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Do psychologist really help?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by yous, Apr 13, 2011.

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  1. yous

    yous Well-Known Member

    Has anyone gone to see a psychologist and tell me what a typical time with a psychologist is like? Do they help? I am on the brink of suicidal and major depression, and should go see one. Aside from drugs, can they really help in depression and suicide thoughts?
  2. solutions

    solutions Well-Known Member

    A psychologist won't help you at all. Psychologists deal mostly with the research part of psychology, and they can also do neuropsychological testing, which isn't a treatment. I'm going to assume you mean something else. What will help you are a psychiatrist and therapist.

    As for which one you see first, that's up to you. A therapist will, well, work therapy with you. A psychiatrist will help you with medications.

    Here's what you can expect from either one: Questions. Both of them will have an initial evaluation which lasts between one and three sessions, typically. They'll ask you questions about your history, your childhood, your adolescence, and they'll basically gauge how psychologically healthy you are while also trying to come up with a diagnosis, if it's warranted. You'll get asked about your current level of functioning, your social life, and other things so he or she gets an idea of who you are and what you do. During the interview, expect to feel a chill run down your spine, because they are watching you the whole time to examine your behavior during the interview, for instance, to see if you're nervous, or agitated.

    After that, if the psychiatrist says you could benefit from treatment, that's when you begin. Because you'll probably have told him you have a history of depression and suicidal thoughts, he'll probably start right away, but modestly. Psychiatrists like to start at the lowest dose possible for pretty much everything, however, they will make exceptions. For instance, if they want to put you on an antidepressant, well...you know those black box warnings they have on SSRIs and SNRIs? The ones that say that you may experience a spike of suicidal thinking when immediately starting? They want to avoid that, and for good reason, by putting you on a very low dosage to start out with. They expect you to take a more therapeutic-size dose later on. From personal experience, I can tell you that those warnings are not bullshit. This is because modern antidepressants have a special effect of increasing your energy before doing anything with your mood. See where the problem comes in? You'll have a spike of energy to act out on your suicidal thinking. This should not be minimized. It happened to me, and my dosage had to be stopped right away. You could get a frenzy of nervous energy, but you'll still be thinking of suicide. An impulsive suicide attempt is very easy at that point. This effect can last from a few days to a couple of weeks, at which point it will be safer to put you on larger doses of the medication.

    Therapy's a different story, and I can't say much about it because it varies from therapist to therapist. They all have their different styles and specialties. Some have very little training, others have doctorates. It ranges from a Licensed Mental Health Counselor to a clinical therapist with a Psy. D. I would recommend interviewing a therapist yourself, hopefully you'll be able to do it over the phone, so you can ask them what their specialty is. Keep in mind that some therapists do not like to work with suicidal patients, and although they may accept you as a patient, they will be totally unequipped to deal with your suicidal feelings. I had one therapist that dodged whenever I brought up suicide; she would always change the topic. I always ask, during introductory sessions, "Are you comfortable working with suicidal patients?"

    I think that's a pretty good introduction. Hope some of that helps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2011
  3. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    In the US, clinical psychologists are the ones who do talk therapy and I have found them to be very helpful...please find someone in the mental health field you can trust and work with...that is the most important...J
  4. Seems_Perfect

    Seems_Perfect Well-Known Member

    I went to one for a few months and stopped seeing her only b/c I moved. To this day she remains the only person I've ever been completely open with and after seeing her I would sleep like a baby (notable since it typically takes vodka for me to sleep at all). Everyone has a different experience but I can say mine was positive. That was years ago and I sometimes wonder if I would still be on the verge of blowing my head off if I stayed in the area and continued to see her every week. I heard her name from a friend who use to do the same work I do, and going to see her was one of my better life choices. Because of the work I do she even allowed me to stay as "off the books" as possible. My humble advice: find someone who you feel comfortable with and can be open with. If you find yourself sleeping like a baby after visiting them that's a pretty good sign you chose the right person. Good luck and I hope things turn around for the better, I really do.
  5. plshelpme

    plshelpme Well-Known Member

    i've been through 7 therapists...so i've gone through the process 7 times...lol...here's my experience...

    real quick tho, i think you should give it a shot...you have nothing to lose...and for me, they do help, as long as they're the right fit for me...some therapists (which i would call a psychologist as well) just won't work for you simply cuz you won't click with them in a productive way...but once you find the right fit, the experience will go from being something awkward and anxiety-provoking to something you will almost be dependent on to get through your week...try it...it has worked for me...without meds...


    usually, you'll first see an intake counselor, and they'll place you with the appropriate therapist...intake will take a broad surface picture of your condition/problems...then, when you get your therapist, you're gonna have to repeat all that the first time...

    it will be awkward for like at least 2-4 sessions...i have a 4 session rule, and if i don't like them by then, i switch...if a therapist isn't gonna work for you, then they're not gonna work, so don't waste your time/money...

    i have a difficult time physically SPEAKING...so if you're anything like me, write it down and take it in...it will be the most effective way for you to communicate if you can't/don't want to talk about your mental health...

    also, if you know what you like and don't like, tell them...for example, i HATE when they ask "how does that make you feel", so i finally told my current counselor that and she doesn't do it (THANK GOD!!!)...i've literally HATED all but two of the 7 (the first one and this one), especially b/c of that...also, like i said, i have a hard time TALKING, but no problem answering questions...so i told her that, and she doesn't wait for me to talk...she asks and i answer and things run more smoothly...

    a typical session is 45 minutes...we usually start with talking about random superficial stuff...for example, we will talk about my week or something random i read about or heard on the news or how i'm dressed differently...then, she'll lead into more serious stuff...and then, she'll try to smoothly cut us off at the end, which i hate...but it's what she's suppose to do...and then, you'll schedule your next appointment, and leave...which is always kind of torture, b/c when you leave, you're back in the real world with all your old wounds opened again...but it's good in the long run...it helps...
  6. Mirikun

    Mirikun Well-Known Member

    I've also often thought about that I probably need therapy, but I'm scared. Not so much of the therapist, but of what people I know will think if they found out about it.

