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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Therapy -- the good, the bad, and the ugly

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Author Topic: Therapy -- the good, the bad, and the ugly
kythryne
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Are you thinking about seeing a therapist? Are you currently seeing a therapist? Do you have questions or concerns about the therapy process? Do you want to talk about what's going on in your therapy sessions?

Here's a safe space to talk about all things related to being in therapy, and to find information and support. Therapy can be a great tool for working through difficult times in your life, and for getting to know yourself better, but it can also be a difficult and sometimes scary thing. Need to talk? Type away.

Kyth

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Kythryne Aisling
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"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform."
-- Alfred Kinsey


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KittenGoddess
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Excellent topic.

I'm in therapy now, finally. I've got to say that the hardest part was making that initial phone call to make the appointment. I'd known for quite a while that I wanted/needed to talk to someone. Finally I just got to that breaking point, and usually I'd talk myself out of making the call, but that particular day I made the call before I had the time to second guess myself again (I also had some amazing friends to encourage me to do whatever I needed to do).

After that, it suprisingly got alot easier. Now I'm just trying to decide whether or not I really like the therapist I'm with. A very wise friend once told me that finding a therapist was like finding a friend. Sometimes ya have to try a few before you find a good fit. I'm not sure whether or not I've found a good fit just yet.

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~KittenGoddess
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cupcake
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I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

I'm probably one of the best candidates for therapy, pretty messed up, i guess, but I absolutely hate it.
I've never seen the use of paying someone to go sit in their office and talk to them, til your hour's up.

But I have tried it.
At first I tried a psychologist. That didn't last long. She was a serious ditz (no offense to the "ditzes" of the world or anything) If I'm going to sit there and tell this woman my problems, I'd really rather she not giggle and say "like". <shudder>

Then I tried a psychiatrist. Now this is probably where my sheer fear and hate of these people comes in.
She decided to try some new "technique" on me. It involved some thing where she either traces a pattern with her finger in front of your eyes, has you listen to a series of beeps or puts these two little fibrators in either hand. Don't remember the name of it....
This thing is supposedly meant so that while you go through all the bad stuff in your mind, the pattern/beeping/vibrating moves the bad thoughts to another part of your brain so it doesn't hurt as much.

Being the person I am, I was the ONE person it didn't work on.Not only that, it made things worse. Now whenever I hear wierd beeping again, I get really really upset, and I have a whole new set of triggers to figure out.

At one point, my (now ex) bf touched me the wrong way, and all of a sudden I curled up in a little ball, couldn't stop shaking and cried like you wouldn't believe. Then I got up and tried to leave (with hardly any clothes on at the time) and gave my bf quite the blow to the face when he tried to stop me. Then I passed out on the floor.
To top that all off, I didn't remember any of it. At all. My bf told me afterwards what happened, when I woke up on the floor. He had a nasty bruise on his cheek too

Never, ever again.


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rekling
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hey all.

my story is a bit unusual. i made a deal at the beginning of last summer with a former teacher that i would talk to a therapist (in exchange for teaching her about self-injury-- her instincts and societal training told her to be worried about me, but being a very intelligent, trusting, and open person, she was willing to learn more about self-injury, as long as she had some reassurance that i had someone to talk to).

finding a therapist was really difficult. i needed someone who was queer friendly (but not just lesbian friendly), someone who was open and non-judgemental about self-injury, plus i was paying for it myself, and couldn't afford to spend much money on it, or my parents would wonder how i managed to be broke after working 50 hours a week all summer...

i ended up seeing a social worker at the local queer clinic, which was perfect. she was familiar with queer issues, gender issues, and had a bit of experience with self-injurers. i worked with her for about 5 weeks.

when i got back to school, i went to the counseling center, which was fine the first four times or so...the guy i was seeing is a *really* good counselor. incredible checking back, not always great at following language, but overall great example of a "perfect counselor". then, the last time i saw him, he started talking about how maybe we could start working on ways for me to not talk to myself. which i didn't like at all. talking to myself is how i've *always* sorted out my thoughts feelings and opinions. i would probably quickly go crazy if i stopped. in fact, when i start feeling really frazzled and out of control of my life, its usually because i haven't been having introspective conversations, and working through what is happening in my life.

