Have you had good luck with talking to a Therapist? Does it really help?

I’M LUCKY, BECUZ OF MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS (I’M LDS, A “MORMON.”) AS WELL AS A “DAILY THERAPIST” (MY HUSBAND, MK!). BOTH HELP ME TO KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE!

I’LL DISCUSS MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS THAT HELP ME, BUT SINCE MY HUSBAND IS A THERAPIST, I’LL LET HIM ANSWER THE QUESTION:

AS FOR MY RELIGIOUS BELIEFS AS A “MORMON,” I BELIEVE THAT THIS LIFE IS TEMPORARY, & THAT 1 DAY, I WILL LIVE IN HEAVEN, FULLY RESTORED. THAT I WILL BE CAPABLE ONCE AGAIN OF WALKING AND TALKING. EVEN THOUGH RIGHT NOW I CAN BARELY MOVE, & AM JUST LEARNING 2 TALK.

ALSO, I REALLY FEEL THAT ALL I HAD WAS GOD’S IN THE 1ST PLACE, SO HE WAS ALLOWED 2 TAKE IT AWAY, & I’M GRATEFUL 4 WHATEVER HE GIVES BACK. HOWEVER, I KNOW THAT WHILE GOD MAY GIVE BACK CERTAIN ABILITIES, IT’S UP 2 ME 2 MAKE THAT ABILITY GROW…& IT TAKES LOTS OF PATIENCE, STRONG-WILL, A POSITIVE “I THINK I CAN” ATTITUDE, & DETERMINATION, IN ORDER 2 DEVELOP THESE ABILTIES GOD PUTS W/IN REACH!

CONCERNING THERAPY, HERE’S MK:

As a psychotherapist I will obviously say that therapy has its merits. Bedside manner is important for an MD, but finding a therapist with a personality and a skill set that meets what you need is very critical to making the experience work. For the most part, most of the huge work that people do has nothing to do with anything changing other than their perspective (which is huge). There is tons of reframing and radical acceptance that goes on that allows a person to not just accept their situation, but actually find enjoyment in life despite their situation. There is a lot of faith that people need to have in their therapist to trust what is being said will actually work. That is where the experience comes in handy. To actually say that you have seen things get better, and to clearly convey the process, is a huge sell to the client. your MD can give you a pill and it will do its business despite how hard you work. Therapy is totally dependent on the individual and how much effort they put into it.

There may be a variety of issues as well. Depression is most likely at the top of the list. Those who have families (and who does not?) need to keep in mind that the family is a system and when one part is not going well, the system feels it. Parents, siblings, spouses, children, and other extended family are often thrown for a loop. There are caregiver issues, marital issues, anger issues, related addictions due to poor coping skills, and a slew of childhood behavior problems/disorders. There may be a bunch of other issues, and typically several going on at the same time.

Aside from reframing exercises, there are a few other things that are done in a session. Family education is huge in situations like this. It still boggles my mind how often people come in with a diagnosis from years ago and still have no idea what it is all about. Another part of the education is helping people understand what is typical/normal for the situation. It is incredible how a person who you thought was rude could be offensive to you until you became aware that they were autistic and your outlook is brand new. Helping people understand where they are on the grief cycle is also helpful. You don’t have to experience a death to feel grief or loss. I also like to warn of possible outcomes. This is not to scare, but to prepare and give people understanding to identify and prevent bigger problems. Teaching skills to address anxiety and depression is a standard. Coping skills is an area where I feel people typically lack all the connections to put together the skills they already have with the other components that will help them face any adversity. I think most therapists do it wrong as well.

As a therapist, we were taught to tell people to do something to take care of themselves in order to address the stressors. After Jenny’s stroke, I felt like an idiot for all the times that I went through the motions before Jenny’s stroke. When I heard the same advice, but this time aimed at me, I vowed to do things differently. As a therapist, I am now more aggressive and teach this different than I did before.

Some people struggle in a therapy setting. there is a stigma that is attached that some can not get over. Others never grew up in a home where sharing thoughts and feelings was done, so it is a foreign experience at first.

Does therapy work? It works great. I see people’s lives change all the time.

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