    Has anyone had any online therapy? I did a bit of googling yesterday and found a few online-therapy sites. I'm just worried they're not for real and just want the money. :/
  7. Mr Stewart

    Mr Stewart Well-Known Member

    thank you yous for starting this thread and thanks to all who replied. Very helpful. I wanted to ask this question as well but was too nervous to start a thread about it. :unsure:
  8. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    they really need to be able to read your body language. that's why i think online therapy isn't as good as real life therapy. i say keep looking.
  9. chipper

    chipper Well-Known Member

    clinical psychologists can help.

    honestly, i used to be anti-pscyhologists simply because i don't see why i would pay someone to listen to you. help should come free but the one thing they have that your friends or family don't have is objectivity. they're level of detachness (not a word really) allows them to really see what's causing your depression or sadness or whatever it is.
  10. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Therapy is helpful for all mental health conditions. It takes time and effort, though, which many people as hard up as those on this forum can't give... :\
  11. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    If it was not for my psychologist i would not be here His insight his ability to help me see clearly to change my distorted thinking I have been going 2 years and he has been a god send psychiatrist are just for meds only psychologist do the therapy cerebral behavior dialetical behavior and post traumatic care
    You have to find one you can connect to the works with what you need They are worth ever cent i give them like i said i would not be here if not for him
  12. icequeen

    icequeen Well-Known Member

    i agree with total eclipse...i have seen 3 different psychiatrists and all they do is dole out the pills that are in favour at that particular time and i found they never actually listened, well the first one did, but as i refused meds he felt there was little more he could do for me but he was nice. after what seems a mammoth wait, i have been seeing psychologist for maybe 5 or 6 weeks could be longer, i dont really know. it takes time to feel comfortable and i kinda do now as i know he cant cart me off the farm. saw him today and explained how crap this last week has been and he took the time to explain why this happened and it did kinda help to understand that there was nothing i could have done and that in fact as bad as it was it was (in my case) a positive thing.

    i have found that the psychologist will take the time to explain why you feel the way you feel, what you can do to balance it, and help you get a grip, but it does take work and the work can be very hard as i have found out, so i guess it depends on individual experiences. i was bad when i saw him this morning but now i feel like have taken a quantum leap into another dimension again..but am happy to stay here...its safe for now.

    so in answer to your original question, dont make any decisions until you have seen psychologist, everyone's experience will be different and ofc will depend on your diagnosis but you have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

    good luck :cheekkiss
  13. wheresmysheep

    wheresmysheep Staff Alumni

    I'm not "fixed" BUT the psychologist i saw, we did 8months of CBT 1 session a week, an odd time two. hw was about teh only mental health proffesional to listen to me, to work with me, and to help me. I never once thought he was doubting me, which i do with EVERYONE, and i feel he helped explain alot of things for why i am the way i am.
    I would say yes they do help, and either way, i would recommend everyone to try every source of help they can get.
  14. Quantum

    Quantum Member

    Mine didn't help at all. No medications nothing. Even after telling him that I tried to kill myself a couple of times and that I have homicidal tendencies.
  15. revoltra

    revoltra Well-Known Member

    I think seeing a therapist can be a good thing. But speaking for me, I don't see it going anywhere to be hounest. I feel worse than when I started and I'm not able to open up about my issues in session. This may be cause I'm still new at it and the fact that I keep getting reschedualed to weeks later. So I keep getting thrown back to square one.

    It's also has allot to do with how much the person actually want to get better, and what issues they struggle with. I want to get better, but I can't break out of my shell. So therapy ends up upsetting me rather than helping me.

    I do engourage you to seek help though, and I hope you get it.
  16. plshelpme

    plshelpme Well-Known Member

    in my current experience, my psychologist has helped me understand a lot of things about myself...and she's helping me change my negative thoughts...she's helping me accept what i cannot change and to accept the past...she has not only saved my life, but she has changed it, hopefully in a positive way so that when i leave her in july, i will be okay without her...

    it is hard work tho...i put a lot of energy into working on changing the way i think/feel/view things...i literally feel like i get more homework from her than i do from medical school...

    but it's totally worth it...every cent, every second, every kcal of energy used...
  17. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    Talking to anyone will help. And talking to people on here or at your house is free. Of course you can always try the spiritual route and use prayer. All of these works for me, and I don't spend a dime. Blessings..
  18. lachrymose27

    lachrymose27 Well-Known Member

    therapy didn't help me. but it might help you. i rather just go straight to the meds as it works better than talking to someone who really doesn't give a crap.
  19. Crash106

    Crash106 Member

    If you are on the brink of suicide (been there myself), you need to talk to someone.

    • You can talk to God, but he is very busy with other calls and doesn't always answer (at least not in language that we can readily understand).
    • Clergy are apt to panic, can be judgemental and aren't trained for this sort of thing. Not generally recommended.
    • Friends who know you and care for you can certainly work, but they aren't trained for this. If you can forgive them their mistakes, friends can help.
    • A suicide hotline operator will certainly work in a pinch. They ARE trained to talk about this sort of stuff and can probably connect you to resources you would never even think of.
    • A therapist CAN help. I've seen good ones and bad ones. All of the good ones are busy. You'll need to make an appointment. It could take a month. It could also be very useful ... in the long term.

    If you need help NOW! Call a hot line or a dear friend. Please do it now.
  20. chipper

    chipper Well-Known Member

    i guess the point is... it could work for some people. if you can afford it, get it.
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