Therapy making me feel worse

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illogical

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2019, 10:57:29 PM »
...It struck me that after writing this and thinking about the situation that DH and I are culturally very different than the people where we are living.   We're the same race, but grew up in a different area of the country with a totally different culture.  The therapist was born and raised here. 
... She insisted that it's the case everywhere that if you have quirky kids, you can't make friends with a any parents of "normal" kids because they don't want to be friends with you!  That's the culture where I am and part of why I'm feeling so isolated.   I thought maybe she'd go through the list of trying a class, joining the PTA, church, volunteer work ,etc.  Nope... just it's not fair, but don't plan on making any friends here till your kids graduate.  Go visit your old college friends across the country.   :aaauuugh:  I guess it's good that she was up front about it.  Maybe my bigger issue is where I'm living and not the therapist!!

I think that saying you can't adapt to a culture is blaming an exterior element as the cause of your problems.  It's like putting people/places in a box.  "I can't do this because THEY ARE ALL LIKE THAT."

Sorry, I don't subscribe to putting people or places "in a box."  It's self-defeating.  It assumes that ALL PEOPLE are a certain way.  No, they aren't.  I try to judge people on how they have treated me.  Maybe those you have encountered have treated you a certain way, but that's not to say they are ALL like that where you live.  You have to keep trying and not give up and not think that everyone where you live behaves a certain way.

That type of thinking is "Stinkin' thinkin".  It's black and white thinking.  It's saying that everyone is a certain way and so I can't fit in.  But it's not like that.  Time to expand your horizons and move outside the box.  If I truly thought I was "trapped" in an environment such as you are describing, I would move.  Far, far, far away.  But I don't think you are trapped.  I think it could be your upbringing, your brainwashing by your parents that makes you think that way. 

...She also insists that she's treated daughters of PDs, but she keeps on insisting how bad she feels for enD to the point that it's starting to make me feel guilty. 

It doesn't sound like your T is very good, quite honestly.  Her total sympathy for your enD tells me she is not very aware of the role he plays in the dynamic.  Sure, he can be viewed as a sympathetic character.  He can also be viewed as a person who is very much involved in the dysfunction and has a choice to leave-- like you-- but chooses not to.  That your T thinks that about your enD would be a big red flag for me.

« Last Edit: November 22, 2019, 10:59:30 PM by illogical »
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

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Sidney37

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2019, 01:17:34 AM »
I've lived countless places all over the country and adapted just fine.  I can't count the number of kid people who have moved to the area where I am and left as quickly as they got here because the people here, can't "adapt" to anyone or anything different than what they know.  Frankly  I find your observation offensive.

As to why I haven't moved far, far, away.  There are countless reasons financial and job related that have kept us where we are.

And with that...  I'm done here. 

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illogical

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2019, 09:39:07 AM »
Hi Sidney37,

I'm sorry you were offended by my post.  That certainly was not my intent, and I wish you well.
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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moglow

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2019, 02:00:41 PM »
For what it's worth, Sidney, I was thinking much the same as Illogical. For this therapist to state outright "... it's not fair, but don't plan on making any friends here till your kids graduate.  Go visit your old college friends across the country." Seems harsh and negative to me, particularly so when you're there seeking guidance. Sounds like *her* box is pretty damn small and needs some expanding.
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Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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theonetoblame

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2019, 04:06:27 PM »
I've lived countless places all over the country and adapted just fine.  I can't count the number of kid people who have moved to the area where I am and left as quickly as they got here because the people here, can't "adapt" to anyone or anything different than what they know.  Frankly  I find your observation offensive.

As to why I haven't moved far, far, away.  There are countless reasons financial and job related that have kept us where we are.

And with that...  I'm done here.
I also thought the comments were a bit over the top. It's my understanding this forum isn't about pathologizing others.

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illogical

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2019, 07:10:30 PM »
,,,I also thought the comments were a bit over the top. It's my understanding this forum isn't about pathologizing others.

theonetoblame, I am assuming this comment on "pathologizing" is directed at me.

