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#224243 - 05/14/08 09:15 PM is therapy working for anyone out there
mara Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/01/08
Posts: 18
I think chrty's comments on her H's attitude towards therapists has got me thinking. I have seen my H is floods of tears pick up the phone and in a chipper voice deal with whoever is there as Mr. Happy, hang up and go right back to crying. He has admitted to me that he has told his T and his support group very little about himself and how he is feeling. He has painted this very positive picture to them all and they all think he is a rock. He has even said he wants to discontinue therapy because it's going nowhere. I said she can't help you unless you give them more to work with. So many on this site have made the same decision, to discontinue therapy. We keep reading that we and our men must get help and I also keep reading that we and our men quit therapy over and over.
I have recently read the book Sybil and she also was determined to hide the truth about herself from her therapist even though she was reaching out for help. Chrty's H obviously feels the T's are gullible and incompetent and that he can deceive them.

Is therapy working for anyone? Are we just fooling ourselves that help is available? Is going to therapy just going through the motions?

#224244 - 05/14/08 09:24 PM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: mara]
Freedom49 Offline

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 2724
Loc: Washington State
Therapy has worked for me and has been huge in my recovery. However therapy is like a computer. Garbage in, garbage out. If you are not honest with your T. Then he has nothing to work with but guesses. What can you expect. I have learned to be painfully honest with my T. That has helped me see truth and deal with issues in an honest and helpful way. It is not magic. The formula is simple. Tell it all, sort it out, make the adjustments requested, recover and heal. Good luck.

Remember I said simple, not easy, it is painful and anything but easy. That is why we avoid it.

Edited by Freedom49 (05/14/08 10:18 PM)

#224245 - 05/14/08 09:53 PM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: Freedom49]
Marissa Offline

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 69
Therapy only works if your SO is willing to be vulnerable to the feelings that come with exposing ones' self - which is my dh's greatest fear.

We have been in therapy for a year - we are making SLOW progress - but progress. It is hard for DH to see that having sex/not having sex does not = progress or lack thereof, respectively.

For my Dh, and I would assume many men, they are socialized to ignore their feelings and truly don't know how to "access" them, so to speak. I think a lot of our time has been spent with dh learning what feelings *are* to begin with - bad feelings, that is. he could tell you when he's happy and having fun - but cannot identify with sad, hurt, scared. He's right with you on angry tho. ;O)

When T asked dh how he *felt* during the CSA he said, "like I wanted to leave.". T said, "Yes, that is the ACTION you wanted to take. But how did you FEEL?". Dh was unable to come up with powerless, helpless, terrified, overwhelmed - anything of that nature - he went along with "scared" when it was offered to him as a possibility. But again - unable to come up with any uncomfortable feelings on his own.

I love our T and think she is great. I have high hopes for DH and dammit, he's going to have them too eventually if I have anything to say about it. :O) LOL

Don't give up.


#224249 - 05/14/08 10:45 PM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: Marissa]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
Funny, I'm coming to this after a long and tearful phone conversation with one of my close friends. He's wonderful for times when i just need reassurence and support or quite literally to cry, but he's not my Therapist, neither are the other two friends I talk to for this reason, neither is my parents.

for me, the most important thing my t does is be there, let me explore my feelings, ---- often with questions (I quite often ask her to ask me questions), and I don't have to be at all concerned about her feelings or reactions.

It's a really awful thing to say, but when I started seeing my T in march, I said to myself that sinse this was being paid for, I really didn't have to worry about her feelings.

I don't have to worry about upsetting her with details about my abuse, about how she will react if I get immotional, ---- and that doesn't always mean crying, sometimes I've actually been angry.

this is really helpful for me. I've just been really upset on the phone to my friend, ----- then spent a hole while appologising to him, then worrying that I'm beeing a parasite, then appologising some more.

with my T there's no need for this, which feels very liberating to me.

One other thing I'm only just realizing thoughabout my t, ---- which may or may not apply to others, is that not only can I disregard her feelings, but if she says something about me that doesn't fit, or even feels wrong or upsetting, it's actually a valuable use of both of our time for me to say so.

If I hadn't realized this though, i think i might have given up therapy myself. there was a point a few weeks ago where I felt my T wasn't saying anything much that was of use to me, and wasn't being any more help than talking to my friends or posting here was. I realized though that sinse this therapy was bieng paid for by my parents, it was up to me to get the most out of it, which meant letting my T know what was being said wasn't helpful.

sinse then we've got on better I think.

