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When psychologists are not for you

Montacute
Community Member

Hi all,

I know many people find the support of a psychologist to be helpful ( and I am glad they do ) but it’s not for me. I find it too intrusive, I am a private person and don’t speak to the ( few ) people close to me about personal things let alone someone I don’t know. And yes, I have tried quite a few.

Then when I can’t open up they tell me I’m not helping myself. So it is a vicious cycle and each attempt leaves me feeling even worse.
Anyone else the same, and what helps you?

8 Replies 8

Petal22
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Montacute,

Well come to our forums.

I understand that going to a psychologist can feel intrusive.

I'm sorry you are feeling this way when seeing a psychologist.

What helps me? I tell myself that if I want to recover from what I am going through then Id have to open up so I could be helped.

Yes, this was very confronting and scary for me but it was worth it.

Health professionals are here to help us, I find it easier to open up to someone like a psychologist because I know that its kept confidential.

james1
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hey Montacute,

Welcome, and i'm sorry to hear you've not had a good experience with psychologists. I think they have a time and place, and sometimes we may not be ready.

I stopped seeing my first psychologist because it just wasn't working and I didn't really get what I wanted. I found another one who, for a while, I really struggled to open up to. Even now, I still have days where I just don't want to talk. But she lets me just sit there, and honestly, I've even had a bit of a sleep in more than a handful of sessions. She used to ask me about that and it felt really uncomfortable. But over the years, I think she's come to understand me better and I think silences are not so bad anymore. That's actually why I've stuck with her for the past 6-8 years (I can't remember anymore).

So while I think it's true that you have to find the right psychologist or counsellor, I also think that finding the right one can be really hard. It can take a long time for us to open up and trust someone, and that can often feel like a waste of time. But I think it does make a difference in the end.

In terms of what helps me otherwise, I think a big change was learning to accept my own preference to keep things to myself or work things out on my own. I don't like people, really. Not that I dislike them, but I really just prefer my own company and doing my own thing. But I used to feel really uncomfortable when people, like my psychologist, would challenge me on that. As I got more used to her, I started trying to explain myself better and I think that helped me feel less uncomfortable whenever I got challenged. So now, while I'm still a pretty private and introverted person, I don't feel bad if someone pushes and I just say, no I don't want to talk about that. It's helped me a lot.

James

Ggrand
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dear Montacute...

A very warm and caring welcome to the forums...

I am so sorry that you find it hard to open up to psychologist....You are not alone...

One thing that you might consider trying...is to write out a few things on a piece of paper that you feel comfortable talking about...then hand the paper to your psychologist....You should always have control of what you want to talk about....not the other way around....Start with small things that are troubling you first...then later on if you feel you can trust your psychologist and feel more comfortable, you may be able to open up a little bit more at each session....

It took me a long time, before I trusted my psychologist with talking about my trauma...I think it’s important to be able to trust someone first...kind of get a connection with them.....So please Dear Montacute...

Try hard to not be too hard on yourself.....I think you are helping yourself by putting yourself out their and reaching out for help...You can only do the best you can...and your doing that....

Thank you for your courage in reaching out to Beyond Blue and the community we have here...You are not alone....

We are here for you Dear Montacute ...Talk here anytime you feel up to it....

My kindest thoughts with my care..

Grandy..

Sophia16
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi,

Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums and thank you for sharing your feelings. That must be very difficult to have dealt with. Trying to open up for the first time.

Every single psychologist is different. They each have their own way. Sometimes we have to find the right fit. Once we do, it is easy to open up. Try and explore your options if you do not feel comfortable opening up to certain psychologists.

Stay safe and i am always here to chat.

tealflowers
Community Member

hi montacute, welcome.

personally, i've seen lots of psychologists over the years since probably about 2013/2014, i can't remember the year exactly, or how many, but it's definitely over 10, maybe 10-20, i don't know. i did have one that i found alright, but he closed down his practice, & my parents & i ended up moving away anyway.

i have had many bad experiences with psychologists hence seeing so many. please be aware though that this is just my personal unfortunate experience, and yes i did my research, i always do. it doesn't mean that every psychologist is bad, i'm sure there are good ones out there. this is just what i sadly experienced so please, to you & others, don't let this stop you from seeing a psychologist if you decide to.

i only have a psychiatrist really, sometimes i see a GP but i've had bad experiences with them too, but once again that's just my experience. i used to see a social worker & she was good but the last time i saw her she was on holidays for a while & i just didn't make an appointment as i forgot or something, but it's ok.

my psychiatrist always tell me to look for psychologists again, & i feel pushed by this, like he doesn't understand. i guess he's trying to be helpful not forceful but i feel like he doesn't get it.

what i'm saying is irrelevant i guess, i apologise, but i just wanted to let you know that you're not alone, in not wanting to see psychologists & not liking how they practice or whatever.

sorry if none of this makes sense, my brain gets funny at times & i don't know what i'm saying sometimes. but once again please don't let my sad experiences stop you.

i guess i just commented because i wanted to say you're not the only one who feels that way about psychologists etc.

