Have any of you NOT found therapy helpful? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Have any of you NOT found therapy helpful?


It seems to me to be the common advice, "seek help", "go to therapy", "try CBT"

And granted. People should seek help and try all of these things. But have any of you found these things worthless when it comes to your anxiety?

Would just love to hear other peoples experiences and thoughts on this.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:11 AM
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Yes, 9 out of the first 10 therapists I tried either didn't help me, or made things worse. My last therapist helped a lot, however.

Ultimately, it's worth bearing in mind though that people are looking for a cure. There isn't going to be one. The best any therapy can offer is partial improvement, and you have to work your arse off at it, it will be uncomfortable and challenging. I don't know why therapists don't point this out, but if you look at clinical studies its pretty clear that partial improvement is what is achievable. Unfortunately people get sub standard CBT, in the UK anyway, and then get blamed when it doesn't work.

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:20 AM
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Iíve only tried therapy once, and went seven times in 2015. It didnít help, but I donít think anything would have even if it was better because I was too scared to change and I probably wasnít ready to. Every week was the same as the week before, and I was always so anxious about going in case she forced me to talk to her that I would count down the days and think ďI still have five days to go. Ē

The therapist didnít know anything about how to help me. Instead of her helping me, I was teaching her about my problems, and that was hard because she didnít understand it and kept getting the main things wrong. I felt like I was wasting her time, which I felt bad about, and she would sigh when I took too long to write on my paper (I couldnít talk to her) and then she would stare out of the window behind me like God or someone was there to tell her what to say (she was a sister). It didnít help that she looked like my sisterís mother-in-law, who none of us liked.

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 09:39 AM
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My past attempts at therapy didnít go well. I recently started up again with someone new and so far it is going pretty good. Nowhere near where I need to be but at least I now have someone I can open up to.


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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 11:39 AM
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I've never had a therapist, but I have spent a ton of time studying therapy in an attempt to fix my own problems. I'd like to get a therapist, but I need one that can handle gender dysphoria, and I'd have to pay out of pocket for that ($100-$150 CAD a session).

I've talked to quite a few people who have had therapists and most of what I hear is that it doesn't help them much. I think with certain kinds of problems (schizophrenia, psychosis, mood disorders) medication can be useful and important. My sister and brother are both much better on meds than off meds. But when it comes to other kinds of problems, therapy as it's usually given isn't that much good. You have to keep trying new therapists until you find one that works for you (like @SplendidBob ) and even then the improvements might be modest.

I think whether or not you get better depends a lot on whether or not you have a healthy state to go back to (ie. if your problems are acute, late-onset problems) and whether or not you currently live in an environment that fosters mental health. If your problems have been lifelong, and you still live in a toxic environment (like my friend), then it's extremely hard to get better. I think lifelong depression and anxiety disorders should be treated like personality disorders, but most therapists seem to treat them the same way they treat late-onset problems.

Most therapists seem to assume that everyone has been healthy at some point and they just need to find their way back to it. (You see that in case studies all the time, when they tell patients to remember "all the things they've accomplished" or "all the friends that they've made", etc. If you don't have that kind of experience in your background, hearing advice like that can be alienating and make the problem worse. The same thing can happen with exposure therapy if your therapist underestimates how serious your problems are and you find that your fears are realistic when you try to complete your homework assignments (ie. you're trying something beyond your current abilities). If you don't have the resources that your therapist believes that you have (because they think you're exaggerating the extent of your problems) then the therapy they provide is probably not going to make you feel any better (and will probably make you feel worse).

Despite all of that, I have derived a great deal of benefit from studying therapy myself. (I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't.) I do think that therapy is potentially very helpful for many people. The problem is more a matter of resources: a handful of sessions teaching a person how to do CBT isn't going to help anyone with serious problems. Several years with a sharp, compatible therapist, who is willing to treat you like an individual instead of a "resistant" case of textbook SAD probably would. But where are you going to get the resources for that? Unless you're rich, you're probably SOL.

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 12:20 PM
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I had 12 sessions of CBT on the NHS, as mentioned earlier in this thread it's not good quality and pretty much useless if you have anything but mild anxiety/depression (perhaps useless even then.) I have lots of different issues so I have no idea how to find a therapist that could address all of them simultaneously. It seems hard enough to work on a single problem without trying again and again repeatedly to find someone who knows what they're doing.

Tbh it seemed pretty disorganised too, at one point she said that the next week we'd discuss my history and stuff but we never did. Most of the time I was just using her as someone to hold me accountable for trying stuff eg: I had to do stuff because I had to have something to talk to her about. After about 50% of the sessions I felt good, and after another 50% I felt like absolute ****.

