When therapy isn't helping

Discussion in 'Therapy and Medication' started by Marvin1971, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    I have tried numerous therapeutic approaches to my mental health problems over a number of years; I have also seen numerous therapists. Many of the therapists have made matters even worse and I now have nightmares about some of the therapy experiences.

    I contacted a person on an NHS website in the UK who assists people who have had damaging experiences with therapists. But she had never come across a problem where someone had seen so many therapists and felt many had caused further damage. She said she was out of her depth and could only suggest trying more therapists.

    I have spoken with my PCP who also was flummoxed. She too could only suggest more therapists.

    I have explained to both that I am not going to put myself in the position of seeing yet more therapists with the real probability of making matters worse stil. Yet, nobody seems to know what to do in such a situation; and nobody seems to quite understand why I won't go to further therapy.

    Anyone come across this sort of problem?
     
  2. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    I have not come across this problem, I have had great results from therapy in these past few years since 2009.

    I am wondering though why do you think it is not helping, is it that you can't connect with them? do not trust them? Cannot form a bond? Or scared of letting your true thoughts out with a stranger? I'd like to hear more about the approaches they have tried and what sort of therapy it was. Do you prefer male or female therapists more is is that indifferent?

    Talk here to us and we might be able to come up with some ideas. Sorry to hear you cannot benefit from therapy but do not give up hope just yet.

    Are you taking medication, do they work?

    ~petal
     
  3. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    Thanks for your reply.

    I am not only saying that therapy hasn't helped; I am saying it has made matters even worse for me.

    My mental health problems are largely connected to my circumstance - unfortunate events and screw ups in my life. But nothing in therapy has addressed these. In fact, I have been repeatedly encouraged not to deal with my circumstances because I really needed to be dealing with whatever the problem was with me - and that problem was different depending on the therapeutic leanings of the therapist.

    In my experience, therapists don't deal with difficult problems; they deal with difficult patients. So they have chosen to view a diffcult problem as a diffcult patient and proceed fromt here. The therapy has been aimed at symptoms and never the causes and often imaginary issues that I apparently have. Unsurprsingly none of this has helped. When it hasn't helped, I have been repeeatedly told that it is my fault.

    This has been a double whammy because A/ I have been pursuing inappropriate therapies when I should have been getting help with the actual problems and B/ I am being blamed for therapies not working, including therapies which I haven't wanted to pursue in the first place. This seems to me outrageous.

    You ask what I have tried. Most things, including a number of antidepressants. This includes some stuff which is completely nuts such as therapeutic shaking and a lot of stuff for which there seems to be increasingly thin evidence that it works.
     
  4. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    You are welcome!

    Wow. That really does sound discouraging. Therapeutic shaking? hmm that sounds a bit bizarre but in saying that, when I was in DBT we did spontaneous laughing which I found a bit strange but even more strange that it helped.

    I am so sorry to hear it has actually made you worse some times, that cannot be nice at all. You should never have been blamed for therapies nor working unless you actually refused to participate or similar. You are absolutely correct, that IS outrageous, maybe therapy just simply is not for everyone.

    Just out of curiosity have you tried the anti depressant Mirtazapine? A lot of people including myself have had great success on it.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  5. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    Yes - therapy is not for me. It never was. But I was encourgaed to do it and occasionally forced to do it by a bunch of professionals who insisted they knew what they were doing. Having made matters worse, I am now left to either face the music alone or subject myself to even more of the same, because nobody I contact seems to know what to do otherwise. And nobody seems to understand why I wouldn't want to see a therapist again.

    No, I haven't tried mirtazipine. But there is no reason for thinking that it is going to help, in part because it won't address and causes of my difficulties; in part because none of the previous antidepressants have either.
     
  6. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    I don't know what has gone on in your life so I am not going to make assumptions and will never ever judge, do you find that taking here helps? When you say ''your difficulties'' what exactly do you mean? Are they things you cannot talk about or things you just simply are not able to cope/deal with? What do you feel will help you (if) anything? Suicide is not the answer, there has to be something else you can try. Do not give up hope because therapy was not for you, there are so many different things that can help these days. I am so sorry to hear of all your troubles, you really do deserve better and I hope you get the help you need and deserve.
     
  7. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    If there was something that would help, that would be great. Mostly I get told to go for further therapy.

    By difficulties, I mean the stuff that is going on in my life. Although I live in the US now, my problems kicked off at highschool in the UK with a bunch of awful mistakes by teachers which wrecked my education and career plans. But instead of being helped to get back on course, I was stuffed with antidepressants and sent to group therapy with patients with eating disorders. And I ended up for many years in a job which I hated so badly that I left work in tears most nights. So - more therapy.

