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Not sure what to do about therapy

Old 08-26-2011, 07:49 AM
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Not sure what to do about therapy

So, to make a long story short, I am seeing a therapist (LCSW) who specializes in addictions therapy. He is also in recovery and attends 12-step meetings. He knows how I feel about them and seemed pretty happy last week when I had said I had attended a SMART meeting and was starting to read some literature on RR, SMART, RET, CBT, etc (because for a while now, I have not been attending 12-step meetings and had not initiated any kind of alternative solutions to really sink my teeth into). Then this week he got pretty down on me and more or less said that I don't really have a "program" of recovery, I didn't go to any "meetings" this week, etc. On a side note, he once again went off on a tangent about my husband - suggesting we have an unhealthy marriage and that if things don't get better we are somewhat doomed.

He's been down on my marriage for a while and quite honestly I am kind of okay with my marriage right now (not perfect, but far from doomed) - but more importantly, *I* don't even bring my marriage up in sessions and don't feel like talking about it at this stage because there are other things I want to discuss.

I had to try and shift the session 3 times total back to trying to discuss how I felt worried that I have mentally been thinking really negative and irrelevant thoughts lately about people and events that have no real bearing on my present life or issues...and that it was dragging me down. He kept turning it back to my lack of a "program", me not taking antabuse any longer, and my marriage.

I guess part of me needed to vent here and am also sort of wondering if anyone else has come into conflicts with their therapist regarding their non-12 step approach to not drinking? I just don't feel that he is supportive.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:17 AM
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May be he's just not the right therapist for you.

It took me years to find a therapist that I felt benefited me. Now, that didn't mean I liked everything she had to say. Not by a long shot.

I just felt comfortable. I felt like she understood me. And the best thing, I was seeing results.

Good luck to you!
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by freethinking View Post
I guess part of me needed to vent here and am also sort of wondering if anyone else has come into conflicts with their therapist regarding their non-12 step approach to not drinking? I just don't feel that he is supportive.
If you don't want to deal with this type of browbeating, work your own "program" and seek therapy for other issues not pertaining to your addiction if you feel you need it. Most certified alcohol and drug abuse counselors are "in recovery" themselves, and will naturally try to steer you in that direction. I've been there myself, and now stay well away from them.

I do have to give your therapist credit for actually disclosing that he is "in recovery" and attending meetings, though. Many people in his position would not be so forthcoming, and some will actually lie. I always recommend asking a therapist if they or anyone in their family are involved in a 12-Step program if that is a concern.
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:30 AM
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Yeah, I have a feeling he isn't for me although I do think he was of some valuable support during my first few months of not drinking....but it feels like we are at a crossroads now and that I need something different from a therapist.

And I think that's probably very good advice about seeing a therapist for issues outside of my drinking. I had never thought of that, AVRT. Good points.

I may try and find some names of people that specialize in the cognitive behavioral stuff...it's so hard picking names without recommendations.
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Old 08-26-2011, 02:40 PM
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Freethinking: Since the therapist is an LCSW, he is bound by the social work code of ethics which requires him to respect the perspectives and worldviews of his clients; social workers are definitely not supposed to impose their own ways on you, and this includes trying to get you into a "recovery program", especially not HIS recovery program if you've repeatedly told him you prefer a different way forward.

Bottom line: if the therapist isn't helping you now (even if he helped you before), then get a different therapist. It sounds like a CBT specialist might be just the ticket for you, and there are PLENTY of those.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:06 PM
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I've been thinking about this and am having anxiety over getting rid of him. I have a feeling he'll give me a guilt trip, and I still feel pretty shaky these days in terms of not doing a 12 step program. After almost 20 years of hearing how if I don't do the 12-steps I won't stay sober, I'm just now finding the guts to stand on my own two feet with this other stuff.

Would it be awful if I just canceled my next session and din't tell him I was moving on to a different therapist? I just feel like his reaction may make me feel like sh*t.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by freethinking View Post
I've been thinking about this and am having anxiety over getting rid of him. I have a feeling he'll give me a guilt trip, and I still feel pretty shaky these days in terms of not doing a 12 step program. After almost 20 years of hearing how if I don't do the 12-steps I won't stay sober, I'm just now finding the guts to stand on my own two feet with this other stuff.
This is quite common in people who leave a 12-Step program, particularly after extensive exposure, so you wouldn't be the first to feel this way.