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Montacute

Sometimes I think the world of 'talk therapy' should have a basically constructive opening dialogue when it comes to a therapist seeing a new client. Kind of like a 'tell it how it is' sort of dialogue. Could sound something along the lines of the therapist saying 'Now, based on the fact we're not conditioned to spill our guts to a complete stranger, I imagine you're feeling pretty uncomfortable right now. Also, based on the fact we've never met before, let me tell you a little about myself'. So, with a dose of reality and a brief introduction, it may continue with 'I'm an investigator, a detective of sorts. It's my job to detect what it is that's led you here. You may not entirely know what it is that's led you here and that's okay too. We'll just bounce things off each other as we go along'.

Montacute, I'm a gal who's a major 'feeler'. I can recall what I felt when entering the psychologist's office, back during my years in depression. By the way, I didn't see him for too many sessions. Never felt a connection. Basically a nice guy but as I sat there facing him in his shirt and tie on the on the other side of the desk, I felt nothing but difference and separation, as opposed to a connection. On the other hand, a counselor I'd seen some years before was the opposite. I loved seeing him but he could only help me so much. In a jumper and jeans, he'd sit on the other side of the desk with his feet up on it, inspiring a bit of an occasional laugh when it came to the insanity of the world, while sharing some of his own past challenges. It was like having a chat with a guy who knew how struggle and upset felt. Dialogue opened naturally. It wasn't forced. That forced feeling is something you can really feel. Kind of feels like someone trying to pry your mind open with a crowbar. Natural to resist, especially if we've been conditioned to not open up.

I think, sometimes when we're asked 'So what brings you here?', there can be the temptation to say 'If I knew that, I wouldn't be here'. The opening dialogue of a brilliant therapist can connect us or disconnect us from them. I'd much prefer to face someone who says 'Life it full of s__t and here we are. Don't worry, we'll work this s__t out together. If there's certain stuff you don't feel like discussing, don't worry, we'll get around to it later, when you're good and ready'.

As others have mentioned here, you'll know when you're in the presence of a great therapist. They have their ways.

Thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts. It has helped me more than you could know.

Forrest
Community Member

Hey Montacute. I'm glad you've heard from people who also understand the struggles of seeing someone, it is very common.

Another thing that can help is going to a support group. Not altogether a substitute but a great stepping stone for reflection that is less direct than 1 on 1. Sometimes it can help to have a place where you hear others opening up about things you can relate to, and you can reflect privately on your own mind rather than having the focus on you so intensely. Sometimes you might even decide to share something there if you start to feel like you know people and get a feel for how safe it is for you to do so, and sometimes when you feel like you have something helpful to say to someone else it can help you to take your own advice too (without having to hear it from someone else directly.) Also that way you're in control of how long the spotlight is on you because you can always decide to say "that's all I want to share or talk about today, thankyou."

Of course most support groups might also encourage people to see someone, but the struggle can be explained there and can be a good way to get even more support and understanding about it as others tend to relate (as you've probably seen here on this forum.)

I also find that journaling (sometimes in written form or sometimes audio or video) and some meditation exercises are helpful for getting in touch with how I feel or what I think, in a truly private setting (because it's just for me) and gives me time for reflection that is uninterrupted by other people, and sometimes has been good practice at putting words together about my situation that I can use later in a more rehearsed way in a support group or with a doctor or psychologist.

I like what Ggrand said about writing it on a piece of paper too. That's a good example of doing your own reflection without other people's interference and then deciding what you want to share and what your boundaries are and having it prepared for an appropriate moment without relying on your wits when you may be feeling nervous or over guarded.

Some support groups I've been in even have a box where you can leave an anonymous discussion topic or question for the group to discuss so it doesn't even have to be linked to you.

Warm regards,

Forrest.