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rockfan's avatar

Have you ever been counseled by a psychologist?

Asked by rockfan (9145points) May 31st, 2014

For those who have, how did it go? I’m seeing a psychologist in a few days to help with my generalized anxiety disorder, and I hope that cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful. Did it help you?

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32 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’ve been, for anxiety also. I’ll be honest, it did not help. They’ll have you talk and talk to try and get you to resolve things yourself but It did not really do anything for me. I knew it was stress though. I did not do meds either. What did help was cutting the stress way down. I recovered quickly after that.

canidmajor's avatar

I have had a psychologist who practiced CBT and it was very helpful for me. It was not just talk therapy, but exercises I could do to change patterns of behavior. I would suggest that you find out right away what sort of actual, helpful things you can do to start changing how you view certain circumstances that make you anxious.
I sympathize with @ARE_you_kidding_me, as strictly talk therapy wasn’t helpful for me, either.

Good luck with this!

rockfan's avatar

Did your psychologists ask questions alot, or were you expected to start the conversations?

canidmajor's avatar

A good psychologist will lead the conversation. They understand that this may very well be difficult for you, so the first part of the relationship will be about finding out what you need to have covered. Don’t be intimidated by the situation (easy to say, I know), but if this person doesn’t feel right to you, or put you at your ease, you can always go somewhere else.
This is one of those times in your life that is ALL ABOUT YOU and it’s supposed to be.

rockfan's avatar

Thanks! Both of you have been really helpful

cheebdragon's avatar

A long time ago when I was a teenager….he told me that I should write a book about my family scandals.

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Along with my psychiatrist.

marinelife's avatar

It helped me to understand myself better, but not really with my anxiety.

gailcalled's avatar

I spent several years, (usually once a week, sometimes less often) talking with a psychotherapist who was also a psychiatrist. It was immensely helpful, mysterious at times, excruciatingly hard work, and ultimately very satisfying.

I started out with my vague issue about lower back pains; he laughed when I mentioned that at our first session, and then we were off. I dealth with my father’s suicide, my rage at my mother, the unexpected death of a close relative, the alienation of me from my sister and mother for a while, a divorce, a reconciliation with my sister and mother and finally, after five years, the sense that I had finished what I started.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened or how it did. But I was lucky in the therapist. He fit my job description; close to my age, smarter than me and Jewish. We had had the same experiences, I was not going to be able to outfox him, and we came from the identical background.

(Being an MD, he also prescribed some antidepressants from time to time.)

filmfann's avatar

Several times for anxiety, depression, and abandonment/betrayal issues. It helped me greatly with dealing with my sociopath boss, and inability to sleep. I highly recommend it.

CWOTUS's avatar

A little bit in my teen years. It didn’t take.

dxs's avatar

I’ve seen both psychologists and psychiatrists. They ask a ton of questions. But then again I was forced into the meetings. Generally, they’re open to discussing whatever it is on your mind.

cookieman's avatar

Yes. A few times in my life. Usually to help manage stress and talk through a difficult time. Each time was focussed on a specific issue and last a handful of months. I found it very helpful on all occasions.

talljasperman's avatar

Yes.. It never helped. I was too defensive to tell the truth. I thought that I would be committed an put on some list registering me as a Wacko.

hearkat's avatar

Yes, but I wasn’t ready to really dig in the dirt, so I didn’t put much into it and that made the experience fairly useless. I subsequently worked with a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and she introduced some CBT approaches to me, although I didn’t know it by that name back then. I later continued on my own and my personal methods to change my attitude and perspective were similar to CBT in many ways. The best way I can describe it is that we are often resistant to change because it doesn’t feel ‘natural’ to us, so we practice the behaviors we are hoping to incorporate until they do feel natural. “Fake it ‘til you make it.”

Unbroken's avatar

I have been to three counselors. It helped marginally. The last time helped the most, maybe because of the person, or I was ready, or the previous talk therapy and books I read combined with a mix of meditation reiki and yoga as well as exercise and writing had a cumulative affect.

I would say all the people were helpful, I tried out two others that I only visited for the intake. But I wouldn’t be able to compare them because each was at a different time for a different problem and I was in a different state of mind as well as maturity.