my biggest problem with the counseling center at my school is the contract they make you sign, which informs you that the therapy you are entering into is confidential and can't be revealed to your parents...but that the confidentiality can be broken if you intend to cause harm to yourself or others.
i ended up crossing that part out and changing it to "intention to cause harm to others or life-threatening harm to myself"...

i'm a big advocate of therapy. however, at this point in time, i'm not sure that its the best place for me, given my inability to really choose a therapist for the criteria i'm looking for. i'm at a point in my life where, even if i'm slighlty undirected, i'm emotionally stable (okay, p'raps a bit *too* stable), and academically stable (if unguided and undeclared).

that seemed a bit long and rambley. my apologies.

-rek


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Pumpkin_Pie
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I need therapy so badly but I can't afford it. My mam and dad would never send me there because I'm the supposedly normal, well balanced daughter of a happy marriage(not)...Neat
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PoetgirlNY
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Ugh, way too much therapy here. I've been in therapy since I was five, when there was nothing wrong with me. It seems that no matter how happy and together I am, everyone but me decides that I need therapy. So the combined force of my school and my parents have had me seeing a total of five different therapists forcibly over the years. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I hate that whenever a kid or teen reacts badly to a bad home situation, they are blamed, and "treated" when the real problem is the situation they are in. When I ran away from home when I was thirteen, it wasn't because I needed therapy, it was because I hated my parents. Likewise, when I was self-injuring, it was because I wanted to, and it worked for me, not because I was "out of control." Therapy never worked because I didn't want it to work, because I never saw anything wrong with myself.

I'm still in forced therapy now by my school. I have to see this complete judgemental jerk of a psychiatrist, even though I'm not depressed, not self-injuring, not having eating problems, doing reasonably well in school, etc. He's convinced my parents that I'm a sex addict, and it's just not good. About a month ago I gave up on being cooperative, so now I just go and sit in his office for half an hour every week and play computer games. Waste of time, waste of money, it just sucks in general.

Aside from this total jerk, I'm also seeing someone of my own free will. She's really super nice and works in a queer youth program. She's helpful, and I know that I can talk to her about anything and she won't think I'm a freak like the other guy. Yay for nice people, but I wish I didn't have to deal with so many other jerks in addition.

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"I'll be a Venus on a chocolate clamshell rising on a sea of marshmallow foam."
-Hedwig


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-Jill
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Ah, forced therapy. Gotta love it.

I've only had one period three years ago where I was forced into therapy. Why? Because I refused to return to my father's house due to some personal problems we were having. Instead of going to my mother's, a place I felt safe and loved (and in reality was) as I had wished, I was sent to foster care for three weeks. (Actually a very positive experience.)

As a part of the effort to get my back with my legal guardian (my father) we both had to talk to a therapist. The first guy I spoke I really clicked with. I felt comfortable talking to him and believed that whatever he did it would be in my best interests. Unfortunately my father did not respond so well - to the point where we were immediately assigned to a new therapist. Unfortunately I did not click with the second on AT ALL but was given no options. So the first attempt was unsuccessful.

After it was over my probation officer (running away, that is going to my mother's, turns out to be a crime) insisted that I get some psychological testing done. This was done and I hated the woman doing the testing so I was not responding well. I was declared depressed. (I felt angry and powerless, which I was, not depressed.) Medication was threatened until I flatly refused to consider it. Instead weekly counseling was ordered.

Since I didn't want therapy I didn't feel any disappointment when I didn't click with my counselor. After two sessions I stopped trying altogether and simply played the game. I gained nothing from the experience.

Because I was going for the wrong reasons and didn't have a good connection to the person attempting to work with me therapy didn't work for me. Despite this I still feel that therapy is a worthwhile thing. I know that I really felt the person I did respond to could help me and I'm still disappointed (and a little resentful) that it didn't work out.

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There is a time and a place for everything.