Black and white thinking, a form of cognitive dissonance (known colloquially as "Stinkin' Thinkin'") is not a disease.  It is a form of fallacious thinking-- a mistaken belief that there are no "shades of gray".  Unlike a disease, it can be corrected.  Many engage in it.  I, myself have engaged in black and white thinking. 

The problem with thinking that a group is ALL, rather than SOME is that it can be self-defeating.  One can think they are trapped, because "everyone" in the group is out to ostracize or isolate them, when in reality, it is only some that think this way.  It is an over-generalization.  This can deepen anxiety and depression.  It can be a real obstacle to conquering fear.

I am very sorry that you think my post was demeaning to Sydney37.  I did not in any way mean to demean her, but rather to point out that this type of thinking-- i.e., black and white thinking-- can lead to painting oneself into a corner.  Thinking there is no way out, that ALL in a particular group are out to sabotage, rather than SOME in the group, can lead to increased anxiety and depression.  My personal feelings are that Sydney37's therapist only added to her anxiety about isolation by telling her she had no control over the situation.  And then from what she posted, she bought into the mistaken belief that she had no control over making friends in her community. 

 
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

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theonetoblame

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2019, 10:09:34 PM »
Perhaps focusing on the topic of the thread (the challenges with the OP's counselor), rather than targeting your perceptions of problems within the OP, would have been received better. The tone of your post to me is also pushy, I don't like it.

There tends to be quite a bit of 'advice giving' on this forum, some of it just comes across as pushy and inappropriate. It's not my job to stand up for the OP and she has already done the healthy thing i.e. set a boundary and walked away. I'll do the same.

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hhaw

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2019, 11:03:42 PM »
How do you know if your therapist is helping or making things worse?  Iíve gone weekly for a few months.  I feel worse for days after seeing her.  The sessions involve me venting and being upset about the NC with parents, the abuse that led to the NC and some FOC issues.  She says very little and sometimes encourages me to say more (vent more).  She hasnít said anything helpful or thought provoking.  She hasnít  given me any real advice.  She tells me that she canít tell me what to do.  I have to decide everything for myself.  It just feels like an hour of venting that makes me more resentful.

Should  I have homework or is therapy for PTSD/PD abuse just months and months of venting about how frustrating and unfair life is?  I think therapy is actually making me depressed!

I found a T specializing in Trauma work.  She uses EMDR, and somatic work to identify the emotions and sensations attached to the "stories."   I"ve found there's a huge distinction between the Ts that practice art, somatic, and EMDR work. 

My T explained we ARE traumatized when we're forced to talk about our trauma over and over.  She has me talk about a story ONLY until I've identified the emotions and sensations in the body.... then we put the story on a shelf, and turn to the emotion and sensation only. 

We put a number on it... 1-10. 

We go through protocols that help
1.  Move the trauma OUT of the fight or flight center of our brains... the reptilian brain/suvivla brain, so it can be processed, and placed in historic files where it belings. 
In order to help our brains DO this, we reduce stress in the brain, and body.   We learn how to reclaim our biology, which is hijacked when our survival brain's kick in. 

Breathing deeply, and slowly sends signals to the brain.... "There is no crisis... we are safe.... there's no danger."
THis makes it possible to access our frontal lobe.... higher thinking brain.... the part invovling logic, creativity, and problem solving which is all it takes to help our very efficient brains do what they do best... process in micro seconds, and file that information.

It's feels like magic, IME.

Search for Ts who specialize in Trauma work, art, EMDR, and somatic work.  You will find someone who can explain how th brain works, what it needs to move the trauma OUT of your daily life into your history files.  It's real.  It's a relief.  It's what all Ts should be doing with patients processing trauma, IME.

You don't have to continue suffering like this.

I had lots of pieces of the puzzle.... I just needed someone who knew how to put them all together, explain them, and guide me through what it takes to move traumatic events OUT of my amygdala, story by story.  Sometimes you can clear many traumas in one story.  You don't have to tell every story, thank God.

Good luck,
 

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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moglow

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2019, 12:56:06 PM »
Just a general aside - please remember this is a peer to peer support forum. Support comes in many forms and we may not always agree with some of what is provided or perhaps the manner in which it is worded. I honestly believe that much more often that not, what is shared here is well-meant and not intended to hurt anyone. We *always* have the option to take what we need and leave the rest.

