Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I've been seeing various professional, licensed therapists for over 20 years now (every modality, you name it). I have not made any kind of noticeable progress and each session now I get more and more frustrated/hopeless/depressed/bored AF because I'm wasting money on something that isn't helping...Therapy is centered around diving into the past, healing past wounds, talking about childhood, blaming others for said bad childhood. Over-analyzing thoughts/feelings/behaviors. My therapist just sort of listens and asks questions - that's it!!

There's a huge uptick in people offering various "Life/Personal coaching" packages. I'm wondering if anyone here has tried or considered these? Problem is, many are just young "DIY" type people promoting themselves on Facebook. It's really difficult to navigate the space to find credible individuals, not scammer-types spouting stuff like "how I made my million-dollar business" "manifest your perfect life" BS.

Life coaching appears to be more proactive though, about forward movement and goal setting. I'm wondering if anyone has benefited from this stuff?? What criteria would you use to choose someone?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't have any experience with or real knowledge of how life coaches work or how to assess them. I do know there are therapists who are more goal oriented and more present focused. I know you said you've tried tons of therapists and modality and not had them work, but what you're describing sounds a lot like what some CBT oriented therapists do. Also therapists who do brief/solution-focused therapy will tend to work more on specific goals and day-to-day life, coping, and changes. Sorry if you've already tried those and not had success. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, I'd beware of the life coaches out there because they don't have to even have any particular education to call themselves a "life coach." At least therapists are educated and are members of a profession which means they are subject to discipline if they get too crazy or do harm.

I can certainly relate to not being helped by therapists. I have found that therapists are helpful for certain illnesses like OCD and situational depression. But they have never helped me with my endogenous (biological) depression.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@jt07 This is true. I'm also wary because they have no credentials really whatsoever. I would continue to try other therapists but the problem is I live outside the US and nowhere near anyone else that speaks english. Maybe some of these people do an intro "free" session to check them out? I feel like I will need to find someone that does skype sessions because there is no other options for me.

Some of my first therapists were CBT-focused. The issue I have with CBT is that I know all of the categorizations of "negative self talk" "black & white thinking" etc. etc. Even if I say the right things in my mind, these thoughts and statements do not (at all) align with my body or in any way internally. I end up feeling like I am just reciting positive statements/answers from a book. The thoughts never "click" for me personally, you know what I mean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Therapists and social workers require licenses in order to do their job; anyone can call themselves a life coach regardless of whether or not they have any life experience at all, let alone a license. I tend to work alongside life coaches, and I seem to be far more world-wise than many that I see.

I'm curious if you're trying to treat your depression only through therapy, or do you have a psychiatrist or access to meds as well? I ask because I don't see any meds listed in your signature. Personally, when I'm too depressed I can't function enough to get anything out of therapy.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Blahblah - You say your therapist just listens and asks questions; but that's what a good therapist does. Therapy is hard work, no doubt about it, and what makes it hard is that no one can do it for you. You're the one who ultimately has to dig deep into your own mind to confront the issues that distress you and make you unhappy. A therapist, at his or her best, is skilled at helping you find ways to get around the barriers you set for yourself, to overcome your own fears, to help you see things in a new way by suggesting alternative points of view, by introducing you to new techniques for leveraging your own mental strengths against your own mental weaknesses. The therapist is never going to be able to reach into your head with a screwdriver, give it a twist and say, "All better!"

CBT is not for everyone, but there are other modes of approaching therapy, and many therapists specialize. If your therapist's method (or personality!) doesn't engage you, time for another therapist. But I would challenge you to ask yourself a firm question, too - do you believe you're putting everything into your therapy that you can put into it as well, or are you just going through the motions? You will get out of therapy exactly as much or as little as you invest yourself in it. You have to want to get better, and you have to work it. The therapist is just a facilitator.

But, and here's the key point, the therapist is a facilitator with credentials. Your therapist has been formally trained and can diagnose you. A "life coach" cannot. There is nothing wrong with approaching someone who may be able to help you make the most of your time or develop a healthier lifestyle, but when it comes time to tackle problems serious enough to get a title in the DSM-V, better stick with a professional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My therapist doesn't do strict CBT but much of their training was in CBT, so I might be mis-attributing the modality. But I was thinking more of the behavioral, goal oriented type of thing. Something where you identify what you'd like to be different in your life and discuss ways to get there and the thoughts as well as external challenges that are keeping you from getting there. 

