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Hi everyone. 

Around 6-7 months ago, I was diagnosed as Bipolar II. My psychiatrist told me to go to therapy but at that time I did not have insurance. But I finally got my insurance together and went to my very first therapy appointment yesterday. And...I....just....don't think this lady is a good fit. What I thought would happen is for someone to help me start recognizing the signs of hypomania/depression/etc and help me to learn the skills/coping abilities to live my daily life better.

Instead, I go in and tell her that I'm having problems with spending money (cause I just had a hypomanic fun time a week or two ago) and she starts in by telling me I don't have enough fun in my life and that I should go to zumba classes and take a vacation with my girlfriends. QUE. WHAT. Why would you tell someone that has issues with spending money they don't need to spend to go take a random trip? I felt like she completely glossed over the whole mood disorder bit and almost looked down on me cause I don't spend my time going to bars/hanging out with friends constantly. I mean, I'm 29 years old...I get it: I'M AN INTROVERT. And I'm fine with that 100%. I just want someone to help me recognize the signs of episodes and to tell me what things I can do during episodes to help myself/stop them. 

Also my psych told me that any therapist is going to make me keep a mood journal - when I asked her if I needed to keep a mood journal, she was like: Uh...yeah...I guess if you want?

SO. WHAT THE FUCK. L O L.

I'm thinking I either need to give her one more chance. Or do I need to possibly look for a cognitive behavioral therapist? 

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If it were me, I'd give her one more chance, then go from there.  I would have been kind of angry at what she said though, too.  Did you tell the therapist specifically that what you'd like to do is be helped so you can recognize the signs of episodes and what you could do if they start?

Not every therapist will make you keep a mood journal.  I have never had to do that at all, ever.

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  Did you tell the therapist specifically that what you'd like to do is be helped so you can recognize the signs of episodes and what you could do if they start?

No I don't think I said specifically...but I did mention it? I'm not 100% sure cause I was kinda nervous cause I've never been to therapy before...so that could be it. Still, I just kinda felt like she...IDK....judged me? Or find me odd because I don't have this huge social life. I mean, that could all be in my head to an extent but I doubt it because she just KEPT ON AND ON about me needing to go out and party and have new adventures and travel. It was just weird and completely not what I expected at all. I felt more like some lady I met at a mall was lecturing me because I wasn't doing the "proper" thing as in looking for a man to have kids with......IDK it just felt not "official" to me. I guess? Lol. And that I need someone to help me learn my cues and triggers/etc and ways to cope with my anxiety and obsessive thought patterns - I don't even know if a person like that actually exists, but that's what I expected to happen. Or along those lines somewhere. Not just some lady asking me why I was single. LADY, I CAN'T FUNCTION ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS AT TIMES. I'M NOT REALLY CONCENTRATING ON FINDING A MAN. I just want to LEARN some different ways of coping. Hahaha. 

And she also oddly and hilariously brought my ethnic background into play. She kept hinting around and trying to get me to tell her where I was from. (HA.) I finally said: Well, my mom is white and my dad is Iranian. And then she said: Well, I know families like that don't allow their daughters to do anything.

And I was like: Uh no. I'm just an introvert. I'm not being hijacked by "crazy foreigners" 

I mean. OFFENSIVE MUCH? 

(ha.)

Edited by barilace
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  Did you tell the therapist specifically that what you'd like to do is be helped so you can recognize the signs of episodes and what you could do if they start?

No I don't think I said specifically...but I did mention it? I'm not 100% sure cause I was kinda nervous cause I've never been to therapy before...so that could be it. Still, I just kinda felt like she...IDK....judged me? Or find me odd because I don't have this huge social life. I mean, that could all be in my head to an extent but I doubt it because she just KEPT ON AND ON about me needing to go out and party and have new adventures and travel. It was just weird and completely not what I expected at all. I felt more like some lady I met at a mall was lecturing me because I wasn't doing the "proper" thing as in looking for a man to have kids with......IDK it just felt not "official" to me. I guess? Lol. And that I need someone to help me learn my cues and triggers/etc and ways to cope with my anxiety and obsessive thought patterns - I don't even know if a person like that actually exists, but that's what I expected to happen. Or along those lines somewhere. Not just some lady asking me why I was single. LADY, I CAN'T FUNCTION ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS AT TIMES. I'M NOT REALLY CONCENTRATING ON FINDING A MAN. I just want to LEARN some different ways of coping. Hahaha. 