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kythryne
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That's one of the things about therapy -- it only works if *you* want to do it. Being forced into therapy rarely accomplishes anything, particularly if you're being forced to see a therapist who you don't feel comfortable with.

There's a lot of truth in the joke that goes "How many therapists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one... but the lightbulb has to really want to change."

I've had a lot of success with therapy, but I went in knowing that there were things in my life that needed to change. And I have an absolutely fabulous therapist who I'm really comfortable working with, and who is very familiar with the sorts of issues I'm facing. If I were working with someone who disapproved of my lifestyle (queer, poly, partnered to a pre-op transsexual, just to name a few factors) I don't think I'd be able to make any progress at all.

Kyth

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Kythryne Aisling
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"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform."
-- Alfred Kinsey


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Munchy
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My parents took me to therapy for about a year when I was 9. Didn't do a darn thing for me. They thought I was having problems dealing with my mom remarrying. Maybe, but I liked my step-dad back then. Little did they know I'd been molested by a neighbor for the last 2 or 3 years, but I was too young to know that what he was doing to me was wrong. But that's ok...I got my degrees in psychology and figured it all out on my own.

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Munchy, the Munchkin, the Monchichi


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Lynne
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I'm sure there are good therapists out there somewhere -- too many people swear by therapy for there not to be. However, I've never run into one. (Either that, or I'm just not cut out for therapy. Always a possiblity.)

I saw one woman for a few years in high school. She was very useless. Nice, but useless. I'd sit and complain about my mother and my school for an hour, and that'd be it. She said that she suspected I was mildly depressed after I admitted that I cried for hours at a time several nights a week. Gosh, lady, you think?

For legal reasons, I saw another therapist once after that. It wasn't helpful (primarily because it was only one session), but it wasn't terrible.

Then I saw my (ex-)college's psychiatrist several times (not for real therapy, actually, just to get a note to give to student services so I could get incompletes in my classes, although I ended up talking to her anyway). That wasn't any better. Her diagnosis made sense, but she kept dispassionately questioning me. I felt like a bug under a microscope.

And then came the incident that prompted me to post tonight. See, I've got depression that's severe enough to leave me unable to function at times. I've left school four times because of it (the latest time being this semester), and I finally figured that even though talking about my problems probably wouldn't help, it was one of my only options. My illness wasn't exactly going away on its own, after all.

So, I made an appointment with another psychiatrist, and met with him today. Ye gods. The man was stunningly incompetent. He told me that I kept having to leave school because I wasn't persistent enough. According to him, if I just tried harder and developed a thicker skin, I'd be able to handle classes. Really, that's just such poor counseling that I don't even have the words for it. I've made countless deals with myself to hold on for just one more week before killing myself, and he's saying I'm not persistent? I've got a disease, and because of it he's calling me weak? He's a psychiatrist. He should know better.


On another note: I think I remember, at one point, hearing about therapy that's conducted online. It's actual therapy with a professional, but it's done via typing rather than face-to-face talking. Has anybody heard of this?

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LilBlueSmurf
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I think i've heard of that Lynne ... And i know it would be super helpful for a lot of people, but i don't know how comfortable *I'd* be telling all my secrets to someone i can't see and know who they are.

On that note tho, my social worker does it. She gave me and all of her "clients" her email address and that way if we ever need to talk to her or just vent, we can email her. She said she'd email us back w/i 48 hours and tell us what she thought or how we could get around it ... It's not immediate, like live chat, but there are a whole lot of things i have an easier time writing than talking about.


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Lynne
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Ah, thanks. I was considering looking into therapy-by-Internet, and it's good to know I wasn't imagining it.
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Rizzo
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I've never been in therapy, though I saw I psychiatrist once, and talked to my high school counsellor a few times. The psychiatrist wasn't much help. She said I was fine but offered me drugs anyway (which I declined). For a time, I wanted to be a psychologist, but I've become a little disillusioned. Perhaps I'm just tired of meeting people who seem to view being in therapy as some kind of status symbol (none of you guys, don't worry).

As for forced therapy, I'm grateful my parents never pushed me into it, but they did give me the option.


