Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?

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LilyITV

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Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« on: October 12, 2018, 03:49:11 PM »
I just started therapy a little over a month ago.  I have been diligent with the homework my therapist gives me and want to follow her treatment plan.  But I also have found so many self-help resources--this board, youtube videos,etc.  It feels so good to be educating myself about this condition, but sometimes I wonder whether it may be counterproductive and trying to move too fast??

Should I be sharing the fact that I am utilizing other resources with my therapist? I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I am afraid she will get mad at me if she finds out I've also been seeking help on the internet.

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Elphanigh

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2018, 05:45:54 PM »
Hi Lily,

In my experience using outside resources is a wonderful addition to individual therapy. It takes a community and lots of work to heal this stuff.  I have always been encouraged to utilize groups/books etc in conjunction with my therapy. As long as the resources are safe and trauma informed it is likely very beneficial.

All that being said I am not a practitioner, but this has been my experience.

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LilyITV

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2018, 07:06:24 PM »
Elphanigh,
  That is so good to hear that is generally encouraged!  I think I will share some of the things I've been reading about here with her.   For so many years, I've addressed certain symptoms of C-PTSD without really understanding how the parts fit into the whole.  Like I would try to work on things like procrastination when there were times I was struggling with it, but never got fully to the root cause of it. 

I really would love to share some of this self-discovery with her and do some more connecting of the dots. 

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Elphanigh

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2018, 07:24:56 PM »
Lily, I would love to know what you are/have been reading. I am always looking for new things

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woodsgnome

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 07:29:37 PM »
Unless therapists consider themselves the be-all, end-all of precisely what all their clients need, they should be open to, even happy about, your use of outside resources. Sometimes you might even turn up something she was unaware of or hasn't had the time to investigate herself. This has happened in my own therapy, and my T was interested to know not just for herself, but that I was showing initiative and willingness to plunge into whatever I could find.

As a small example of how this works, both my therapist and I are musically inclined; and I've been able to share with her various tunes that have helped me weather the storm, often material she wasn't aware of and was grateful to know about.

So it's a two-way street and besides, it's your therapy; the T is actually a companion/witness to your own journey in seeking help. Think of it this way--someday circumstances may intervene and you will be on your own again. Finding out as much as you can beyond the therapy sessions is really what it's all about in the overall picture, in my opinion.

Mind you, she has her expertise in certain areas, but it would be rare indeed if even her approach didn't have gaps, or that you won't find ways to supplement what she's providing. This is why I'm of the viewpoint that therapy is not pure science, but an artful application of what we do--and don't--know. And we're also  pretty individual in what helps us in and out of therapy.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 07:38:03 PM by woodsgnome »

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LilyITV

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 08:07:49 PM »
Elphanigh, there are many counselors and abuse survivors on YouTube who post videos about C-PTSD.  One of my favorites is Athena Moberg, who does regular weekly video Q & A's, and I've been trying to find as much of her stuff as I can get my hands on.  There are others who have particular interests in certain aspects of it--like for veterans and people who have survived narcissistic abuse.   I was so happy the other day because I had been procrastinating, and I wondered if procrastination was common in C-PTSD.  I did a search, and up popped a few videos discussing it. 

But I by far I have gotten so much information just from this site and people posting their personal experiences.    It has been so valuable for me to see so many different people and experiences who are all suffering from the same common set of symptoms. 

Woodsgnone thanks so much your post was so illuminating!  I am new to therapy so I was kind of thinking of my treatment plan as a "doctor's orders" type of thing.  But I guess I need to be thinking of it more as a relationship with a very knowledgeable friend.  I am the type that feels like I have to do what I'm told and is afraid to speak up. 

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Elphanigh

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2018, 09:15:59 PM »
Lily, It is funny you mention Athena  ;D I have been watching her for a couple of years and participate in her FB/online groups. As of like a month and a half ago I started volunteering for the CPTSD Foundation that she is creating, so I work with her directly. It is a wonderful experience, and great to be a part of something that helps so many people. I am leading their healing book club that starts in November! Super exciting adventure. Anyways, sorry to get exited, she is one of my favorites and I am always grateful to hear others have found her too. She is how I found Out of the Storm too.