    I ended up losing the job when funding for it ran out and have been unable to get another job. I have been unamployed for a number of years. And the career advisors and the job centers have no idea how to help me at this late stage because I have got a long way down the wrong path. I have spent over $3000 on career advisors. Having a job I hated and then no job has wrecked many other apsects of my life.

    Soon I will run out of savings and perhaps be forced to move back to the UK. There I will end up living close to the staff from my school who stitched me up many years ago and I don't want to be back in that situation.

    I have nightmares about my last job; I have nightmares about my time in highschool; and now I have nightmares about some of the therapy experiences. I have completely run out of ideas and am getting no help or assistance from anywhere. I don't even no where to turn for it at this point. Because the problem has become extremely complicated, most of what I do try ends up making matters worse.
     
  8. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    I am so sorry to hear about all you have been through, that is terribly, awfully sad :(

    Would you give hypnotherapy a try? Try more meds? Do you have friends for support, what about family?

    Sorry to hear about all the nightmares, stress, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and rejection, that is an awful lot to deal with at once.

    Keep on talking to us here, we do care and will listen and offer a friendly listening ear, keep hope alive :)
     
  9. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    I certainly wouldn't try more meds. There is no reason to think they will help; in fact there is increasing reason to wonder whether they help anybody. And I am ot sure that hypnotherapy would help either.

    I have some friends and family but they don't don't know what they are supposed to do to support me. My dad often asks what it is that people think he should do. And I am not quite sure what people mean by support.
     
  10. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    I completely respect your decision, you have the right to say no. But bear in mind nothing has helped some people I have met here until medication helped them. Personally Mirtazapine was an amazing drug and made me happy again and relaxed. A suicidal person may not always ask for help but that doesn't mean they do not want help.

    Personally for me, I have my family for support which includes helping me do basic tasks that I cannot handle myself because of anxiety fears etc.. someone there to listen to me and my issues while being sympathetic, my doctor having patience with me when he knows I am not well, my sister offering to go to the shops with me because I'm in fear of going alone. That's just my own opinion and what I consider support.

    I really do hope you can overcome everything and live your life the way you want to live it without depression etc. best of luck :)
     
  11. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    The trouble is: how many different medications should I try. I have taken quite a few - which is several more than I would personally have liked to take. A psychiatrist would say that you should keep trying until you find the one that works. But what if there isn't one and you are on a wild-goose chase. The psychiatrist will never stop.

    And that kind of comes full circle round to my first post about doctors just sending me back for more of the same failed stuff.

    Incidentally, I have also been told that it is my fault when medication hasn't worked.
     
  12. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    You should never ever have been told that it was your fault medications or therapy did not work and I'm sorry this occurred. That was really crappy of them. Complete fools they are. Shouldn't be practising with people in general.

    Is there anything that you can think of that would help or are you at a complete loss in what to do?

    Why not join us in the chat room (bottom right hand corner of the forum)? Talking to us and sharing experiences might help.

    I hope you can pull through this battle safely.
     
  13. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    I have been repeatedly told that it is my fault. Therapists are very good at shifting the burden to the patient if it doesn't work. That is one reason why I won't see one again.

    I am not sure the chat room will help. I listened in last night and was kind of horrified. There were several people saying things like "That must be very painful for you" and "hang in there, it gets better". It was very similar to what I have experienced when I have called a crisis line. I guess it must help some people but frankly it makes me feel even worse.

    I am largely at a complete loss as to what to do.
     
  14. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    I see, well in regards to the chatroom that is what I would personally call support. You obviously see things differently from I. I'm sorry but that is our way of supporting people here and I am also sorry that it's not your way. What would you call support? How would you like to be treated? The statements you have quoted are classic examples of peer to peer support. I'm not sure what you had expected or had in mind, I'm a little confused to be honest.
     
  15. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    I don't mean to criticize the chatroom and what I heard there was the sort of thing I expected to hear. And it is what I have heard on crisis lines. I understand that it probably helps other people but it doesn't help me at all. I don't want to hear that things will get better - I was told that 20 years ago; I want things to get better. I doesn't help me when people affirm (is that the right word?) how I feel. The crisis lines are in some ways a final resort for people who are at the end of their tether but they talk as if they are the first resort i.e. they ask questions like "have you thought about seeing a therapist" or "have you tried medication". Well, of course I have. If they had helped, I wouldn't be calling a crisis line.

    I am confused why people find that helpful, but I recognise that I feel differently than most people. Still, that also makes it toguh for me.
     
  16. ponkotsu

    ponkotsu Well-Known Member

    I've had the "we're not forcing you to do this" speech so many times with regards to therapy. I also get irked when people ask me the "have you seen a doctor?" question. Yes, many. They all seem to have no idea what to do with me. I can really relate to what you said about crisis lines too. It's scary to tell someone you're having suicidal thoughts and then have them refer you to the same, ineffective resources you've already tried. There's actually very little evidence supporting the effectiveness of crisis hotlines. I've grown to accept that they're just not for people like me and use them only for distraction when things are especially bad. I don't get any good news or anything from them but it's something to do that isn't hurting myself. The whole "it gets better" phenomenon also confuses me because it certainly does not for everyone. Nowhere is anybody guaranteed a pleasant or easy or simple life.

