Therapy does not work - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 02:12 AM Thread Starter
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Therapy does not work


I am 30 years old. I have seen 7 or 8 different psychologists from age 16 onward. NONE of them have helped me.


I have tried mindfulness, ACT, CBT. All of these things supposedly have a high success rate. For me, they did nothing. I became more aware of certain thoughts and feelings, and how illogical they are, but that's about it.


As far as I'm concerned, there is no cure for social anxiety.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 04:46 AM
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I'm inclined to agree. Great avatar btw.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 07:56 AM
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Yes, I feel the same way. Going to these 50 min sessions every week for months or years, making little progress and ending up with the same SA you tried to get rid of. It's so frustrating. To the so-called mental health professionals, it's like "What else ya got?"
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 12:12 PM
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I agree. I've seen probably over a dozen practitioners. It can be nice to have someone to talk to, but it doesn't make any real, lasting change. Of course they will say it is my fault for not applying their techniques. I think the whole thing is BS though.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 01:09 PM
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I think it depends a lot on how complex your problems are and on how you define "work". I've been trying to fix myself for over 30 years and I'm still getting worse. Therapy hasn't made any difference at all, outside of giving me someone IRL to vent to.

But therapy improves the quality of life of many people (at least, many people feel that is has). That's not the same as being "cured", though. Being in therapy may improve your mood and your ability to tolerate and adapt to change without necessarily reducing your social anxiety (I think that's mostly the aim of ACT).

I think that therapy should be focused on improving the quality of a person's life not on eliminating psychological disorders per se. Most psychological problems are probably not correctable with existing methods because they're linked with genetics. I think there needs to be more of an emphasis on providing supportive environments for people with psychological disorders neurodiversity in our culture and less on the largely futile attempt to turn everyone into a perfectly adapted (for our culture) person.

Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there.
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 01:14 PM
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Being scared is a natural survival trait & a highly valid one in my opinion, in some its overactive obviously, maybe for good reason, unless therapy can turn you into an emotionless psychopath its never going away.






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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 02:20 PM
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When I was in therapy I got the feeling that the therapist was there as a guide and wanted me to come to a resolution on my own using their tools. It worked for me because of my tendency towards introspection - for each CBT assignment I would write lengthy and detailed thoughts that went on and on, wringing out answers like water droplets from a towel. It was as if I were in university again and told to write a paper on a topic of interest.

Yes, perhaps the purpose is to somehow prove that some negative thoughts in particular are false. But it's also about learning the coping mechanisms for when they are true. Even if many of your negative thoughts are true there is a constructive, adaptive way of dealing with them besides calling yourself names, for example. Yes it's true that you __ but do you have to do such and such maladaptive behaviors to make things worse? What are the healthy ways to live with __?

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truant View Post
I think that therapy should be focused on improving the quality of a person's life not on eliminating psychological disorders per se. Most psychological problems are probably not correctable with existing methods because they're linked with genetics. I think there needs to be more of an emphasis on providing supportive environments for people with psychological disorders neurodiversity in our culture and less on the largely futile attempt to turn everyone into a perfectly adapted (for our culture) person.
That would be wonderful. I guess it's harder to fit into the "medical" model, which also is good at acute care but poor for chronic conditions.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 05:53 PM
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My experience has been the same. It's pretty damn hard to dismiss one's fear of rejection and criticism as irrational and not based on reality when pretty much everybody you try to befriend ends up rejecting or criticizing you. (In my nearly 44 years there's been only one exception, online. But I'm so damaged by now, I go months without writing to her. I'm that used to ridicule and rejection.)

Then when even the therapists end up doing exactly the same, it's kind of a sign that you're not just imagining it all.

 
Granted, all I remember my first psychologist (as an adult) offering by way of therapy was having me make a few drawings and she interpreted what they meant, then she had me print out my writing and bring it in for her to read each session (she'd read it in silence for like a half hour of the 45-60-minute session, then put it away with no comment, ever); and the second psychologist's idea of therapy was to tell me to go out and talk to strangers in Walmart to try to make friends. When I pointed out how weird that is, she actually agreed...but then advised me to talk to random strangers in the library, instead. Never mind that I didn't even have transportation to just go talk to random strangers, it's a technique that's pretty much guaranteed not to lead to any lasting friendships. A couple of attempts she made at pairing me up with other clients of hers failed when both agreed to get in touch with me, then both stood me up; despite me having been the one who put in all the work and still being let down, she defended them and blamed me. Supposedly I just like being miserable and she refused to keep trying to come up with things to try despite my begging not to be let go. Funding ran out, she cut me loose (knowing I have suicidal ideation), and advised me not to apply for more therapy in the future, leave that time for people who have more chance of recovering. She outright said she didn't expect me to get any better. (Since then, I've gotten worse.)