I didn't accomplish anything significant during this time, I tried to bring up my motivation issues and she changed the subject. Towards the end as I was struggling with motivation as usual to do stuff (even while using her in this way,) she pointed out that she can't make me do anything I don't want to do. Yeah that's great but you know, the motivation issues, and the commitment issues. At least equally debilitating as the SA.

The general viewpoint I come across is that nobody really wants to do anything they just do it because they have to. Assuming they're telling the truth and not exaggerating, I guess I'd rather just be dead.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 12:33 PM
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The therapy itself has been mostly useless. At least the forms I can access. There is a serious doctor shortage in this part of the world, so availability is quite limited. I'm not about to top myself, so I am a lower priority case. As such, I can only see a psychiatrist for about an hour a month. Therapists aren't covered by my insurance or the government in my instance. Basically all it ever has consisted of has been comparatively superficial conversations followed up by a series of suggestions that do not really seem to help. "You need to put yourself out there," "You need to join a support group," etc. My current psychiatrist is ok, but only wants to focus on my learning disorders instead of my social difficulties, as the latter is not in her specialties. It is difficult to move to a different one through the public system.

Most of the benefits I've received have been from the meds they (the psychiatrists at least) can throw my way. I suppose that is a psychiatrists function, and seeing a dedicated therapist would be more beneficial.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 02:38 PM
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My first therapist - yeah. I didn't click with her. Felt like she was judging me.


I've started out therapy again recently. It's helped me as I finally feel I can verbally off load all of my crap. My thereapist doesn't offer solutions really or set me tasks. So in a sense it's not "helpful". But right now I'm just enjoying having someone listen to me for once.


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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by SplendidBob View Post
Yes, 9 out of the first 10 therapists I tried either didn't help me, or made things worse. My last therapist helped a lot, however.

Ultimately, it's worth bearing in mind though that people are looking for a cure. There isn't going to be one. The best any therapy can offer is partial improvement, and you have to work your arse off at it, it will be uncomfortable and challenging. I don't know why therapists don't point this out, but if you look at clinical studies its pretty clear that partial improvement is what is achievable. Unfortunately people get sub standard CBT, in the UK anyway, and then get blamed when it doesn't work.
Why was the 10th therapist a success? Were they more expensive?

I've only had free therapists that my insurance pays for. They have been useless, and they seem to know little about various therapies. I do wonder if paying for an expensive one gives better results, like ones with PhD or lots of education?
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 04:30 PM
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helpful one out of four times - just the first time because I was clueless

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humidity View Post
Why was the 10th therapist a success? Were they more expensive?

I've only had free therapists that my insurance pays for. They have been useless, and they seem to know little about various therapies. I do wonder if paying for an expensive one gives better results, like ones with PhD or lots of education?
She was on the NHS but I got about a years worth, somehow.

Yeh, essentially she is a counselling psychologist, so had a PhD. Specialises in personality disorders. Also we gelled well. Was the first mental health professional I considered competent out of all of them I have seen over the years, and that has been a lot.

I still see her over skype, but only once a month, because of the cost and its less effective via skype. I no longer think she can help me much, and kinda feel I am regressing, since I sorta failed to "pass the post" and get past the major barriers in life in order to make me functional. Had I been able to, I think I would have ended up mostly normal, but it's looking less and less likely now. Still not all over yet, though, but looking shakey now.

But there were major major improvements with her, no doubt about that.

I wouldn't consider the benefits to come just from the fact she was a psychologist and expensive, though, she seemed especially able to get me to do stuff, for whatever reasons. But in my case, for anyone giving me advice I need to be able to trust their expertese, so it helps. If I pick up incompetency I walk (and its ****ing obvious, tbh).

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-14-2019, 05:31 PM
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I hired my first counselor in 2013 and stayed on as her patient until 2017, although for the last 2 years, I didn't see her very often.

At first, things seemed more hopeful and like this person was going to be a my boon to poor living situation, that turned out to not be the case. I gradually started to realise she was quite incompatible with me and in fact...harmful. During one instance, and take this as you will, I expressed my issues with sexuality and how I was traumatised by certain childhood experiences, which caused me to be fearful of intimacy....in response, she chastised me in a way that questioned my maturity and asked if I knew how to "please a woman" in a condescending manner.

Considering I was quite new to therapy and the mental health world, I did nothing about it. That was during my first year of counseling. Generally speaking, this doctor seemed quite aloof and not understanding of social anxiety or sexual trauma. I'm not really sure how or why she became a therapist, as she isn't very good at it, imo. ;:\

i've been under the guidance of a new counselor since last summer and things seem to be going decently. She definitely seems more understanding and in tune with reality than the previous hire, in my estimation.

