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Post therapy session struggles

Community Member

I’ve been in therapy over 18 months after falling in a heap 4 years ago. My psychologist has been doing schema therapy with me and we have been doing chair work etc . The sessions can be very overwhelming and triggering and I struggle enormously with the after effects of these sessions. My psychologist is aware and helping to find ways to work through my difficulties but my time with him is coming to a close as it’s with the public health system so I have to find a new psychologist which is daunting and anxiety provoking and I just feel like I just cannot manage all this on top of the constant reel  of traumatic memories and invasive  thoughts mixed with the guilt and the punishment thoughts it’s just a bit much . Any other experiences like this and ways to deal with the after effects of therapy etc would be helpful 

62 Replies 62

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor



I do! 


I've been through similar and yah it can be tough 100%. 


SELF-CARE, not just the run of the mill self-care, RADICAL SELF-CARE. Tons and tons and TONS of it. 

Need some ideas? We have a Self-care thread over there >> 



5 things every day. 


Lastly for now, just to stop this wound oozing, guided Meditations as you're waking up, some time throughout the day and at night time. 
Once you start this, and get cranky that nothing's happening, surrender to the process, keep going. 
I've found beautiful Meditations on YouTube. My faves are with Dr Joe Dispenza & Abraham Hicks. 


These are proven by research to support EVERYONE in their healing. 
Yep you too, it works. 
Just keep pouring that stuff IN. 


We can talk about the memories of the past next time if you want to? 

Love and many Blessings EM xxxx

Community Member

Thank you for your reply and suggestions. I will have a look at the meditation videos on you tube, I struggle a lot with meditation and get distracted by my invasive thoughts but keep trying to master it hopefully these videos might help that mastery. Self care I try to accomplish also but I always end up feeling guilty … silly I know which leads to the critic in my head giving me grief. However I will try the radical self care as you put it and I will read the self care thread as I can see there are lots on the forum.  I journal but it tends to be all the thoughts in my head so turns into a self hate, self defamation journal to be honest . So instead I will take your advice and write down only 5 things I am grateful for . 

With regards to talking about past memories, this line in your response made feel instantly anxious, nauseous and panicked! Just the thought of it which is what I struggle with in therapy . It’s been buried, hidden and cemented over for years, 35 years to be exact . Something that I had forgotten and didn’t know affected  me until I fell apart when life got difficult and stressful. Then when the psychologist was digging around it came up.  So this is what we are working on. 

So what my psychologist does is ask  direct questions and to an extent ignores my deflection tactics of my protectors that have been my go to for all these years . 
So what memories would you wish me to talk about ? 

thankyou again for your suggestions 

 L 🙂 

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Supermum, I read your reply and want to reach out into the ethernet and give you THE BIGGEST LONGEST HUG! And you'd have to let go first. 


You are SAFE. 
Those memories from the past are just that, my dear wonderful friend, in the past. 
"they" cannot hurt you now. You only need to visit the past for x long, then when you've had enough? stop. 
YOU ARE STEERING this Ship. No one else. 


Feeling EMPOWERED is the result of healthy therapy. 


Do you know what I asked my trauma Psych to be one of my goals in therapy? 
TO be able to FILE those memories from my past, be able to RECALL them whenever I chose to share them with others to HELP them, without the emotional charge attached to them. 

You can have that goal too! I'm a good sharer lol. 


We don't need to talk about ANY specific memories. It's actually not necessary. 
Just about "memories" - that whole bundle of effed up stuff that needs to be filed, available for recall when WE choose and we can remember them with pure whimsy. 
That's where I am! 


I only had 1 other goal. To be able to go anywhere freely without triggers. 
Lol even today I saw a PERSON who was a major trigger from my past and I just chuckled. 
I thought one more thing, not emotionally charged. Just "omg you STILL work here and think you're "all that" lol". 


Points for now: 

1. "there's no such thing as a bad meditation, even 10minutes is GREAT!" lol, Dr Joe there, we're not aiming for mastery, we're simply meditating. 
2. "It's not the Critic that Counts" by Teddy Roosevelt. Read it, absorb it. This is on our loo wall! :-))

3. Do self-care anyway. Not only will this aide to HEAL YOU! It will also model self-care to ALL those around you, healing them too by osmosis. 
You are worthy. 


I AM SO WORTHY of HEALING, LOVE, BEAUTY, HAPPINESS and all of the things. 


Love EMxxxx

Community Member

This is what would be wonderful , being able to recall those memories without all the drama, emotions etc that come flooding like a tsunami at the moment . It feels like such a slow journey, one that is fraught with challenges/ danger and obstacles that I will never get to the end of … ever .  How long were you in trauma therapy before you are where  you are now? Ready to face the world ?  

Therapy is frustrating and challenging and I have to move onto someone new whom I have to learn to trust …. It took me so bloody long to trust Daniel that I can move forward not backward sideways !!!! Anyway but forward . 