    The ugly truth of the matter is that modern medicine only has so much. Just like there are incurable, permanent instances of physical disorders, I think the same applies to mental illness. Then it just becomes a matter of management. We live with it. We live around it. If you're tired of therapy and medication and can't stand another minute of it, I totally get it and that's absolutely your right. Treatment fatigue is a very real thing. There are other things to try that may help ease your mind. I won't insult your intelligence by listing them since I'm sure you already know what I'm talking about, but medicine isn't the only way out of this hole. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

    It's impossible to say what's going to happen next, though. I think that's where mental illness becomes more of a "who knows" kind of thing. Our brains are so poorly understood that it's impossible to say anyone's damned for life or we're all going to stagnate and never adapt.
     
  17. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I have known many people that did not benefit significantly from therapy - when they were seeing therapist to try to correct a real world problem for example and instead of using therapy to enable them to address the real world problem they used them in hopes to make it disappear -- therapy changes the way one may feel about a situation or gives one the ability to cope with previous or future situations, it does not change the fact of having a spouse that abuses though. They might have a goal in therapy of giving strength / self esteem support to leave an abusive spouse but it will not prevent a spouse from abusing you further if you stay (random example- not in anyway implying is anything to do with your issues).

    I have met many many more peopel however convinced there issues are "real world problems" as opposed to their actions or reactions to real world problems causing the issues in their life. That is far more common in my estimation...

    whether you have real problems and therapists cannot change real problems (putting food on table ) , or if you have a perception issue that you believe to be a real problem (eating disorder that makes you not able to eat adequately but declaring it is because your mother yells at you so ...) I have no way to even guess based on the post because there is nothing at all about the problems you are seeing therapist for. To be honest - real issues are typoically very easy to tell the difference from perception issues - they are the difference between nouns and adjectives - a simple identifiable "thing" and a "feeling" about a thing - no money, feeling like you are owed more as another example. Perhaps if you wanted to share what issues you have been seeing therapists for then others would better be able to see how it matched up with their experiences that therapists have helped with or not to give more realistic feedback...
     
  18. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member



    Thanks for your reply.

    Just to be clear: I am not just saying that therapy has not helped. I am saying that therapy has added to my difficulties considerably. And when I try to find help for the problems I still have and the new ones caused by the therapists, it is invariably suggested that I see more therapists and hopefully find a better one. But I have seen enough to know that this is a bad idea. When I asked my PCP what possible negative consequences there could be from seeing yet another therapist, she said that there weren't any other than it might not work because of my negative attitude. That is clearly untrue.

    Mostly I have been treated for depression but I think I probably suffer more from PTSD-like symptoms. This all kicked off when I was in highschool in the UK and a number of serious mistakes made by my school badly derailed my university and career plans. But instead of getting help with these problems, I was sent to a psychologist to see what on earth was wrong with me. And it has continued from there, with therapists of various persuasions insisting that my career/ education didn't need addressing and I needed to be concentrating on whichever therapy I was in that week.

    Consequently, I didn't get help with the real problems and they have become extremely problematic and cause me a great deal of pain. Furthermore, and unsurprisingly, none of the therapy helped . I was however, repeatedly blamed for its failure.

    I have regular nightmares about my time in highschool over 20 yars ago; and nightmares from my last job. In addition, I now have nightmares about some of my therapeutic experiences. I feel that I have been repeatedly psychologically abused by the therapists.

    I have had a number of therapies which are now known to be of dubious value and probably were known to be at the time. I didn't want any of this. It was imposed upon me by experts insisting they knew what they were doing. Last year I was offered the absurd "brainspotting" and "therpeutic shaking" for which there is next to no evidence whatsoever. When I have real difficulties in the world, I am appalled that I am being offered complete and utter nonsense.

    And yet nobody seems to know what to do other than suggest I go back for more of the same.

    My original post was trying to get at the problem of what you do when the people who are supposed to help repeatedly make matters worse. Who do you get help from then?
     
    Thauoy likes this.
  19. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I can absolutley see why things like "shaking" and other crap are just that- crap= and i would agree - aside from some pop psychology bollocks they have no value. I am up in the air abotu the old style "talk therapy", soem claim it is traumatic to discuss, but reality is you lived it once and it is causing issues because cannot get it out of your mind so while I do nto see it as overly beneficial and neither do most studies, neither is it damaging for 99.9 % So far as actual therapy like CBT / DBT - no I do not allow for them being "damaging" - any more than one can say for example school (as school , not bullies or issues at school) because it is a simple prescribed methodology of talking about or learning various coping methods to address issues and does not ask about past trauma really nor does it have any physical component- it is just when you feel this these are mental exercises to consider to aide in a less negative reaction.