That does sound weird.  It does seem like she was ignoring the main reason/s you were there for.  I guess what I'd do is go back once more, and if she continues on and on like she did in the first appt, and you bring it up with her (as in why does she keep bringing all this unhelpful stuff up) ... and she doesn't respond or make an effort to help you like you need help, then I'd definitely find a new one.

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I have gone to only one session with a therapist and immediately decided that we were not a good fit. Don't feel obligated to give her another chance. It sounds like you are really dissatisfied with your experience and it's perfectly ok to move on. Your insurance company should have a provider list or you can call them and get some names of other therapists that you could try out. Especially since you have never experience therapy before, if this visit left that bad of a taste in your mouth, I'd seriously move on. I'm bipolar II and I go to therapy and I've never had cbt or dbt. It's not a requirement. Some people find it helpful, but one of the therapists I clashed with on the first visit was suggested to me because she was a cbt specialist and yeah, we super clashed. I left there felling worse than I did when I went in. It was not the kind of therapy I'm used to and I felt like I was on the defensive the entire time I was in there. But, just keep trying, you will find one that you click with (and just because cbt didn't work for me, does not mean it won't work for you, lots of people love it). But it's really worth it to find one you click with. Just as a side note, you're probably not going to get into actually get into the "this is what you do and how you handle this" stuff until you've had a few sessions. The first couple of sessions are just kind of a getting to know you and what you expect kind of thing. But based on what you've written about this particular therapist, I wouldn't go see her again.

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Don't feel obligated to give her another chance. 

This.

I'm more than a little biased on the topic, but it's never going to get any better with this person.

It would be helpful to spend some time thinking about what you want from therapy. It sounds like you've done some of that. Perhaps check with your psychiatrist as to what his(?) intentions or goals were in making the recommendation. Then you can be prepared when you meet with a prospective therapist to explain what you're looking for, see how they feel about their ability to provide that, and then make a decision as to whether that's the right person to work with.

Ending up with the wrong therapist can be bad in ways that range from wasting time to being deeply traumatic. I wouldn't hesitate to walk away from this one.

 

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If it were me, I wouldn't go back. But that's me speaking from personal experience because I once had a bad therapist (for me at least) and I did go back maybe one or two times more times. I wish I hadn't. She kept insisting that I was angry and that that was the cause of all my problems. No, I was not angry. I'm not an angry type person. I couldn't get it through to her and in the end, I was making stuff up just to satisfy her. When I did leave, I didn't look back.

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If you want the satisfaction of knowing you were 100% meticulous about the selection process, then go ahead and book another appointment. That is the only reason I can think of for going back and getting more ridiculous advice and borderline racially insensitive commentary.

I've been in therapy since 2001 and no one has suggested to me that I keep a mood journal. That isn't a given.

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Thanks for the advice everyone! :D

I'm thinking I'm going to go for one more appointment just to try it out (cause I have no copay with her) and if I still feel like "WTF?" I'm not going back. Cause I noticed I started making up stories of my social life being more exciting after awhile just to get her to shut up and leave me alone about it. AND THAT IS NOT GOOD. NOPE. That completely defeats the entire purpose of therapy...if I'm going to feel judged/not able to speak freely/etc. 

