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wundayatta's avatar

If you've ever been in therapy, what brought you there the first time?

Asked by wundayatta (58599points) November 29th, 2010

How old were you? Why did you want to go? Did you have any misgivings about doing it? How did you choose a therapist? How long did you stay with them? Why did you leave them?

If you ever switched therapists, or had to go to a new one, what happened that caused that?

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24 Answers

MissAnthrope's avatar

I was 8 and labeled a problem child by my snooty private girls’ school. I had social problems, mainly I was very sensitive and the kids picked on me a lot. I guess I got mad and pushed them and whatnot a few times. The school labeled me a bully, which I carried with me in shame most of my life, at least until I realized that all I was doing was fighting back.

There were some other social troubles, but more minor than that. As a condition of my continued enrollment, I was required to see a therapist. I didn’t want to go and I certainly didn’t want to talk to her, so really the only constructive thing that came out of it was that she gave me an IQ test.

I saw her for 3rd grade, maybe 4th as well, I can’t remember. Anyway, I ended up going to a different school for 5th grade.

ModernEpicurian's avatar

I went when I was 19 due to an awful break up and a death in my family coupled with the pressure from university.

I saw a counsellor at university and she introduced me to a therapist, she helped me to work through my issues. To be quite honest this was achieved simply by listening to me rant.

However , through this process I met people that had been to other therapists and they had been through several until they found one suitable. I guess I was lucky.

SuperMouse's avatar

I went to therapy for the first time in my early 20’s. I decided it was time to go when I realized that I was incapacitated by my constant worry. I did have misgivings but I knew that something had to give so I went for it. My first therapist was a referral from a friend. I called the office and the lead therapist suggested I see an intern who was working in her office. I agreed to give it a try. We hit it off instantly and my four years working with Ellen changed my life forever. After a couple of years I decreased my appointments from weekly to every couple of weeks then to monthly. I left when she was finished with her internship and left the practice to have a baby. I have seen a couple of therapists since then but none has had the impact that Ellen had – that is probably because together she and I worked through some of my biggest issues.

Summum's avatar

Boy I could write a book here. What brought me to therapy? Well I lost a child who passed in my arms, my father passed away, I lost my job, went through a divorce, got really sick and dropped out of college and was excommunicated from my Church and all this within a year. I had planned my suicide but didn’t go through with it. I had letters to all my family members. I talked with my therapist for almost two years and was on prozac for nearly 3 but then things mellowed out and I haven’t needed one in many years now.

nebule's avatar

3 years ago and I’m still in therapy (well we call it counselling over here and I’m not sure if there’s any major difference?) I decided to get help when I slit my wrist for the umpteenth time. That time it was right down to the bone and I could see all the fatty tissue inside. I was on holiday at the time. I couldn’t remember I’d done it either so I realised I needed some pretty serious help.

I’m about to quit counselling again even though I’m not ‘all sorted’ ...I don’t think I’m ever going to be but I feel I’m all counselled out at the moment. I’ve come a long way and have a better relationship with myself but this stuff is real hard. Uncovering wounds, challenging beliefs and feeling all the pain. Not for the faint hearted.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I was brought into therapy because I quit Paxil cold-turkey (so Spring 2004) and had a bad reaction in all ways to that – the first therapist wanted to put me on more meds immediately and I told her to shove it. The second therapist took his time and treated me as an equal and was able to adjust to me or make me think he did, anyway and I trusted him. He put me on a different medication and was also there to get me out of Pospartum Depression after my first son was born. He and I still see each other every 3–6 months and I am starting to think he’s no longer the right psychiatric provider for me, I’d rather see a psychologist right now but do need to, or so I fear, stay on some low dosage of my meds. I never had issues about being in therapy, but always had issues about going on meds.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I dont even remember how old I was but I went at a young age when my parents divorced and my mom was making it really hard by constantly talking badly about my father. I went again at 16 when there was a lot of issues with me any my mother and again at 20 when my sister and I were having issues with my mother.

Every time ive been to therapy has been an issue related to my mother. Every time she suggests I go to therapy but she herself never really goes even though she is the root of the issue. Quite frustrating.

Two of the times I went I found it highly useless. The one time I started going at 16 though I had a really good therapist that I stuck with for a little over a year. He helped me deal with a lot of issues concerning my mother and how to best diffuse them as well as a lot of other things in my life that were bothering me.

I really liked him a lot because unlike all the other therapists I saw (there were a lot before my mom would settle on one) He treated me like a friend (though I suppose thats his job) so it was a lot easier to talk to him. Others seemed very judgmental just quietly writing down notes on their pad expecting me to just open up to them.

The one therapist that I really liked even gave me an inkblot test because I asked for one so that was pretty fun.

