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#229415 - 06/07/08 05:28 AM What are/were your goals for therapy
Barkabus Offline

Registered: 05/09/08
Posts: 809
I have made my first appointment with a therapist. It won't be until I get back from vacation though so I have just under two weeks to wait. This gives me some time to think about what I want out of therapy. I know one thing, I don't want to be in therapy any longer than I have to. I don't want to short change myself either. I just know of too many stories of people being in counseling for years without gaining much.

To be honest, I'm not sure what I want yet. "To be normal" is an easy, non-de>
My Story

#229420 - 06/07/08 06:34 AM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: Barkabus]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO

So, you are actually going to see if you have enough guts to get out of the car and open the front door for the first time? I was finally able to take that first step 23 years ago at the age of 28. I made my first appointment after a weekend party where I had rebuffed the sexual advances of three eligible women and had been called gay later. I was also running out of guy friends to hang out in a non-sexual way with. So it was age and crisis that drove me to therapy for the first time. My early goal was to become more normal with potential sexual relationships. And just 2 years after I had started therapy, I was married for the first time. So my initial goal was a success.

Read the 2nd half of my story, as it will tell you something about my struggle to be free of the problem. I would suggest that you wait to tell family and friends until after seeing your therapist and discussing that issue. At the least, you will need to have acquired better coping skills just in case that their reactions are not as positive as you had hoped. I probably told a dozen friends, and haven't seen several of them since. Telling my mom at age 15 was a really big mistake with nearly lifelong consequences. Just think and be careful, my man. I would hope that your situation with telling family and friends would be a more positive experience than mine was.

After my first marriage ended it took 7 years of personal hell and two interventions to get me back into therapy. For 7 years I just didn't care about anything. I had acheived my goal but had left therapy and 2 & 1/2 years later had no support to fall back onto when my wife left me. Are you still abusing illegal drugs or alcohol? Those habits will have to go too, if your therapy is to be a success. I would recommend joint substance abuse therapy along with CSA therapy at the same time. So, my goals in my later therapy were A: To learn how to care enough about myself to effect change, and B: To learn enough about CSA support so that I wouldn't be put back in the position of needing support that I no longer had. I also learned the hard way not to hang around with my buddies from drug treatment too long. And I learned to leave the door to CSA support open after I had left my last group, just in case.

Self-esteem is a tough issue. Once you make real progress you should have something to be proud of. I have always drawn much of my self-esteem from my ability to provide for my family. It makes me feel good when my boss tells me that I did a good job. There are self-help books on the subject out there.

It has been over eight years since I shook everyone's hand at my last in-person support group and strode confidently out the door for the last time. The last eight years of my life have been the best years of my life. I am 90% of the way there. I still have a few late-stage recovery issues that I could probably use some help with. I still struggle with self-focused anger when things don't go right. I also struggle with stress and crisis management skills, also time management skills. But my life is so much more normal these days. I own a nice house in the suburbs, have had a good job for 8 & 1/2 years now, and am engaged to be married to a woman that I've lived with for over two years now. I am currently on disability for a medical issue, but still feel good about myself.

To this day only one of my nine abusers has found out that I accused him, and only in a roundabout way. He has emphatically denied my accusation. I just found out that another of my abusers is a semi-famous building contractor and another is a senior partner at a respected investment firm. Gee, I wonder if there is any money to be made in either case? Several of my abusers were strangers and I have no idea who they are or where they are.

Just want to wish you the best of luck in your search to be free of this dreadful affliction that we all suffer from. It has been so long since my earlier life affliction that it almost seems like a different person suffered the abuse of my childhood. I am well beyond where my past abuse continues to dictate my future choices. And you can be there too, my man. You have got to have some hope, and you have got to stick with it. Let me know if you have any problems that you need to discuss.

Trucker Mark

"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark

#229422 - 06/07/08 06:38 AM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: Barkabus]
Brian Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 05/03/01
Posts: 1563
Loc: Upstate NY
Hi Mike,

I've been blessed with a great therapist and have been seeing him for about 6 years. When I first started, my only goal was to stop the pain. I didn't even consider the possibility of "being happy"; I just wanted to be numb!

After a year or so, I was open to the possibility of working on my personal issues ( weight, tobacco addiction, self-esteem) that I felt was holding me back from having a wife and family. At this point, "being happy" still did not even enter my mind - I just wanted to appear to the outside world like I was "normal". Deep down, I knew this would take several decades so I never would have to open myself up and be vulnerable until I felt like I was absolutely "perfect".

Four years ago, after absolutely no progress on my personal issues, I walked into my therapist office and he said "So lets talk about you starting to date again"! I was pissed off to say the least! I asked him, in a very sarcastic tone, "Have you been listening to anything I've been saying for the past two f**king years"? His response was that the weight and tobacco issues were just a "distraction" and that he thought I was "ready" to move on.

Long story short, 2 months later I was re-acquainted with an old girlfriend from 20 years ago - seven months later we were married. Less than 2 months ago, my wife and I adopted a beautiful baby boy from Kazakhstan. I've smiled and laughed more in the last two months than I've done in my entire life! Life is good!

I still have a very long way to go. I've got a lot of anger that I haven't deal with in a productive way. I continue to use food and tobacco as a way to medicate (punish) myself. This past week has been especially difficult at work so I really let loose at my therapist appointment tonight! Wow! I still have A LOT of work to do!!

I guess the point of my post that this recovery stuff can be overwhelming; don't forget to keep living your life while you are working on your to-do list. I've wasted decades doing just that!


Recovery is Possible!

