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Treatment, Self-Help & Recovery => Treatment => General Discussion => Topic started by: Dyess on April 20, 2015, 02:31:09 AM

Title: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Dyess on April 20, 2015, 02:31:09 AM
Obstacles in therapy .... can we create obstacles in our own recovery? How would we know that we are doing that?
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Dyess on April 22, 2015, 03:37:23 AM
Well, since no one answered that one how about this one :) Is it possible to start therapy too soon after a traumatic event, like EMDR? EMDR was overwhelming for me. Not sure if it would be as much now, but there was so much going on in my head it was hard to concentrate on one specific event. Anyone have any thoughts on this? I was thinking maybe I just got into the EMDR too soon.
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Widdiful Falling on April 22, 2015, 06:51:54 AM
Can we create obstacles in our own recovery? Absolutely. We create obstacles by obstinately clinging to old, damaging coping practices. Sometimes, this happens without our even realizing it, which is why CBT is a thing. When emotions run high, it's easy to fall back into 4F mode, rather than thinking things through.

As for the EMDR question, I'm no expert, but I think that doing therapy like that before the event has begun to be processed sounds really scary. I think it also depends on your coping skills. For some people, it might be too early in their therapy, because they don't have the skills necessary to cope with the feelings EMDR forces them to face. Like most practical psychological questions, the answer to this seems very subjective.

If you feel overwhelmed at any point, stop and come back to it later. You don't want to end up retraumatizing yourself. Everyone has good days and bad days, so even if you feel nothing palpable has changed, just waking up to a different day can help. :)
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: keepfighting on April 22, 2015, 07:44:13 AM
Recovery is a process, not a straight upward line. Ups and downs are part of the process and it's up to the t to explain this to us and make sure our expectations of ourselves and our therapy are realistic. It's also up to the t to help us understand and regain our self confidence after a setback in our recovery process. Recovery is sometimes referred to as a spiral: You revisit the same points several times but since you're not the exact same person any more you were last time, you're often able to take on the more painful aspects of that trauma the second or third time around... Like you said: Directly after the trauma is often not the best time to deal with the more painful aspects of it.

About EMDR: I think it's possible that you started it too soon after the trauma. But again, I think the most important thing is for your t to manage your expectations. You can't 'fail' a form of therapy and it's certainly not your 'fault' for not trying hard enough or putting obstacles in your own recovery or something like that. EMDR works very well for some people, for others it does nothing. It's possible that you are one of the people for which it doesn't work and then it's a question of looking for some form of therapy that works better for you.

Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Sandals on April 22, 2015, 11:44:48 AM
The attached squiggly line illustrates my process in therapy pretty well.  :bigwink:

Do I think we consciously set up obstacles for ourselves? No. But I do think that unconsciously those barriers are there in the form of protective devices that were necessary survival tools and that it's hard to let go of them even if they're not needed anymore. I can't speak to EMDR as I'm not very familiar with that process.

You're at the beginning of a big journey, Trace. I recall that you wanted to focus on a very specific aspect of that journey, but I've personally found it doesn't work that way for me. Sometimes topics get completely knocked to the side for things that seem trivial, but I trust that it's part of the total journey and will contribute to getting there. There's so much that I didn't even know about me when I started this work. I'm grateful to learn all of it, as I believe that a holistic approach and bringing along all pieces is important for total health.


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Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy **Trigger**
Post by: Dyess on April 22, 2015, 11:49:56 AM
Thanks for the responses. The T said I was unwilling to do the work and that talk therapy was going to make this(Healing) last a lot longer. All she wanted to do was EMDR, so that's when I moved on to someone else. I originally went in because I was having a hard time dealing with Dad's suicide, then these other memories showed up. It was like they were competing for the time and space in my head. 

I was in such an emotional fog and it upset me that she would say I was unwilling to do the work when I was giving everything I could at that point. I went back to work, forgot to put my schedule in, missed punching in or out at the time clock, mislabeled some specimens, etc. everything was totally off for me. I felt bad about leaving her because she was doing what she thought was best. She was an EAP counselor, who was only suppose to see me 7 times, but she told me to come in as much as I wanted to. So she was very good to me in that aspect. *sigh*
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Sandals on April 22, 2015, 04:46:56 PM you think she was maybe just being sensitive towards a time line b/c of the EAP setup? That's the first thing that popped into my mind when I read your entire post. I can totally understand how someone saying you are unwilling to do the work would be triggering...and angering! I just wonder if she was trying to balance speed with what she saw as the top issue. Which may not have been the ideal approach, but maybe what she saw as the optimal solution?