Therapy actually ended a lot more painfully and humiliatingly in both cases but the point is even the professionals washed their hands of me, so...yeah. I've gone over it enough times that I think everyone here is sick of it. It was almost a decade ago but it still hurts. I tried asking a visiting psychiatrist for help--actually, merely a referral--when I was in the hospital several years ago and she refused, too. I don't think I can trust a psychologist or psychiatrist ever again.


Treatment for social anxiety disorder here is a ****ing joke. I think maybe the people who improve perhaps have more positive social interactions to draw confidence from and/or haven't been dealing with the disorder for as long; but when your social interactions have been pretty much 99% overwhelmingly negative for three decades, and when you've been isolated for over twenty years, a few years of being told to "Go out and talk to people" or "Start thinking positively" isn't going to do squat. Especially when your own therapists then reject you.

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 06:21 PM
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Therapy is the biggest joke. I you that and saved you all those years. Therapists are just a bunch of *******s who happened to get the degree. Do you think they give two ****s about you? They don’t lose sleep over your problems.

Your issues are existential so nobody on earth can help you. My suggestion is accept how screwed up things are and live with it.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-13-2020, 07:10 PM
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I was being a bit flippant yesterday - for something like social anxiety I think some forms of therapy do probably work. (to some extent anyway - and as @truant said it depends what you mean by "work.")

I think things could probably be improved - but it's obviously going to vary a lot between people. Some people's anxiety is much worse than others - and most people experience it differently - at least to some extent.

I'd say most people aren't able to really apply themselves to something like CBT - or to even have a decent therapist to start with.

I know I never really gave it a decent chance. I know when I've read some of what @SplendidBob 's said on here about it it sounds like it could actually help. Difficult though and hard to commit to.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tehuti88 View Post
Granted, all I remember my first psychologist (as an adult) offering by way of therapy was having me make a few drawings and she interpreted what they meant, then she had me print out my writing and bring it in for her to read each session (she'd read it in silence for like a half hour of the 45-60-minute session, then put it away with no comment, ever); and the second psychologist's idea of therapy was to tell me to go out and talk to strangers in Walmart to try to make friends. When I pointed out how weird that is, she actually agreed...but then advised me to talk to random strangers in the library, instead. Never mind that I didn't even have transportation to just go talk to random strangers, it's a technique that's pretty much guaranteed not to lead to any lasting friendships. A couple of attempts she made at pairing me up with other clients of hers failed when both agreed to get in touch with me, then both stood me up; despite me having been the one who put in all the work and still being let down, she defended them and blamed me. Supposedly I just like being miserable and she refused to keep trying to come up with things to try despite my begging not to be let go. Funding ran out, she cut me loose (knowing I have suicidal ideation), and advised me not to apply for more therapy in the future, leave that time for people who have more chance of recovering. She outright said she didn't expect me to get any better. (Since then, I've gotten worse.)
Damn, that's horrible, bordering on sadistic. I'm sorry that happened to you.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 05:28 AM
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Some types of therapy work for some people. I found CBT very useful once I was in a state of mind where I could work at it - do serious homework, not just wing it last minute. It also helped that this time round I got a rather clever therapist. Whilst I could see how he used flattery and selective sharing to build rapport, it was still effective - I liked him and wanted to do well. I still have some mental health issues but my anxiety has decreased a lot.

What I find problematic is how vague and general the idea of 'therapy' is in the public health system. You have issues, you get therapy. As if any key fits the lock. Unless you're paying lots for it, no one really spends time thinking whether you'd benefit most from this or that type of therapy. You're just given whatever's available and cheap to administer. And the patients often also see 'therapy' as this one thing that they try, and then it either works or not.

I also agree with the above posters who said that sometimes the issue is with the society and not with the individual. Like my therapist said (paraphrased): "This is not how things are supposed to be or what's fair. This is about: how do I give myself the best possible life with the way the world is."

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 05:15 PM
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I think everyone should learn CBT, self-compassion, and mindfulness/meditation. I don't think these should be looked at as things that you try to see if they will "fix" you. I think they're in exactly the same category as having a healthy diet and exercising. Everyone should know about and have access to these tools. Trying them and then deciding that they don't "work" is like deciding that eating healthy and exercising for a few weeks don't work because they didn't completely transform your body. I use all of these techniques to keep myself as sane and functional as possible. I wouldn't be here if I didn't use them.