#229498 - 06/07/08 04:03 PM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: Brian]
IMGOOD Offline

Registered: 05/31/08
Posts: 20
Had my second session this week. My first session a week before that I came in scared shiitless, extremely nervous, shaking...wondering how do I phrase my NEED to be their in the first place. How much info do I share? How "sick" does this guy think I am, based on what share? Why am I here in the first place?

I mean I've been okay for 44 yrs, I put all this dysfunction in a place in my mind and was able to live my life relatively well enough for this long.....GRRRRRRR!!! (Aggravating to say the least!!)

OH,and I started nursing school the same week I started therapy (unfortunate timing on my part), which is a big crutch in my ability to concentrate. Now, after my second session, I have a whopper of a tension headache!!

I thought the healing process would kick in a lot faster then it has so far. I'm just wondering if I'm causing more harm then good by stirring all this up and again and such a critical time.
I was so consumed with the things I revealed after my second session that I had difficulty tracking time the following day and ended showing up for class an hour early!!!

I just shot my T an email asking if he thinks I should bother seeing him again. I feel I'm putting too much stock in this guy's opinion of me, but geez,.. it's hard not to because he is the "behavioral specialist".

I'm just PISSED OFF right now, and can't seem to pinpoint the source of my anger!!!

Sorry for sounding so overwhelmed here. I'm sure this is all a normal part of the process. I don't want to scare off other guys who are at the beginning of their therapy like I am. BUT I HAVE TO SAY.....THIS SUCKS!!....(so far)

I'm walking. With each step I choose to heal

#229500 - 06/07/08 04:09 PM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: IMGOOD]
IMGOOD Offline

Registered: 05/31/08
Posts: 20
A few typo's up there, this is what I mean with my concentration level and wondering if I'm causing more harm then good. Good thing I'm not a "praticing health care worker" right now, but I'll be out there someday. LOOK OUT!!!

I'm walking. With each step I choose to heal

#229710 - 06/08/08 05:34 PM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: IMGOOD]
Hauser Offline

Registered: 11/12/05
Posts: 2963
Loc: United States
One of the most important problems that I was trying to address in therapy was my lack of motivation and desire to carry through and complete goals. Goals like finishing college, or even finishing a single course. I was getting so frustrated with myself, because I would start studying a certain subject and then, say fuck it and throw my books in the trash.

MOST other people, not just "normal" people, decide "I'm going to get a degree" or "I'm going to take these classes", and they SOMEHOW have this magical ability to sit for HOURS and HOURS and HOURS and HOURS and maintain the discipline and motivation to ACTUALLY FINISH the class or school or the degree. HOW THE HELL DO YOU PEOPLE DO THIS?

HOW people do this I have NO IDEA. This problem I have crippled my adult life.

In this society, if you don't know someone in a Union or Government Office or someone on the inside of a good employer, which I don't, you need to have a degree, or you're not gonna be gainfully employed. "Gainful" meaning being able to provide for yourself and a family. CSA RUINED any chance I had for that.

#229717 - 06/08/08 07:29 PM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: Hauser]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

My goals for therapy were several fold. I have to say I was quite ignorant about any of it going in and just knew I needed help.

One of the first things I was interested in was obviously finding a way to make the overwhelming emotional pain go away. I also wanted to figure out my problematic relationships such as that between me and my boss not to mention the problems in my marriage.

That was all I knew or understood. As I got into therapy I began to gain focus on what I needed to work on and the recovery path began to take shape.

Probably the first thing your T will do is have you fill out a personality "survey" either before or after your initial appointment with him. My guess is that the survey will come first. He will then sit down with you for a 2 hour session where you will be allowed to tell him whatever it is that's on your mind and get acquainted with each other. He will probably also use that session to discuss with you the results of your survey.

That survey will play a huge part in many of the later sessions you have with him because as you and he discover events in your life, coping skills you've developed, or other issues surrounding abuse and it's impact on your current life he'll get out his white board and show you how those things fit into the overall picture of who you are and why you've reacted to events in your life in the way you have. It's a really fascinating process not to mention enlightening. I remember experiencing so many "light bulb" moments sitting there in his leather love seat watching him talking animatedly while he made marks on that board.

Oh, if you're anything like me you'll be absolutely scared to death to make that first visit. The day of my visit I came so close to just driving on by and going home. I didn't and am so glad of that.

You have my best thoughts as you prepare for your first session.

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

#229760 - 06/08/08 11:36 PM Re: What are/were your goals for therapy [Re: WalkingSouth]
IMGOOD Offline

Registered: 05/31/08
Posts: 20
Hey John o.k. "walking south"

At what point did you feel you where making progress? Clearly, the beginning part of therapy is nerve wracking. Albeit everyone is an individual and has a different take on the "process".

I'm only two sessions into it. I HAVE picked up on something though, the longer you wait to get your ass on the proverbial T couch, the longer the therapy will take to complete. This site is a great resource and can help accelerate the healing. I just ordered Mike Lews book, Victim No Longer. It has some excellent reviews on

Man, I'll tell 'ya something, which I hope is a normal reaction, is all this ANGER I'm feeling. I'm a peace at one moment then I find myself in the paralyzing center of all the overlapping elements of grief the next, but ANGER is a main stay at this point.

I want to lash out, and hurt the bastard who put all this upon me to unravel (who happens to be my brother), but I'm discovering that deeper secrets where probable in my family or at least the suspicion of them according to my T.
I can't validate them because I no longer have a relationship with the family, even if I one would admit to anything or else they would call me crazy or a trouble maker, stirring up the past with the attitude that sleeping dogs should be left to lie.

I need to pace myself here in terms of not getting overwhelmed....I think that's what happened to me on my second session. That's probably why I'm so angry. Sorry for rambling on like this.

I'm walking. With each step I choose to heal


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