What is the point in therapy?

Discussion in 'Therapy and Medication' started by confused.com, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. confused.com

    confused.com Member

    I'm currently seeing a therapist who is kind, understanding, empathetic, non-judgmental, positive, caring and friendly...and yet I still don't feel as though it's helping.

    Therapy was my absolute last resort and now I don't know what to do other than give up. I don't know if it's my fault - if I'm not opening up enough or giving him enough to work with, or if my problems just can't be fixed, but nothing has changed other than I'm making him worry about me.

    I think maybe the problem was that I've always heard therapy described as a treatment, along with medication, and both treatments and medication are generally used in the context of getting better. All I feel at the moment is despair because despite overcoming quite a lot of fear in telling my therapist how I'm feeling, I don't feel any better. If anything I feel more suicidal because this was my last hope and it's becoming increasingly obvious that it isn't going to cure me, or even make me feel better.

    It seems that my depression is terminal, but unlike every other terminal illness, there's no sympathy or understanding, because it's down to me and it's my fault - no one is pushing me over the edge.

    I really don't know what to do. However positive my therapist tries to be, and however understanding he appears, I don't feel as though he knows how I feel at all, and part of the problem is that when I'm in the place that I am at the moment, trying to be eloquent is impossible. What should I do? Has anyone else felt like this? I'm getting pretty desperate...
  2. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    How long have you been seeing him? I think it's normal to feel like this at first.

    I've been seeing my counsellor for about 14 months now, and still feel like it's not helping. Every week I wonder why I still go, as I'm as bad as I ever was, but I still go. I think it's just nice to have someone who won't judge me or tell me that things will get better. Someone who will listen to me.

    So maybe even if you feel like it's not helping, it might be worth carrying on anyway. Eventually I'm sure it will help. Of course, it makes a huge difference if you're having to pay for it (which I'm not, so I can afford to keep going just in the hope that one day things will be different).

  3. Socialman

    Socialman Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I've read up on psychotherapy. Basically it involves the "therapist" using techniques to help people get on with their lives. They may not know how you feel, or even care. It's their job to pretend they care. Some of the stuff they may say to make you feel better may be outright lies. For instance, sometimes a therapist will try using a shock tactic by going off on you. Telling you to just get over it. This is to make you feel embarrassed about how you feel, and adjust the supposed illogical emotions you are having. The whole thing irks me out and does not help me much.

    Puppies and babies cheer me up so much more.
  4. confused.com

    confused.com Member

    Thanks for your replies. I don't pay for therapy as it's part of student welfare at uni. He's been really supportive in that nothing is too much trouble and he's willing to give me extra sessions outside of term-time. He occasionally calls or texts to see how I am and always responds to emails promptly - I emailed him last night just after midnight, and he replied about half an hour later.

    The main problem I'm having is that I've explained my situation to him and although he's very sympathetic and understanding, he doesn't give any kind of feedback. All he does is sum up how I'm feeling, for example he might say 'that sounds like a really horrible place to be in, it must be really difficult'...although it's nice to know he's been listening, I know how I'm feeling, because I told him!

    I know therapists aren't generally supposed to offer advice, or tell clients what to do, but I suppose I was expecting some sort of guidance, like 'have you considered this...' which is something that I am absolutely not getting. I've mentioned to him outside sessions that I don't feel like I have anything left to say, but he wants me to carry on seeing him because we both know I haven't resolved my issues. How can I resolve anything if all he does is repeat what I've said?! I just don't know what to do, and I HATE sitting in silence while he waits for me to speak, which is something I know will happen now I have nothing left to talk about. Any suggestions?
  5. dazzle11215

    dazzle11215 Staff Alumni

    can you tell him you need more guidance from him. i get a nice balance of listening and advising from my therapist. sounds like you trust him, so that's a great start. sounds like you are wanting some more concrete advice on coping strategies, and perhaps on dealing with the past. i say keep going and see if you two can work it out.
  6. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately, this is typical of psychotherapy. Advice and guidance is not part of it. The idea seems to be that you continue to explore your issues and find your own ways to overcome them.

    Like you, I sometimes wish I had some sort of feedback from my counsellor, but I must say that the one time he suggested something to me that I hadn't considered, I completely flipped out! So the usual method does work better for me.

    I'd keep up with it. It's free, so you might as well, and you never know what might happen.

  7. asking_advice

    asking_advice Well-Known Member

    your lucky it's free. unlike here. i need to pay -.-

    the reason why your therapist is not giving advice because he wants you to feel what you need in other people.
  8. gakky1

    gakky1 Well-Known Member

    Good advice from everyone for you.:cazza: Maybe it is helping but it's hard to notice if it's slow, big changes don't happen right away. It's also not change that helps, when you think that you're sinking down so fast there is no hope, just stopping that sinking feeling for a while is a big positive,:smile: sometimes I've heard that you need to hit a certain low level before things take a turn for the better. You're not alone in your thinking, I've had my doubts quite often too whether therapy and the other things actually help.:huh:
  9. Oceans

    Oceans Well-Known Member

    when i was reading your responses, it occured to me maybe the therapist is summing up what you're saying for you "hear" what it is you're saying outloud and maybe you'll see the answers yourself. Because as someone said, in real life, people give out advice and answers to us so easily and therapy is a place where you kind of find your own answers, if that makes sense. that is my take on it. take care
  10. Waterfall55

    Waterfall55 Well-Known Member

    Therapy approaches can differ. Many people find cognitive behaviorial therapy (CBT) really helps them change how they think/feel about things. Perhaps you could check it out on the internet - there are some online tools you can do yourself - then if it seems like something that might help you, you could ask your therapist if he could assist you with trying that for awhile.