Should I break up with my therapist?
March 10, 2011 12:01 PM Subscribe
Is my therapist a crackpot? Should I break up with her over it? If so, can you recommend a trauma-focused therapist in Los Angeles?
posted by thehmsbeagle to health & fitness (37 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is payback for all the times I enthusiastically recommended therapy here, I imagine.
A while ago, I had a thing happen where I almost died. I am physically okay now, but I have some residual mental issues relating to that trauma. I finally decided to seek therapy for help working through that stuff.
I picked this current therapist because she has a professional background in trauma. She has a PhD, which was important to me: although I know the thing about how the outcomes for PhD and masters-level therapists are the same, I was really hoping to find someone with a research background in trauma.
I've seen her several times now. Our rapport is okay. Her approach seems to be exposure therapy, basically. She wants me to talk about the sadness I have relative to the trauma until the bad feelings diminish. I am not an expert, so I don't know if that's the state of the art or what.
Once or twice, I have felt kind of "..." about something she's said, but not outside of the realm of Stuff I Can Ignore.
But today she said some things that make me really unsure about continuing the relationship. I would appreciate some insight from those of you reading this with some experience - either as a therapist, or a person in therapy - in this area.
I am not looking for LOL ENERGY RAYS - I have that covered on my own.
Okay, some background: one of the things I want professional help with is figuring out if some memory issues I've had since the trauma are:
a) all in my head
b) "mommy brain"
c) actual minor brain damage caused by the trauma
I have repeatedly brought this up with her. She seems to think that time will fix it, if it's a real problem. Today I asked her specifically if she thought I should go see a neurologist or someone in an associated field, just to rule out any issues.
She said that she thought my "brain chemistry" was out of balance. I said "Hmmm." She asked if I wanted to pursue traditional medicine or alternative therapies to fix this. I said that I was not interested in anti-depressants, because I don't believe that they're more effective than placebo for most people. (Also, I am not actually depressed. I know what depression feels like, and this isn't it.)
At that point she went on a long explanation of how I needed to get lots of good nutrition, exercise and sun exposure. She told me to make sure I got plenty of sun, with my sunglasses off. So the "rays could go into my brain".
I interrupted to say that I am a science-minded nerd, and while I am prepared to believe pretty much whatever, I need to see real studies backing up claims about stuff.
She then went on a long thing about how I should read about Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Oz and take Vitamin D and Vitamin B and "fish oils". And acupuncture, there were "many studies" showing how effect these things were. And she finished by suggesting that I visit a local psychiatrist who is a "bio-chemist" who does hair and blood tests and works with "enzymes" to balance your brain chemistry.
Because "trauma creates toxins" in your brain.
There was more in that vein, but you get the picture.
Okay. I am more of a hippie than many people on Metafilter. I am prepared to believe that trauma creates toxins in your brain, I guess. But... this all sounds like total bullshit to me. Maybe I could ignore it, but... This therapist also seems resistant to the idea of me going to see a neurologist. "They just do CAT scans!" She seems heavily invested in the idea of balancing your brain chemistry through nutrition, etc, and cleansing your system of "toxins".
Is there any real research out there showing that what she's talking about is legit when it comes to PTSD? (Specifically that thing about the rays going into your brain.)
If no... does this seem like something worth ending the therapeutic relationship over?
And finally, can anyone recommend a counselor who specializes in PTSD and can handle nerd clients, in the Los Angeles area?