I'll admit I've been rather lucky in terms of getting opinions about therapy, sinse my dad is a retired psychiatric nurse, and I have a close friends who's got an ma in counceling, ---- and both of them recommended I get counceling myself over my problem, and sinse i trust their opinions, ---- despite the fact I didn't particularly like the idea of having therapy, I in the end decided to.

I think though, there is also a personality thing with a T as well. The first one I tried, ----- despite supposedly being an expert on male Sa (his books in the bibbleogrphy I think), was bloody useless in person, and my dad and I both agreed seeing him wouldn't be a good idea, where as the lady I see each week I get on with much better. i've heard other people say the same thing as well, and I'd imagine if it's a couple going for therapy things are more complicated sinse the t has to click with both people not just the one.

I'm really sorry for the wrant.

#224262 - 05/15/08 12:48 AM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: dark empathy]
Trish4850 Offline
BoD Liaison Emeritus

Registered: 10/15/05
Posts: 3280
Loc: New Jersey
Mara and Marissa - I do understand where you're coming from. My b/f goes to see his T religiously once a week, for a while it was every other week, but then they started getting into some heavy stuff and stepped it back up again. Here's the thing, he tells her almost everything. He goes there and gets torn to pieces, comes home to recuperate for a day or two and then it's back to life as it's always been. This has been going on for better than 2 years and it is the second time (the first was maybe 15 years ago) with the same T. Speaking with him about his T sessions is taboo with us as well and for the most part, I'm OK with that, although like you, I'd like a little more info because I don't think she is helping him much anymore. The few times we've talked about it and I've broached the subject that maybe this T isn't right for him, he's gotten very sullen and a little defensive so I backed off. He trusts her and I don't want to mess that up.

Like your husband Marissa, my b/f doesn't know what feelings are, except sadness. He can be overcome with it at the most unexpected times. It's rare to see him work up a really good, totally uninhibited laugh, but when he does, everyone around him notices because it's such a joy to watch. If anyone draws his attention to it though, he denies it. I find that very sad. Anger is practically non-existent.

DE, I only wish my b/f could feel the same about his T, unfortunately I think he cares as much about her as she does about him. I think that's a big part of the problem I have with her. I do like her, I do think she's a good T, but I don't think she is helping him much. The first time he saw her was, at first, for marriage counseling. She picked up on things with him and they started individual therapy. Unfortunately, he and his now ex-wife as well as the T and her husband became social friends. He learned alot about her life, which broke down the necessary distance there should be between a T and a patient.

So, does therapy help? I believe it absolutely does, but like Roger said, "garbage in, garbage out." And there is no way to control whether our guys will give the T, just the disguarded paper goods or the really stinky stuff.

ROCK ON.......Trish

If you fall down 10 times, Stand up 11.

#224279 - 05/15/08 03:25 AM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: mara]
thecoopstah Offline

Registered: 07/19/04
Posts: 589
Loc: massachusetts
Is going to therapy just going through the motions?

I am convinced i'd be dead today or would killed someone if i did not sought out therapy and this was over 5 years ago.

Therapy is an amazing healing yet it can be painful,extremely painful but well worth the hurt,anger,sadness,lonliness,being so afraid all the time,....etc etc etc

dont give up on him......he's probably so filled with fear that quitting is easoer to do....however terminating T only causes more pain and the vicious cycle with no help as a result of the abuse is intensified X 100.



" You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have "

#224312 - 05/15/08 06:04 AM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: thecoopstah]
dark empathy Offline

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 2688
Loc: durham, north england
trish, I'm really sorry that happened with your T. It reminds me of a quite frightening experience I had recently with a friend of mine. I'd known her for several years and we exchange phone conversations every few weeks. Either because of her ma, ---- or just her personality, she's very easy to talk to, and we've discussed a lot of stuff. Even though I had no intention of telling her about my abuse, I ended up doing it, and it's been the only time of telling someone which was relatively easy.

Though we've discussed a lot of things though, --- such as the difference betwene friendship and counceling, synaesthesia, science and the existance of God, she's always very firmly said "I don't want to be your therapist" for a long while I couldn't understand this.

