I wonder what my psychologist will be like. My doctor has told me about her but I have to wait for a letter from the victims of crime compensation panel authorising a different psychologist to claim payment from them before I can see her.
One thing I do know – she won’t have a magic wand so she isn’t going to be able to make my problems disappear. She isn’t going to be able to help me at all if I am not prepared to help myself. The last psychologist I saw wanted me to start walking. I hate exercising so I didn’t do it even though I know exercise does help depression. Exercise causes the body to release its own, natural, anti-depressant into the brain. I didn’t want to do it so I made excuses. The new psychologist is most likely going to want me to exercise too. It is a standard recommendation in the treatment of depression. I probably won’t do it for her either.
I know there are no easy cures for my problems just as I have no easy cures for the problems other people come to me with. Three people have asked me for help on this site so far and none of them got what they were hoping for I’m sure.
When the problem is located outside of you – an alcoholic mother, a friend who has withdrawn or demons attacking you – the focus of therapy is going to be unexpected.
You can’t change an alcoholic mother, make a friend change her mind or stop demons from attacking you – you can’t alter behaviour that is not under your control. The focus of therapy is, it has to be, on what you CAN do. You can minimise the harm a destructive relationship does to you and your family. You can focus on getting other support if you lose a friend and address threats to other relationships. You can find out if demons really are attacking you or if you have been pre-programmed, as a child, to think they are.
My therapist is not going to be able to change what has happened to me. She won’t be able to make me forget those experiences but she will be able to provide support and help as I struggle to shake off the effects of those things.
What I will have to do is trust her and that will be hard. I’ll have to tell her all there is to know about me and run the risk she will not believe what I believe and she will make me feel rejected.
The person who wrote to me about being attacked by demons is likely to feel I have betrayed him or her. I said to reality test the beliefs – give me the details of all the attacks so I can assess if they are real attacks or if his or her mind is being attacked by false beliefs.
If I had been that persons real psychologist, able to see them face to face, able to talk to them and spend time with them and see them regularly I would not have had to make them feel so bad. All I had was a short letter and no way to get the information I needed to determine the reality of the beliefs without asking for the details outright. Asking for those details in this medium was guaranteed to make the person feel I don’t believe them. In a face to face consultation I could have avoided that. I would not ask such questions so soon. I would have concentrated on getting to know the person and winning their trust before asking such questions!
I am going to run the risk of feeling the same way that person may be feeling when I tell my therapist about my own beliefs. I believe God talks to me and I believe I have also been a victim of demonic activity. I will not be telling my therapist those things in the first session. I will be assessing her to see if I can feel comfortable enough to trust her with such information.
I will be looking for signs of a judgmental attitude in her. I will test the water by disclosing things about me bit by bit to see if I can trust her with all of my thoughts, feelings and beliefs. She will be fully aware that I don’t trust her and she will be doing her best to convince me I can trust her. Only after she has convinced me she is trustworthy will therapy really get started.
This is where my last therapists always lost me. They did not take enough time to win my trust. They assumed, because I told them about the abuse in my past and other things most people are not so quick to talk about, that I already trusted them. They moved into treatment mode too soon. They never reached the deepest parts of me so they never found out I believe God talks to me and that I have been a victim of demonic activity.
It’s going to be different this time. I am going to make sure of that. If she makes the same mistake all the other therapists made I am going to tell her she is moving too fast. I will tell her there is more but I do not trust her enough to tell her the rest yet and give her the chance to get to the deepest parts of me.
When you are secretly asking yourself if you are mad because you believe God talks to you and you have been a victim of demonic activity it turns you right off to be told to start exercising. It might help the depression but it doesn’t help the therapeutic relationship when someone you don’t really trust starts asking you to do something you don’t really want to do!
I should have told him that. I know he would have accepted it, learned from it, become a better therapist because of me giving him that feedback. If it happens again with this therapist I will tell her.
Most therapists become therapists because they genuinely want to help people so most therapists will be happy to be told how they can best help me. If she reacts badly to being told I don’t trust her enough to move into the treatment phase yet then she is not going to be the right therapist for me and I will return to my doctor and ask for a referral to someone else.
There are no easy answers. There is no magic wand. There is no therapist who will be able to read my mind and know how to best treat me. The answers and the cures are inside me somewhere. I have tried finding them myself and I have tried finding them with God’s help. I have come a long, long, way towards having good mental health but there is one more thing I need and I can’t get that from inside me or from God.