That said, I too have an objection to people being placed in boxes - separated, isolated, even condemned as "other." Having one's therapist tell one that "you'll never make friends until your children are grown etc" is an awful thing to say, and I fail to see the purpose in it. It IS stinkin' thinkin' and holds people back from better things. It's defeating and isolating and even feels mocking to me, more so when said to someone who is already struggling to find her way.

Sidney, I resent the therapist's comments and am appalled anyone said such things to you. You deserve better
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.Ē  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Sidney37

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2019, 04:48:35 PM »
...It struck me that after writing this and thinking about the situation that DH and I are culturally very different than the people where we are living.   We're the same race, but grew up in a different area of the country with a totally different culture.  The therapist was born and raised here. 
... She insisted that it's the case everywhere that if you have quirky kids, you can't make friends with a any parents of "normal" kids because they don't want to be friends with you!  That's the culture where I am and part of why I'm feeling so isolated.   I thought maybe she'd go through the list of trying a class, joining the PTA, church, volunteer work ,etc.  Nope... just it's not fair, but don't plan on making any friends here till your kids graduate.  Go visit your old college friends across the country.   :aaauuugh:  I guess it's good that she was up front about it.  Maybe my bigger issue is where I'm living and not the therapist!!

I think that saying you can't adapt to a culture is blaming an exterior element as the cause of your problems.  It's like putting people/places in a box.  "I can't do this because THEY ARE ALL LIKE THAT."

Sorry, I don't subscribe to putting people or places "in a box."  It's self-defeating.  It assumes that ALL PEOPLE are a certain way.  No, they aren't.  I try to judge people on how they have treated me.  Maybe those you have encountered have treated you a certain way, but that's not to say they are ALL like that where you live.  You have to keep trying and not give up and not think that everyone where you live behaves a certain way.

That type of thinking is "Stinkin' thinkin".  It's black and white thinking.  It's saying that everyone is a certain way and so I can't fit in.  But it's not like that.  Time to expand your horizons and move outside the box.  If I truly thought I was "trapped" in an environment such as you are describing, I would move.  Far, far, far away.  But I don't think you are trapped.  I think it could be your upbringing, your brainwashing by your parents that makes you think that way.

Iíve come back to clarify what appears to be a difference in interpretation amongst several of us.  After reading this many times, i believe these comments were directed at me, not my therapist.  Feel free to correct me if Iím wrong, but I read this as if I was accused putting people in a box.  That I am participating in black and white thinking - stinkin thinkin.  It appears that theonetoblame and I  read it the same way.  It appears that moglow read this as being directed toward my therapist.  If Illogical would clarify, it would help us to determine  how this should have been interpreted.



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moglow

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2019, 04:55:40 PM »
I believe Illogical meant it as I saw it - directed at your therapist. Being vulnerable it's too easy for any/all of us to buy into that line of thinking  along with the therapist. Whatever her personal opinion, seems to me her phrasing needed a lot of work. There you are pouring out your heart session after session to her, and those comments felt to me like a foot on your neck, telling you you'll never fit in or have friends there. Setiously?? Balderdash!!
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.Ē  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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illogical

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2019, 06:37:17 PM »
Hi Sidney37,

To quote from your post,

... She [the therapist]  insisted that it's the case everywhere that if you have quirky kids, you can't make friends with a any parents of "normal" kids because they don't want to be friends with you!  That's the culture where I am and part of why I'm feeling so isolated.   I thought maybe she'd go through the list of trying a class, joining the PTA, church, volunteer work ,etc.  Nope... just it's not fair, but don't plan on making any friends here till your kids graduate.  Go visit your old college friends across the country.   :aaauuugh:  I guess it's good that she was up front about it.  Maybe my bigger issue is where I'm living and not the therapist!!

Moglow is correct.  When I posted,


...I think that saying you can't adapt to a culture is blaming an exterior element as the cause of your problems.  It's like putting people/places in a box.  "I can't do this because THEY ARE ALL LIKE THAT."

