What’s Stopping You from Going to Therapy?

One could almost say people require therapy in order to decide to go to therapy. Many needful of the help don’t make it. What is the way there and why do some go and others stay away?

Here are a few of the obstacles:

  1. Sensitive souls want to be seen, but are terrified of being seen. History tells them disclosure is dangerous.
  2. Psychological defenses were created before the counseling profession existed. Our ancestors needed emotional armor to survive. Those who were defenseless in the face of crushing reversals of fortune (poverty, disease, loss of loved ones) were less likely to endure. We are therefore the descendants of creatures equipped with instinctive fortifications. Many are still useful under the right conditions. Hesitation before a psychotherapeutic project designed by Freud to dismantle you should not be a surprise. A good therapist, however, will be aware of the dangers of tearing these down before providing a better alternative.
  3. Those emotional barriers include over reliance on the following: avoidance, denial, rationalization, distraction, emotional constriction, dissociation, fantasizing, compartmentalization, intellectualization/over-thinking, alcohol, food, drugs, and sex. Once ingrained, the defense tends to choose us more than be chosen by us. Reflection on one’s default tendencies is uncommon. Were we to inventory the mental habits and behaviors working for and against us, psychotherapy might appeal more. Successful defenses established in your formative years are not always the best ones to use as an adult, when your life situation is different.
  4. Many who don’t avail themselves of psychotherapy’s benefits are lost, like “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing” (Oscar Wilde). They believe their vision of the world is complete. A need for treatment goes unrecognized. Their sense of relative emotional health is part of their problem.
  5. Most people think they understand themselves. Few therapy virgins, however, try to systematically look for repetitive patterns of behavior in their past. George Santayana famously said,”Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Others remind us that history rarely repeats itself literally, but often rhymes.
  6. Depending on ethnic, religious, economic, or national origins, treatment faces social prohibitions. For example, fundamentalist religions sometimes point to significant depression as evidence of a failure of the suffer’s faith. Reliance on God and a reorientation of one’s relationship to God is believed to be the solution. Psychotherapy is judged a misunderstanding of what the believer identifies as the problem.
  7. The most troubled doubt counseling will help.
  8. A preference for a passive, rapid solution: medication. The individual ignores (or may not know) that some disorders are better treated by talking than a trip to the pharmacy.

Nine more:

  1. Social and economic obstacles to therapy include the stigma of being “weak” or “crazy,” fear that self-disclosure will lead to betrayal (including the sharing of sensitive medical information with their employer), the expense of treatment, guilt at the idea of talking negatively about one’s parents, and the time in session and traveling to sessions. “Real men” comment that one should be able to solve problems without the emotional crutch of expert help. Your mom might even agree. If you fear what she thinks about your decision, you need the fix more than you need her judgement.
  2. More than a few of us persist in trying to change others. Rather than look inside, we try to alter the peopled world. While in vigorous and hopeful pursuit of this goal, the turn inward is hard to come by. Some will never realize the material for change is at hand within themselves, the only being they control. You might recall the mythic figure of Sisyphus, whose punishment for eternity was to roll a ball up an incline, watching the inevitable and dismaying roll back down each time. Those who take on the comparable job of changing another adult will first need a long period of frustration before they recognize they must begin to work on themselves. Here, then, is a hint to the kind of painful experience required to get us into the counselor’s office.
  3. Many people cannot imagine a new way of living — something substantially different from their normal existence. They lack not only the will to transcend themselves, but the imagination of what transcendence might look like. Such people are similar to the residents of Plato’s imaginary cave, who believe their shadowy cavern is the entire world.
  4. Counseling takes many forms. The potential client often has no idea how to choose from the array of options and helping professionals. This difficulty is exacerbated if the treatment candidate lacks even minimal understanding of his own psychology and well-targeted therapeutic goals.
  5. Horror stories of therapy-gone-wrong abound.
  6. The internet allows a virtual life for those who would otherwise live in seclusion. While it can serve as a stepping stone to richer human contact, the brightly lit screen may instead just prevent them from reaching for more satisfaction in the face-to-face world.
  7. Simple alternatives to therapy are appealing: move to California, get a different job, dump your mate, have an affair to remedy a mid-life crisis, etc.
  8. Self-help books can prove a waste of time or a method of avoidance.
  9. The slave in the magic mirror used by the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is unwelcome when she says Snow White is fairer than the Queen. Such a mirror also tells us when bad luck and betrayal are no longer sufficient to explain our unhappiness. Until you are willing to accept the glass’s truth and take responsibility for your life, psychotherapy will not be in your immediate future.