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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 05:29 AM
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I don't find it helpful.


I'm currently suppost to be receiving CBT though the NHS, but my therapist has been away for 2 months due to "unforseen circumstances". Anyway, my anxiety isn't the same as it used to be. For example, the therapist said she once took a client out for a walk whilst she had lipstick smeared all over her face (in order to attract attention). In the past I used to be self-concious like this but haven't been for years. For example I run on the streets every week in skimpy clothing and with my running club. My remaining anxiety is more ingrained... it's the underlying fear of things which I have always had... particuarly in relation to employment. I believe it all comes down to self-esteem and confidence, as I used to have conditions which made me avoid people (cycstic acne, hyperhidrosis and shyness). It's difficult to repair all of the damage which this avoidance has caused (as I no longer have friends or leave the house much except for running or when I go out with my parents). A lot of my therapists clients are people who really struggle (unemployed like me but also no education, bad family situation and addictions). I just finished a masters degree so I'm in a different position. All my therapist said was I may / may not be homeless without my parents providing me with a roof over my head and I was like.. ok.. what's your point? How do I bridge the gap then? I talked at length about how I'm often left out of conversations in social situations / how people won't approach me and she said we don't know know what people are really thinking etc etc. It's all basic, generic advice and it doesn't help me. I was thinking of withdrawing my place so that someone else can try cbt.


At the end of the day it all rests of me and I have stopped fooling myself into thinking that therapy is a productive use of time. I believe I am better off taking magic truffles. In the mean time I run and exercise a lot (trying to do a sub 20 5k), get skin treatments and try to figure out how I am going to gain a social group (in fact an old high school friend tried to add me on facebook but I am too embarased to accept the request).
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-15-2019, 08:24 AM
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I went for depression at one point. Didn't really get anything from it and she discharged me after saying I was a normal teen. Yeah... waste of time really, hope that wretched person got fired.

Might need to go see someone about the anxiety though, but I don't have high hopes.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 03:53 AM
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I thinking having an outlet to discuss mental health issues is a good thing but I never found myself less anxious or depressed as a result of therapy or meds. You have to go into it believing itíll be useful though or it doesnít take much to write it off as useless. Also, personal circumstances are huge, if you donít have a solid support system outside of that therapy room or are constantly bogged down by home/life worries beyond SA or depression it can almost be like walking into a bizzaro world where almost everything you think/feel is mistaken and to be challenged, nobody is ever paying attention to you because theyíre all self obsessed/absorbed, and if you simply stop whatever youíre doing to breathe deeply when overwhelmed all will be well...meanwhile as soon as you leave you get slapped in the face with the reality of your life/circumstances. More than anything I think you need to have or develop a really close relationship with your therapist for it to truly be effective
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 08:12 AM
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In my experience talk therapy helps a bit but is not a cure all. Better off having therapy then not but dont expect a miracle cure. But it can help.
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 08:48 AM
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For me, therapy was paying good looking women to pretend they liked me. And there's some benefit in that.

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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-16-2019, 08:57 AM
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Yeah, I've found that my therapy sessions were useless.

At some point, you have to realise that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life ...
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 12:39 PM
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I think it's all a matter of compatibility with your therapist.


I think there's a tendency to believe that all therapists are supposed to help-and the sad truth is that there are actually terrible therapists out there, because some people are terrible. (The best example of that is that awful therapist in The First Wives Club-you need to see that-unbelievable lol)



By the same token, there are amazing therapists out there because amazing people exist.


I now interview any new therapists. I state clearly what I don't want, and what I am looking for-and I ask them direct questions in the first session about what their qualifications are, and expertise and I very briefly describe my issue.

If the reaction I get is judgemental, amused (like I'm a dancing clown/monkey), passive aggressive, uninterested or bored, I end the session and continue looking.



I want someone who is empathetic, interested, calm and collected, and serious. Someone who is able to understand that this problem/issue is a big deal for me-enough that I am looking for help. And that they seem to want to help make it less of a source of suffering in my life.



I have been messed up by ****ty therapists and I now refuse to see and then pay them. It's an expensive mistake.



A therapist is an important relationship and I'm not going to do emotional surgery with someone I don't feel safe with or mistrust.


Good luck!
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 06:10 PM
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My SA is far too crippling for that or CBT, how could I even think of doing something like that when I would be staring at the ground the whole time, stuttering/mumbling and talking fast. The therapist would be constantly asking if I am ok. I am terrified of people, why would I want to spill my deepest secrets to some stranger?


CBT would also lead to unnecessary humiliation for the same reason.
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