I meant your therapist was saying you can't adapt to a culture, that your therapist was blaming an exterior element as the cause of your problems.  That your therapist was putting people/places in a box.

I did think that you, Sidney37, bought into your therapist's Stinkin' Thinkin' because you didn't question her comments to you that you "can't make friends with any parents of 'normal' kids because they don't want to be friends with you."

I also thought that when you posted this,

... I guess it's good that she was up front about it.  Maybe my bigger issue is where I'm living and not the therapist!!

that you were subscribing to the black and white thinking that your therapist was putting out there, and not questioning her, but rather blaming the people and place you were living.  I wanted to point out to you that that type of thinking was likely going to add to your isolation and anxiety/depression.  It was meant as a helpful comment, as I have engaged in Stinkin' Thinkin' and it has only resulted in a worsening of my anxiety.

As I stated previously, I did not mean any offense.
"Applying logic to potentially illogical behaviour is to construct a house on shifting foundations.  The structure will inevitably collapse."

__Stewart Stafford

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Desperateliving

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #32 on: November 25, 2019, 04:02:40 AM »
This may not be helpful but I have recently been reading about therapist abuse. I had a therapist who had me unpack all my trauma but never helped process it. I always left the sessions feeling so horrible that I would placate myself with alcohol. I've also had therapists invalidate me, shame me, make me feel like things were my fault,  and one time a therapist started trimming her nails during our session. It's always nice to have a therapist who is experienced in trauma and will only let you unpack when you're ready and makes sure you are safe when the session is over. If your therapist is making you feel worse than when you initially sought treatment; you should definitely consider finding one who makes you feel safe enough to share your experiences with. When they are empathetic, equipped, and trustworthy to you then it might be a better fit. It takes a while to build up trust with your therapist. I've been seeing the same one for over a year now and still am dipping my toes in the water about EMDR. I'm sorry you're going through all that. I know  it's a struggle and sometimes seems like too much effort.  However, I swear it's worth it when you find the right one.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 04:14:07 AM by Desperateliving »

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hibiscus

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #33 on: November 25, 2019, 02:28:43 PM »
After decades of being in therapy on and off, one thing I've learned is that therapy is all about listening.  I, too, often vent during my sessions, and I feel I've wasted time.  But I've read some books about psychology (mostly self-help books, but also one or two scholarly books), and one of them made me realize that a huge part of what a therapist does, especially at the beginning of therapy, before you're ready to tackle the really difficult stuff, is make you feel safe, and make you feel heard.

I have an excellent therapist.  What happens in most of my sessions is that I talk, and talk, and talk.  Often, nothing happens, and I worry afterwards that I talked too much and wasted time and money.  But sometimes, in the middle of every fourth or sixth session, my therapist will ask a seemingly innocuous question that will stop me in my tracks.  If I don't avoid the question, it sometimes leads to a really productive session.

Therapy takes a lot of patience -- not just with your therapist but also with yourself.  We all want to get better right away, but this is a process, and the process itself is valuable.  In fact, I'm starting to feel that therapy is a way of learning to view one's life as a process of self-discovery rather than as a path toward a goal.  If you want the therapy to progress a little faster, I would suggest doing extra work after the sessions.  Try to journal every day for at least twenty minutes.  This is surprisingly difficult but extremely helpful.  If you're the studious type, it would also be worthwhile to read self-help books related to your situation.  Each book will help you tackle your situation a little more deeply.  You could also ask your therapist for book suggestions, but I find that I'm better at selecting books that speak to me than my therapist.

The only reason I would change therapists in your situation is if I felt that the therapist does not empathize with me.  Your therapist does not have to be like you or come from a similar background; she just has to care.  The first person I went to when I realized I was depressed was a psychiatrist who prescribed me pills but didn't seem to care about me or my situation.  Later, I saw a psychologist who didn't care, as well as two psychiatrists who cared.  From what you've written, I think that this therapist probably does empathize with you.