You never will know until you try it. Give it a shot and expect the best. Also have a goal. What problems do you want to work on how to prioritize them and what do want to achieve for all of them. Bring a notebook, and take to carrying it around writing down troubling thoughts and patterns: identifying them, letting you explore them productively. Any epiphanies ideas or qoutes you found helpful.

Ultimately you have to work to help yourself. Just because you are paying doesn’t relinquish your responsibility what you are gaining is an outlet, a non judgemental one with an outsiders perspective. As well as their collective knowledge from their life, learning and job experience.

gailcalled's avatar

Technically, clinical psychologists do not counsel you the way a career counselor would suggest you become a bookbinder or x-ray technician. Therapy provides you a safe place to do the hard work relating to your personal issues.

rockfan's avatar

Thank God my appointment is tomorrow. Today is my birthday and I’m dreading calling my relatives back that have sent me happy birthday messages. The idea of talking on the phone right now is making me sick to my stomach.

gailcalled's avatar

You don’t have to call anyone (except, perhaps your mother). Send them a written and mailed personal note saying “thank-you very much” or if they are into contemporary thinking, drop them a friendly email.

“Happy birthday,” by the way. Call me at 518–555-MILO. We need to talk.

Unbroken's avatar

Yes happy birthday. Hope the appt went well.

rockfan's avatar

My anxiety has taken a turn for the worse. Last night was the first time that I experienced severe mind racing and intrusive thoughts, I almost called 911. It was probably caused by an extremely anxious time I had meeting new people at a party that my friend invited me to. I listened to music for a while and meditated, and that helped alot. But now I’m still feeling anxious

Unbroken's avatar

What triggered the anxiety in the first place, do you know? It seems strange that this would pop out of no where.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@rockfan It’s tough, I’ve been there myself. It will get better but you have to get help. Please know that however bad it gets that it will subside and that this state is not the normal you. When it gets bad do alternate nostril breathing for some instant relief. It will help so give it a chance. These sudden bouts can be scary and there does not have to be a reason for it but there probably is. For me it’s stress and not getting a proper diet. Mostly stress.

rockfan's avatar

@Unbroken @Unbroken I guess I’ve always had intrusive thoughts, but they used to be minor and would go away relatively fast.

Bill1939's avatar

@rockfan perhaps you have an underlying expectation that others will judge you badly. When one has a negative perception of their self, they expect others to see them the same way. This would make anyone anxious when among people.

How did your meeting with the psychologist go last Monday (I think it was)? When will you be meeting with the psychologist again? I am sure that when you two discuss the anxiety attack and the intrusive thoughts you may begin to understand what is behind them. It is likely that the psychologist will have suggestions as to how you can deal with them.

Please let us know how you are doing.

rockfan's avatar

The psychologist I met determined that I would be better off with seeing a licensed clinical social worker that specializes in social anxiety. My appointment is scheduled for July 23, so right now I’m looking up other possible psychiatrists that will meet me sooner.

hearkat's avatar

Shame that you can’t get in with the LCSW sooner – but the full schedule is a good sign that they are in-demand. I strongly recommend that you keep that appointment even if you are sen by someone else in the interim. Another option to help you get by until then would be to seek out online support groups for social anxiety. One resource to consider is

Typically, psychiatrists are for the medical aspect of evaluating and treating mental illness. They are the ones who prescribe medication when needed. Psychologists and LCSWs are the ones who address the behavioral aspects of mental illness.

rockfan's avatar

I’m a huge movie and music fan, but in a matter of 24 hours, I have no enthusiasm for movies or music anymore. And it’s really frightening me. I hope this feeling passes.

hearkat's avatar

It will; but there’s no way to force it. Are there other activities you might use to distract yourself from that issue until it passes? Do you have any trusted close friends that you can hang out with, who will respect your anxieties? Perhaps you could get a self-help book to help you – search Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble’s sites for books on social anxieties and read the reviews. Even just doing that will distract you and also help you feel less alone in this.

rockfan's avatar

I also have trouble concentrating, and it’s really fustrating, because just a few days ago my concentration was extremely good.

DWW25921's avatar

Over the years I’ve been to several for one reason or another. Some are better than others. I think venting and open expression in a safe environment are important. Some people have reservations about that sort of thing but I rather like the input from time to time.

rockfan's avatar

Feeling much better today!

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