With all these obstacles and more, what gets a person beyond the contemplation of treatment to a voluntarily meeting with a counselor? This list of factors is shorter than the previous one:

  • Advice from a trusted friend, relative, cleric, physician, or former patient.
  • Research to discover what therapy entails.
  • Pain is almost always the key. If every other alternative has been tried and the suffering remains great enough, even the hesitant will sometimes take the leap.

Two jokes apply to the question of change through psychotherapy. The first is the better known:

How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb?

One, but the light bulb has to want to be changed.

The second emphasizes the hesitation of an introvert who is offered group therapy:

How many introverts does it take to change a light bulb?

Why does it have to be a group activity?*

———————–

*Thanks to Life in a Bind for the introvert joke. The top image is a screen capture from the public domain film Carnival of Souls. The second is called Modern Stress by outcast104. Finally, a picture depicting the Shyness of Tamil ANGEL by Sureshbmani. All three are sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

10 thoughts on “What’s Stopping You from Going to Therapy?

  1. I was hesitant to reply (eek – there’s one defense, LOL, but seriously). I’m in treatment now, but my hesitation remains.

    Honestly, looking at solely your flaws that you need to change and take responsibility for (without looking at your strengths and good qualities with compassion and honest, sincere encouragement) feels like constant judgment, constant character attacks, and constant doom. I’ve dealt with trauma, so therefore I’m labeled as, or told that I am, moody, needy, prone to negativity, sensitive, cognitively distorted, delusional, occasionally psychotic, occasionally dissociative, unpleasant to be around, less deserving of compassion and praise than those who are not traumatized and have all the abilities in the world to pursue their dreams, less likely to succeed in college and career (and therefore are “grandiose”), an embarrassment to be around, a character-flawed narcissist, a “borderline” if you’ve ever disagreed with a therapist, an exaggerator, a negative-traited person, a less-than-desirable person, and the list goes on. Without looking at strengths and positive features, or without actually believing what the client states, or without knowing that the client has also dealt with not only retraumatization but also therapy abuse, an evaluator might assume that the client’s presentation in the office is representative of their relationships with all others (when it may only be with therapists/psychologists alone, due to the past negative experiences). Granted, those with traumatic histories may have difficulties, on average, with authority figures – but not necessarily with peers on the same-level hierarchy.

    I’ve also been misdiagnosed and wrongly medicated too many times to count (it was later told to me by psychiatrists and therapists who specialized in dissociation that sometimes dissociation is wrongly diagnosed as schizophrenia, bipolar, or other disorders requiring medication, which only made my condition worse), was told that my rape was false because I was a “borderline” and that “borderlines tend to lie and exaggerate” (it was later determined by in-patient therapists, in-patient psychiatrists, out-patient therapists and psychiatrists that I didn’t have any Axis II disorder, and they showed me my records and other diagnoses and GAF score to determine my conditions as PTSD, DID, panic disorder, and major depressive disorder).

    I’ve been told by more than one therapist that I would not be able to complete college (I not only completed two different colleges, but I graduated from both with highest honors), and I’ve been told recently by a VA therapist that I’m too old to be a therapist or for graduate school (many other professionals have since disagreed with that, and they said that while ageism is a factor, I have a strong enough background to gain acceptance somewhere).