Originally Posted by freethinking View Post
Would it be awful if I just canceled my next session and din't tell him I was moving on to a different therapist? I just feel like his reaction may make me feel like sh*t.
I'm not telling you what to do either way, but if you want to be polite, just tell him that you've decided to focus your recovery energy elsewhere, and that you know where to find him if you need him.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AVRT View Post

I'm not telling you what to do either way, but if you want to be polite, just tell him that you've decided to focus your recovery energy elsewhere, and that you know where to find him if you need him.
This sounds like good advice. I'm just wondering how to handle his "Let's discuss this in person" response....
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:22 PM
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freethinking, I think AVRT's advice is very good. Since you feel like you are starting to get your legs under you so to speak, this might be good practice for you to politely assert yourself about your decision. When I was in situations like this , I used to actually practice in my head, because I used to say waaay too much and try to overexplain my reasons and make sure the other person wasn't angry, disappointed, thinking poorly of me, etc. For some reason I wanted them to be "ok" with my decisions. They don't need to be ok with my decisions...I need to be ok with my decisions. I practiced being short and sweet with it, especially if I felt I would be met with resistance. It has become much easier for me over time, and so freeing. Another way to add to the empowerment of my own recovery. and, yes, find a therapist that fits you. I don't always agree with mine, and she certainly tells me things I don't always want to hear (usually in the form of thought provoking questions LOL) but I never feel uncomfortable or fearful. I mean if we begin to need therapy for our therapy it's probably not a good thing
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:31 PM
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I saw an addiction specialist and he was no help at all. I only had the one session and he was trying to get me on anti-craving medication when I didn't have any cravings at all. Like the others said drug and alcohol counsellors are very good and might be what you are looking for in terms of support. I would cancel the session if you are not happy with him no explanation needed and move onto something that your more comfortable with.
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Old 08-27-2011, 06:57 AM
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I think this thread is going to be deleted - but thanks for all the feedback. I'll post an update for anyone interested in the outcome...but so far I have found a therapist who specializes in REBT so hopefully he pans out since he is also so close by.

Thanks again for the support!
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:02 AM
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Why on earth would this thread be deleted? What are we doing "wrong" here?
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:53 AM
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When I was in rehab I felt my therapist was not a good fit and chose to switch. All of the therapists sat with me and told me the reasons why this was a bad idea but said I was should speak to my therapist. I was very brief and explained why I wanted to work with another specific therapist and it was approved. As it turned out, this was all a part of my recovery because they saw that I needed to stand up for myself and make my own choices as an adult. It all goes back to, you get to choose who you have in your life.
SH
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:19 AM
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"you get to choose"...no sweeter words for me!
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:49 AM
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There are exceptions to every rule and I think your topic is one of the exceptions. It is a real issue you are having. If everyone can stay on topic with the issue and not get into 12 step talk we should be good to go.
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:01 AM
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Thanks MG!

Well, I actually emailed him and more or less thanked him for his help but also said I felt since the "crisis" part of quitting drinking was over and that I was looking at things like SMART, RR, etc to keep me sober in the future. I also said that I was going to go forward with a therapist who specialized in REBT.

All my "awfulizing" over his response was for nothing, really. He thanked me for the opportunity to work together and said if I needed anything in the future, he was there.

I really appreciate the support on this. Some of this stuff I write seems so remedial when I read it over - but I really have needed your thoughts and advice. Truthfully, I think I just need to slowly gain some confidence in my decisions and going with my gut.

Thanks again!!
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Old 08-27-2011, 11:44 AM
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Good job, freethinking! I know it took real courage for you to do that and I'm so glad it turned out the way it did. I bet that next time you have to stick up for yourself (and you will!) it'll be easier.

BTW, I don't think your issues or writings are remedial at all. I know I've struggled with this stuff too and needed help to get through it.
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Old 08-27-2011, 12:38 PM
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"Truthfully, I think I just need to slowly gain some confidence in my decisions and going with my gut."

It sounds like you are doing just that! Yay!

and you don't sound remedial to me at all
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Old 08-27-2011, 08:42 PM
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I'm glad everything seems to have worked out. It's so important to have a good relationship with your therapist
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:59 AM
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Hi Freethinking. I have found some social value in going to agnostic meetings, to be sure, but for a therapist to 'force' a 12 step program on you seems a tad dogmatic!

I have been looking at revisions of these step programs, such as The Spiral Steps, which I am journalism in a separate thread...they have 13 steps. Another version, outlined in the book, 'Many Roads, One Journey:Moving Beyond the Twelve Steps, has a 16 step variation. These are largely designed to workaround the various aversions people have to the religious, sin/redemption defects/removal paradigms found in the steps, and ways to replace them with more positive, less guilt-ridden approaches. I have found it immensely helpful, and they can be used in conjunction with everything from cognitive psychology to Zen, and points in-between, from Atheism to anarchy.

Good luck in your journey, and remember: there is no one way that id right for everyone.

"Only a fool and water follow the beaten path where it leads them."

-Me, I think, while pondering from Tao texts
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