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I've been going to talk therapy most of my life. From a school guidance counselor when I was under 10 and being bullied, to when I was a teen, to when I was a young adult, in my 20s, now in my 30s. I've seen probably over a dozen different therapists/psychiatrists.

I have opened up, shared pretty much all details on my life, my mind, my though processes and opinions and perspectives and habits, my family, my history, major events, feelings.

It hasn't really helped. Most of them just sit there and listen, ask a bland question or two. If you only need to vent and have an impartial stranger hear you out, be a good listener, then it's good. If you need solutions or a deeper understanding of yourself, to make a plan to get better and overcome mental illnesses, too bad.

Is there some secret to getting more out of therapy? It's so funny, in movies, like "Analyze That" Robert DeNiros character finally figures out the reason he's such a mess and starts sobbing - he never got to say goodbye to his dad before he died. His therapist played by Billy Christal exclaims "You're having a breakthrough!":idea

20+ years of therapy and I'm still waiting for anything even remotely approaching a breakthrough. Seems I've been wasting my time with little to no benefit.
 

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mjkittredge,

I'm sorry that therapy doesn't work for you right now. I'm finding that the forums are helping me more than I ever thought.
For a long time I avoided therapy. I had an awful work environment that forced me to see a therapist in Nov of last year. At first, it was mostly me talking, her listening. Then, as things have progressed, she's started to help me look at ways to improve, to cope and we're now starting to get to the root of the SA. I've started a journal to get in touch with my inner child; I draw; I've analyzed songs; read books she's suggested etc. It helps a lot. One thing she's started to do with me is to create 3 lists of something that is bothering me. The first list is the description of the person (ie Mom), including the good, the bad and the ugly. The second list is what I feel around that person. And the final list is the message I get from that person. We talk about why I feel this way.

Although I'm in therapy, I also believe strongly in medication for SA. Without Lexapro, I would be completely house bound and living a giant panic attack every waking moment. I hope that you can find what works for you. I think FalseHope has a great point, let your therapist know what is going on. If all else fails, ask for advice, if your current therapist doesn't work for you, find another. It may be worth it to look at someone who has experience in something for your history (ie, SA).
 

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am doing it for a year now , and i dont feel any good out of it . the only downside is the money i have to pay. its too much for me .

am thinking about it to tell them that it isnt working, but am afraid of there reaction or how to explain it.
 

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20+ years of therapy and I'm still waiting for anything even remotely approaching a breakthrough. Seems I've been wasting my time with little to no benefit.
Is a breakthrough just supposed to be just realizing something that you didn't know before? Because if you already know why you have social anxiety then I'm not sure what else there is to break through.

If someone in Somalia went to a therapist because they were depressed, I don't see how coming to the realization that the REASON they're depressed is because they live in F'n Somalia where one in four people has aids, is going to help them one bit.
 

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Op: it seems kinda shocking that 20yrs of therapy has produced NOTHING! Maybe you are very, very resistant to allowing the reason to surface? I don't think talk therapy works for everyone ..... maybe works better for women than men?

I made quite a bit of progress once I found the right person who was 'on my wavelength', but she was the third one I went to. She used to tape our sessions and then I could listen to them at home. This was helpful because I heard myself saying very insightful things that I wasn't aware of during the session.

You definitely have to put in a lot of effort yourself, both in being totally honest and choosing your words very carefully so that you accurately describe what you are trying to convey. You also have to be open enough to do a little self-analysis ...... it isn't all up to the therapist. You also have to be willing to make changes in your ways of thinking.

My therapist had a good balance between listening and encouraging me to look more closely at what I had told her and guiding my analysis. I have an idea that there are more ineffective therapists than effective ones .... sadly. It is a rare skill to be able to 'get into someone's mind' then analyse what's there and then present it to the patient in a way that is acceptable and useful to them.

Perhaps talking therapy only works for people who are sensitive in a particular way .... intuitive? psychic, even?

Perhaps you have just been very unlucky in the therapists you have seen. Why not give it a good long break? You could try something like meditation which might be more effective at helping you see your thought processes clearly. Meditation can also provide you with solutions.
 

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Do CBT instead.

Proper CBT too, not just some vague bull**** from a random counsellor.
 

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I think it really depends on the therapist you see. Some are far better than others. I have seen two. The first one was pretty useless. She specialized in children's therapy, but she occasionally took on adult patients. Well, she needed to stick to kids, because she was just all over the place and I could not connect with her. She spent a good deal of time talking about her own problems. I think she used the opportunity to talk to an adult about what was bothering her. My current therapist is very good. While I think she still doesn't understand me entirely, that's my own fault. I've been going to her for a year and still have trouble telling her certain things I want to say. However, I have had a couple of "breakthrough" moments. It just happens when I'm explaining something to her, and suddenly I say something that I never acknowledged before that moment.

I went with my SO once to a different therapist when he was going through an extremely rough time three years ago. It was a waste. It was as you described. The man just sat there taking notes and nodding, trying to look interested; but at the end of every session, he had absolutely nothing to offer. The last time we went, he said: "Well, it sounds like you're really figuring things out." So, my SO quit going after that. Some therapists are more insightful and interactive than others. I am lucky to have found one that clicks with me.

Maybe you need to shop for a new one. As others have said, you also have to tell the therapist what your expectations are so that he/she has a fair shot at meeting them. Be honest with them, and be as open as you can be in your sessions. I know it's easier said than done, but it's the only way to get your money's worth.
 

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It's probably due to the therapist themselves, and whether you can connect to them or not. They really don't help if they just sit there, listen yet say nothing useful, but it also feels like crap when they try to push their agendas on you and pretend they're not judging you when they really are. It might be useful to keep looking until you find one that just works for you. A good one will listen in a completely non-judgmental way whilst providing an objective, rational explanation and how to combat it, rather than telling you you shouldn't feel like that, or conversely, just sitting there and not offering anything at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I guess I figured they could offer me helpful perspectives to understand the way I am, how I got this way, and what I can do about it. I've had a lot of time alone to analyze all the details of my past, but I feel like there is something that I'm missing.

These people studied psychology all those years. Thought they would be able to provide some illuminating insights. "Oh, you're this way because of this and this, and here's why, and here's what we can do about it to work on overcoming it." Recognize what my issues are, help me understand, help me move on.

I don't need to vent about my daily life or have a kind ear, I need to understand myself so I can solve my problems and move on, to a better me, to a better life.
 

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Is a breakthrough just supposed to be just realizing something that you didn't know before? Because if you already know why you have social anxiety then I'm not sure what else there is to break through.

If someone in Somalia went to a therapist because they were depressed, I don't see how coming to the realization that the REASON they're depressed is because they live in F'n Somalia where one in four people has aids, is going to help them one bit.
Exactly LOL. Unless u have some buried memory that u have repressed for years n talking somehow brings it back to u....that will still only help if u are thought what u can do about it to feel better!

I play my life story over n over in my own head, then I go to councillors who I have to then tell them my life story, n I've actually asked them "can I have some techniques for my GAD" or other issues, n they somehow just turn the question back on me n ask me what do I think would be a good idea to start with, then I list the ones I know already n she says yes etc n somehow I'm not getting thought anything new.. and of course I'm anxious there so I havnt come right out and said it, n its been a few councillors I've had this experience with. Only one time I went to someone n he was amazing, really good, all about teaching me things I'd never have thought of......then turned out he cost nearly my whole weeks money! So never saw himaagain...
 
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