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Munchy
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Yep, from 8th grade on my goal in life was to be a psychologist. But by the time I got my Master's I'd realized that it wasn't all I thought it was. So, I'm a homeschooling mom instead

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Munchy, the Munchkin, the Monchichi


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Scorpio
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When I was 13 my parents sent me to a counsler (probably had another name but i don't remember what it was.) I didn't choose to go but i was open about it so in a couple of ways it helped me.

My sister and I were both sent because my parents got divorced. I guess their "marriage counsler" thought it was a good idea for us to go. So we went. At first i got along with the lady just fine and i was able to talk to her. But after about 2 months she got into some issues that had nothing at all to do with divorce so i stopped seeing her. My sister continued for a few more months, but i never went again.

I didn't regret not going back to her. In a way my friends served as my counslers. I was able to talk to them, and they didn't judge me by how i was feeling. They along with my teachers gave ton of support. I needed it too. After the divorce I had to take care of my mom and my sis. I was the one who decided to stay strong.


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kythryne
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Tossing this back up to the top, because we've had a few people talking about therapy lately.

I want to throw in that therapy really can be an excellent thing, and I think it's a pity so many people have had bad experiences with it. A good part of making therapy work is finding a therapist who you work well with -- as a few people have said here, it's often not so much the idea of therapy itself as just rather nasty personality clashes with the therapist.

My partner and I are both seeing an absolutely incredible therapist, and she's helped us a great deal. My partner would quite likely have committed suicide if she hadn't gotten into therapy when she did, and I know I'd be quite a lot more unstable than I am if I hadn't started therapy myself. My main regret is that we didn't start seeing a therapist sooner, as a lot of the issues we've been working on now could have been avoided all together had we started earlier. But such is life.

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Kythryne Aisling
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"The only unnatural sexual act is that which you cannot perform."
-- Alfred Kinsey


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pinkyboo
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I desperately need to see a therapist. I've been depressed for the past 5 years or so, and it just gets worse and worse. But I told my boyfriend last night that I had been thinking about cutting, and tried a couple times, and asked him to help me get help very shortly after my 16th birthday, which happens to be in a few days. Thank God I told him, because now my parents are going to find out whether I tell them or not, because I have changed my mind about telling anyone every other time I told myself I'd get help. Now with his support, I tink it'll get done. So I'm hoping that something will be done before Christmas and I can finally go to sleep without crying for 2 hours first.

The only problem I have is that it's so hard for me to talk to people face to face about whats bothering me without crying. And believe me, once I start crying, all that therapist is going to hear is a bunch of babble and sniffs, as I'm pretty incoherant when in tears. Any tips?

[This message has been edited by pinkyboo (edited 10-19-2003).]


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gentlyweep
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I have been in and out of therapy since I was 6 years old and Im now 22. Some were great and some did more harm than good. As a child I had hard time socially with my classmates and I attended group therapy.

As a teen often times I had to go in with my parents and I didnt get the thearpist to believe me about the dysfunction in our family. At times going to family session felt like it was an excuse for my parents to lie and blame me for things I had no say about.

I absolute adore the therapist I go to now. Ive been seeing her for 3 years. The big difference.. finding someone that believed me. I know that sounds strange but it never happened before in that setting. I get along with her well.. and it didnt happen over night week by week bit by bit I found that I could trust her with the things that really hurt me in life. I can trust her insight on situations that come up. Ever session isnt an easy one..I mean spent many a hour on that couch crying and even once hopping up and storming off after the session was done.
I respect her and I really appreciate the fact that shes honest with me. If she feels that she has made a mistake ..she lets me know it and we come to a resolution.

I am different person from when I started theraphy 3 years ago. Im still a work in progress and dont have an end date for my sessions. With my on going depression I like having to check in everyweek. I get evaluate things.

I think its all about finding the right fit with a therapist.


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PoetgirlNY
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I'm back in therapy, this time voluntarily. It's totally fabulous. I'm seeing the best therapist ever to exist in the universe. Well, at least she is for me

So now I love therapy and I'm a big fan of it. A friend told me about her. She's a somatic practitioner, so we do body stuff in addition to mind stuff. I'm not particularly articulate now, sorry. It's very interesting and I can't explain it at the moment. Maybe I'll come back and do it later. But it's awesome. Yeah


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nix
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I've been to so many social workers, therapists and counsellors, and it's been bad experiences across the board.