The other thing you could do is tell the therapist that you feel worse for days after your sessions and are not sure that all this venting is helping you.  See where she leads you.  That might signal to her that you're ready for the next step, or that her current approach isn't working and that you need a different approach.   A good therapist will, in fact, tell you if they feel you're not a good match, and suggest another therapist.  But, as another poster said, being in therapy is often painful and really hard work, and one's mind will often play tricks to avoid the pain and the work.  Your frustration may even be a sign that you're ready to do some digging and uncover something.  Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 02:32:47 PM by hibiscus »

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hibiscus

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #34 on: November 25, 2019, 03:17:59 PM »
By the way, I also read illogical's post as a criticism of your therapist rather than a criticism of you.  But I think that illogical is taking one statement a therapist made, as interpreted by another person, and over-analyzing it.  I understand that in doing so, illogical is being supportive and understanding and taking your side, and I think that's touchingly sweet, but to me, it sounds like your therapist was just trying to make you feel understood.  In other words, your therapist was possibly trying to suggest that the fact that parents of "normal" kids might not want to make friends with you is their problem and their failing, and that you don't really need them.  In fact, it's these statements that make me believe that your therapist probably does empathize with you. 

I could, of course, be wrong.  But I would give this therapist at least one more chance before giving up on her.  As I said, therapy rarely feels comfortable.  If you're doing the work, you will probably  have sessions, eventually, in which you cry more than you speak.  Anyone who has lived with someone with a PD has a huge amount of pain to work through.  If all your therapist does is tell you to join a class or volunteer, frankly, they are not helping you tackle the really hard stuff.  I suppose a therapist might give such advice if they get the sense that a patient is not willing to dig deeper, but true recovery work is challenging, uncomfortable, and takes years.  In other words, there is some chance that you have a really good therapist here who is going to help you do some good work.

I hope you won't read this as any sort of criticism of you.  I think everyone here is trying to help, but it's difficult to convey one's emotions and intentions through words typed on a forum.

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hhaw

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #35 on: November 25, 2019, 06:01:57 PM »
I've seen many T's and T's for my children, and marriage C's, and I have to tell you....
there 's new science on dealing with trauma in therapy. 

It's nothing like what T's have done the last 50 years.  Talking is,  in many cases, re traumatizing, and does nothing to move the trauma out of the amygdala, into processing, then into historic files, where it belings and stops tapping us onthe shoulder asking for attention.

When we experience emotions/sensatiions connected to old trauma, it FEEELS like we're back in that place, actually standing in that place again, and it lights up the part of our brain where it lives, and can't move out bc our biology's been hijacked... our heartrate goes up, respiratory increases, tunnel vision and chemical dumps take over, and our reptiliam/survival brain is online.  That knocks out pathways to our frontal cortex.... to higher thinking/problem solving/creativity/logic, and without  accessing other parts of the brain, we're trapped, and stuck, and that's a shame bc our brains are efficient at processing emotions in milliseconds when given a chance. 

Ts specializing in trauma don't, IME, require us to tell our stories over and over and over again.  IME I touch on a story ONLY long enough to identify the difficult emotions and bodily sensations attached to the story... then we put the story on a shelf, and focus on just the emotions/sensations.

We bring up something that needs attention, we process it, it stops coming up, over and over, and it's DONE.

That's how trauma T should work, IME.  That's new,  and amazing, and not difficult at all.  Ts that tell us something has to be hard, or is hard, or will take time.... aren't aware of the most recent T treatments. 

If I could go back, I'd seek out 3 people in my life I didn't know I needed.  One of those people would be a Trauma T.... the ones' doing ART, EMDR, Tapping, and Somatic work.

The hard part is figuring out it's not difficult, IME.

The hard part is finding a competent professional to look us in the eye, send compassion, and help us reconnect to what we were when we were born. 
Enough.   
Whole. 
WIthout all the layers of junk other people put in our heads. 

We are fine, just as we are.   Once our brains and bodies remember this, we know our true worth, we arrive, we are home.

I hope that looks and sounds odd, bc it's completely different than what traditional Ts have offered, IME.

It's new brain science,and we don't know a whole lot about it, but what we DO know is available, helpful, and should be the first line of treatment Trauma Ts reach for, but so many don't.

I think most do what they originally learned, despite how helpful, or not helpful, their treatment plans are for their clients.