Regarding the memories , they bring about the same outcome … shame , me wanting to punish myself because of guilt .. overwhelming disgust, no self worth abc tired of having 2 sides to me . Hiding always . 

L x 

PS still hugging 🤗.. 

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hey L, I haven't let go yet! lol. You are such a precious soul. 


Perhaps you've felt like you're like a 'victim of your therapy sessions'?
rather than I AM THE DRIVER. 
I WILL GET WHAT I WANT from this. 


Our INTENTIONS from therapy need to be very explicitly stated to our therapist AND stay clear and forefront in our own minds. 
Take that goal of ours (Yours & mine) and communicate this to your psych. 

I want to add "I need to FEEL more empowered by our sessions together not like a pile of crap afterwards thanks very much", or something stated more politely lol. He can be thankful I am not his patient. 


CLARITY of purpose for this therapy. 


L, it wasn't the sessions I had with my trauma psych alone, not by a LONG looong shot. No! 
I have a few Psych friends & a daughter doing her Psych Honours meaning I GET FEEDBACK lol. 



We share thoughts about therapy a LOT. 
There are some pitfalls. 


I've had the same Counsellor for c7 years, this is ongoing. 

Living a whole hearted life was my overall goal. 

I step this UP on the regular! lol.
On the journey towards this, I took responsibility for my own healing. (As opposed to thinking our psych will fix us, because they literally can't, only WE can with support. 99% is on us). 


I saw (past tense because now I'm in maintenance mode) my healing as a jigsaw puzzle. 
Trauma therapy for 4 sessions was one small piece of it, to learn how to heal "this part". She used Exposure therapy & taught me how to do it on my own. 
MANY pieces in the puzzle for the duration of healing those wounds. 
Definitely making self-care, gratitude & mindfulness HABITS. 

I measured my growth & healing along the way. 
Love EMxxxx

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi L,


 I just thought I’d add in my experience that fits with EM’s comments above - that finding clarity about what we want from therapy and communicating this to the therapist is a valuable part of the process.


 I’ve spent much of my life feeling like things happen to me and I don’t have much control of it. This stems from early childhood experiences. I’m now learning that the therapy process itself can be a training ground for saying what my needs are and directing the process. I can sense and feel what I need and then work with the therapist on that. But I’ve had to learn to do this as I’ve spent a life focused on others’ needs and not my own.


If the therapy is activating difficult emotions (and I get this because I’ve experienced it) you could ask the therapist to spend the last 5 minutes or so on something that helps you feel calm and empowered before leaving, or perhaps on some tools that can help you once you leave.


 I had some not great experiences with therapists in the past but have found a good one now who works collaboratively. I ended up doing a lot of my own research before I went to her. I’m processing complex trauma via an approach called somatic experiencing which really appealed to me based on the books I’d read about it. I then searched and found the right therapist to work with using this method (she uses other approaches too). I did try schema therapy with another psych and it didn’t work well with me, but that can also be how it’s delivered. Most importantly you want to be able to trust and feel safe with a therapist, but also trust yourself and do your own research to find what may work for you which will give you more clarity about what you might need from therapy sessions.


Take care and big hug 🤗 

Community Member

Thank you for your reply Em 

Thankyou for your reply , there’s so much info out there and I really don’t know what therapy is the best to what to try . I just rely on the experts . But I will

look up  somatic therapy 

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi L


It’s a therapy that I’ve found helpful but from what I’ve read apparently the most important thing is the therapeutic relationship itself, even above the therapeutic modality. So schema therapy might work well for you. It was just the way it was delivered in my case that didn’t work so well for me.


The somatic experiencing method was developed by Peter Levine. It’s in part based on how animals naturally recover in the wild from trauma, which appealed to me being such a nature person. It’s about gently, in a gradual way, releasing the charged components of trauma from the nervous system in a held, safe environment. There is a kind of pendulation between tapping into trauma sensations to release them while having islands of safety (safe feelings) to return to at any time. A therapist can help you resource those feelings of safety within yourself based on what works for you. It’s obviously important to have someone you feel safe with to do this work.


One simple technique Peter Levine has come up with for when we get in an activated/traumatised state, is to chant a deep “voooo” sound, feeling it in our gut. The reason is that directly calms the vagus nerve that connects our gut and other visceral organs all the way to our brain, bringing the autonomic nervous system out of a fight-flight-freeze response into a rest-and-digest (parasympathetic) response. It’s such a simple thing but it’s actually really helped regulate my nervous system when experiencing difficult emotions.


For me I’ve had to approach things from the body first. The somatic experiencing approach does this prior to bringing cognitive stuff online, realising that cognition opens up and works best once the autonomic nervous system is brought out of dysregulation. I’ve found I’ve had to approach early childhood trauma this way, but later trauma as well, because the later stuff often mirrors the same responses learned in childhood.


Another thing that might be calming between therapy sessions, if you’re starting to feel stressed, is just resting your hand on your heart and taking some restful breaths.


I’m learning to try caring for myself in the same way I care for other people and animals too. It’s like directing the same kindness you give to others towards yourself xx