Can Something Good Come Out of Therapy?


I I used to think that therapy might be of benefit if only you went through the trials of finding a good therapist – and by “good” I mean one who is not only well trained / well educated, but who is a “good fit” for you in particular. There is no easy way to find such a “fit”, of course; everything must be trial and error. Search the internet and make the most of third-party shocking information about therapists. Make an appointment for a phone or video consultation (remember when things were done in person?) This would give you 15-50 minutes to get to know the therapist in any way, less an hour allows you to get to know someone. By signing up for weekly sessions, sharing what you know about why you are so screwed up, and allowing them to invalidate you, turn you on, and question you (but call that “challenge” you). Repeat the process and compare your ratings from different vendors.

While it all felt like approaching strangers just because they had certain letters after their names, pointing to your deepest wound and waiting to see how they would react while hoping for the best, which I never put into question is the process itself or if I really needed to do it.

To be fair to myself, society doesn’t really present many other options for people in mental and emotional distress. The psychology industry has infiltrated our lives so much that it has trained most people to encourage a person in pain to “seek help” from a “professional” and perhaps even suggest medication. . Every now and then (although luckily I haven’t seen this lately) a well-meaning mental health “advocate” will post the issue on the National Suicide Hotline on their Facebook profile with a reminder that “you don’t. ‘are not alone,’ having clearly done no research into the hotline’s many harms. Otherwise, that’s pretty much what I know in terms of “supports” for people in distress. It is therefore not surprising that I would not have questioned the research for therapy itself.

Yet the best-case scenario is for the therapist to validate your injury and ask you what you think about it over and over again until you “understand” and can “integrate” this pain into your life. I’m not saying it’s categorically a bad thing to ask people how they feel – I often feel very different from what others might guess just by knowing my situation. But I’ve never felt better after “naming” or “observing” my pain or whatever therapists call it these days. These things do not make the pain go away if the source of the pain persists.

Unless all of you know of a therapist who claims and can build on actual experiences of clients that they themselves can permanently relieve the psychological pain you feel in them by speaking about it or “observing it neutrally.” It seems like a long time. transport situation: if you are still in pain, it is because there is more to discover from your childhood. Let’s take a look at the injury caused by current circumstances (such as housing insecurity, discrimination in the workplace, social trauma or a number of other legitimate external conditions that cause real damage, no matter how well you are. childhood) for any belief or limiting story that you tell yourself as a result of a mysterious experience you had as a child that caused you to have such damaging beliefs.

Then let’s talk about this story over and over again until it somehow gets dislodged – because that’s what we keep repeating, they just go away on their own! – and you are free to experience the oppression of circumstances in real time with the freedom of the “observer.” (By the way, I don’t know how much encouraging clients to “step back” from their situation enough to be able to see it from a “neutral” place, if that is even possible, really is. different from “dissociation” the same profession claims to be a “symptom” of a “disorder”, but I guess the contradictions are only real for peasants who have no power.)

Then if you are still in pain, let’s say there is actually a whole different wound that got infected with stories you made up as a kid to face everything you went through as a child. Only once did a therapist tell me that everything was fine with me – and not only did he never validate that what was wrong was the shitty choice between staying in an abusive marriage or submitting to the recurring brutality of the bachelor, they or they also told me that they thought it was “in my best interests” to continue seeing them after I started to wonder why I wasn’t doing better and maybe it wasn’t right for me anymore.

It took the explosive end of the five year relationship I had with this therapist for me to realize that the reason it wasn’t a good fit anymore is because therapy is not a good fit. I can only speak for myself (and perhaps for the growing number of people who have told me about their at best unnecessary and at worst deeply hurtful experiences with therapies / therapists), but I wish I had realized earlier what it took me months to recognize after the explosion with my therapist that ended our relationship, when I was still wondering if I should find another therapist – and I actually felt guilty that I did not have “yet”. That’s the power the psychology industry took from us: I had an extremely painful end to a five-year relationship that I thought was getting emotional healing and kept showing myself because I thought this was the path to mental wellness, self-confidence, and the life I wanted in general.

As I used the time I had spent in therapy to think about what exactly I was getting from it, I realized that although I showed up every week – for over two years, it was twice weekly, I was this convinced that I was this screwed up and my therapist used my delirium and didn’t bother to “challenge” or “question” it at all – to something claiming to be “therapeutic” it did not even touched some of my deepest issues that I thought were keeping me from the life and relationships that I wanted. Not only that, it actively harmed me and undermined my ability to trust myself, validate my own emotions as an adult, and develop the ability to not take things personally.

It actively harmed me in that it made me dependent on another human for “reality checks” and the ratification of my emotions. It actively affected how it ended – although I never had a healthy conclusion to a therapeutic relationship, the way it ended was the worst yet. I took issue with my therapist’s claim that they were able to help me and that it was in my best interest to continue, they interrupted me, I raised my voice to cut them off to finish what I had started saying first and they interrupted me again to yell, “I worked hard for you for five years” as an introduction to what would have been a major guilt trip if I had let it. I didn’t: for the first time in my life I was the one who abruptly ended a relationship, clicking the “end meeting” button in the middle of what the therapist was saying.

Even after all of this, I was sure the relationship was officially over. It took me two days to send the email stating the obvious: your behavior was completely inappropriate. Please remove me from your schedule permanently and stop contacting me. I felt guilty for not having had therapy for months after that – didn’t I clearly need it again after the way I behaved with this therapist? Didn’t my inability to deal with conflict and my refusal to give someone a second chance indicate how severe my psychological difficulties were?

What was actually happening was that I had an abusive relationship and therefore had a traumatic connection with the therapy. That’s why I didn’t stop after my first therapist canceled me with less than 24 hours notice and just never contacted to reschedule. This is why I continued despite the accusations and incompetence and projection of my former marriage therapist. This is why I persisted for five years with a therapist who kept telling me that we would “get” to my worries about self-confidence or my perceived inability to stop the story going through my mind. in every waking moment, “I’m inferior to everyone for all reasons” despite knowing how illogical, damaging and self-defeating this story is. This is why it took me over six months to write about it, and this is why this is the first time that I have said anything in detail about it: to you strangers on the internet who could leave a nasty comment without ulterior motive.

It also actively hurt me in that it diverted my resources to something ultimately unnecessary for me, and away from what would have greatly benefited me, especially as a living low income single / divorced woman. in a very expensive city that is exploding with roaming. I have spent over $ 6,000 on co-pay over the past five years. Yes, if you save $ 25 a week instead of paying someone to (not really) listen to you, you would have between half and a full emergency fund. It’s probably closer to $ 8,000 because it was about two years there where I was in therapy twice a week, working my butt to save my marriage since neither my person nor my marriage counselor took worth informing me that in fact it is seldom 100% a person’s fault when a marriage breaks down and instances where it does involve behavior much more horrible than anything I have subjected my ex to. In my opinion, more than a year from the official divorce and more than six months from the end of the other an abusive relationship that I was in (the one with my therapist), I can say that financial health beats psychotherapy in terms of mental health benefits at all times.

Of course, I can’t generalize. I’m sure someone can come up with a really good reason why I’m wrong or a specific experience they’ve had personally where psychotherapy was more effective for mental health than financial well-being. For me, however, I wish I hadn’t traded in my Tuesdays (and for a while there, also my Fridays) for the peace of mind that comes with a financial cushion, no matter how small. I wish I hadn’t spent so many years making myself believe that my real problem was the buried beliefs of my childhood experiences rather than the active and current harms.


Mad in America hosts the blogs of a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion – in the broad sense – of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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