But I agree with the others who have said that therapy alone won't be the magic solution for depression.  What it does for me is helps me cope while in episodes as well as to address those factors situational factors that might be triggering or contributing to episodes.

I guess I also don't really benefit directly from identifying negative thought patterns alone changing my mood. What I can do some is identify what  irrational thoughts or negative self talk is keeping me from engaging in positive activities or leading to negative coping stragies. Then this, along with meds, helps me to do the things I want to do in life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm also not a big fan of the "let's rehash the past" types of therapy. While it's useful to get some insight, for me, the insight needs to be balanced against change. If there's no change work going on in therapy, I don't really see the point.

Do you talk about your frustrations in therapy with your therapist? If so, what do they say? If they can't help you with more practical, pragmatic things perhaps they know some other therapists who can. If you don't talk about it with your therapist, what keeps you from doing so?

I can see why a life coach approach would appeal. Some therapists do both. I had a tdoc many years ago who offered both therapy and life coach services. I didn't avail myself of the purely life coach approach because I didn't think it was appropriate given my situation, and I certainly wouldn't have gone to a life coach who lacked the training and sophistication to understand the effects of my mental illness on my day to day functioning. The reason I wouldn't is because so often life coaches just take a weekend certificate program that's been developed and trademarked by some other life coach as their only qualifying credential. As such, they can be a little fast to offer advice without fully understanding the realities of mental illness. Sometimes it works without a hitch. Though sometimes it leads to frustration at best and dangerous situations at worst. Also, there's no consumer protection with a life coach in the same way there is with a therapist. If a life coach does something illegal or unethical, you have no recourse. If a therapist does, you have a state licensing board and also possibly a professional association you can report them to.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds as though you and I are in a similar position, Blahblah. I've worked with therapeutic concepts, sometimes with therapists, sometimes alone. Even applying myself to my honest best for the last decade, I have hit a wall. I've made improvements in my understanding of myself and others, and achieved some stability thereby. 

Nevertheless, some fundamental problems still exist, and, like you, I find myself mostly in need of direction in my outer life, more than my inner one. 

My niece is a life coach. She's well intentioned, gentle, intelligent, and she helps people; but, much as I love her, she would be poorly equipped to deal with the likes of me: endogenously, chronically depressed, older, and with a perspective shaped by those things. Life coaching might be a way to get some ideas, but I don't think I'd credit it much past that. Not that it's bad, or useless, so much as that you can't douse a grease fire with water. 

I suggest approaching your therapist with the idea that you need things to take a different shape now. Have goals for the therapy sessions, and give them to the therapist. Maybe you can work together and make the kind of progress you don't think you're making currently.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, WinterRosie said:

I tend to work alongside life coaches, and I seem to be far more world-wise than many that I see.

I'm curious if you're trying to treat your depression only through therapy, or do you have a psychiatrist or access to meds as well? I ask because I don't see any meds listed in your signature. Personally, when I'm too depressed I can't function enough to get anything out of therapy.

@WinterRosie Yep. My meds are in my sig. I've tried about 30. I've been seeing psychiastrists and on meds for the last 20 years as well. I think both together is most important: Meds aren't 100% cure, and Therapy isn't either.

9 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Blahblah - You say your therapist just listens and asks questions; but that's what a good therapist does. Therapy is hard work, no doubt about it, and what makes it hard is that no one can do it for you. You're the one who ultimately has to dig deep into your own mind to confront the issues that distress you and make you unhappy. A therapist, at his or her best, is skilled at helping you find ways to get around the barriers you set for yourself, to overcome your own fears, to help you see things in a new way by suggesting alternative points of view, by introducing you to new techniques for leveraging your own mental strengths against your own mental weaknesses. The therapist is never going to be able to reach into your head with a screwdriver, give it a twist and say, "All better!"

CBT is not for everyone, but there are other modes of approaching therapy, and many therapists specialize. If your therapist's method (or personality!) doesn't engage you, time for another therapist. But I would challenge you to ask yourself a firm question, too - do you believe you're putting everything into your therapy that you can put into it as well, or are you just going through the motions? You will get out of therapy exactly as much or as little as you invest yourself in it. You have to want to get better, and you have to work it. The therapist is just a facilitator.

