I went through mountains of paperwork and saw one therapist three times over the course of about six months. Had I scheduled another session, it would have been at least a month from now. There are only about six therapists in my area who take my kind of health insurance. So far, every one I've seen has been incompatible. And it takes at least six months to get started on "therapy" because there are so many patients and so few counselors. Add to that the fact that I'm an atheist and things look almost hopeless.
You see, my counselor didn't understand how badly religion can hurt a person or how ostracized and rejected one can feel after "coming out" as an atheist in a small, conservative town. I went to her because I felt ostracized and rejected. After today's session, I felt even more ostracized and rejected. I came out of the session feeling much worse than when I went in.
The funny thing is I talked to a lady afterward who was a billion times more helpful than the licensed therapist. She actually understood me and agreed that this town is oppressively conservative to anyone who is different. This is a fact. Anyone with eyes can see it. And yet my therapist denied it and told me I had an attitude problem. Yes, I know I have to make some changes, but I also want a therapist who understands the fact that coming out of religion was excruciatingly painful and that living in a religious community is filled with perils, especially if I stay true to myself.
The lady from Croatia was so kind. She figured I must be thirsty and gave me water. I've been in a lot of emotional turmoil and instead of dismissing it, she comforted me. She bemoaned the fact that an atheistic therapist had just quit the clinic and that my only other choice is a young man who probably wouldn't be right for me either. I was terrified about tonight's chorus practice and she gave me her card and urged me to call her and tell her how things went. In just a few minutes, this woman helped more than the entire clinic had in the six months I've been registered there.
She told me the atheistic counselor is moving to a clinic that also accepts my health insurance. There's a small chance I could get in to see her. That doesn't guarantee we'll get along, but at least there's a small chance.
Through all this I've kept in mind recent studies that suggest anti-depressants and psychotherapy are no more beneficial than a placebo. I'm a walking argument for this point of view because neither has done me much good in the long run. At this point, I'm trying to find my own path. I wanted to include psychotherapy because even if it doesn't work, it doesn't have the horrible side effects of psychiatric drugs.
I am now of the opinion that psychiatric drugs did me more harm than good by destroying my health. I can't prove it yet, but I believe I'm correct. I didn't have fibromyalgia until after the drugs. I didn't gain weight until after the drugs. I didn't have type 2 diabetes until after the drugs. Once I came off Cymbalta and went through some excruciating withdrawals (yes, there are withdrawal symptoms from these drugs...HORRIBLE withdrawal symptoms; don't trust any psychiatrist that tells you otherwise), I lost 50 pounds. I'm only using insulin a couple of times a week now. I was using it at least twice a day. The pitting edema is gone. I still have a little bit of non-pitting edema in my legs, but it is manageable. My health still isn't great, but it's better than it was when I was on Cymbalta. I will have another huge battle on my hands when I decide to go off the next psychiatric drug. If I come off Seroquel successfully, maybe I can lose the rest of the weight I gained when I went on psychiatric drugs some twenty years ago..
To the psychotherapist I saw today, I have something to say: Religion is harmful.
Sorry, cold and unhelpful therapist woman I saw for the last time today, but that's the truth. I don't need to be more accepting of religion any more than I need to be more accepting of racism. Can I love religious people? Sure. I do it every single day. But I need a better way of handling my emotions. If you don't understand where I'm coming from, how in the world can you help me? In order to make changes, I need to feel safe and I can't feel safe with someone who denies the truth. It was also obvious that you didn't give a rat's ass about me. It was in everything you said, in every move you made.
Then a lady from Croatia showed me that a tiny bit of kindness is worth more than six months of your crappy psychotherapy. Thank you, kind lady. I thank the god that doesn't exist that you were there to save me from one of his followers.
Here are some reasons I'm questioning the entire field of psychiatry / psychology:
I'm glad I'm not a psychiatrist or psychologist right now. I'd probably be balls-to-the-wall defending my profession, even though studies suggest many current treatments are no better than a placebo. Even from the position of a patient, it's kind of like losing faith in religion, only this time I'm losing faith in psychology / psychiatry.
I don't think there's quite enough evidence to completely dismiss the entire field yet, but based on my own experiences--even with "good" therapists--none of it works for me. We're talking every kind of psychotherapy, every kind of drug (except MAOIs) + ECT. Zero, Zilch. Nada. When faced with poor results, the go-to position seems to be "blame the patient!" I let them shock my fucking brain, for FSM sake! I took pills that are little better than poison. I'm still taking many of them and they are so addictive they're almost impossible to quit. They destroyed my physical health, probably taking decades off my life.
So, no. Laura ain't gonna play anymore.
I've certainly had my own issues with psychology and psychiatry. A lot of it was because I was suffering from the psychological effects of delayed-reaction food allergies and gluten intolerance.
So a lot of the therapy I got was a waste of my life and my time, and money down the drain.
When faced with poor results, the go-to position seems to be "blame the patient!"
I experienced that with allergy shots.
In 2002, I got allergy shots for awhile from Dr. T. I get somewhat sick for several days after each shot, but Dr. T finagled me up to concentrate on my non-molds vial - the one with dog in it. He felt that people tend to have worse reactions to the shots with mold allergens, so he was keeping the doses from the molds vial low and raising the doses just on the non-molds vial.
Dr. T told me once that I would never get anywhere if I got allergy shots from Dr. R's practice, because they wouldn't do any finagling of the dosages - they would raise doses from both vials in lockstep. He told me "I don't think much of that place".
His prediction came true, and it was a DISASTER in my life.
Dr. T relocated to Missouri, and I ended up getting allergy shots at Dr. R's practice (I live in a small town and there isn't much choice of allergists).
I got allergy shots there for 5 years, from 2003-2007. For the whole time I was at the starting dosage, and later, even more diluted - because they would only mindlessly raise the dosage from my two vials in lockstep.
Eventually, they stopped my shots. This was justified by giving me a placebo shot (just saline, no allergen) and when I reported a reaction to the shot, the shots were stopped on the basis that "we can't trust your reports of reactions". When actually, in the past a better doctor had managed to make allergy shots work for me, at least to some extent.
So they did essentially blame me for the bad result of their cookbook methods.
Bumping just to say: show me an anti-psychotherapy article, and I'll show you Scientology hiding somewhere in the background. Be careful.
Most Rational Emotive Behavior Therapists (REBT) are non-believers. It's part of the philosophy! I am one myself. To find a REBT therapist in your area go to: http://albertellis.org/find-therapists/
Best of luck!