Help in finding a qualified therapist

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Help in finding a qualified therapist
« on: July 09, 2020, 05:03:58 PM »
Hi everyone.  I haven't posted in a little while, but I have been on this forum on and off since 2012 under the name of gettingstronger. (At one point I lost my login and became gettingstronger1). When ever I learn something new or helpful, I like to pass it on to you, because we are all looking for answers on this forum. I don't know everything, but hopefully I can help someone.  :)

Today I wanted to address the struggle of finding a therapist who understands what we are going through.  I know many people on this forum have posted over the years about the struggle of finding a good therapist who truly understands adult children of personality disordered parents. Like myself, there are some people on this forum who have been invalidated and retraumatized in therapy. In my personal experience, I have found that most therapists mean well, but many are uninformed or not trained on personality disordered parents or narcissistic abuse.  It is a very complex subject, and unless you have been through it personally it is hard to understand. It also takes a long time to learn that the general rules of conflict management with a personality disordered person don't apply. (In my opinion and experience.)  So I am writing today about my experience in the hope that my experience might help you find an appropriate therapist. I have learned the hard way that just going to a random therapist on your insurance list is a bad idea.  Medical doctors specialize because they can not know everything. Therapists also need to specialize. They too can not be an expert on everything. I get that because I have worked in the mental health field myself since the 1990's.

 I found a good Huffington Post article on the importance of finding a good therapist.  (The link to the article is at the bottom of this page.)  What I have discovered is when you are looking for a therapist you need to find a therapist who is specially trained in or has personal experience with narcissistic abuse.  Unfortunately even though therapists mean well and truly want to help they don't understand the dynamics of dealing with a  personality disordered parent or spouse. It has been my experience that the usual advice on conflict management that a therapist or a pastor would give such as "talk to them about the problem." "Just reason with your mother, tell her your feelings" just do not work with a narcissist or some other personality disorders.  I can't speak to other people's experience, but in my experience and from my reading, I have found that logical reasoning and explaining just don't work with narcissists and other personality disorders. All reasoning or letter writing has done for me is to put a very large target on my back and got me kicked out of the family.  I am guessing that some of you on this forum can relate to this.  There is a cultural myth that all mothers and fathers are naturally nurturing and no one believes a parent would conduct a smear campaign against their own flesh in blood. Even pastors and therapists who mean well believe this myth. There is another cultural myth or belief that "family is everything" and because you are biologically related you are not allowed to leave an abusive situation. This is another damaging societal belief that some therapist unconsciously have.  This is why we adult children struggle in therapy and get re traumatized in therapy. So I am writing to you guys today to encourage you to vet potential  therapists and find one who specializes in narcissistic abuse and adult children of personality disordered parents.

One resource that might be of help to you is Dr Karyl McBride's book called "Will I Ever Be Good Enough."  This book might be helpful to both men and women who have narcissistic parents. It may also be helpful for people who have parents who have other personality disorders since some of the traits overlap.  I read her book ten years ago and found it to be helpful.  Last week I looked at Dr McBride's website and discovered she has a video to help adult children in their recovery. Also discovered last week on her website she lists therapists in each state who are trained in her recovery model.  I have not watched the video yet or gone to a therapist on the list, so I will be honest, I am not sure yet how helpful this is, but I did want to offer it in hopes that it might possibly be a resource that is helpful to someone reading on Out of the FOG.

I guess, the bottom line and purpose of this post is that what I have learned over the years is the importance of vetting a potential therapist to make sure they understand the dynamics of parental abuse, the manipulations, and the hidden nature of abuse etc.  Also, another thing I have personally found helpful in recovery is to read reputable articles about recovery from narcissistic abuse.  Learn about terms such as gaslighting, denial, smear campaigns, trauma bonding, the cycle of abuse, grey rock technique, etc. This information is available on this website, and knowing these terms and how to deal with the manipulation is invaluable in recovery. Some therapists are not knowledgeable about this.  These are just some things I have learned along the way and my hope is it might help someone on this forum. :bighug:

I am also attaching an article I mentioned earlier that is in the Huffington Post.  The article addresses the issue of finding a qualified therapist who really gets it so you are not retraumatized, because no one therapist can specialize or have knowledge of every mental health issue.  Here is a link to that article.

At any rate I just want to offer some hope and help where I can.  If you avoid the mistakes I have made, you can progress quicker in your recovery and save yourself some heartache.  You guys have been a tremendous help and resource to me over the years, and I really appreciate it!   I will watch the Dr. Bride video on recovery for adult children and let you know if it helped.  :elephant:



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Re: Help in finding a qualified therapist
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2020, 05:57:53 PM »
Thank you so much for your thoughts and information. Such a good idea to find out if the potential therapist has direct experience or training in narcissistic abuse and PD's.  :yes:

Thanks for the article too!