    Instead of seeing my life goals as a positive, I’ve been accused of being grandiose. Instead of understanding my needs to bond with a therapist, I’ve been told that I’d become too dependent on the therapist (so far from the truth; I am very independent, enjoy spending time alone and also going off on adventures without being tied down to something, etc., but my appearance of being needy is not so much my being needy or dependent but rather addressing what my needs are in a relationship – a need to be treated with respect, dignity, and in the same manner as everyone else is treated, without being misdiagnosed with something that is said to require “stoic” engagements only). I have grown afraid of therapy and, as it turns out, even those who teach or instruct therapy because of my experiences with therapy-gone-wrong, which hinders my love for studying psychology (I’ve since been finding counter-evidence to support that what I had experienced was downright wrong and, in some cases, unethical) and truly appreciating the “transformative relationship” I sought and continue to seek in treatment and beyond.

    Just as a side note, I’m not saying all this to bash other disorders (I have many friends with the disorders I was misdiagnosed with, and I’ve only grown more compassion for them). I’m saying all this because there are many people with histories of trauma and dissociation who have tried various different treatments (or maybe only one) and wound up retraumatized or traumatized in a new way (e.g., what some professionals posit as “therapy abuse” or unethical therapeutic practices or dual relationships or destructive forms of countertransference).

    Also, what I’ve lamented above is not to say that I disagree with the list here; many if not most items on the list apply to me and many other survivors of trauma, as well as those who are dealing with other disorders. The list is very accurate. (Thank you, Dr. S!) And on that list are mentions of how therapy has gone wrong or how there are many orientations to choose from. But what makes it hard for me isn’t the stigma of treatment, or even the co-pays, but rather the ways in which I’m being treated, screened, judged, talked to, and handled. The therapeutic alliance is the most important factor for me (probably not true for everyone) because if I can establish a transformative relationship with the therapist, be believed by that therapist, be able to feel not only trust in the therapist but also trust from the therapist, and be able to disclose everything without the fear of being misdiagnosed again (or being told to do the same treatments that only remind me of the painful past therapy experiences; certain treatments are beneficial, but they’re also triggers for me, and all I can see are flashbacks and nightmares about past bad therapy experiences while in a therapist’s home or office) – if I can find a therapist to trust well enough to form a bond with, and for the therapist to trust me – then I feel that we can, together, work on goals for treatment. I’m all for being responsible and correcting my behavior, but I also need compassion when certain things were not in fact my fault completely, when I need to mourn the losses incurred from things that were or were not my responsibility, and when I need to be able to feel supported (not judged) by a therapist when I tell that therapist my lifelong goals, my career dreams, my accomplishments, and my needs for tools to help me combat my “normative” fears that anyone would have to pursuing all of these things (not that I shouldn’t because it’s too grandiose, too much of a leap, or too much of a risk for others or myself to handle). When I say that I’ve had many horrific yet triumphant experiences in my past, when I’ve aced all my courses, when I’ve graduated from the police reserve academy, or when I served some time in the Marines, I need to be believed for those, too. I can’t tell you how many people looked at me (a 5’2″ shortie who has lost her self-confidence and trust in treatment, who presents with emotions that are far from appearing like any items on my resume) and thought or outright said that I’m lying, exaggerating, living in a fantasy world, etc. I’ve been hurt over and over and over and over and over again by the very people who were trained to do no harm. And it’s not just me being “sensitive”; it’s real, it’s true, and it’s not my responsibility to fix a therapist. I’m not a mind-reader, nor do I expect anyone to read my mind. I’d appreciate being asked a question, as opposed to being told what the therapist thinks I am, who I am, who I was, and what my future goals should be in terms of relationships and work. For example, I choose not to hang out with people who smoke pot; granted, there’s a lot of people who do, but I just don’t want that around me when I know they are breaking the law. I’m not trying to be overly judgmental, but I’m trying to protect myself from being caught up in any risk patterns those people may have, and I’m not going to use the need to socialize more as an excuse to hang out with people I’d rather not hang out with, or to allow a therapist to say that “I attract” those kinds of people with my mannerisms.