JLeslie's avatar

Depression. I think I was 16.

the100thmonkey's avatar



I was scared.

I had no misgivings as I perceived there was nothing to lose.

I left because the skills that he taught me it was CBT; basically noticing and acting on cyclical behaviour, as I undersand it were sufficient to do without a counselor.

Like @ModernEpicurian, I guess I just needed someone to listen to me.

JilltheTooth's avatar

In my mid 20s I was planning my suicide and picked a name out of the phone book so I could leave a paper trail for my family. I had no intention of getting help, just wanted it to look like I did. She was remarkable and I’m still here. Since then, different therapists for mostly family related issues. And I’m still here. Must’ve worked.

live_rose's avatar

I have severe social anxiety disorder as well as general anxiety disorder. My school counsler suggested to my mother that I had such issues and I might need help. So I’ve been on and off therapy since I was like 12

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

When I was 9. I had problems with my parents abuse, so naturally, they found someone who would call it bipolar (because oppositional-defiant is for boys…). I saw the first one for a couple years, then a new one until I was 18 and then I got the hell outta there, and then changed again when I was 21. Just recently, my therapist decided that she wanted to become a “spiritual life coach with a focus on Christianity” (saka theophostic) so I’m in the midst of trying to find someone new. Only the most recent has been really effective, although the one before her was good at keeping me in crisis mode (as opposed to 6 feet under) but not getting me out of it.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I was in Jr. High and no, I didn’t want to go but my stepdad thought I was antisocial. What happened was the therapist was driven nuts by my preteen drivel and thought my dad was an asshole who should be the one in therapy. The next time I went was for marriage counseling, both my husband and I wanted to go but therapy didn’t do much to answer any questions, at least we retained our friendship.

snowberry's avatar

I had to go to therapy once (court ordered because we were family of the victim), but it never helped any. What did help was immersing myself in the Bible, and participating in Bible studies, and reading Christian books. Oh, and prayer, lots of prayer, self introspection, and fellowship with supportive folks who were committed to my being whole.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, three times; when I lost my first two husbands, for depression, and when my oldest son left his family. I wanted to know how to maintain contact with him without being confrontational.

Soubresaut's avatar

My mom sent me about a year ago because she thought I needed some help getting back to the happy, bubbly little child I had been. I was really scared, fairly pessimistic, and kind of curious. I have no idea why she chose the particular one for me that she did, or how she even found her.

After a while of doing nothing really with the therapist, I decided to give her a bit of a try, and she did help me with some things, I guess…I learned that I’m not who I was as a child, who my mom thinks and wants me to be. But I’m no closer to being the ‘real me’.

It’s not the therapist’s fault that I’m not “better”. I don’t open up as much as I’d need to really get some help, but I pretend I do, so she comes up with ideas and theories that are almost, but not, right or helpful.
Now I just want to go back to where I was before therapy. I liked it better. I’m more “stable” now, but that’s as much as I can say.
But, since I can’t go back in time, I know what I really need to do is tell her the things I’ve been hiding from her so she can help me move on…

Not that any of that really matters anymore. My mom’s not seeing the progress she wants to see, and feels like the therapy is pushing her too much out of the picture. So she wants to end it now and have me tell her everything instead, so I can go back to the way she had me when I was a little kid. She told all that herself yesterday, in slightly less direct words.

So, overall, the whole therapy thing didn’t work so well for me.

sexybonytart's avatar

When I was younger I saw a counslour, recently though I made a logical decition to stop acting like an ass excuse my language and move forward with my life. Sometimes you just need to be your own therapist.

filmfann's avatar

I have gone thru therapy several times, dealing with abandonment and betrayal issues, my Mom’s death, a car accident, and dealing with the worst boss in the world.
Therapy is not always the answer for me, but it helped a great deal with several issues I had.

wundayatta's avatar

The first time I sought a counselor, I had just broken up with one girlfriend and taken up with another. I don’t remember what I was feeling then, but I thought I’d try it to see if I could gain any insight into myself. I don’t recall that it did much.

The second time, my wife and I both went to couples counseling to help us deal with my infertility. Eventually, she shifted us to a group with other infertile couples. I think the support group was effective because we shared information and kept encouraging each other. I read that people in fertility groups are much more likely to conceive than people on their own. It worked for us.

The next time I went was because I was starting to go crazy (although I didn’t know it). What I knew was that there were serious problems in my marriage and I was acting in ways I could never have imagined because of it. I found an emergency counselor (my employer provides this service), and then eventually, we brought my wife in.

It didn’t work at all. My wife felt ambushed and that the counselor was always on my side. Soon after that, she got sick and we dropped the counseling. But my problem didn’t go away.

