When Therapy Doesn't Help

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by helplessly_waiting, Sep 30, 2012.

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  1. Does anyone else feel like therapy and/or journaling makes you feel WORSE?

    I feel like when I talk or write about my problems, it forces me to think about and re-live my past. I end up walking out of therapy or closing my journal feeling worse than when I started. Is this something that improves after I've been in therapy for awhile? Is there anything else I can try in place of talk therapy and journaling?
  2. roksy

    roksy Well-Known Member


    Sometimes with therapy and writing, the reverse effect happens for a while, as one is opening pandora's box and things are coming out. Usually this corrects itself and therapy and writing become very beneficial.

    Writing has been of great help for me. I am usually feeling better by the end of the writing. If you are having trouble with writing, maybe you can start out by filling exercises like CBT and DBT. I prefer DBT which is dialectical behavioral therapy and there are some good guided exercises to help you through the issue you have.

    I hope this helps.
  3. Black Sun

    Black Sun Active Member

    Dear HW,

    It is a well known fact in counseling that clients often get worse before they get better. This happened to me years ago and I got MUCH worse! Having said that, it's important to realize that not all counselors are created equal. This is not to say there is anything wrong with a particular counselor, sometimes a bond called "the therapeutic alliance" isn't formed so nothing much changes. At this point, a counselor would typically refer a client to another counselor.

    I think it is also important to realize that we are all bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings and that each dimension affects the others. If a person eats poorly, like fast food and lots of caffiene then it have an effect upon our emotions (anxiety) and brain (depression, racing thoughts). You get the picture. Exercise is also very good for our mental state. It releases dopamine. Helping others also makes us feel better about ourselves. In my case, I had problems in each of these dimensions of self so no one answer applied. Taking care of our bodies, watching our thought life for polarized thinking (using "always" and "never" when they are not true), having meaningful social relationships, and including God in my view are equally important.

    In the end, you will have to decide what is best for you and you will reap the rewards or experience the losses which accompany your choices. Personally, I think we all have some ideas on what we need to do to feel better and get better. Your hard work will pay off!

    I know the feelings which come up through re-counting them can be very hurtful and nobody wants to re-live them all over again. The problem is those feelings have a voice which need to be heard and acknowledged. My parents did some very hurtful things to me when I was young which created a lot of repressed anger in me. I then became an alcoholic to medicate the pain caused by the feelings I never expressed about how I was treated as a child. After I became sober, the anger suddenly exploded after about six months of sobriety. It confused me; I was hardly ever angry as an alcoholic for 26 years. After I learned, several years after this event that the anger was a product of the hurt, frustration and even some fear I felt as child trying to cope with the behaviors of an alcoholic father and paranoid schizophrenic mother. Once I connected my feelings to actual events in my childhood I was able to feel the full force of those emotions. I wrote letters to my parents (one sent, one not) describing how crappy it felt when they treated me the way they did and experienced catharsis. The catharsis was like an emotional release and helped me feel much better. I did have trouble with forgiving my father even though I knew he really never intended to harm me. In the end, try as I might, I could not release him emotionally, the nager would well up every time I thought of him. Finally, I told God, that although I know I am required to forgive, I just couldn't do it and aksed Him to heal so I could. The anger for for Dad based upon all the crap he dished out to me just evaporated. I have tried to hate him as a test, but it just isn't there anymore.

    I don't like sermonizing or inspirational fuzzies so please don't think I am saying anymore than what I just said. It was and is my experience.

    I wish I could insert the little smiley face hug icon someone sent me, but I can't get it here, It's too bad because it's probably more what you need than all this talk.

    Please stay in touch,

    Mac or Gilly (as your prefer)
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