I just felt that she CENTERED on the fact that "HOW DARE I NOT BE MARRIED OR LOOKING FOR A MAN TO HAVE CHILDREN W" cause that's all women should ever want111111!!!!!. :/ And completely ignored all the issues with anxiety/depression/hypomania/etc that I was trying to address with her. It just kept coming back to me needing a more active social life and to go on more dates. Idiot woman, what if I'm not even interested in ever getting married/having kids/or being in a goddamn relationship. I hate to say it...but since I'm from Louisiana...I just felt like she was some republican Christian giving me life advice and kinda laughing at how pitiful I am. AND I GET THAT ENOUGH IN JUST DAY TO DAY OCCURRENCES ASSOCIATING WITH PEOPLE THAT DON'T FIND IT "NORMAL" THAT I'M NOT MARRIED/HAVING KIDS YET. It's just..as a therapist...you'd think she'd understand that not EVERYONE values or wants the same things. I even told her I go through hypomanic periods where I spend too much and she laughed and said in a cutesy voice, "girls gotta have their shoes!!!." And I was like: NO. 

But yes, as you can see I blabber. But thank for the info! :D 

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Ick.

She sounds like a bad fit for you if she's even implicitly giving messages that your self-worth and mental health should be tied to being a wife and a mother. YOU get to decide what you want from life, not your therapist.

She also sounds less than culturally competent in the way you have relayed the comment about Persian families. Ideally, a culturally competent therapist would ask what your family's individual and cultural expectations are for you instead of presuming because you have an Iranian father you "can't go anywhere."

She sounds like she's not very versed in treating bipolar disorder. If I were looking for a therapist for myself, I would ask how many people she has "successfully" treated with bipolar disorder, and what their definitions of success were, not hers. "I want a therapist who will help me develop insight into early warning signs and skills to help limit the severity and duration of episodes. How can you help me with that?"

A surprising number of therapists operate as "psychodynamic" and/or "eclectic" therapists. Neither of these approaches is inherently good or bad. Psychodynamic may not be what you are looking for. If she says she's eclectic, she should be able to provide a rationale for why she chooses the approaches and interventions she chooses for people.

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I even told her I go through hypomanic periods where I spend too much and she laughed and said in a cutesy voice, "girls gotta have their shoes!!!." And I was like: NO. 

(in bold) What. The . Fuck.

I change what I initially said ... I wouldn't see her a 2nd time.  I would find a new one.  I'm glad you have no copay and didn't have to spend any money on her!

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I even told her I go through hypomanic periods where I spend too much and she laughed and said in a cutesy voice, "girls gotta have their shoes!!!." And I was like: NO. 

(in bold) What. The . Fuck.

I change what I initially said ... I wouldn't see her a 2nd time.  I would find a new one.  I'm glad you have no copay and didn't have to spend any money on her!

RIGHT???????????????????????? I just could not. AT ALL. IN ANY UNIVERSE. 

I kinda sat there a bit stunned and then thought to myself: I hate you, I hope you die. (lol.)

I mean, k thanks for kinda mocking/making it seem like not a big deal when you go through hypomanic spending sprees. I mean, it's totes cool that I spent nearly all the money my parents gave me for an online class on stupid shit and did not have money to buy people Christmas presents and had to borrow. I MEAN REALLY SO CUTE AND HEEHEETEEHEE. :/ Idiot woman. 

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I wouldn't go back to her. She seems like she doesn't "get" it.

In my opinion, therapy should be all about having someone help you manage your symptoms and work towards doing your best in life, not someone judging you for your background, your choice of a social life, and decisions regarding relationships.

Also, I've never had to do a mood journal for therapy. I did one on my own a few years back to help pdoc figure out what was going on with me, but that was something I initiated.

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I don't think I'd go back to this therapist.  It sounds like their making light of an issue that you struggle with and want help working through.  Perhaps their not versed in treating people with bipolar disorder so finding someone that is would be way more beneficial.

The therapist I saw for years specialized in treating people with bipolar disorder and even had a son with it. So her perspective and insight was very helpful and it was easier for me to take seriously. We did do mood charts in the beginning but I burned out on those and found it easier for me to just go over what's been going on after awhile. I learned quite a bit going through therapy. We eventually could joke around about my crazy but that was after a long time of regular visits...

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