CBT therapist

I’m not going to apologize for my lack of posting, because I hate reading those.

After firing therapist number 23, I thought I might take a break from therapy for a bit. I was very angry at him, but leaving was a huge relief and immediately had a positive impact on my mood. The relief lasted a bit, but soon, without another outlet, some grumpyness began to ooze into my professional life.

I really like psychodynamic theories. The therapist who I have liked the most was psychodynamically oriented, while the one who kicked me out of school was into CBT.

I keep seeking out these psychodynamic therapists in an effort to replicate the therapy I had with this other therapist (S.M.). I want this idealized perfect therapy that I read about in text books. I want one where there are insightful interpretations and the new relationship disproves the assumptions from my old object relations.

My best and worst ideas are impulses that come to me while trying to sleep or taking a shower. I lept out of bed to the computer. I needed something completely different.
I searched on the ABCT therapist directory. I would find a CBT therapist.
This was harder than I expected.
Despite living in an area with a relatively high population of therapists, the list was short. Many of the names were names of researchers working at one particular research center. I didn’t want to participate in a study. I’d feel too guilty when I didn’t get better.
I narrowed the list to two choices and went to sleep.

I made a call to one therapist in the morning.

After the call I began rationalizing my impulsive, poorly thought out decision.

“This isn’t real therapy”, I thought. “This is rebound therapy”.
I don’t believe CBT has the ability to ultimately fix my problems, but I thought maybe I should give it another shot
temporarily. After all it is really the B part, behavioral, I object to, the C part, Cognitive, is not so bad. If I could find a person using the right balance of minimal B and mostly C, maybe it could work.

I figured it could be short term and might shove me out of my therapy rut.

Whenever I disagreed with my previous therapist’s interpretations he would argue that maybe the process he was speaking of was unconscious. It was infuriating, when he would pull things out of seemingly nowhere and say this. How can you argue with the unconscious?
At least with CBT I could dodge that.

I made an appointment and began to feel guilty.

I have so much anger towards the CBT therapist who got me kicked out of my school much of which has generalized to the theoretical perspective as a whole. This poor woman would have to be subjected to this. She had no way of knowing what she was getting into. She’d done nothing wrong yet, I’d not even met her, but I was feeling intense rage and fear towards her.

I felt awful about what I would put this poor woman through and decided I needed a peace-offering to begin with.

Where do CBT and I have common ground? We both like data. I keep track of a number of variables in my life.
I decided to print out an excel sheet of the past several months of certain variables, complete with averages at the bottom of each column.
As it turned out, I never showed her the spreadsheet, because the timing was never right.

I built her up in my head as this monster I needed to defend myself against. When I arrived at the first appointment to discover she had only one head and no visible fangs it was a relief. Almost anything she could have done would have been better than my expectations.

Much of the anger dissipated once I entered the waiting room for the first appointment and behind it I was terrified.

She won some points for acknowledging how traumatic the whole getting kicked out of school mess was.

I decided to keep meeting with her.

I never told her where I go to school or where I work. It started to feel silly after awhile, but it was a nice little extra level of safety. She couldn’t use that information to hurt me if she didn’t possess it.

She’s a psychologist, so she can’t prescribe. In the first week of August my Klonopin was going to expire. That date acted as a deadline for when I needed to transition therapy to a psychiatrist or at least find a psychopharmacologist.

Through a misunderstanding, she thought I wanted to end at the end of June. I’d been thinking more like the end of July, but decided to leave it at June.

I went to her looking for CBT and received supportive therapy, not CBT.
That’s not useless, but also not what I’d been looking for.
For all of ABCT’s posturing about empirically supported treatments and manualized therapies, I didn’t see much of that. I shouldn’t really be that surprised that outside of a research setting CBT can mean anything really. Both CBT and Psychodynamic ideas have problems with inconsistencies in their implementation. Finding that specific treatment you want out in the world is not so simple.

I was even willing to fill out worksheets. There was not a single one. I have trouble believing it’s real CBT without a worksheet or two.

She did admit that it wasn’t really CBT.

Maybe getting something other than CBT from a CBT practitioner was all I could really handle. If nothing else it was some exposure therapy to just show up.