If you're wondering if you have the right T.... you haven't met the right T yet, IME.

Look up words like Somatic, ART, EMDR,  Buddhist and Ts specializing in Trauma.   There out there.  I know bc I've found 3 of them in recent months.  One for me, and I'm interviewing 2 for my dd. 

I've seen a T specializing in Somatic work, but that was just one piece of the puzzle for me.  All the Ts seemed to have one or fewer pieces only.  The new Trauma T has all the pieces, and puts them together in different ways, as I need them, and keeps handing them to me in ways that make sense, bc this is hard to make sense of when we're in distress, in fight or flight mode, switched, meaning our Sympathetic Nervous Systems are in charge, fueling fight or flight mode.

This is biology, mindfulness, neuroscience and neuroplasticity.... and it all comes up at once when we're under stress, and must be teased out, and met, tended to with compassion, and non judgmental focus, which is quite a trick with all the crap we've been told about ourselves by the world.

As we tend to these issues, we build new pathways, and gain more time to respond, rather than react compulsively, which is our default setting. 

Once we know better, we can do better.

Again, I do hope this all sounds odd, bc it's too rare, and too amazing not to be shared with people who can feel better while gaining skills and knowledge to do this for themselves. 

Our memories aren't set in stone.   We can change them. Every time we open them up,  like software in our brains... we change them. Every.  Time.

We have the ability to replace them with new ones, finallhy resolving the pain, and unprocessed issues.  We've know this for years.  I don't understand why Therapeutic Treatment modes haven't moved ahead with the research, but I'm the very happy benefactor of it.








hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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theonetoblame

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #36 on: November 25, 2019, 06:18:45 PM »
I'm with you Hhaw.

EMDR is interesting. I know for myself that when I start to go down the ptsd rabbit hole reliving bad memories that my vision will fixate on a point in space, I'll sort of tune out and my nervous system will just start revving up. I've learned to spot this behavior very early in the cycle and immediately start to shift my gaze and to use my own internal CBT type techniques to move my thoughts on to something productive. Once shifted, I'll then focus on my physical arousal, do some deep breathing, get grounded etc. The more I do this, the better I get at it (to support your comment about neuroplasticity).

I've also come to understand that most of my arousal (I expect this is different for everyone) emerges in response to imaginary conflicts with my perpetrators that I begin to construct in my mind -- I start body bracing (body wide muscle tension) and preparing for the conflict. As I let go of ever resolving these issues following a path of conflict it also became easier for me to redirect. Now my path is one of releasing, letting go and acknowledging that my life is actually quite good. I do good things in the world, I have good people in my life, I'm stable and secure i.e. there is no threat! so I don't need to imagine one.

Historically PTSD and other types of therapy for phobias etc focused on desensitization. The idea was that through repeated exposure to the stimulus a person would eventually become desensitized. It was really only about a decade ago that PTSD interventions started to pick up the idea of Hebbian neuroscience principles, the idea that neurons which fire together wire together. The reverse is also true and neural networks decay over time if they aren't continually activated. This is a very modern perspective. I've taken some counselling courses over the years and these ideas were never even glanced at in the curriculum, I think the training of therapists really needs to change. It's difficult though when so many counselors are trained to believe that reflective listening is best practice. If you reflect my trauma back to me it just becomes an echo chamber and I never move on... from a Hebbian perspective it just strengthens the trauma wiring in my brain.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 06:35:06 PM by theonetoblame »

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hhaw

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #37 on: November 25, 2019, 10:41:49 PM »
I'm with you Hhaw.

EMDR is interesting. I know for myself that when I start to go down the ptsd rabbit hole reliving bad memories that my vision will fixate on a point in space, I'll sort of tune out and my nervous system will just start revving up. I've learned to spot this behavior very early in the cycle and immediately start to shift my gaze and to use my own internal CBT type techniques to move my thoughts on to something productive. Once shifted, I'll then focus on my physical arousal, do some deep breathing, get grounded etc. The more I do this, the better I get at it (to support your comment about neuroplasticity). Yup.

