I'll Figure It Out Myself: Dispelling 6 Myths About Psychotherapy

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I'll Figure It Out Myself: Dispelling 6 Myths About Psychotherapy
I'll Figure It Out Myself: Dispelling 6 Myths About Psychotherapy

Video: I'll Figure It Out Myself: Dispelling 6 Myths About Psychotherapy

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Video: What a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Session Looks Like 2023, January

The performance is still alivethat a psychologist is needed only for "weak" people, those who "like to whine" or do not know how to make friends. Of course, this is nothing more than prejudice. We dispel six popular myths about why going to psychotherapy is supposedly pointless - feel free to take arguments into service.

Text: Yana Shagova, the author of the telegram channel "Everything is all right with me!"


I'll figure it out myself

Of course, it's up to you to go to a psychologist or not, but you need to remember that analyzing the situation with a specialist and alone is two different processes. The ability to comprehend your experiences is very valuable, but going to a psychologist does not mean giving up on him, on the contrary - reflection will come in handy during the appointment. The psychologist does not decide for the client what his problem is, but works on demand: you tell what the difficulty is or what you would like to change, and the specialist helps to find solutions.

Why can't what happens in the office be repeated alone, armed with a book, article or exercise? It's all about the presence of another person. In stress, in conflict or problems, especially serious and long-lasting ones, the protective mechanisms of the psyche block from us part of the picture - sometimes critically important, because it is the most painful. The psychologist is not only armed with techniques and knowledge about the work of our psyche, he really sees something that the client does not notice - simply because the specialist is not involved in the situation.

Another common position: "You never know what I had in childhood, why now chew it?" or "Well divorced and divorced, what's the point of discussing?" However, the ability to speak or write down the experience really makes it easier and transforms it. FMRI studies show that when we describe feelings in words, the activity of the amygdala, which is responsible for responding to danger, decreases. When we talk about painful experiences, we become more receptive to them.

Recognition of embarrassing, painful or severely traumatizing events in the presence of another person, who, on the one hand, reacts benevolently, and on the other, does not "crumble" from what he hears, can be healing. Sometimes this itself is already a new experience: perhaps the shame is not so embarrassing, but what seemed terrible can really be experienced, since someone else can withstand the story about it.

"Psychotherapy -

it's unscientific"

Of course it is not. We have already mentioned research that shows that vocalizing unpleasant experiences, as judged by fMRI, reduces the stress response of our nervous system to them. A wealth of evidence shows that working with a psychologist is effective for a variety of problems, for people of all ages and genders, with different backgrounds and from different cultures.

Often the point of view is that only medication treatment is effective and scientifically, and not psychotherapy in general. On this score, there are also studies comparing the effect of treating depressive disorders in different ways - with antidepressants and with the help of conversational psychotherapy. One, for example, shows that psychodynamic psychotherapy is just as good for treating the first episode of depression as antidepressants, and even more potent in preventing relapse. Here is a meta-analysis showing that psychotherapy for depression and panic disorder is as effective as medication, and even better than medication for obsessive-compulsive disorder, but for dysthymic disorder (a mood disorder similar to depression, but less severe and more prolonged) tablets are more effective. In general, a combination of medication and talk therapy is considered to have the best effect.

Until recently, it was believed in the scientific community that the most effective type of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral, and only its benefits have been scientifically proven. But over the past decades, there is more and more evidence that different psychotherapy techniques give approximately the same effect - and the most effective may be the form that suits a particular client. By the way, you can rely on these data when choosing a specialist: it is not so important in which particular approach he practices - it is important that the principles of this direction are close to you.

“Why a psychologist? I have friends"

The psychologist really plays the role of an interested and benevolent listener, but he is still very different from a friend. Firstly, you have no other relationship with the psychologist, and he will not retell to anyone what he has heard from you. The exception is the supervisor, but in consultation with him, the specialist removes from the client's history all the details by which the person can be recognized. In addition, the confidentiality rule applies to the supervisor as well.

You can get angry with a psychologist, feel dislike for him, talk about yourself something that you feel ashamed, talk about any feelings and thoughts. This will not affect the rest of your life in any way, just because the psychologist is not included in them. That is why there is a ban on double relationships: psychologists do not advise relatives, friends and acquaintances or people from the immediate circle. And vice versa: having accepted the client, the psychologist no longer has the right to enter into other relations with him. Moreover, the responsibility lies with the specialist: even if the client asks or insists, the psychologist must refuse. Isolation is needed to create a safe environment in the session, and this is the uniqueness of the psychologist's position - it is created artificially.

Moreover, “just listening” to the client is only part of the psychologist's functions. Usually, a specialist receives basic education for four to five years in order to learn how the psyche works, how a person's mental development occurs, and then at least another year or two learns to work with certain techniques in some kind of approach. Therefore, the difficulties that you will talk about, he will perceive and see differently than a friend, partner or mother. It is also the psychologist's competence to distinguish between the area of ​​his work and the area of ​​work of the psychiatrist. He knows when to send a client for a consultation with a doctor - although he himself cannot make diagnoses and prescribe medications.

With long-term work with a psychologist, it becomes clear how our experience affects the perception of new people, relationships and situations: thanks to "neutrality", the figure of a psychologist or psychotherapist is like a canvas for projections. It becomes clearly visible when we are offended and angry at a harmless phrase, we feel rejection where it was not, we begin to care when we should take care of us, and so on. In communication with a psychologist, you can see and safely discuss this, and the office can become a "training ground" where you can try new ways of behavior.


