I don't know how I got to Virginia Wood's blog. I'm a public follower but she'll never be on my blog roll. She doesn't post frequently enough. As you may have guessed, the main reason I take people off my blog roll (after I find a replacement) is failure to post. Anyway, I never read the blogs I follow that are not on my blog roll, I just don't feel like scrolling through my dashboard. So, I don't know what brought me to check out her blog again back in August, but I did and noticed that she links to a very opinionated practice website. I mean, look at it, check out the FAQs-- the one about using insurance to cover therapy. Most people can not afford to keep insurance out of the equation, even if they are using out of network benefits, which in my case are good thank god. Why make people feel uncomfortable about it? At $80-$150 a pop depending on qualifications and geographic location, if you have a serious mental illness, you'll go bankrupt.
Totally going off on a tangent... The point of this post is that I looked around her site (I find it tacky and distasteful that she continually links to her facebook fan page) and found a list of how to benefit most from therapy. "This is really good," I thought. "I should blog about it." And then I forgot. Until last Friday that is, when Therese posted Sue Atkinson's 9 rules for surviving therapy. These lists are completely different and I think it's beneficial to look at them both.
- Talk a lot
- Talk some more
I went to a therapist for awhile and sat there and stared at him ALOT. We stared at each other, and then I'd look at him and say "WHAT," if he didn't decide to start opening his mail or walk over to check his email while he waited for me to say something. Sometimes he would tell me the weather report. Often he could tell that I was about to say "WHAT" and would say it first.
I was rather surprised when I started talking to this shrink the 1st appointment, even though I couldn't stand her at the time. It felt WEIRD not to just stare at her, but then again, she isn't an asshole. I guess that was the 1st good sign -- me talking more then she does. That is, after all, the point.
- Keep a journal [or a blog AND every once in awhile go back and look at old stuff, reviewing both the new posts and revelations about old posts with your shrink]
Recently a friend asked me if I write poetry and I said "Not that much, but I did write this, back when I was so messed up I had therapy 2X a week." The catalyst for writing it was something my psychiatrist had asked me earlier the day I wrote it that I hadn't been able to articulate in her office. I just needed another half hour to chew it over, and I was able to give a much more extensive answer then I ever could have done in her office. She was immensely grateful I took the time...
- Write down your dreams
I know everyone dreams every night, but is it weird that I only ever remember my nightmares? That I don't write down. I can remember that I was so freaked out about getting somewhere on time (something that is hard for me) that I woke up in a panic 2hrs early...
- Don't drink or drug 24 hours before or after your session--or better yet, stop using altogether
Why is it that all my treating professionals think it is wrong to use alcohol as an alternative treatment for pain management?
- Attend regularly--especially when you don't want to
That's when I make sure that I go. Even if my apathy makes me late. Not that I think it does me any good... I'm too depressed to get anything out of the actual session. However, having a reason to shower, get dressed, get out of bed, get some fresh air, does me a world of good.
- Pay attention to, and talk about, your feelings about your therapist and your therapy. Or, from the other list, even if after ten agonizing sessions you still think that the therapist hates your guts, it may be worth going on, but tell him or her.
I've never had a shrink that hated my guts, but I have had a few where I hated their guts. I'm batting 1 out of 4 in the bad shrink department (out of 8 total). How do you know if a therapist is truly bad (3 out of the 4) or if you do just have to really stick things out (the 1 out of the 4)? I don't know...To be continued...