Looking for a new direction in therapy
April 17, 2019 8:39 AM   Subscribe

For the last two years, I've been seeing a therapist from the Gestalt school, now I feel I need something more.

I've been seeing a therapist for the last two years, he helped me immensely during a lot of major life changes over a short period of time (becoming a dad, multiple moves, parents going bankrupt, buying and selling properties, etc).

Most of my issues come from growing up in a household where violence was tolerated and lacking in stability, followed by teenage years that were laced with trauma. As a result, I am emotionally unavailable, prone to depression, anxiety and outbursts of anger. A real treat.

As much as I like my therapy, I don't think we're making the progress I'd like. I'm getting more and more frustrated over not being able to take joy from my accomplishments. Over the past two weeks I spent 5 days integrating my daughter into preschool, had an interview published, and paid off a large debt. I feel like I should be proud of myself, I've accomplished so much.. but there's nothing, just a hole.

Am I demanding too much, or should I look at other therapeutic routes? What's out there?
posted by jedrek to Health & Fitness (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Most of my issues come from growing up in a household where violence was tolerated and lacking in stability, followed by teenage years that were laced with trauma. As a result, I am emotionally unavailable, prone to depression, anxiety and outbursts of anger. A real treat.

Look for a therapist who specialises in trauma work, with experience of working with people with developmental trauma. My family of origin was similar and I spent years trying to treat the depression, which in retrospect was a primary symptom of trauma and not the problem in and of itself.

Things really started improving when I identified trauma/complex PTSD as the root cause and spent time in therapy with a trauma-competent therapist focusing on the cause rather than on the symptoms. It was the difference for me between therapy-as-band-aid, leaving me just about able to manage my life in constant high-stress mode, and therapy-as-treatment, healing years-old wounds and changing the way I relate to the world and to myself.

If you haven't spent a lot of time on the early life trauma angle previously, you may find books like Pete Walker's Complex PTSD helpful both for validation and for identifying early life experiences that can cause trauma in kids, as well as the way trauma responses manifest when those kids become adults.
posted by terretu at 9:19 AM on April 17, 2019 [4 favorites]


It is by no means unusual to want to switch therapists or therapies, even if what you've done so far has been successful. You might want to explore your specific problems with your current therapist before you switch, though. He might be able to change his approach, or he might be able to help you find someone else. It's perfectly OK to tell a therapist that what they're doing isn't working for you any more. It does sound, however, like you need to keep working with a psychologist or psychiatrist.
posted by ubiquity at 9:21 AM on April 17, 2019


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