    That said, I still acknowledge that I need therapy. But I’m more apt to taking my time with getting to a know a therapist before I decide that this is a person I can disclose the deep and personal stuff with. I’m more skeptical about certain orientations and therapeutic restrictions built into policies of larger organizations now, which can hinder treatment for certain populations (such as those institutions that don’t believe in nor treat dissociation, or educate on what dissociation is and how treatments need to be tailored specifically for dissociation). It’s painful for me to write this all out here, but I need to voice it somewhere. It’s painful, and I’m not the only “survivor” of “treatment-gone-wrong.” I’m not merely “treatment-resistant,” but rather dealing with a new kind of trauma that comes from real or imagined bad therapy experiences; there may be different treatment needs that haven’t been discovered yet, for example. If the treatment produces iatrogenic effects, then it’s the wrong treatment, or then there’s something else going on that hinders the treatment’s effects. It’s truly hard for me to go to treatment because I not only feel the stigma from the general population, but also from those in academia, therapists who don’t want to hear about my fears of therapy and why, and perhaps those in the field itself. There are probably so much more that can be added to that list, including the need to feel strengthened and empowered, not retraumatized and negated the opportunity to feel positive emotions within a therapeutic alliance that is of a transformative nature. Perhaps this doesn’t work for some people with certain preferences or disorders, but this is what I need.

