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In my experience, I sit in a room with a therapist and talk for an hour while they throw in some comments about 'why' I must feel the way I do (which usually doesn't correspond with the actual reasons). I basically just end up feeling like I'm paying someone to listen sympathetically to my problems, and not much more.

^Yup, I agree. You just sit there and pay a person to listen to you talk and sympathize with you...for $50-100 an hour.
 

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I'm keeping my therapist to bounce ideas off of and check in with while I practice what is taught in The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. A lot of therapists aren't really skilled to treat SA, and unfortunately I don't think mine is.

She has validated many of my feelings and thoughts about my life and condition however, and given me some insight about myself. Before talking to her I hadn't realized that my siblings and I have basically raised ourselves, for example. I've been walking around most of my life being terrified of inadequacy and not feeling able to meet my responsibilities, while never seeing that at the same time I've been pulling myself up by the bootstraps and raising myself because my father is always at work and my mother is very mentally ill.

Psychologists are like midwives to me. You've got everything you need to help you figure out this problem and engage in your recovery (and really only you can do the recovery work), but they can help comfort, guide, and provide insight during your process.
You're my freakin' hero.


I noticed a lot of people who go through therapy feel like it's not really doing anything for them. But the thing is therapy isn't just a two month ordeal once every other weekend thing and you're all better, it's a slow gradual process that can last years. Though I will agree that certain people sometimes will find a therapist that lacks chemistry but to them I say you just have to shop around a little bit and find someone who makes you feel comfortable. You are absolutely right though dude, all the answers are within each of us, therapists are there to help us unlock the door (sometimes to find it) but we have to walk through ourselves. You're on my cool list mate.
 

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I think in SA in particular, it's also really rewarding to have someone you can develop trust in and share the things you wouldn't dare tell another person.

I LOVE going to see my therapist. It's incredibly fun for me and I look forward to it more than anything else on my calendar. She's the only person I feel safe to be myself in front of, something I can't even do with my own family.

We do go over some CBT stuff, like the cognitive distortions and what not. She also got me to get that anxiety and phobia workbook, which, to be honest, I found a bit preachy and not all that helpful, but she's been great at working out the difficulties I have with it.

A few differences for me though. I'm in Canada and she works at a mental health clinic where I also see a psychiatrist, so I don't pay a penny (except for parking sometimes lol), and she's a social worker with a master's degree, not technically a psychologist. What also means though is that she's also really helpful when it comes to other help and services I might need. During my last visit she helped point me in the right direction to start applying for disability, and services that will help me get on it as well. The disability is something I need more for the drug plan I would get than the actual income support.

Overall she's just an awesome person though. And while I don't necessarily buy into everything she's enthusiastic about (she loves yoga for example), for someone like me with social anxiety who is afraid to slightly open up to even those who are closest to me (I'm pretty much a compulsive liar because of it), it's a huge relief just to have someone I can honestly talk to.

She's never even seemed like she was being judgmental about anything, and it still took a good 6 months or so for me to really start warming up to her. And she definitely does not have the audacity to try to tell me why I'm feeling or acting in a certain way. It's also clear to me that she really cares about her clients, as it's obvious she even thinks about me outside of her work and gives me the occasional newspaper clipping or something else I might find relevant and interesting. Although I really doubt I could connect as much with my therapist if it happened to be a male.

At first, I even questioned my psychiatrist as to what exactly the point of me seeing the social worker was, and I never really got an answer to that question. But I stuck with it, and it's definitely paid off. I realize there are a lot of people in the profession who just do it for the money, but happening to get one who genuinely cares is just invaluable.

My psychiatrist on the other hand, it's like I'm fighting a battle with her every time I see her. I really like her, but we have a lot of disagreements about what the best course of action is, and sometimes I even get chastised lol - she's fairly young for a doctor though, early 30's I would think. I know she genuinely cares too though, and that she does worry about me, so I can understand the frustration on her side too. She's not the most experienced psychiatrist ever, and she's extremely cautious about prescribing things like MAOIs and GABAergic drugs, but I know she has my best interests at heart and that her ego doesn't get in the way, as she's referred me to another psychiatrist for a consult, as a case study for the entire mental health staff at the hospital, and now she's referring me for some consults at a more comprehensive and experienced mental health facility.

Both a caring psychiatrist and therapist are CRITICAL for mental health disorders. I would say social anxiety might even be the strongest example of this. Psychiatrists these days often only have time to deal with medication management, but a good therapist can really force you out of that shell. It might not be immediately apparent, and (for me, anyways), it really requires baby steps, but she is truly a catalyst for any optimism I might have.

It's hard to say whether or not I would have killed myself by now if she had not been there to let me release all the fear and anxiety I was keeping bottled up, but I think I can honestly say that my therapist has been the best thing to happen to me in ages. Combined with a psychiatrist that cares more about their patients than their ego, and you have a team that is absolutely invaluable. I can only wish that others in need of similar care are as lucky as I am. While technically I've been with them over a year and haven't seen remission in anything, it keeps me optimistic and I'm noticing that sharing my feelings with my therapist has made it easier to do so with my family.