Here was someone who was incredibly experienced, someone I felt comfortable with, someone who had the skills, ---- she's even quite a lot older than me, ---- why couldn't she be my therapist. i even once offered to send her some cash, sinse I felt talking to her had been so helpful.

a few weeks ago though, something quite frightening happened. We were discussing my feelings about physical affection and my abuse, and I was trying to describe my abusers and how I felt. Very suddenly, I started to actually lose touch with reality. suddenly I wasn't talking to my friend, reality had literallly fragmented, and I actually started to feel the way I felt during my abuse, ---- I felt the same disconnection, the same coldness. My friend wasn't even prsent anymore.

We both at that point had to literally say, ---- no, this stops here, because I'm absolutely certain if we went on not only would something quite bad have probably happened with me, but we couldn't have been friends anymore, sinse I'd start to feel afraid while talking to her, afraid of falling down the slippery slope and ending up (as she put it), in a very dark place.

Now, we have a no go rule, and that's how we've stayed friends.

with my T though, I walk in expecting to go to those sorts of places, ---- several times I've literally psyked myself up to go and speak to her and walked in to see her totally tripped out on adrenaline.

I'm not saying this is a good thing, and i know quite often I'm down right rude to my T, and say things to her I'd never considder saying to a friend. back in March when i started seeing her I felt quite guilty about some of this, but I remember my friend the counceler saying "she's tough, she can take it, she really won't mind"

And surprisingly, she doesn't.

It really helps me to cry and agonize on here or to my friends, but to explore the really bad places and the worst feelings, ---- which actually do need exploring sometimes, ---- I need someone distant, and that's what I'd say my T does for me.

the main thing I feel though sometimes about my T ---- and something which I know causes problems for my friends and my parents is impatience, and lack of faith in counceling. So what if I've identified something, ---- what can I actually do! about it, and what about the things that I actually can't talk about, such as my fear of anything S related, and I'm stil not sure what to do about this. I can talk about it until the cows come home, but I'm not sure how much good it does, and all my T says is "give it time, it's a slow process" which isn't precisely helpful.

#224337 - 05/15/08 12:38 PM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: dark empathy]
mara Offline
New Here

Registered: 04/01/08
Posts: 18
ok, so I'm not that far off the mark. Other than Freedom49, who recognizes that it is only by complete and total honesty that therapy can hope to work, and who has got proper help, the rest of the responses are pretty mixed: yes and no, maybe maybe not. This is how I feel too. This was my question: does this process work? Or is it just window-dressing?
Trish's answer scares me most of all: a therapist who is also a personal friend with him and his ex-wife? I think this shows poor judgment on the therapist's part. It also shows how much we spouses have to suppress our own discomfort with various aspects of our man's recovery.
Sorry for the negativity, but I really want to understand this. I want to believe in it.

#224370 - 05/15/08 03:07 PM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: mara]
Marissa Offline

Registered: 05/06/08
Posts: 69
Mara -

I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I am mixed on this topic - I am not. I firmly believe that therapy helps.

I think the bottom line is that therapy works if you want it to and are willing to change how you think about things. That is a really hard conccept for my dh to grasp, but he's getting it slowly but surely.

Therapy is not a quick fix - it takes time and patience and you and your dh may not be in the same place at the same time.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself. Physically and mentally.

Your Dh has to learn to care for himself as well.

#224521 - 05/16/08 05:35 AM Re: is therapy working for anyone out there [Re: mara]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon
Yes, therapy is working for me. I started this journey nearly 5 years ago now, and I'd probably be dead or on the streets if I'd tried to go on as I was without it.

Many times our wives think it should simply be a matter of deciding in our mind that things are different now and we should be able to just magically be recovered. A few sessions at the T and we're done. Fixed. All better.

Some of us have felt that way at times as well. I did and discovered it doesn't work that way. I will be on the recovery path for the rest of my life. Sure, I think I've got the major hurdles out of the way, but I'll be learning, growing, recovering from the damage done to me for the rest of my life and I consider that to be a positive thing. I've discontinued weekly visits to the therapist now, but I can tell you one thing, I needed them for a very long time and I still make the occasional appointment so that I can go in for a "redirect" once in a while.

One should tell the T everything there is to tell when one is able to tell. That's what You're paying them for. This thing of keeping it back is a crock. Be open and honest with your T. How the heck else do we expect them to help us out?

Anyhow, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

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