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woodsgnome

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2018, 09:23:02 PM »
Hi again LilyITV,

I've had both sorts of therapists, and likewise found a world of difference between the super-controlled sorts and those open to considering me as part of the process. This isn't to say that benefit can't be derived from someone more controlling, perhaps it just reflects my personal taste.

The worst T I ever had was someone who steered everything back to her major thesis in college. Well, okay, but it all had to fit in that little box or it didn't seem valid to her, and neither did I.

Still, it's also about personal matching, and humans run the gamut. We have a 'plan' as well, but it's subject to variation depending on her expertise but also my input and experience are considered. which helps me feel validated and a part of the process, which in the end is why the therapeutic relationship exists.

Which isn't to say how either you or your T should interact, just some thoughts on my own take, given that I have had these various experiences. Take care; I hope that T can work for you.

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LilyITV

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2018, 06:48:00 PM »
Lily, It is funny you mention Athena  ;D I have been watching her for a couple of years and participate in her FB/online groups. As of like a month and a half ago I started volunteering for the CPTSD Foundation that she is creating, so I work with her directly. It is a wonderful experience, and great to be a part of something that helps so many people. I am leading their healing book club that starts in November! Super exciting adventure. Anyways, sorry to get exited, she is one of my favorites and I am always grateful to hear others have found her too. She is how I found Out of the Storm too.

Oh wow, that is so exciting!  She is such an inspirational woman.  She is so knowledgeable, but empathetic, encouraging, human and open. I need to look into her book club too.  I have been looking through her videos and found so many topics that speak to me. 

I also find it really interesting that you have a community of people who have suffered many different types of abuse, but the effects of that abuse are similar.     

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LilyITV

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2018, 06:49:14 PM »
Hi again LilyITV,

I've had both sorts of therapists, and likewise found a world of difference between the super-controlled sorts and those open to considering me as part of the process. This isn't to say that benefit can't be derived from someone more controlling, perhaps it just reflects my personal taste.

The worst T I ever had was someone who steered everything back to her major thesis in college. Well, okay, but it all had to fit in that little box or it didn't seem valid to her, and neither did I.

Still, it's also about personal matching, and humans run the gamut. We have a 'plan' as well, but it's subject to variation depending on her expertise but also my input and experience are considered. which helps me feel validated and a part of the process, which in the end is why the therapeutic relationship exists.

Which isn't to say how either you or your T should interact, just some thoughts on my own take, given that I have had these various experiences. Take care; I hope that T can work for you.

I think I would really hate to have a controlling sort of therapist.  I really hate controlling people in general and find them very triggering. 

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LilyITV

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2018, 04:26:38 PM »
Update:  So 3 weeks later and I'm still too much of a chicken to bring up all the self-help stuff I've been doing on the side. with my therapist.  A part of me really wants to share that with her but a part of me is still very scared.  I guess I will bring it up when I'm ready.   :Idunno: 

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Three Roses

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2018, 04:40:01 PM »
Some of us, wanting to share something with a therapist but not having the courage, have used a couple of different techniques to make ourselves known.

One is physically writing a note to hand to them in session. Another is using email, but this can backfire if they don't read it, or if they're not open to getting emails between sessions (which to me is totally understandable). And I've asked my therapist to not look at me while I say something.

Maybe others will have other suggestions. Of course there's always the option of simply keeping it to yourself. 😉

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LilyITV

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2018, 04:52:20 PM »
These are great suggestions!  I think I would be most comfortable sharing my thoughts by email, but yeah, don't know if she checks or if she's open to that.

It's really feels good for me to know that others struggle sometimes feeling comfortable sharing certain things with their therapist.  I've been feeling like such a baby over it.

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Elphanigh

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2018, 08:39:31 PM »
Hi Lilytv, I had not checked this thread in a while.. I definitely agree she is all of those things. The community like this one is diverse in background , yet amazing and supportive.

I love three roses suggestions for helping tell your T. I have found sometimes an email helps me too or writing it out to myself before trying to tell her.

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Three Roses

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Re: Is it ok to do self help simultaneously with therapy?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2018, 08:43:42 PM »
I just happened to think of something - maybe you could just tell her you've got something to say but you can't say it? And then ask her if you can email it to her. Then she'll know to look for it, or maybe she will have other suggestions...  :Idunno: