going to my first therapy appt today...
So, the day has finally come. I'm finally going to see a therapist to work out all my issues. I'm very nervous. I know it's needed, but I'm anxious about discussing my problems with a stranger, and worried that they won't understand all my jw issues. Has anyone else been to therapy, and was it beneficial?
I am not actively in therapy but I did see a counselor for about a year (March '03 to March '04) and found it to be very beneficial and upbuilding.
Don't go to counseling looking for easy answers to all of life problems. If they're a good counselor they will have the humility to recognize that they don't know everything or have all the answers. If the counselor you see seems pedantic or tries to give you the hard-sell on a particular method of psychotherapy, find another one.
Let me tell you this; after you discover that it is YOU who is the normal person, after you weep at hearing those words, the cleansing is so empowering. It is an uplifting that no drug, sexual experience, surprise, gift, or accomplishment can rival! I wish you much peace of mind during your session, and constant happiness to follow! A friend of mine from another board uses the term "Therapy-Whore" which I have adopted. The most painful realization for me was that I was "Not a bad, rebellious young girl, but a NORMAL ADOLESCENT IN AN ABUSIVE HOME!" I broke down terribly at that weight lifting off of me. What a treasure that was to feel. I wish that loss of pain for you too. ((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))
Counseling is a great place to start to put things into perspective, I'm glad you are caring enough about yourself to do this. You will find out some great things about yourself and learn some good life long coping skills.
I'm very nervous. I know it's needed, but I'm anxious about discussing my problems with a stranger,
Those are normal feelings, therapist don't cure normal but will help you work out healthy ways to handle anxiety. It won't be long before you won't feel like your therapist is a stranger and you'll open up more and more. He or she is there to guide you, not to make decisions for you.
Has anyone else been to therapy, and was it beneficial?
One thing you might want to do either today or before the next visit is write down a list of goals for yourself and where you want to be in say 6 months from now as far as your mental health/healing is concerned and have your therapist work with you to achieve those goals. That way it's not just talk, talk, talk therapy and you'll feel like you are progressing as you achieve your goals one by one.
I think my biggest let down with therapy is that it seemed to be just talk, talk, talk.......and expensive talk at that. Making goals worked well for me, just a suggestion.
I think it's great you are taking this step. Will you let us know how it went today? I'm really curious.
I'll second Debra. I felt a weight lift from my first session. I've been lucky to have wonderful therapists; you'll know if it doesn't work. My first one was an intern at a women's center but she was so good! She realized that because of the org I had people leave me with no closure, so when she had to leave, she made sure we had real closure. I still have the little things she wrote out for and with me.
You'll also know when it's time to end therapy, and the time varies widely.
Wishing you the best! Emma
I'll third it! I was in therapy for over a year, starting with my escape from the Witnesses, and it was wonderfully helpful. I left feeling as though a weight was lifted from my shoulders and life was pretty good most of the time. However, make sure you can connect to your therapist -- sometimes you have to try a few before finding someone suitable for you, so if it doesn't feel like it's helping it is NOT something you're doing wrong. That therapist is just not a good match.
Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!!!
If and when I go into therapy I will have a list ready for his/her required reading.
therapy helped me. mainly in that it seperated what was WTBS guilt , from real human guilt giving me perspective. also she stressed how i was an adult, grown, and ABLE to make mature decisions based on facts . that i was divorced and my decisions were mine to make i wasnt " in submission" to anyone . (wish i'd had that knowlege while i was married!)
i have a problem with post traumatic stress syndrome and she helped me to define time.. all the bad things that happened were 9 yrs ago.. and seemed in my mind to be yesterday. and being able to realize how time had gone by helped.
i hope you find your therapist to be easy to talk to. and you know those silly excersises some therapists want you to do? DO THEM.. they may seem silly but they, i dunno, connect wires in your brain or something,and help , believe it or not.
Therapy can be great. Some time ago, while still in college, I was feeling overwhelmed by it all-relationship, job, school, leaving behind the faith I'd had for 25 years...it was a bit much for me to deal with. I talked to a great therapist, who turned out to know a lot about the witnesses, so I did not have to keep explaining things like disfellowshipping to him (saved so much time!). It took me two sessions to get it off my chest, and it helped me immensely to realize that I was a normal person dealing with somewhat abnormal situations. A good therapist can help you work through your problems at your own pace, and is worth the time and money.
On the other hand, many years ago in Texas, I saw a female therapist who was just awful. She (a thoroughly white, English speaking lady) could not get it through her head that I spoke English as well as she (it being my native tongue). She kept speaking to me in Spanish, and I repeatedly had to tell her that I don't speak it very well at all, and could we switch to English, please?
If you get someone who is clueless and won't pay attention to you (like her), don't waste your time, switch to someone who is a better match to you; it may take a little time to find the right therapist, but it's so worth it. Best of luck to you with your therapy; I hope it helps you to feel better, and to find more fulfillment in your life.
I went for 6 years, and it saved my life. However, realize that seeing a therapist is like dating. You may not click with the first one, or the second and so on. But when you find the right one, it's like magic. Like dating, you'll know if it's working or not. Just listen to your gut.
It's hard at first to talk about yourself, and all those thoughts and feelings that have never been revealed to anyone. Be honest, tell them you're nervous and how hard it is. If they're good, they'll understand. Recovery is a journey, and a therapist is there only to guide you. Don't be afraid to speak up, question them or tell them if you don't like what's going on.