    Same with meds- it is possible to have an adverse reaction to a med - though meds are not widely prescribed for ptsd they certainly are for depression - but then it would be extremely unlikely to have an adverse reaction to all meds - like you may be allergic to penicillin but are not to every antibiotic and overall is far better to take an antibiotic for an infection than to die from the infection.

    I guess that is why you keep hearing the same answer- I have still not heard the detail of what issue is supposedly being treated and except your dislike for counselors and th every possible ridiculousness of having been prescribed a couple very exotic therapies that may have no benefit - I am unsure what the "harm" is either as compared to doing nothing in particularly....
     
  20. NYJmpMaster

    NYJmpMaster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    I can absolutley see why things like "shaking" and other crap are just that- crap= and i would agree - aside from some pop psychology bollocks they have no value. I am up in the air abotu the old style "talk therapy", soem claim it is traumatic to discuss, but reality is you lived it once and it is causing issues because cannot get it out of your mind so while I do nto see it as overly beneficial and neither do most studies, neither is it damaging for 99.9 % So far as actual therapy like CBT / DBT - no I do not allow for them being "damaging" - any more than one can say for example school (as school , not bullies or issues at school) because it is a simple prescribed methodology of talking about or learning various coping methods to address issues and does not ask about past trauma really nor does it have any physical component- it is just when you feel this these are mental exercises to consider to aide in a less negative reaction.

    Same with meds- it is possible to have an adverse reaction to a med - though meds are not widely prescribed for ptsd they certainly are for depression - but then it would be extremely unlikely to have an adverse reaction to all meds - like you may be allergic to penicillin but are not to every antibiotic and overall is far better to take an antibiotic for an infection than to die from the infection.

    I guess that is why you keep hearing the same answer- I have still not heard the detail of what issue is supposedly being treated and except your dislike for counselors and th every possible ridiculousness of having been prescribed a couple very exotic therapies that may have no benefit - I am unsure what the "harm" is either as compared to doing nothing in particularly....
     
  21. Marvin1971

    Marvin1971 Active Member

    I have mostly been receiving treatment for depression, I guess.

    If you are being treated for any medical condition and you are getting less than optimal treatment, then there is an argument that the treatment is actually doing you harm.

    I am saying that, at the outset, the insistance of the therapists that I needed to be swallowing tablets/ engaging in group therapy/ going to anger management etc etc rather than addressing the causes of my difficulties has resulted in those difficulties not being addressed; consequently they continue and cause me very big diffculties in life and a very unpleasant time.

    Some therapists have argued that nobody was stopping me from addressing my problems myself (which I did indeed try to do). But it is disingenuous at best. Because I lacked any support from the therapists and their insistance that I shouldn't be worrying about all that stuff undermined any support I might otherwise have got - and indeed needed - from, in particular, my parents. My parents said "Well, Dr X thinks you shouldn't be worrying about all that and you need to be taking your medication" etc etc and so they did not assist me with big problems I needed assistance with.

    Another concrete example. Against my better judgement, I was put on the antidepressant paroxetine. The psychiatrist insisted that this would help me feel better. It never did. In fact, while I was on paroxetine, I made a suicide attempt. It is now known that paroxetine increases the risk of suicidal behaviour in young people. It is also suspected that paroxetine may not be benefitting anyone. So the drug did me no benefit - which I was told was basically my fault - and possibly did me a great deal of harm.

    I have often heard people say "Why not give it a try? It can't harm you". Well, I am far from convinced that is the case. I find the experience of being repeatedly exposed to therapies which have never benefitted me and were never likely to (because they were not addressing my problems) and then being blamed when the therapy doesn't work, extremely distressing.

    For many years I have been repeatedly encouraged (sometimes coerced) into various therapies against my wishes and better judgement. I have been asked to swallow nonsense. This also I think has been very harmful.

    In summary, therapy has distracted from actually dealing with my problems thus making my circumstances worse and a lot of therapy and the way I have been treated has added to my psychological burden.

    Incidentally, you mention talk therapy and the evidence for it. In my view, if there is no evidence it works, it shouldn't be offered. The "it can't do any harm" argument doesn't go down to well with me, because when I asked a therapist if she would be willing to try sacrificing a goat, she wasn't up for that at all. But there are many people around the world who would consider that a reasonable idea....

    I spent a number of years working as a research scientist. I spent a lot of (unpleasant) time training as such. And then , when I have severe difficulties, I am exposed to a world of not terribly good evidence, arguments from authority, "what harm can it do" etc etc. It is anathema to me.