Then I really started acting out, as they say. I had six or seven internet affairs in six months or so. Finally, I confessed to my wife—I thought she would divorce me, and at the time, I didn’t care if she did. I was so miserable and, more to the point, it turned out I had bipolar disorder.

My wife got me to a psychiatrist, who diagnosed me, and then, after a bit of a hunt, I found a therapist to work with. She turned out to be a good one for me. She didn’t really give me any advice unless I asked for it. She let me talk about what I wanted to talk about which was fine for a while, but after a year, I started not having things to say.

I think she helped me understand some of the causes of my behavior. She helped me understand who I was, now that I was different from who I had been before. She helped by guiding me, rather than telling me. She gave me some feedback, such as telling me that she liked me. I had a hard time believing that, because I thought I was paying her to like me, but in the end, I came to believe that she actually did like me, as a patient.

I graduated, eventually, but I am to call her for a “tune-up” when necessary. I have this habit of not reaching out for help until it’s just about too late. I carry a lot of shame around with me, wherever I go.

I just don’t know how to tell when I need a therapist or not. And even if I think I need it, there’s a part of me that wants to do it on my own, without help. I don’t let people get too close to me, I guess. Including my wife. Which is an ongoing problem that will drive me to despair if I am stubborn enough to refuse help. I can be very stubborn.

snowberry's avatar

@wundayatta Thank you for your very thoughtful and insightful answer. I don’t know you, but I do like your honesty. Blessings!

Megan64's avatar

How old were you?
A. 22

Why did you want to go?
A. I was unhappy, neurotic, made bad decisions – to be general.

Did you have any misgivings about doing it?
A. None, I was ready. I was miserable

How did you choose a therapist?
A. By chance. He came into the coffee house I worked at and I asked him about a book I was reading about a particular sort of therapy and if he thought it would work for me. He told me to come in and see him, and we could talk about it.

How long did you stay with them?
A. 13 years

Why did you leave them?
A. I moved out of the area. I felt I was finished. I basically grew up with my therapist’s support. I owe him my life.

If you ever switched therapists, or had to go to a new one, what happened that caused that?
A. I saw several therapists after that in the area I moved to, but none had the impact that he did. They did, however, help me get through some rough patches – post partum, etc.

aprilsimnel's avatar

How old were you? 30

Why did you want to go? I was depressed, having crying spells at work and feeling crushing guilt over my knowledge that I had to kick some people out of my life. I felt bad because there were some mental health issues happening with them, but they wanted me to rescue and take care of them, and I wasn’t capable of that. Those people could tell I was pulling away and were plenty angry about it. They expressed such to me, hence the crushing guilt.

Did you have any misgivings about doing it? Yes. I was wary that was using therapy as an excuse to be selfish and ungrateful to someone who, at the time, I felt couldn’t help their abusive behaviour toward me.

How did you choose a therapist? Recco from a friend.

How long did you stay with them? 1 year

Why did you leave them? She fell asleep on me during a session. I was coming to her (and paying her) for help. If she couldn’t give me keys to solve my problems, then what good was she? Her suggestions could have come from a self-help book, and she let me go on and on every week instead of respectfully challenging my beliefs. If she was sick of hearing the same old thing every week, then she should’ve been doing her job. If I’d known how to do it, I wouldn’t have gone to her.

If you ever switched therapists, or had to go to a new one, what happened that caused that? I had to switch again because I was re-enacting emotionally abusive scenarios with the guy. I didn’t listen to my intuition that told me he wasn’t right for me when I started with him because I was desperate for help. He was one of those people who acted as if speaking forcefully and authoritatively meant that he was right – the same as how my former guardian behaved toward me. Well, he wasn’t right about everything. I was only with him for 9 months. It was hard to tell him that I straight up didn’t like him as a person and that I thought he was a bully. Doing that was more therapeutic in and of itself than all the sessions we had.

People don’t have to treat me like a special snowflake, but dammit, being damaged doesn’t man I lack all self-respect. I’m paying for a service. Provide it or GTFO.

Mariah's avatar

I first saw a counselor this past September (age 18). The short version on why I went is that I had just arrived at college and was having major anxiety about dealing with my health problems on my own. The long version is here.
I didn’t have any misgivings about it. Plenty of people I respect have gone to a counselor at one time or another so I’ve never believed that doing so is a sign of weakness or anything like that.
I didn’t actually get to choose my therapist; I went to my school’s counseling center and they set me up with one of their interns. But it didn’t matter because I liked her a lot. I stayed with her through the term (about a month and a half) and left only because I didn’t return to college for the next term because my health had gotten so crummy. If I were still at school I’d have continued with her.

Coloma's avatar

I spent a year post divorce in therapy in 2004.
It was a good experience and very helpful at the time.

Otherwise, pre-divorce depression, anxiety, the basic scene. lol


That cleared up all by itself when I was divorced! haha

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