General Question

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Have you truly found talk therapy to be helpful?

Asked by Mama_Cakes (9310 points ) February 6th, 2013

What did you get out of it?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

35 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ve only tried it with one person that was a nonprofessional, but it worked very well.

picante's avatar

Yes and no (that’s helpful, right?). Having the right therapist is critical, of course. On the plus side is the ability to speak with a skilled, intelligent individual who has no vested interest in the outcome other than your progress. Having a time and place to really explore areas that are difficult to touch on with friends and family is important. To the extent the therapist can get you to explore your deepest motivations (your hidden agenda) and allow you to flesh out a vision for betterment, that is helpful.

I’ve also looked back on some experiences and thought that much of it was a waste of time and money; in those cases, I had the feeling that the therapist might have “sized me up” too quickly and moved to recommendaitons that didn’t really seem the best fit.

I realize all of this is vague and probably not much help; but I’d say that if you are serious in your work of finding the right therapist and you commit to the process, you’ll likely have a good outcome. Best of luck!

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I have a therapist that I am going to start seeing for anxiety and depression. I have never really followed through with talk therapy for an extended period of time, and I’m hoping that this’ll be helpful.

burntbonez's avatar

I’ve never been, but I have often considered it. There are issues in my life that seem like they might be causing me some problems, but then again, I seem to be managing just fine. That is, I’m not an axe murderer. At least, not that I know of.

But there are issues I think about a lot having to do with my parents, and I wonder, sometimes, if they have anything to do with why I don’t have a primary relationship in my own life. But I don’t know if a therapist is really smart enough to help me, or if they could think of anything I haven’t already thought of. So what do I need them for?

Also, I’m not sure I want to divulge stuff to someone I don’t know. I know they are professionals and all, and there’s HIPPA, so they aren’t supposed to reveal anything to anyone, but I know therapists (friends) who tell me stories about clients. They don’t name names, but still. What if I ran into the client one day? I might recognize them from the story.

I’m too old for therapy, I think. I couldn’t see going to a young person. I think I would feel competitive with them. Like who could analyze me better. But I guess if you are young or you don’t know that much about psychology, or you don’t do self-analysis that well, it could be helpful. Also, hopefully, the therapist would know a lot of things about psychology that you don’t know. Like about anxiety and depression.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, very. It clarified my insights into my family of origin and helped me understand my wounds and subsequent defense strategies.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

True story

I went through therapy 30 years ago. It helped me get through a couple issues in my life, bad divorce included.
Therapist asked me if he could add me ( slightly modified ) to a book he was co-writing. I have got an autographed copy in my library. Name and several points were blurred or modified to protect my identity.

janbb's avatar

Yes. It allowed me to like myself.

zenvelo's avatar

Yes,it was quite helpful. I needed somebody to validate whether or not my feelings about my circumstances were appropriate or unfounded. I learned how to value my feelings and to trust my instincts.

bookish1's avatar

Absolutely. In high school, it gave me a safe space to be myself, and the perspective of an adult mirroring for me what I was going through, and reminding me that my feelings were OK, was very helpful. As an adult, it has helped me reflect consciously on my coping mechanisms from the fucked up up bringing I had, and has given me the opportunity to set goals and decide on strategies to reach those goals. One of the goals of talk therapy is insight, and I think I have gained a lot of that.

But as others have said, it’s important to find the right therapist. Remember that you are a client and you are not beholden to any therapist. They can have radically different styles, methods, and worldviews, just like any other human. If, after two meetings or so, you feel that you don’t click with this particular therapist, or you have trouble trusting them, you are completely within your rights to ‘fire’ them and seek someone else.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I tried but I didn’t like my shrink, seemed like a waste of time and money for me.

It helps a lot of people though so I’d say it’s worth a shot!

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’m thinking that the tough part is, finding one that you like/works well with you.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I guess an additional question would be, did you have to go through one or two before you found the right therapist for you?

I’m not crazy about the idea of spilling my guts to one, having it not work out, and then having to find another.

tom_g's avatar

When you have an objective professional to talk to, there is less incentive to bombard your loved ones with all of your concerns and worries. Sometimes people feel the need to get it out, and a therapist can serve as a $20/half-hour pair of ears. Sometimes hearing yourself say the things that have been bouncing around in your head changes your relationship with those thoughts completely.

snapdragon24's avatar

Talk therapy or more like ‘let the the therapist talk’. My last therapist was a whack job. I felt like I was there for HER talk therapy. I guess it did her well, but she aint the one paying.

Not to mention the crazy shit she told me about having some of my dad’s employees going there for help?!!...trying to make me hate my own parents. At one point she claimed I couldn’t be ‘saved’ and when she felt she couldn’t help my eccentric nature, she’d sent me to see a spiritualist…who actually did a great job. HA.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snapdragon24 Funny enough, my doctor blamed everything on my mom and railed on her, too.

I’m like okay, she’s an alcoholic with bi-polar, so I kind of knew that was a factor, but I do make my own life choices not her, and that’s what we’re discussing. Frustrating.

*How can any human say you can’t be saved, that is extremely odd.

susanc's avatar

I was a psychotherapist for a long time, so obviously I value the process and the theory. And I was in therapy various times for various reasons, as I moved from one city to another and as my issues shifted. For example, when people in my family were involved in substance issues, I needed support in trusting them to navigate their own changes.