I remember getting so angry at some social worker when I was 11 or something because she kept telling me what was wrong with me and she never told me how to fix it.

Then there was the therapist who kept talking about her son during our sessions. I eventually blew up at her and said I didn't want to come back. She said that was fine, but asked if I could tell her why. I kind of yelled Because! You won't! Stop Talking! About your freaking son! You idiot! I guess that's not the best thing to do, but hey, it felt good. I'd really like to find someone I could talk to, though. As much as I love my friends, they're not good for that.


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dreamBaBy
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Well, to start off I should say that I have been depressed and mentally unstable since I was 8, but I didn't start therapy until last year when one of my teachers anonomysly(sp?)(I think it was my english teacher- I swear she's a genius) recommended me to the school counsellor, who in turn recommened me to the district psycologist who comes every two weeks.

I loved working with Roxy. She listened to my problems and got me help for my family abuse situations(or tried, as our family services orwhatever are complete idiots and totally incompetent.) I worked with her untill she had to resign due to health problems. I went to the girl who replaced her(Kelly I think, my friend goes to her) once before I decided that she was nice but I just couldn't open up to her.

So I was forced into family therapy(Roxy had contacted child welfare and such for me). I really didn't like the man who did the therapy. I have an unexplainable fear of men to begin with, and he didn't help it at all. I was sitting in his office and he was mocking me! So I went to the mandatory four sessions and said almost nothing and what I did say made me sound like I had an extremly low IQ (I have the highest in my family lots above average-ick) so he pronounced me fine. Although I had been taking anti-depressants since I was working with Roxy.(My dad and my doctor made me) They had me on what my doctor decided was the highest dose of daily Porzac that my body could handle. I felt like I was high all the time, I knew I appeared happy to everyone but my very best friend(I swear she can read my mind) but inside I felt worse than ever.

So that's most of my story with therapy, which i have cme to despise. My friends do just fine. I am now off my Prozac and just as unstable as ever, if not getting progressively worse. But it's all good.


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¤dreamBaBy¤

"I don't wanna be you" -Good Charlotte from "the Anthem"
"Who I am is who I want to be" -Reba MacIntire

*edited for clearer paraghraphs*

[This message has been edited by dreamBaBy (edited 11-15-2003).]


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KCallahan
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I believe in the inherent good of therapy. However, I also believe it only works you want it to. I'm working with a support structure right now, and I've been in contact with a therapist for my gender issues.

I've had therapists before, and not only was I too confused and frightened to tell them what I was aware of-- my gender issues, I also felt that they were a bit blind. Of if they noticed anything, they should have said something to me to get me to open up. I went through all sorts of possible labels (ADD, ADHD, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and they were all wrong. The treatments they prescribed had the effect of getting me through high school (which was utter hell), but they didn't identify the core of the problem.

Of course, as I said, I note it WAS partially my own fault for not speaking up. I remember an incident with my second psychologist. A very nice woman, useful for signing off on getting the 'chiatrist to give me drugs, but as someone once mentioned, useless. She asked me to draw a person. I drew a boy (still have the picture in my portfolio). When I commented that I usually drew girls, she said "Don't worry, most people draw their own gender." I remember the event so well because it caused me a great deal of anxiety, because at the time I was well aware of my gender issues, even if I did not speak about them, even in the privacy of my own mind. I couldn't even begin to tell you what else we talked about, although seeing her for a year means there had to be more to my "therapy" than that one event.

So, I think therapy is good, but if you don't want it to benefit you, or therapy is being pointed in the wrong direction, it can be very bad. In any case, it should be noted that none of those former labels apply. Despite my personal requirement of a support structure that includes a therapist, I am a well-adjusted, compassionate person with no desire to hurt myself or other (which was never the case anyway). What's more, I'm happy and at peace with myself. You can benefit from a therapist even if you are happy.


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