I've also come to understand that most of my arousal (I expect this is different for everyone) emerges in response to imaginary conflicts with my perpetrators that I begin to construct in my mind -- I start body bracing (body wide muscle tension) and preparing for the conflict. As I let go of ever resolving these issues following a path of conflict it also became easier for me to redirect. Now my path is one of releasing, letting go and acknowledging that my life is actually quite good. I do good things in the world, I have good people in my life, I'm stable and secure i.e. there is no threat! so I don't need to imagine one. And that's the thing... when we're gtriggered, and IN fight or flight survival mode..... we perceive a very real threat, and that threat IS REAL to our brain, and biology.  We have to ask ourselves.... am I responding to this moment, or a different time in my life?  When I spoke about something with my T she asked if that was me trying to resolve an old issue.... was I BACK THERE, in the original trauma moments trying to resolve them, SEEING THEM, or was I present in her office in that moment?  I really had to think about that to discern where I was, or where my brain thought I was.

When we dream the brain can't tell the difference between the dream and reality.  It's the same with old traumas popping up in our amygdala... the brain KNOWS we're back in  that  crisis, under threat, and it responds, the body responds, biology is hijacked.... we're THERE, for all practical purposes.... except we're not... really.  And it's affecting our lives, and living in that reactive mode means we lack the ability and time to choose a response that brings us more of what we really want. 

I wanted to stop walking around with my fists up.  I used to drive in a fighting stance.... a chiropractor told me my body was twisted into a permanent fighting  stance.   I couldnt' turn a corner without finding my fists at my chin, and I didn't remember putting them there.  It was all reptilian fight or flight survival stuff, and I didn't have anything left to shoot but adrenaline... my adrenals were shot.   

If I'd known to seek a true Trauma Specialist, I could have whacked 10 years off this healing safari, IMO.  I've been all around the track, picked up up a little about a lot, then finally FINALLY found someone to put all the pieces together,  along with the latest brain science and trauma therapies..... I just wish I'd have known sooner.   

 


Historically PTSD and other types of therapy for phobias etc focused on desensitization. The idea was that through repeated exposure to the stimulus a person would eventually become desensitized. It was really only about a decade ago that PTSD interventions started to pick up the idea of Hebbian neuroscience principles, the idea that neurons which fire together wire together. The reverse is also true and neural networks decay over time if they aren't continually activated. YES!
Heavily used neural pathways become covered with fat called myelin, which accounts for the "white" brain matter, and also makes those pathways super fast... our default settings.  The body is very frugal with  myelin, and fat is moved from neural pathways we aren't using as often, and moved to those we are.  For me, that's brain intengration work, and more about building up, and tearing down pathways.  What I'm more interested in now is processing unprocessed information in milliseconds.... just.... done.  Taking stress off the brain, which is what the brain integration courses were about too, but with the EMDR it seems to me, and has been my experience, that relief can be achieved in an hour or so, and be permanent.  No transfer of fat, just removal of the stuck unprocessed emotion/sensation from the amygdala, into the processing center, then filed in historic files, and off our radar, which is different than what has been grueling daily work to build new pathways, and work to STOP default pathways when I notice them.   It's harder, particulary bc I only knew about the frontal occipital hold to relieve stress in the brain, and I needed more tools and more support.   The brain integration came up for both daughters, and emotional looping issues,and learning hiccups for youngest.  It was helpful,  but only a piece of the puzzle. 

