What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?

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rebelsue

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I feel like saying "I'm not going to go to therapists anymore." is blasphemy in most mental health support communities. "See a professional" is often default advice everywhere. And I actually am not fighting this as a general rule.

I really have worn myself out on therapy. I don't trust therapists anymore. I've been going for over 20 years and I feel like I have heard everything. I've even done the "new" modalities like DBT, CBT, and EMDR. DBT helped a lot but I graduated from it and whenever I go back for re-ups, it's usually telling me things I already knew. My experience with EMDR was terrible and same with CBT. Don't feel like explaining it. It was not the typical "walking through bad memories is hard" stuff. It was actual stuff with therapists misunderstanding me and thinking I am a bad person.

I can't go anymore. It ends up being a waste of money for a variety of reasons. If I have a flashback, a time when I really really  need help and compassion, I have to make an appointment or i have a routine weekly one that never lines up with the flashback, and by the time I get there it's over and now we just discuss how to damage control everything the flashback did to my life. If I talk about how i REALLY feel with them, they freak out. If I  mention suicide in particular they never try to help me work through the feelings and not feel suicidal anymore. They just start talking about going inpatient or calling the police. Inpatient doesn't help  because it rips you out of the life you're trying to cope with, making things worse because you end up disappearing without any warning, and then you just sit around all day and color and do group therapy with people who have two year degrees at best and treat you like a five year old.

I am finding that I just don't have anything I can gain from therapists anymore. I want to "get help" like I always do when things get bad, but I am just so tired of the disappointing therapist interactions. I can't keep looking and looking. At some point I had to just accept that therapy as a concept is not evolved enough yet for a story like mine. It's long and convoluted and complicated and my abusers gave me one of those personalities that makes me hard to help and hard to WANT to help.

I've tried to stay alive for decades for other people's sake. I've committed to living in this body despite all of the suffering I will probably have to live with for the duration of my natural life. I wish people would just thank me and let me have my bad days without being all affected by them. Oh poor you, you're married to a person with PTSD. Try being the person with PTSD. At least when I'm not around, they can escape and be happy and feel safe and okay. I'll never have that.

I'm not really looking for advice for new kinds of therapy to try, I just want to know if I really am the only one who has this experience.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 02:50:01 PM by rebelsue »

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Kizzie

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2019, 06:04:54 PM »
I have had the opposite experience actually, some really great help when I needed it and looking forward to our upcoming move because it will put me close to a large city where there are more experienced T's and even a support group or two.

That said, I get that you and many survivors are tired of trying to find effective, affordable treatment. Unfortunately, there is a lack of really knowledgeable, experienced T's right now because Complex PTSD is a newer diagnosis and the MH field is just learning about it and acknowledging and training for it, same for services and support. It's one of the goals of OOTS, not just for survivors to talk to others with CPTSD and give/receive support, but to educate professionals and the public about it and what we need. (How does OOTS do this?  In addition to this forum which professionals do read if feedback to me means anything, we have a very active Twitter account which I use to "spread the word" and I am the Co-chair of the Complex Trauma Special Interest Group at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and I advocate for us there all the time.  There are many other survivors and even professionals out there I have come in contact with who are advocating and educating also. )   

There are also some new treatments being researched (e.g., MDMA assisted psychotherapy which is in clinical trials right now;  holistic treatments which focus on the impact of trauma mind, body and spirit) so we may all have access to better treatments in the (hopefully near) future. 


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woodsgnome

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2019, 06:10:14 PM »
I've been on all sides with therapy, including an interim period when my favourite book was titled "Against Therapy". I say interim, though, as I kept gravitating back to therapy. I think for the most part I needed an outlet where I could safely (in theory) not tiptoe around my cptsd history and issues.

My reasons for jumping in and out were varied, but most were due to disinterested T's with one-size-fits-all approaches and/or some really wild scenarios -- one T built everything around her prize master's thesis, while another one preferred deep discussions about chainsaws (!) -- perhaps he thought my living in the woods would intrigue me in that topic  :aaauuugh:. To each his own, but no matter what the topic was his sessions somehow always returned to chainsaws. Go figure -- no don't.

Each time I quit, though, I found myself wondering if there wasn't someone I could relate to, as again keeping it all inside was almost worse than putting up with T's who didn't make much sense.

Even after chainsaw guy, I began to miss having a vocal outlet available. While I have 2 people I can halfways discuss this stuff with who aren't T's, there's still limitations on where to go before the usual "poor you/pity party" or worse attitudes creep close to the surface.

I've discussed this elsewhere on this forum, but the gist for me has been that the current T's openness is the key to why she's made a positive difference. She has a willingness to admit she doesn't know it all, doesn't have all the answers, but loves working with her clients, as it's their issues she's helping with, not her own performance agenda about being super-professional (the oddity being this makes her more pro by dropping the attitude). Suffice to say she and I can communicate as human beings -- I acknowledge her expertise in many areas but a huge difference is she recognizes the solo work I've put in too, and is okay with that.

Yet I realize I've stumbled into a rarity. At least based on my own previous experience; maybe it's more personality-driven than anything, except bottom line for me has been a sense that I've felt like I have made progress since we started together.

Lastly, I'll just note that I've come to think of therapy as being more of an interpersonal art form than a practice solely dependant on scientific data or approaches. The science is important for adhering to certain standards but without the human camaraderie therapy can easily fall short. It's neither magical or a panacea for all of one's ills; helps some, not others. And like cptsd itself, it's hard to lump all therapy into one easy-to-define activity. 