Your feelings are completely valid - don't want you to hear that I'm not supportive. But am also trying to widen the frame so you can see that this is also about her operating within her constraints...and that she's human, too, and subject to making mistakes (as are all of us).

Having said that, glad to hear that you're trying someone else to find the right fit for you. :hug:
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Dyess on April 22, 2015, 04:59:36 PM
No, don't think the time was an issue. She said I could come as long and as often as I wanted to. I think she just wanted to address issues that could be addressed with EMDR, and she really didn't want to hear the other issues that the EMDR was bringing up. Here's one of her statements
"But you are routinely reluctant to do the work other than to talk. " "Being reluctant to feel the feelings holds it back, can reduce the effectiveness.  But it is often more effective than talking." So I think she had a plan, but talk therapy wasn't in it :) It's okay though. It was a learning experience, even though I remember very little about the sessions.
Looking at it now, I am wondering why she didn't validate what the top issue was. I mean I could tell her one thing, but that's just my uneducated guess as to why things are as they are.
Anyway....that's done and over. I was just curious if there was such a thing as it being too soon to get therapy. Do you need a certain amount of time immediately after the trauma to digest it on your own, as a first step?
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Roadie on May 13, 2015, 05:49:40 PM
I had a therapist who started me right out with EMDR.  It was completely overwhelming for me and brought me to a place that was worse than a panic attack that took me days to recover from.  Subsequent appointments with this therapist were not fruitful because she was urging me to do more EMDR, and I was not willing to go there.  I tried it maybe twice after that, but subconsciously threw out a roadblock because my instinct is/was to close my eyes and keep them closed.  She didn't want to go another direction and I ended up running for the hills. So I don't know if that is a little bit of fear mixed with self-sabotage or what.  But it was a huge obstacle. 
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Dyess on May 13, 2015, 06:23:54 PM
I felt the same way about EMDR, just wasn't the right time for that I don't think. But then I didn't know enough about the process to say that. I did leave that person and sought out a T that would talk with me, even though she didn't know what to do with me :)
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Roadie on May 13, 2015, 07:20:53 PM
I wonder if there is something inherently nearly freaking impossible about treating trauma survivors.  I always feel like a handful too; like there is just too much to sort out, and where do we even start. 
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Dyess on May 13, 2015, 07:31:48 PM
LOL that's funny, I feel the same way. Are we fixable? Most say yes, with the right counselor. It's finding that Goose with the Golden egg is the problem. I'm going to see a counselor at the VA. I think they will be more educated to handle stuff like this, guess we will see.
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Widdiful Falling on May 13, 2015, 08:57:10 PM
My T says it's not impossible. We can change the way we think and feel, and gain new coping mechanisms. As far as I've read, EMDR sounds like it has the potential to be retraumatizing. So to me, the layman, it sounds like using that process before establishing healthy coping skills might be counterproductive.

I think that seeking a counselor at the VA might go really well. When I was looking for a T, I made sure to look at ones that deal with PTSD and trauma survivors. As an added bonus, my counselor also takes patients with borderline PD, so I know she's good at handling tough cases. I've read that BPD is nigh-indescribably hard to treat.
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: Dyess on May 13, 2015, 09:22:08 PM
I hear ya when you say the right T will help, but what about the people who don't have the energy to go through all these T's that claim to treat PTSD, Trauma, etc.,  just to find out they have no idea what to do with you except maybe label you "not ready for counseling" "not wanting to do the work" What work? I begged for guidelines or something to work on and nothing. My enthusiasm is gone, my wanting to get better is being questioned, I was going at this like a ball of fire and then the T extinguished the flames, and threw the coals of my soul out the door. Grrrrrrrrrrr
Besides who has really recovered? Do you know anyone? I don't. So why would I think I'm fixable?
Title: Re: Obstacles in therapy
Post by: littlepalm on May 13, 2015, 10:31:28 PM
 :hug: Trace-

It is draining, for me,to put forth all of this energy to find a new T. From what I have experienced thus far, few return calls. One woman gave me her "spin" on T and told me to make an appointment to try her. The thing is, it will take at least four sessions for her to even get where I am coming from. Maybe longer?

It is OK not to "want to do the work"...sometimes I am not up for it. Another example...a T, whom I did like, wanted me to do a "vision board". I was not ready. It was way too soon as the only things I did on a daily basis were wake up, drink coffee, and brush my teeth an hour later. :stars: I know, not good on my part, but that was where I was at.....I know I need to be pushed a bit. *I DO understand the whole vision board thing, drawing in the positive, letting the universe do it's thing*.

Another T told me I had to reparent the 11-12 yr old palm...I know this...teach me HOW...she could not.

Wishing you the peace we all deserve!