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    • Dr. S., thank you for writing the list. I can probably relate to 90-99% of the items on your list. I think that I’m still sore and bitter from some bad experiences in the past, which is why I still react the way I do to therapy, therapists, and as I found out recently, training in any capacity. I can’t go to grad school with this chip on my shoulder, which is why it is so ironic that I like studying psychology. I really do have a heart to help people indirectly or directly, through research or through practice. But my resentment has grown into this mess, and I’m afraid of bringing it up in treatment. When I do, I tend to get the “Let’s focus on your childhood or military trauma,” instead of the trauma that meant the most to me. I haven’t even trusted one therapist at all to discuss the painful memories of giving my daughter up for adoption; I figured, if I trust them first with the other stuff (and yes, iff they pass my “test”; I know I get testy), then I can trust them with the more challenging stuff I never got to process. There’s waves to treatment for polyvictims and complex childhood and adulthood trauma; it’s never just about the childhood trauma – there’s always more. I’m not on any medications, which a psychiatrist a decade ago found (after monitoring me for about year) that I was doing better off the meds than on them, and that talk therapy with only occasional anti-anxiety is all I needed. When I was misdiagnosed, they gave me a three- to five-pill coctail comprising Trazodone, Lamictal, Depakote, Paxil, and Ativan. I had a difficult time speaking, thinking, concentrating, driving, socializing, etc. I was later changed to Seroquel, Trazodone, Wellbutrin, Neurontin, and some other drug I can’t remember, along with Ativan. I dissociated more when I was on any of these cocktails. When they reduced it to only Wellbutrin, Ativan, and one of three sleeping aids, I still couldn’t sleep (this was right after I had given up my daughter for adoption and subsequently, within months, raped as a homeless person who didn’t consider herself as a veteran at the time). They thought I was psychotic because there was a point where I couldn’t speak or speak clearly (that was before the drugs), and because I was “hearing voices” inside my head. At the age of 30, I went from being an employed working gal with some resilience and yet some PTSD (that’s all I was diagnosed at that time) to being homeless, a “bio mom” without child, and a rape victim. I dissociated so much that I couldn’t tell you what I did the previous day or previous month, and I forgot to file taxes in 2001 because I didn’t know at the time if I really worked at a certain place or if it was some form of identity theft. I had cuts on my arms at the age of 30 (never before did I have them) that appeared without my conscious awareness, which was a “side effect” of the psychotropic meds they gave me coupled with, as I later found out, an alternate personality who was dared by a roommate I was set up with to “take the challenge.” I’ve since been accused of being a cutter, when I’m not, and misdiagnosed with disorders I never had. In the ER and other places, I’ve never been treated the same. Again, prior to 30 (and I have photos to prove it), my arms were pretty, clean, and nice-looking (no cuts at all). To have been molded into this mess as an iatrogenic effect of medications for psychotic people (I wasn’t psychotic; I was dissociative and traumatized) coupled with the many mean remarks about my latent account of rape (I was in fact raped, but it was too late when I filed the police report to actually have enough evidence to prosecute). All of this happened in California, which is a state I’m afraid to visit or return to. I finally found some healing in Chicago, Pittsburgh, and New Orleans, which helped tons. But I’ll never forget the therapist in Pittsburgh who would have me sleep over at her hoarded home filled with boxes, rat feces, and other things. I felt sorry for that therapist, initially, but excited that someone understood dissociation and DID. She told me she was raped in college, so she understood. She saw me four times a week, tried to “mother” me (I just didn’t feel right about that, but I thought it was a sweet gesture), and asked me to pay for half of my treatment by cleaning out her garage filled with rat feces. At some point I felt really nauseated and disgusted, and her roommate became jealous of me. My Pittsburgh therapist sent me to a trauma treatment facility which was a godsend because they told me what she was doing to me was unethical. I learned more information at that trauma treatment center about my condition, about my real diagnoses and those misdiagnoses I’ve had in the past, and about managing dissociation and finding adequate therapists in the future to help me with that. I left my Pittsburgh therapist, but she used the one thing that she knew would hurt me when I left: She accused me of being “borderline” because I “fired her” and then followed that with saying to just use my alternate personalities as “friends” and “therapists” because no one else would want to deal with me. I knew my therapist was sick (as she was disabled and should have not been licensed as a part-time LPC), thanks to the trauma hospital therapists and psychiatrist who suggested that I file a report. I was supposed to go to court, but I was threatened by my therapist’s roommate. I had proof from the emails and voicemail recordings, which I gave them, but I couldn’t find the energy or strength to go to court. I moved from there to Chicago and have been safely here ever since. I’ve had some good therapists who didn’t last because I couldn’t afford them anymore, and I’ve had some not-so-good therapists who couldn’t understand my growing midlife crisis and other needs to better my life and grow some dignity (they didn’t want me to pursue college, and they thought I should be disabled the rest of my life, given my “extreme” and “rare” conditions). One bad experience after another led to my feeling skeptical, as well as my curiosity to pursue a field I both loved and questioned. I’ve met many people in homeless shelters and psych wards who claimed similar laments as I, which got me to thinking one of three things are possible: (1) I’m crazy like them, (2) many people like me are experiencing iatrogenic effects of good or unethical treatment, or (3) a combination of 1 and 2. I knew I needed help, and so did many others, but to find compassionate, understanding help was hard to come by. It didn’t matter if you had insurance or paid out-of-pocket; the mix of good and bad therapy is out there, and it’s sad that there aren’t more accountability for certain people in private practice. As I dug deeper as an aspiring scholar, I read peer-reviewed