 
« Last Edit: August 30, 2019, 06:16:14 PM by woodsgnome »

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Blueberry

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2019, 07:42:06 PM »
My experience and what I have drawn from it is somewhat similar to woodsgnome's. Somewhat. There were no chainsaws. I agree particularly with this: "And like cptsd itself, it's hard to lump all therapy into one easy-to-define activity."

I find that I outgrow therapists, therapy types, my own tools even. But so far I have always found something new or someone new to help me on my way. Sometimes it took months or even years to find something really suitable, but I find it. In interim stages - yes it was difficult, incredibly so sometimes.

Sometimes I have found help or just acceptance in unexpected places.

I find this forum brings me immeasurable help. I have always found that since before I became a Mod.

It's OK to not go to therapists, it's OK to vent about lack of help. But it's also good to look at what help is available, even if that's just a word of encouragement on a forum such as this.

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Jazzy

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2019, 11:41:28 PM »
Yeah, I don't do therapy either. I've tried, but it seems like one bad experience after the other. I hope it just has something to do with finding the right person, but I'm not sure. I think the best thing, is just to keep working on yourself in whatever way helps, even if it is only a little bit. I also have a lot of realizations on this forum. It is certainly the #1 thing that has helped me.

All the best in however you choose to progress. I hope that somehow you will become "more ok than not ok". Take care! :)

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notalone

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2019, 02:49:39 AM »
[quote author=woodsgnome link=topic=12308.msg91817#msg91817 date=1567188614
Lastly, I'll just note that I've come to think of therapy as being more of an interpersonal art form than a practice solely dependant on scientific data or approaches. The science is important for adhering to certain standards but without the human camaraderie therapy can easily fall short. 
[/quote]
 :yeahthat: A therapist can have all the knowledge and skills in the world, but if I don't feel like he/she really listens to me or cares about me, it isn't someone I want to see.

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rebelsue

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2019, 03:36:26 AM »
Not to be argumentative, because I do appreciate the comments people have left here.

I have had experiences where the therapist was very kind and caring and listened to me and understood me, but still wasn't able to help me. I was doing everything she was asking me to do and I was still having flashbacks and getting waves of depression that would make non-functional, and I was still having insomnia and hypervigilence. She recommended EMDR because it was more "body" than "mind" but that therapist was awful and I haven't had the courage to go back. Just so worn out from this hunt. I don't even think my husband would be supportive of me trying more therapy since I've been at it for so long.

My method of journaling seems to help me right now, but the flashbacks still happen. They seem like they'll never stop no matter what I do. Like, every flashback gives me new information about that particular thing, but it doesn't give me information about what the next trigger will be.

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Kizzie

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2019, 04:22:28 PM »
In the end it's about what works (or doesn't) for you.   :yes:

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LearnToLoveTheRide

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2019, 08:27:59 AM »
For me, the overt, symptomatic effects of my CPTSD have been with me with for me for a decade. In that time, it's only natural that I have outgrown therapists and therapy modalities. That's not to say - at all - that they weren't worth it at the time. I was quite fortunate to get very good, at very appropriate times.

But, we change, our needs change, and our suffering changes. We grow out of one therapy modality or therapist into another. I have at least. I adapt. I still have all the tools, skills and techniques that I've learnt over the years. And, more importantly, I have a lot of experience dealing - or managing - my disorder.

We grow: sure. But we grow better; we grow stronger; we grow wiser.

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MarieKT

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2019, 01:20:23 PM »
I understand your sentiment and I feel the same way. Iíve tried therapy, not as many times as you have, but multiple times. My personality makes me impossible to help in any real way. Thereís a natural defensiveness that Iím sure many of us have. Iíve also learned to not disclose my feelings, especially to trained professionals. I know the course of treatment when you tell a doctor you are suicidally depressed, and I just never wanted to have what remains of my life uprooted like that. I hope it helps in some way knowing that another person feels the same way.....Good luck

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saylor

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Re: What happens when you outgrow therapy but you're still not ok?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2019, 11:43:29 PM »
I can't claim to be an expert on therapy, as I've "only" seen a handful of therapists over the course of my life, and have never stayed in therapy long. What I have experienced, however, has made me wonder whether some people (like me?) maybe just aren't cut out for therapy, because of personality type. It's also possible that the people I went to just weren't right for me. For one thing, when treating (C)PTSD, I believe strongly that the therapist needs to be very aware of the way trauma affects us and to interact with us accordingly. Case in point, even though the last person I saw proclaimed that PTSD was a specialty of theirs, the way they dealt with my history and present-day struggles was shockingly dismissive, and I believe it actually exacerbated my problems and didn't provide me with any therapeutic benefit. I was already a little lukewarm about the concept of talk therapy going in, but that recent experience turned me off possibly for a lifetime.

I'm still very interested in exploring the newer modalities: EMDR, neurofeedback, somatic experiencing, and even psychedelics, but CBT, DBT, etc, based on what I think I know about them, anyway, don't feel like they would get me where I think I need to go.

I am also kind of turned off by typical reflex-response of "go see a therapist" that's often trotted out (I'm not referring to this forum, FWIW, but rather in broader society), at least when that advice is meted out in a semi-accusatory way, as in, "If you don't go see a therapist, it's your own darned fault that you're suffering". That kind of mentality just turns me off, but then again, maybe I'm in the minority. I believe others 100% when they proclaim that therapy helps or has helped them.

Ultimately, as others have said, it probably mostly depends on the patient, the therapist, and the nature of the relationship the patient is able to form with the therapist. So many variables are relevant, so there's no one-size-fits-all
« Last Edit: October 12, 2019, 02:14:52 PM by Kizzie »