But, and here's the key point, the therapist is a facilitator with credentials. Your therapist has been formally trained and can diagnose you.

I don't know if i fully agree here...I think at $150 per session, a Therapist should offer more than just being a sounding board/wall and asking the obvious/redundant questions. I believe a professional therapist should be a highly skilled, pro-active facilitator, and bring a client to some tangible insights around problems, new ways of thinking/behaving, offer some tools, methods and an outside unbiased perspective. I have yet to gain much "new insight" to my illness nor have I learned any new skills in how to cope with specific ongoing patterns that are problematic for me. I have long ago identified my issues. I know my diagnosis. I've worked independently through a library of self-help books over the years. I need a partner to help with troubleshooting because I am completely stuck...

Note: I do not in any way believe that meds or therapy is a "quick fix" I'm just at my wits end now, because after 20 years of this, it feels like beating a dead horse. I'm trying to "think outside the box" and brainstorm other ideas/options, because what I'm doing is not working.

My apologies if I'm misunderstanding @Cerberus, but your reply seems to suggest that I am to blame for not reaping any benefits from my therapy sessions. I have worked my ass off for 20 years to make progress. I can't afford to "go through the motions" because I pay 100% out of pocket every week. I have a strong desire to thrive. I do all of the "right" lifestyle things, make healthy choices, etc. And I STILL do not feel good about my life, good about myself, or feel a reason for living... no matter what I do or what I achieve. I still have no understanding as to how I can feel true enjoyment and meaning in life (or any activity)...

Maybe I have had bad luck with therapists...I would switch, but as I mentioned, I live in a foreign country where therapists are very hard to come by, especially ones that speak English. I will ask my therapist again if she can give me specific things I can work on, I have no problem being direct. I just don't know what else to try or if it's just time to quit.

Edited by Blahblah
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Wooster said:

I'm also not a big fan of the "let's rehash the past" types of therapy. While it's useful to get some insight, for me, the insight needs to be balanced against change. If there's no change work going on in therapy, I don't really see the point.

Do you talk about your frustrations in therapy with your therapist? If so, what do they say? If they can't help you with more practical, pragmatic things perhaps they know some other therapists who can. If you don't talk about it with your therapist, what keeps you from doing so?

I can see why a life coach approach would appeal. Some therapists do both. I had a tdoc many years ago who offered both therapy and life coach services. I didn't avail myself of the purely life coach approach because I didn't think it was appropriate given my situation, and I certainly wouldn't have gone to a life coach who lacked the training and sophistication to understand the effects of my mental illness on my day to day functioning. The reason I wouldn't is because so often life coaches just take a weekend certificate program that's been developed and trademarked by some other life coach as their only qualifying credential. As such, they can be a little fast to offer advice without fully understanding the realities of mental illness. Sometimes it works without a hitch. Though sometimes it leads to frustration at best and dangerous situations at worst. Also, there's no consumer protection with a life coach in the same way there is with a therapist. If a life coach does something illegal or unethical, you have no recourse. If a therapist does, you have a state licensing board and also possibly a professional association you can report them to.

Thanks @Wooster You've made some good points around the therapist vs life coach thing (esp bolded). I have explained my frustration that i am not making progress and I feel like a need a more "proactive" type approach or session. I will directly emphasize this again in my next session I think and try to nail down a structured game plan.

15 minutes ago, Báleygr said:

It sounds as though you and I are in a similar position, Blahblah. I've worked with therapeutic concepts, sometimes with therapists, sometimes alone. Even applying myself to my honest best for the last decade, I have hit a wall. I've made improvements in my understanding of myself and others, and achieved some stability thereby. 

Nevertheless, some fundamental problems still exist, and, like you, I find myself mostly in need of direction in my outer life, more than my inner one. 

My niece is a life coach. She's well intentioned, gentle, intelligent, and she helps people; but, much as I love her, she would be poorly equipped to deal with the likes of me: endogenously, chronically depressed, older, and with a perspective shaped by those things. Life coaching might be a way to get some ideas, but I don't think I'd credit it much past that. Not that it's bad, or useless, so much as that you can't douse a grease fire with water. 