Going to a psychologist means giving up

A visit to a psychologist is also not associated with strength and weakness. There is an attitude in culture that "correct" admirable behavior is heroic. It is believed that you need to be able to endure difficulties, not talk about problems and not complain, ignore your needs, go to the doctor only in case of a serious illness, and so on. However, how much such behavior can be described as "strong" is a moot point. It really takes a lot of strength to endure and ignore your own needs. But, on the other hand, such behavior allows you not to take risks in terms of emotions: to stay within the usual framework, not to open up to others, not to try to solve problems in a new way, not to be afraid of being “weak”.Going to a psychologist to improve the quality of life does not fit into this heroic scenario - but is it necessary? Usually, such a scenario is formed in families and in society as a whole in the years of hardship and misfortune: wars, repression, hunger, catastrophes - and is poorly suited for a peaceful and comfortable life.

Of course, there remains the question of the attitude towards those who go to the psychologist. In large cities, it is common to have several years of psychotherapy or at least a few sessions with a counselor or coach behind you. However, even there this does not happen everywhere, and there is no guarantee that it is your friends or relatives who will not say hurtful phrases like "Is everything really that bad?" or "This psychologist has powdered your brains." How to deal with this is an open question. Some, knowing that their environment perceives visits to a psychologist negatively, simply do not tell their friends and colleagues, and sometimes relatives, about it. Some, on the contrary, are actively sharing their experience.

Remember that, firstly, you do not have to make excuses: you have decided so (you want it so much, it is convenient, it seems to be true) - and that is enough. The choice to go to counseling or therapy is no less personal than choosing a partner, friends, or, say, seeking medical attention. If someone constantly speaks negatively about it, it is that person's problem and how they deal with other people's boundaries - but not yours.

Secondly, even if we assume that you have the same "serious problems", it is strange that your loved ones or acquaintances are not happy that you have found a solution to them. Perhaps people who reason this way are strongly prejudiced against psychology and psychologists. Over time, they may see that nothing terrible is happening to you, and change their mind. And if not, it’s more a matter of your relationship with them - but not that you decided to go to a specialist.

The psychologist will pull money out of me

We can immediately say that the ethics of psychological counseling prohibits such an approach: the rule to work only at the request of the client himself guarantees this. A psychologist can advise an adult only if he gives informed consent (for example, he cannot record a client at the request of relatives and friends), and only in the direction indicated by the client.

Here, however, there are subtleties. Part of a psychologist's job is to see and show the client connections and patterns that she or he hasn't noticed before. And for the client, it really may look as if the psychologist came up with an unnecessary problem or in no way related to his request: “I want to figure out why I do not have a romantic relationship and I cannot stay at work for more than a year. What does my mother have to do with it?"

It's the same with finishing work. It happens that a topic becomes so painful that it is difficult to withstand it. For example, clients often feel the urge to leave therapy when it comes to difficult relationships with “significant others” such as a partner or mate, mom. Subconsciously, one wants to preserve the status quo so much that there is a desire to declare the therapy finished without touching the patient. The psychologist has no right to insist, but may indicate that for some reason the decision to leave therapy right now or refuse to talk about a topic does not seem to him the most effective.

This is a really difficult moment for the client: unfortunately, the dishonesty of a specialist cannot be ruled out. The first thing that should be alarming is manipulation and the inability to speak directly. Obviously, it is unethical to intimidate (“If you leave now, this problem will haunt you for the rest of your life”), devalue and pressurize (“You just do not want to leave your comfort zone, it became a little unpleasant - you immediately run away”), manipulate your attitude (“I will be very disappointed with you if you quit now”/“refuse to talk about it”).

Disrespect for the client's feelings is also a wake-up call.For example, when a psychologist insists on talking about a sore subject, simply “because it is necessary” and “without this we will not advance,” ignoring the client's fear, pain and other difficult experiences. Instead, he should try to talk about the feelings themselves - for example, asking why the client is having a hard time touching on the topic, what can be done to facilitate the conversation, how to build trust and make the environment safer. It is important that the announced changes actually take place.

But a specialist must respect the client's position - even if he “jumps out” on a hot topic, he will try to kindly sum up the work done, emphasize the client's strengths, which the person could rely on in the future.

“I've already tried

it didn't help me!"

The experience, which can be described by the words “they do not understand me,” is very difficult. This is a mixture of loneliness, rejection, often irritation (“I’m trying to explain to you!”) And often - feelings of their alleged inferiority. It is especially difficult to have these feelings with someone whose job it is to understand you and share the burden of your complexities. Therefore, the situation when the client has already had a negative experience of therapy can really become an obstacle to the next attempt.

Why could this happen? Perhaps you really got a "not your" specialist. Perhaps he violated the boundaries and behaved not quite professionally - but it happens that the methods of conducting the session and the human qualities of the psychologist simply do not fit. In this, therapy is no different from other relationships: contact may not work out. It also happens that people who have faced neglect of their feelings find it difficult to open up to a new person. And misunderstanding leads to the fact that the person decides to stop therapy, and not try to explain and change something. It is likely that both reasons are true: you are sensitive to careless words or to situations where you are misunderstood - and the specialist you chose, for some reason, was not able to recognize it in time or handle it correctly.

If this happens, but you sometimes continue to think that a psychologist would not hurt you, it may be worth looking for another specialist. You can try and change the method itself: for example, if you followed the recommendation, this time search the Internet yourself, focusing on what the person says about himself, his resume or some other important criteria for you. Or, conversely, if last time you chose yourself - ask the advice of people you trust. It is not recommended to take close friends to therapy with one psychologist, so try to look for contacts of psychologists to whom acquaintances of your acquaintances go. You can take into account the negative experience - try to formulate what did not suit you, and write to two or three specialists, formulating this wish: "I need a careful specialist who would take my feelings seriously" or "It is important for me not to be pressured."

PHOTOS: guguart - stock.adobe.com (1, 2)


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