By the same token, these techniques, on their own, are often not enough to alleviate psychological distress or increase adaptability. If you have cancer, there's only so much that eating healthy and exercising will do for you. So I think it's unfair to assume that people who still do experience a significant amount of distress simply haven't "rolled up their sleeves" and done the work. I have done that work, and I am still in distress. (Note that I'm not saying anyone in this thread is saying that, only that I have often seen people make that assumption and wanted to insert it.)

If I encounter a significant amount of criticism, hostility, and discrimination for being a particular kind of person and these experiences lead to anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem, the problem is not that I am abnormal or suffering from a disorder; my response is a perfectly typical response to my environment; it is the same response that perfectly normal and "well adjusted" people would have if they were subjected to the same conditions. So, in order for me to "get better", and overcome my "problems" in the absence of a supportive environment, I don't have to learn how to be "like other people"; I have to learn how to be stronger (more resilient) than other people. Some people have to develop very sophisticated adaptive responses merely to perform actions that other people take for granted.

I think this perspective is frequently lost in conversations about mental health. The people who are unwell are often living in environments and with conditions that would make anyone unwell. And yet we expect these people to be as functional as people who do not have to live with those conditions. How is a person to become stronger than a normal, well-adjusted person? We shouldn't be surprised if techniques which are sufficient for some people are not sufficient for others, just as we shouldn't be surprised if a healthy diet and good exercise aren't enough to fix every physical problem.

Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 08:09 PM
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Of course it doesn’t. If your life sucks, nothing will change how depressed you are other than your life not sucking. Therapy doesn’t help with that. Listening to some old woman talk and tell you to draw your life with crayons is never going to help any adult. Only money and life changes will. The only programs that ever helped me were the ones that financially assisted me.
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post #16 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-14-2020, 08:51 PM
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People are so subjective, anxiety is fickle. It changes its mood every hour. So you have to change your approach every second.
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post #17 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 12:59 AM
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My SA has been a lot better lately, after recovering from being intensely miserable from my therapist's most recent f***up. But I have a seemingly unusual form of SA that makes it hard to relate to most people on the forum.
I actually think that SA is only a part of my problem and I didn't seek therapy for SA so maybe that's part of the reason it's kind of helping me.

**** you and your mandatory custom signature.
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post #18 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-15-2020, 01:36 AM
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Did it momentarily have any effect? Or are you talking about it having permanent effects? In my experience, there are no long lasting permanent effects of it. It's something that you just train on, to overcome the problems you have. So its not a fix, but more like an additional thing that you layer over it to help you. If you stop it, then eventually you will revert back to your starting point.
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post #19 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-19-2020, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truant View Post
So, in order for me to "get better", and overcome my "problems" in the absence of a supportive environment, I don't have to learn how to be "like other people"; I have to learn how to be stronger (more resilient) than other people. Some people have to develop very sophisticated adaptive responses merely to perform actions that other people take for granted.

I think this perspective is frequently lost in conversations about mental health. The people who are unwell are often living in environments and with conditions that would make anyone unwell. And yet we expect these people to be as functional as people who do not have to live with those conditions. How is a person to become stronger than a normal, well-adjusted person?
I recently came to this conclusion.

For myself, I realised recently just how ****ed up my childhood was, and why I am the way I am, and have the struggles I have. I realised it required me becoming *more* resilient than normal, being stronger than normal, because of the barriers that my (perfectly reasonable) childhood adaptations to the environment created, that now make me dysfunctional.

None of that was my fault. But it is my responsibility to take on that objective to become better than normal, because who else is going to do it for me? So that is what I have to do.

It would just be easier if "mental illness" wasn't framed by society as a fault within the individual. Its not. It never is, it cant be (it can only be a combination of genes, childhood environment and general social conditions, there isn't anything else at all!). Rather than people with mental health issues being stigmatised and thought of as less than, it should be seen in the same way as someone who gets their legs blown off in a war. And then has to somehow drag themselves around everywhere.

Someone who recovers from significant mental illness, enough to function on some halfway normal level is a ****ing hero, tbh, that's how hard it is.

Compassion focused therapy audio, guided meditations:

https://balancedminds.com/audio/
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post #20 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-19-2020, 01:50 PM
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Yes. I'm 25 and recently realized all those years of therapy did nothing for me as well. I've had male and female therapists. The females were more likely to listen, but not able give very much information on how to cope. The males just threw concepts at my face. Seemed stonewalled for my recovery. All you can do is learn and think for yourself. They don't have the cure, but they want your money. That's basically what it boils down to.

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