I had such a problem during the spring semester in one of my classes. My intellectual feelings about CBT differ from my emotional feelings. Speaking in class I need to be so careful to only speak from my frontal cortex rather than from my amygdala. Too often I’ve allowed bit of emotion to bleed into my words.

Professionally I need to be able to separate the two. More and more I am encountering situations that push my limits with exposure to CBT outside of my own personal therapy.

Villainizing CBT can be too easy when working with psychodynamically oriented therapists. There is a long history of animosity between the two groups. They tend to collude with me in this issue. The difference is that they are objecting to it theoretically (although emotions are certainly there, but they are an effect rather than a cause), while I am objecting to it emotionally and finding intellectual reasons to rationalize that emotional reaction.

I do feel I got some benefit from the therapy, even though it was clear the therapist felt she’d failed me somehow. Most sessions were me spending an hour going through my massive to do list. I was so busy and exhausted that directing therapy towards a goal was way outside of my present abilities.

Just being there with a CBT therapist, the content wasn’t important. What was important was the conflict free relationship with a CBT practitioner. This helped me work through some of the negative transference I’d been experiencing toward her before the first appointment. Really in this way the “CBT” therapy did more for my object relations than a lot of psychodynamic therapy has done.

I’m still messed up, but this feels like a teensy step in a good direction.

I feel embarrassed about going to see a CBT therapist. I called S.M. a couple of times while I was seeing her. I lied saying I wasn’t in therapy. I asked him for a referral for the new therapist I went to see after this CBT therapist. I also did not tell the new therapist who I saw on Thursday. I lied and said I’d been out of therapy entirely for the past couple of months.

Are psychology majors crazy?

crazypsychThe above image shows some search terms people have used to find this blog.  This tells me two things.

1. People want to know if psychology majors are crazy.

2. There are people who don’t realize a “?” is unnecessary for a search engine.

This post will focus on the first observation, rather than the second. Though I do think the second is also important.

Please note: This post is purely conjecture. I have not met every single psychology major in the world or interviewed a sufficiently sized random sample. I can’t draw real conclusions about an entire group. Everything I am saying is just based on personal experience.

The title of my blog is intended to be a little tongue in cheek. I’m a psychology major and I might half-jokingly refer to myself as “crazy” so it seemed like a good blog title. Humor is a useful defense.

So are psychology majors crazier than the average person?

I think everyone is a little crazy, just in different ways and in varying amounts.

It takes a certain amount of sanity to be able to be in college. I think a better question is “Are psychology majors crazier than the average college student?”

I can’t really answer that. I don’t think anyone can.

I believe that I am probably crazier than the average psychology major as well as the average college student.

I know a lot of “crazy” psychology majors. But I just in general associate myself with fellow crazy people. Some of them just happen to be psychology majors. The majority are not.

Looking at my peers in class they don’t seem particularly crazy. They could perhaps be excellent at hiding it. People have many different motivations for an interest in psychology. Personal experience is just one of them.

A psychology major who happens to also be “crazy” likely has greater insight into their problems. I believe that insight helps a person function better and thus makes them less crazy. It blows me away how little some non-psychology majors know about the problems they are suffering from. Knowledge is very beneficial.

A non-psychology major who I know was recently diagnosed with social anxiety. When I first met her, I assumed she already had been diagnosed with it, because it seemed obvious to me. Last semester she was struggling with her classes. A large part of the problem was her fear of talking in class for oral presentations (she’d skip class when she had one or put off doing the assignment) and she skipped appointments she made to talk to the professor for help because she’d get too anxious. Eventually she went to the school counseling center where she was diagnosed with social anxiety. She hadn’t had a clue there were treatment options for her problem and is now getting help.

A psychology major might not have needed to wait so long to realize there were options available for help.

Hypothetically, if psychology majors are psychologically different from other majors this would pose a problem for some research being conducted at universities. Many psychology classes at colleges offer small amounts of extra credit for participating in one of the school’s research studies. While many psychological studies do have specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, often (at least at my school and others I have heard of) the ones available for extra credit are open to all. If psychology  students are “crazier” this could potentially be hurting the results of the study and making them less able to be generalized to the whole population.

In conclusion, I don’t have evidence to say whether or not psychology majors are crazier than the average college student. I just think those that are, are more aware of their personal crazy. This might cause them to be more vocal about it and maybe seem more crazy, but in the end the additional insight they have is able to help them.

What do you think?