This kind of therapy might not be as evidence-based as CBT, but you really need to keep in mind why that is. CBT is rigidly structured and can be performed by anyone with the knowledge to do so. They don't need to caring or empathetic. As a result of all this, CBT is naturally going to come out a winner in scientific studies. Interpersonal therapy, on the other hand, varies on both the therapist and the patient, and each situation is going to be unique. Intuition and a caring therapist are hugely important to this, but difficult to define, and so studies can make it seem a bit erratic.

Bottom line though, is that I'm extremely satisfied with my therapist, having a ton of fun being able to share that human connection, and wouldn't even consider trading her for a therapist that specializes in a very structured, yet scientifically proven CBT therapy.
 

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Lots of different methods or theraputic styles can work, but what they tend to have in common, when successful, is that the therapist and the therapee develop some level of rapport, or relationship. Feeling trust in and validation from another human being, regarding the stuff a person may be most troubled by, has value in and of itself.
 

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Lots of different methods or theraputic styles can work, but what they tend to have in common, when successful, is that the therapist and the therapee develop some level of rapport, or relationship. Feeling trust in and validation from another human being, regarding the stuff a person may be most troubled by, has value in and of itself.
I thought the goal of therapy is the opposite of that. Aren't therapists supposed to help you understand yourself so you can better deal with your issues independently? I don't receive that validation or "unconditional acceptance" from my therapist at all, and I'm sure she won't appreciate if I become emotionally attached to her. I think that trust and acceptance is a means to an end, which is to help you solve your own issues.
 

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By going to see my counsellor, I've learnt things about me and it's helping coming to terms that I have something wrong and I'm trying to fix it. Also by delving into the past, and actually talking about things no-one knows about me or what I think about them makes me upset, but by being upset I will gradually not be ashamed of me.

And I like going to, it's a break from society and I feel I can say anything to him and not be embarassed or judged. Aswell it feels a safe environment, which where I'm living is not. I'm just glad I made the courage to go up to uni that day and book an appoinment...
 

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To the OP, perhaps it's time to change therapists. I'm on my third one. My first one was last Nov and she was great, helped me work through some issues going on in my life at the time but she did some things that annoyed me like constantly looking at the clock and I was the one who kept pushing her to diagnose me to see if I did indeed have SA which is what I self-diagnosed. I stopped going to her due to my husband losing his job at the time. When he got a new job I decided to try someone different mostly because of my schedule. I went to the new person briefly and although she was very nice, it was really uncomfortable because she'd just sit there and I'd have to initiate the conversation and start our session. She just basically did a lot of sympathizing but not much beyond that so I decided to switch to a new one which I have been going to for a few months now.

This new therapist is great! She starts the session off by asking how I'm doing, draws me out, diagnosed me early on, and has been working with me by providing explanations as to how SA affects me and provides concrete suggestions on things I can, she even gives me "homework" which I have to tell her about at the next session. She is also very engaging and can relate because she too had SA (but in a different form to me) before she became a psychologist. She not only draws me out but actually makes me laugh! I've even told her before that I laugh more in session than I do outside of session. It's only been since July that I started going to her but I have made significant improvement!

Hope this helps.

Trini
 

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I was VERY lucky to get a very good psychologist the first time I ever went, which was at my University. Luckily for me, my student health fee made it $20 bucks a session. (ah, the good ol' days) I told her I thought I had social anxiety and told her all my symptoms and behaviors that were bothering me, and she was able to diagnose me right away. (Trust me, it was bad.) So we knew I had it, but we didn't know why. So she asked me questions about my past and when I answered, I began to see why I developed social anxiety for myself, without her telling me or explaining what she thought the reasons were. (I grew up in an abusive home, and didn't even realize it.) Once we I figured out why, then she gave me little assignments to do to help me overcome SA. When it was really bad, she told me to write down when I had panic attacks. As it got better, the assignments became like 'go to a party, bring a close friend as stay as long as you feel comfortable staying' basically, she was trying to help me change my behaviors.
I talked to her once a week, for a whole year until a graduated. By the end of the year, I was just going to see her just so I had someone to talk to about the family problems that plague my life, rather than SA being the focus.

I'm pretty sure a good therpist will do something similiar :)

And a therapist shouldn't really be throwing in comments about 'why' you feel the way you do, they are supposed to help you understand that for yourself and guide you to the answer, because frankly, you are the ONLY one that knows that answer. Once you understand yourself, and why you think the way you do (which would be our irrational SA thought process) , then you can begin to fight SA! i.e. in my case, my parents abused me and made me feel like anything i ever did wasn't 'good enough', causing me to feel like **** about myself, which made me believe i was worthless, which made me afraid of other people thinking the same thing. thus SA. but NOW i know i'm NOT worthless, and whenever those feelings come back, I can fight them because I know they aren't true! Not saying I'm the life of the party now or anything, just that it's easier to fight SA.

Still can't return items to the same store I bought them from LOL.
 
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