When I was abused as a child it taught me that people cannot be trusted and that is the one thing I have not been able to change about myself. I don’t trust people. I don’t trust them to care about me, help me, or accept me.
Good mental health requires being able to form relationships with other people. We are social creatures and we need other people to be truly happy and healthy. We need other people to accept us, love us, and care about us because it helps us to feel good about ourselves. The fewer connections a person has to other people the more vulnerable they are to mental illnesses such as depression.
I have trouble making friends because I don’t trust people. I reject people who try to form friendships with me because I’m not willing to run the risk they will let me down, fail to be there when I need them, hurt or even abuse me. Over the past ten years this has gotten worse because now I also reject any attempt to get me into a romantic relationship too. I have managed to isolate myself from other people almost completely.
This means I am utterly alone in my struggle to heal from trauma or cope with life and all the hassles and problems we all face. I have God but he is not able to touch me, hold me, sit face to face with me and dry my tears on a physical level.
I have my children but, until two years ago, I fully expected them to abandon me too one day. I have only recently reached a point where I am able to trust THEM to genuinely love and care about me forever!
Over the years the only connection with other people I have been able to make has, therefore, been through my work. I have constructed a way of being with people that does not require me to trust them and is, therefore, not frightening to me.
I help them. I form a therapeutic relationship with them in which THEY trust ME and that is where I get my connection with other human beings. That is my “social life” and it is wrong. It is twisted and distorted. It allows me to be connected to other people without actually connecting.
It makes me an excellent therapist. I need, for my sake, to create truly excellent therapeutic relationships and I know how to do that. I am exquisitely sensitive to my clients needs and I alter myself to fit them. I sense when they are holding back, I feel the emotions they are not able to express, I tune into them with all of my being and they always feel they have found the one person who truly can help them. They always feel understood, accepted and cared about because I personally NEED to understand, accept, and care about them for my own sake. I need to form that bond with them because those are the only bonds I will allow myself to have with other human beings! I never find giving of myself as a therapist draining – I thrive on it.
It’s great for my clients but it is wrong for me. A one way connection to other human beings is an extremely poor substitute for a healthy, mutually supportive, two way connection.
The safest place for me to practise a two way connection is with a therapist. That is where I have the best chance of forming a relationship that will not harm me or let me down. Even if my therapist thinks I am the stupidest, most disgusting, least likable person on the face of the earth it is her JOB to make me FEEL I am not stupid, not disgusting, not unlovable, not crazy, not worthless and so on!
It is also her JOB to work out what things I think, believe, and do that might be making other people despise, reject, let me down, reject or abuse me and gently help me to change those things. If therapy does what it should do she will send me out into society able to pick good friends and lovers, able to love and be loved safely, able to avoid having other people despise, reject, abandon, or abuse me and able to stop believing that I cannot ever be loved by another human being.
God has loved me unconditionally and continuously for almost 30 years now. That love has allowed me to open my eyes to the possibility human beings might be able to love me too. It took me 30 years to be able to believe my own children can love me but I believe it now and that has opened the door wider. I still can’t let ordinary people in. They are too likely to judge, condemn, hurt or abandon me. I need more faith in my own worth as a human being – in my “lovableness” – and the best place, the safest place, to get that is from someone whose job it is to give it to me!
If I am truly as unlovable as my childhood left me believing she will not be able to do her job! She will not be able to like me or form a relationship with me no matter how much she is paid to do it. The only way to find that out is to let her in – trust her with who I really am and see if she rejects me.
She is, however, a human being and I must take that into account before I give her that much power over my life. I need to be sure she does not hate God and despise people who love him, for example, or she will reject me because she rejects God not because of anything personal about me.
I have come a very long way towards being mentally healthy but there is one more step to take. I must learn to form a two way connection with other people and I am ready to do that. I think I can do it safely now. I can pick the therapist who will be able to help me do it and I am keen to get started.
It feels good to hope I really can cross this line, jump this hurdle, and make it to a place where I can have mutually rewarding relationships with other people. It is a major requirement for genuinely good mental health. It is something I can’t do alone and God can’t do it for me either. I just hope I don’t have to try too many therapists before I find the one who can help me do it.