articles about the many therapists who have had sex with their clients (in a highly confidential but nonetheless important survey that went out to members of a particular organization), as well as many blog entries about burnt-out therapists who truly cannot stand their clients but have to put up with them. I get the feeling that some of those therapists forget that clients are people with feelings and needs just like the rest, and that compassionate caring (while taxing at times) can be rewarding for themselves and the client. Recently, there’s an article I came across about the two different types of empathy (one is where you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, and the other is where you simply imagine a person’s struggles in their own shoes). The empathy that is least likely to cause burnout is the one where you imagine a person in their own shoes, whereas the other one (imaging in your own shoes) is more taxing. Perhaps that could help the stress that many caregivers and therapists face in their helping fields, but also help the clients get what they need out of treatment. My passion remains as wanting to study trauma, but I don’t study it solely for myself or my own gain as many would like to think; I truly cared about the other people who lamented about the field, and I truly cared about the stress of therapists who encountered so many horrific stories every day. I truly cared about the victims of police brutality, but I also cared about the traumatic experiences that police encounter on a near-daily basis. Living an entire life of trauma has brought about the kind of resilience that only curiosity could explain and scholarship could fulfill. Perhaps I’d suck as a practitioner, but I’d hope to at least advance research in those areas. But then I had encountered one out of four therapists (the three were actually pretty good) who constantly undermined me, reminded me about my aging, and misdiagnosed me as grandiose (she didn’t believe my job and school histories). Did I fear abandonment? It depends on how you define abandonment! I didn’t fear the abandonment of the therapists; I just simply wanted a good one, and I painstakingly spent a year with that undermining therapists before going to her supervisor for a transition period, recalling the therapist before her whom I couldn’t afford any longer, and seeing a new therapist now/today. Did I fear abandonment when letting go of engaging people who outwardly said they smoked pot? No! Honestly, if they get caught and arrested, I simply don’t want to be guilty by association, and my values are such that I want to obey the law and hopefully work for the government in some administrative capacity; I cannot be party to illegal activities from peers in school or otherwise. So, when I’ve been misunderstood time and time again, I realized how hard it was for me to find the right treatment and the respect from one aspiring scholar to a professional. The stigma and stereotypes infiltrate counseling so much that it sickens me to think that many patients are being treated this way when they have so much potential for more in their lives. I tried to be honest with few people I admired in my life, but my openness was again misjudged, and I was again hurt. I’ve only recently learned that people don’t like being open unless you’re their best friend, and most people don’t trust you when you say that you deal with PTSD, DID, or any mental illness for that matter (e.g., they won’t want to hear about it, and they certainly won’t be your best friend or a friend at all; they’re acquaintances). Still, the need to belong is crucial for health, as loneliness has damaged my ability to socialize properly like I once had. Again, it seemed like people just want to keep me down and locked into disability land, as opposed to making it through grad school and a lucrative career that I can be an integral part of and pay back to society and taxes and all that in more ways than being disabled the rest of my life. I may have many fears, but I’m not limited to those fears, and I have strengths and resilience in spite of my pervasive symptoms or managed symptoms of the past (if you define resilience according to positive psychology and in a contemporary, not traditional, sense). The traditional forms of resilience posit that you don’t have any symptoms if you’re “resilient,” whereas the contemporary forms of resilience posit that you can have symptoms in the midst of being resilient. That is critical in therapy to me because then I’d be appreciated for my strengths and resilience in the midst, as opposed to constantly criticized for being grandiose and “mentally ill” because my resilience is “ineffective” to ameliorate my symptoms. Reduction of symptoms and facing the fact that I will have these symptoms for the rest of my life is more dignifying than believing in the lies I once had that my symptoms can go away if only I adhere to everything that the therapist says and failing time and time again. If there were such treatments, I would have found them by now – as I really wanted to be treated for good and not have these symptoms anymore. That’s not reality; that’s a fantasy and hope, but not a reality for a lot of people. I do hope there is a “cure” for PTSD and other disorders, but given the dangers of society, my automatic thoughts and emotions are always going to have some detection levels that are spiked or hyper-vigilant; my symptoms may be reduced, but they certainly aren’t eradicated. Still, my “disability” should not disqualify me from certain jobs, careers, or grad programs if I learn to manage it well. Everyone experiences trauma at least once in their lifetime, even if childhood trauma is thought to be the most damaging of forms. Police and therapists alike have encountered vicarious and/or secondary trauma, and despite their symptoms, they are resilient to getting the job done (perhaps not as well as a non-traumatized expert, but certainly better than a non-traumatized rookie). The dignity and respect that humans deserve cannot be understated; people want the same opportunities and chances as everyone else to fulfill their dreams, even though not everyone can or will be a rock star or athlete but can, if those were true dreams, be transformed into teaching, coaching, researching, or counseling the dropouts. My heart goes out to those who have dealt a bad hand in life – not just with trauma, but just with chance occurrences or occurrences caused by individual responsibility and choices as well. I wish the field would understand more holistic and transformative approaches to treatment, and not be so afraid of the “needy client.” Perhaps object constancy would improve if such stigmatized persons weren’t so stigmatized anymore; the new cognitive scripts could just override the plethora of bad ones.