Confidentiality must be absolute. If you interview a therapist and they seem in any way iffy on this, you should get a different therapist.
As @KNOWITALL says, you have to feel good with your therapist or bail. This doesn’t mean you should bail when you feel puzzled by your therapist; it means you should ask him or her questions. The therapist has to be someone you feel you CAN question, someone who’s happy to answer all the questions you can imagine.

snapdragon24's avatar

@KNOWITALL, ‘Saved’ in the sense that I was some broken soul that couldn’t be fixed. How totally inappropriate for a therapist to say when her job IS to help you and NOT discourage you right? What a loon!

Last sessions was October 2012, never heard from her again, she never checked up on me and (fuck that) we didn’t her beans.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Helpful. Thanks.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snapdragon24 Really? A few of my mom’s friends with pysch issues feel that way sometimes but having a professional tell you that as fact would probably make me want to hurt myself, which is the opposite goal. Geesh.

My therapist charge $500 for the one session and I paid it and never went back, I think he was a pervy quack that liked to hear himself pontificate. Life’s too short.

snapdragon24's avatar

@KNOWITALL I believe a real professional would never say something like that. I may have had my issues but I definitely don’t let some person tell me that I am unfixable. Everybody can be fixed. At least a little. But 500 dollars for a session! For what, scratching his ass and being a useless goon? People these days, just know that even though these people carry a professional badge, it doesn’t mean a thing!
How are things for you now? :)

Unbroken's avatar

Yes I found it very helpful. In innumerable ways.

Finding the right one do a little research, at least make sure they specialize or have experience in the arena you most need to tackle.

The first session is introductory an overview some issues you want to work on, some concerns and requirements you have how they approach therapy what etc.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@snapdragon24 I’m pretty good I htink. I don’t think anyone ever gets 100% resolution on anything, and I’ve learned to let some things go that I need to just get over, rather than ‘fix’, does that make sense?

snapdragon24's avatar

I guess letting go is a way of being ‘fixed’ – becoming a happier self :) which is what you seem to be doing :)

MilkyWay's avatar

I have tried it, but it didn’t work for me.

captainsmooth's avatar

I went to marriage counseling with my ex. I thought the therapist was pretty good, but turned out she was schtooping the guy next door and wasn’t able to be honest with me, the therapist or the psychiatrist she was seeing.

I am now happily divorced. I guess it worked.

Gabby101's avatar

Yes, when you find the right therapist for you. They have training that your friends don’t have and are able to say things to you that your friends probably won’t. The therapists I have worked with always have a framework they use to help you – it’s not just chatting about feelings (but that is a part of it).

wundayatta's avatar

I got a number of things out of therapy. I gained insight into my need for love and how I never experienced love from my parents. I learned several ways to cope with the effects of depression. I came to understand the relationship between feeling unloved and feeling depressed. I learned how to manage the things I do to help myself feel better without hurting other people in my life that I care about. I learned some specific things I could do for my wife that would help her feel more comfortable with me, and make it more likely she’d want to do things to make me feel more comfortable. There’s much more, but those are a few things.

SamandMax's avatar

No and for good reason.
I had therapy of this kind when I was a kid. Some other kids decided it would be a really good idea to go to the headmaster and tell them that they had seen me taking money out of a teacher’s bag. Well I obviously denied doing any such thing, and the headmaster was determined to press for an answer that wasn’t true. I was referred to a therapist that A) I didn’t want, B) I didn’t need, and when I did end up talking to that therapist, I felt like it had served no purpose whatsoever other than to waste my time and someone else’s.
I never found out the names of the two runts that lied on me, which is just as well because I still hold a grudge for the amount of life that I will never get back because I had to waste far too much time talking to someone who got paid to pretend like they gave a damn.

HolographicUniverse's avatar

I’m sure many above gave helpful answers thus i’m unsure if i’m echoing.

“The talking treatment” can be very effective in cases where the individuals needs a listening ear, guidance and rational revelation that they could not achieve by themselves therefore it can be very helpful for people like introverts, depressives and other neurosis. Though for others they made need a more practical therapy like chemical, shock etc. It depends upon your circumstances and what you respond to… Some view it as charlatan (ism) while others receive some genuine insights into their mental material

kitszu's avatar

@Mama_Cakes Nothing yet. I’ve been too afraid.

That said, I stopped and started again

wundayatta's avatar

@SamandMax A therapist is not an investigator, and it was a bad mistake to use them that way. Their job is to help people with problems, not get the truth out of them. A therapist should never be in the position of having to assess the client’s veracity. You can’t help someone that way. The school you went to should be sued for malpractice. I’m surprised you learned anything there at all if that’s how they think therapists should be used.

HolographicUniverse's avatar

@SamandMax
You can’t lump all therapists together based on one bad encounter.

You must understand that from a therapist view you were perceived as a liar therefore they were trying to discover the root of your, perceived, kleptomania and dishonesty… You were a child so they probably didn’t give your words much vice, it’s a common mistake (in addition I mean this was a school therapist, hardly renowned in the field)

SamandMax's avatar

@HolographicUniverse I know I can’t lump all therapists together based on one bad encounter. It was the only encounter I had to refer to in order to answer the question. Seriously. I’m not that narrow-minded.

Just because there may have been a good reason for something happening to me as a direct result of someone else’s actions, it doesn’t (and will never) make it a right thing to do.

kwoahh's avatar

I’ve tried 5 therapists in my life (i’m 17) and only one of them has truly helped me. It is all about finding the one that will fit you. Although it took some time, once I found my counselor, I really benefited from it. She has helped me so much.

snowberry's avatar

I’m not a fan of therapists as you describe it. I do a much better job on my own. We did find good marriage counselor once who really helped us. But it certainly wasn’t “talk therapy”.

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