I suggest approaching your therapist with the idea that you need things to take a different shape now. Have goals for the therapy sessions, and give them to the therapist. Maybe you can work together and make the kind of progress you don't think you're making currently.

@Báleygr Thank you for your feedback. Have you benefited much from meds & therapy?  I feel you have a very good understanding of where I'm at !!  I've totally "hit the wall" I have been stable for years, but I haven't achieved anywhere near remission, or arrived at where i want to be. It's always out of reach, no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I fight. Something really needs to change. I will write down some concrete goals and try to work with her to set out some tangible steps. If this doesn't work, I'm afraid of what lies ahead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Blahblah said:

My apologies if I'm misunderstanding @Cerberus, but your reply seems to suggest that I am to blame for not reaping any benefits from my therapy sessions.

Blahblah - Not at all. I was just suggesting that you look carefully from both directions as you try to sort out why your therapy isn't giving you the results you're looking for. I, too, spent over 20 years with a therapist, and there were definitely times where we seemed to hit a plateau where progress seemed to stall. It may simply be time to be up-front with your therapist and say "this just isn't working". You're quite right that the therapist should be doing more than just listening and asking questions; that listening needs to lead to a deeper understanding on the therapist's part into the causes of your condition, and those questions need to be intelligently designed toward specific goals. Bálegyr makes some excellent suggestions above.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Blahblah said:

@Báleygr Thank you for your feedback. Have you benefited much from meds & therapy?  I feel you have a very good understanding of where I'm at !!  I've totally "hit the wall" I have been stable for years, but I haven't achieved anywhere near remission, or arrived at where i want to be. It's always out of reach, no matter how hard I try, no matter how hard I fight. Something really needs to change. I will write down some concrete goals and try to work with her to set out some tangible steps. If this doesn't work, I'm afraid of what lies ahead.

You're welcome. 

I've had no/lukewarm responses to most of the medications I've tried, and awful responses to some. I respond well initially to most, especially the SNRIs (in combination with olanzapine particularly); but eventually I've always lapsed back into depression, even at high doses. I think the problem is in myself somewhere, but whether mental or physical, I don't know. It's been a while since I had medication at all, though, I admit. I reached a point where I could afford occasional therapy, or pills, and I opted for therapy, since that's always helped more. I'm not at all up to date on new medications. 

Therapy gave me a nice little toolbox, however. I picked up techniques like mindfulness, and tools that, though deceptively simple, have been very helpful, like mood charting, and carving out and maintaining self care routines. Routine, for example, is my biggest crutch; I'm what they used to call a "melancholic" subtype (dating myself there), but establishing routines in times when I'm more functional means that, if I have to, I can cruise through a rough patch halfway catatonic with disinterest and brain fog, and still at least feed myself and have basic hygiene.  

Therapy's best use, for me, has been in helping me identify where the gaps are in my intrinsic coping, and then giving me ideas to fill them up. I learned well enough from the therapists I've had to be able to apply their ways of thinking to problems on my own. I will blow my own horn here, and say that when it comes to self-awareness, I'm insightful and mostly lucid, which is an advantage; but I wouldn't have made the progress I have without a running start in therapy. 

Do you know what kinds of things you're hoping for? Do you have specific goals in mind? I've found that, when working with a therapist toward a goal, it's good to first make sure you, and they, are clear on what the objectives are, and what the order of priority is. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend of mine was depressed and went to a life-coach. The life coach listened to him and then recommended breaking up with his boyfriend and quitting his job. He was vulnerable and upset and blaming his situation for his depression, so he did what was advised. Needless to say he didn't manage to get his boyfriend or job back, he is now unemployed and alone and begging to be forgiven.

What kind of advice was that? I have never heard of a therapist telling you to get out of a non-abusive relationship. That is a personal decision. Life-coaches are randomers, they might have good social skills, but if you tell them you are sad because the government are chasing you they are going to be like "shit! Better get a tinfoil hat!" They don't have a well thought out code of ethics based on the mistakes made by professionals over the past hundred years. How is someone with no training going to deal with transference? How is someone with no training going to recognise when you are in danger? How is someone going to differentiate between your depression talking and your self talking.

Life coaches should be like like professional friends, neutral, listen without judging. I think they might actually be a good idea, if they weren't , by definition, all deluded into thinking they were some kind of authority on the lives of others.


Best of luck, whatever you decide!

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...