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    • Your hesitation is entirely reasonable and your persistence admirable. Happily, most have better luck.Thanks for this, PP.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for your post. I didn’t mean to sound all negative (but it turns out that way nearly every time). But I know more people benefit from therapy than not, and without good therapy, I’d be a wreck or worse. And sorry for my rant. I’m just dealing with some issues that I plan on bringing up in therapy, as I learn to trust my therapist more these days.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Pain is almost always the key. If every other alternative has been tried and the suffering remains great enough, even the hesitant will sometimes take the leap.”

    This is very true.

    However, from personal experience, that “leap” you speak of, may result in the alleviation of one pain while at the same time create another pain that leaves you suffering even more intensely than the pain that brought you to the therapist in the first place. So, “What’s stopping you from going to therapy”? It is that initial leap and the lesson learned from it. Don’t leap again, you are only going from one pain to another and the suffering remains.

    “I’m lost. And it’s my own fault. It’s about time I figured out that I can’t ask (or pay) people to keep me found.” Anne Sexton

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  3. I’m sorry for your personal experience. For the most part, I was speaking of what prevents those “therapy virgins” from making the attempt to get treatment. I do hope you learned the right lesson. Too often, we tend to revert to default tendencies, for example avoidance, after an attempt to do things another way has failed to produced the hoped for result. Failure and pain are a part of life, inescapable for sure. If, as you are suggesting, you are still in intense pain, then a remedy would appear to be necessary. Medication is one possible alternative to consider.

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  4. Joseph Patrick Lori

    Based upon what I have seen, myself, I think that it would be a good idea to write another column soon on the subject of “Why most people end up in therapy in the first place.”
    I do believe that you and I both know that, at the very least, a lot of people simply do not go into therapy voluntarily because they have decided on their own that they have become overwhelmed by the events of day to day life. It seems obvious to me, anyway, that there are a lot of outside influences from different people and different parties that push people into therapy who otherwise might not ever go in the first place.
    Maybe you might also want to discuss how this factor ultimately influences the outcome of therapy, for both long term and short term, in various different types of persons.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right, Joseph. I could write volumes on the questions you’ve raised. Too much for any single, short essay. Somewhere in the 500-plus blog posts I’ve written are a few of the answers. I will, however, address the question of life being “too much,” and one way we deal with that human problem. I’ll post it in a few days.

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  5. Dr. Stein,
    I found this very astute and insightful, based on my own defenses, most of which I had to work through during therapy. 🙂 (Which I originally started through the urging of my then fiancee, now husband of 32 years, he was a keeper.) The original problem for which I started therapy, lo those many years ago, turned out to be SO much more complex than I ever expected but did finally get dealt with.

    I must admit loving #3 (the first #3) as I have always said that it’s impossible to overestimate the power of denial. I know my own has been pretty impressive. Thanks for sharing these insights, I hope they will help people get over that “hump” and make the leap.
    AG

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  6. Thanks, AG. Much as I may have some insight, the more I write, the more I get the sense that anything any of us say is but one bite of the apple: however good it is, there is always more to it and many different perspectives on the same subject.

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