handle on that. Mostly I see the ebb and flow you mentioned- the giving and asking for advice. Take care, judy


Sorry--a SUPPORT group, not group therapy. (nm)

Posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 13:11:49

In reply to Re: What my therapist says about posting here. beardedlady, posted by judy1 on June 28, 2002, at 12:22:59


i could have figured you meant that. (nm)

Posted by katekite on June 28, 2002, at 17:31:04

In reply to Sorry--a SUPPORT group, not group therapy. (nm), posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 13:11:49


Re: what I think my therapist would say...

Posted by tabitha on June 28, 2002, at 22:38:19

In reply to What my therapist says about posting here., posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 6:14:07

about the original example of the support group, is that it might look like those people aren't improving, but it might be that complaining endlessly in the group is actually keeping them from practicing more self-destructive ways of coping.

She also says, when I'm getting uncomfortable with my own complaining, "People need to talk about their pain". Like it's the simplest thing in the world. I really like that.


know thyself beardedlady

Posted by terra miller on June 29, 2002, at 14:20:55

In reply to What my therapist says about posting here., posted by beardedlady on June 28, 2002, at 6:14:07

i think when you get to the point when you know what is and what is not good for you, then you can benefit from any community. but i think it's important to be wise but compassionate. some people may never move forward, and the hard thing is to let them have that choice and not let that become your annoyance. that's so hard when you begin to care about people. but i have been in groups where people continue to move forward, and then they don't stagnate. i was in one group where i know some of the people for three years and it was still wholesome because we were all still working. i remember when one got sidetracked and stayed there, and we had to pull back emotionally which was painful, but we couldn't make her choices for her. i have the attitude of being who i know that i am and doing it genuinely without trying as best as i can to fix anybody else. and if someone decides not to fix themself, i listen inside to wisdom that maybe i don't need to read their posts anymore because it might be doing more harm to me than good. and then i try to move on.

random thoughts from terra.

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