The EMDR, crossing my arms over each other and patting myself on each shoulder, one at a time, like soothing a baby.... pushing against a door jamb when really in fight or flight... or walking backwards around a trashcan..... all done with deep breathing.... like filling a vase from the bottom up..... pooching out the stomach, and breathing in deeply... then breathing out deeply..... until it's natural, and happens without thinking, which I'm working on.  Breathing was never part of Brain Integration training, and it should be a part of all stress relief training, IME.   
This is a very modern perspective. I've taken some counselling courses over the years and these ideas were never even glanced at in the curriculum, I think the training of therapists really needs to change. That you were never introduced to the latest brain science and proven trauma treatments is so sad, but I believe it, bc I've never seen a T use them, or even be able to discuss them until recently.  Once I tried to explain tapping to my oldest dd's T, and he tried it, then said he felt like an idiot slapping himself all over the place.  That's hard for me to believe, and he didn't practice EMDR either.  This was 3 years ago or so.  Maybe he's taking classes in these things now.  It's difficult though when so many counselors are trained to believe that reflective listening is best practice. Mirror neurons are important in my T's practice.  She looks me in the eyes, and reflects back to me, and engages in a way that was very difficult to get used to, but I did it, and it's something I look forward to and appreciate now. If you reflect my trauma back to me it just becomes an echo chamber and I never move on... from a Hebbian perspective it just strengthens the trauma wiring in my brain.  My T doesn't mirror back trauma.... she holds compassion between us, and recognizes my pain.   Complete, unconditional, abiding acceptance is what's important... not mirroring my trauma, bc as I said earlier..... the trauma story is only brought up for the pointed purpose of accessing the stuck emotions and body sensations attached to the story. The story goes right back on the shelf once it's served it's purpose, and isn't necessary beyond that. 

We shift the focus to somatic response in the body, which is actually thousands of years old Buddhist teachings.  How did they know!?!  No telling, but they did, and you hit on that a bit also.  It's important.  It widens our gaze, and POV and takes our face off the glass, and makes possible seeing the forest for the trees. My T put it this way.... if we put a tsp of salt into a glass, it's very concentrated.  If we expand into a large body of water, it's not that much salt at all.   We create more spaciousness and more emotional distance, and the stress seems less overwhelming,  and all-encompassing.  It's just a small thing if we're able to calm our nervous systems and engage our entire brain in problem-solving.  There's no problem solving when we're in fight or flight.   There's only compulsive worry, which is one coping strategy I'm ready to let go of.    We can't think out way out of fight or flight.

The brain can heal years of layered trauma events, and nodes in a millisecond.  It's not difficult.  It's just what the brain does when it's given the chance.   This is what fascinates me now.  I think transferring myelin from one pathway to another happens without work and strife IF we can help our brain process.  It's remembering who we are... without the layers of other people's crud on top of who we were born to be.  We can remember this and it doesn't have to be  hard.  work, or effort.   No T should tell their patient T is going to be hard, and difficult and take a long long time, according to my T.

Hard IS retelling a traumatic event over and over again to someone who doesn't understand how to help us process it, and resolve it.  That's just nuts.

I never felt better telling my story to T's who would break down and cry, and do nothing but appear helpless, and traumatized themselves.  I hated SEEING them suffer. THIS T.... never flinched.  Her eyes were always dry, and she always moved on to the next tool if one wasn't working/was beyond my ability to focus on, bc of escalating stress/fight or flight sympathetic nervous system overload.... she took me to something that DID work, and she didn't lose sight of the goal.  The mission is to process old trauma/emotion/sensations and file in historic files.  DONE.  Not listen to my "story" or reflect my trauma BACK to me.  To move stuck trauma into processing centers, finish processing, then file.... THIS is what our brains are efficient at IF they're not stuck on overwhelming emotions.  It seems very simple when I see things this way during the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9xewPULPnI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjhP0mKwCQM

Memories aren't written in stone. We can perform memory reconsolidatin, and there's a couple links explaining this in some details above.... Nova Memory Hackers Memory Reconsolidations... I think.

  Two appointements ago we brought up a traumatic picture, worked on it with EMDR, colored over it with my favorite color as her hand moved back and forth, then replaced it with a new outcome, which I chose myself, and felt complete peace with.  Some people choose Saints or higher power, or a parental figure.  I was my own parental figure, and it was so deeply satisfying to go INTO that scene, and change it.  To help my young mother cope, and parent myself and my siblings the way we deserved to be parented then..... and then I couldn't picture the original picture at all... I still can't.  It's all changed, and it's what painted over that original trauma.   It's amazing,and I hope this helps someone else understand some piece that connects important dots for them regarding new therapies, and Ts who specialize in trauma, and those who really don't know.

I rambled, but it helps me internaliz this myself.

hhaw

 

« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 11:08:15 PM by hhaw »
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Bloomie

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Re: Therapy making me feel worse
« Reply #38 on: November 26, 2019, 11:59:53 AM »
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