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Discussion Starter #1
I've seen counselors a few times throughout my life for various issues, mostly as a teenager. My life was considerably more tumultuous at that time and I incurred a few traumas, developed anxiety and ultimately got past my anxiety symptoms through group counseling, but never really spoke to anyone about the traumas. Partly, that's because at the time, they didn't seem like a big deal.

They still don't, really. I'm generally a pretty resilient person and I don't spend much time actively thinking about my past. But, I have started to notice that some things "trigger" me and cause me to get angry or shut down. I've taken to simply squashing my feelings in order to cope, which I saw as better than my former habit of over-analyzing things (a symptom of anxiety and also INFP-ness).

I'm considering going to therapy to deal with those triggers, but I'm worried that I'll be consumed by those past traumas if I allow them to take up head-space. My mother has PTSD and it does some scary things to people. Part of me feels like if I admit to myself that I experienced trauma, I will end up like her. Another part of me knows that if I don't deal with the trauma, I will end up like her.

What have been your experiences with therapy?
Do you think your successes or failures in counseling have a relationship to your personality type?
What works for you, and what doesn't?

I'll start:
The idea of logotherapy, finding meaning or repeating positive affirmations, is irritating to me. The idea of hypnosis is similarly aggravating and I've responded poorly to both of those - possibly, in part, because I hate the idea of them. I have an INFP friend that these things work very well for, but we have fundamentally different outlooks on "life" and "meaning".

Things like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has worked well for me because it's all about deploying logic, and metacognition. You think about your thinking - "I'm feeling anxious. Why? Because I think this will happen. Why? Is that realistic?" etc. It seems to me that these types of strategies work well for personality types that err toward logic and reason I'm INFP, but type 5w4 for example, and an academic, so reason and logic are important in my life. "Finding meaning" is comparatively not.
 

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Any decent therapists will adjust their approach to the person in front of them. They would recognise methods and concepts of various disciplines that would work for you. Therapists do a lot of work outside of the consulting room thinking about their clients and the best approach for that individual client. We do not just turn up for the 50 minutes and that is the end of it.

You have mentioned two vastly different theories of psychotherapy and I must say that in this modern world of therapy I have not seen many therapists who strictly adhere to one way of working, most can, and do, have training in many theoretical models to use for the benefit of their clients

I personally have real issues with CBT and in my experience it has short lived brief reduction of symptoms. The claims of CBT ( cure depression in 6 weeks, cure eating disorders in 6 weeks) is just complete rubbish and I have never seen that happen. CBT is cheap. It has a lot of undergraduate research but that is about all it has. But! Even I use concepts from CBT such as “automatic thought” when working with clients who have anxiety but I do not expect them to spend 20 minutes of a 50 minute session filling in homework and evaluation forms. What a waste of time!

When we first think about going to therapy we are unsure and protective of ourselves because in this modem world we rarely share our innermost thoughts and feelings. Your therapist will be fully aware of this and therapy will go at your speed, if you are not ready it is not for the therapists to push you where you do not want to go.

I have worked with some men who have taken a whole year or more to disclose that they were sexually abused as children. This is all about trust. When a child has been abused by an adult it is not surprising at all that you will not trust adults as an adult.

I have been in therapy for 20 years as a professional and 5 years before I became a therapists myself. Initially I had great difficulty in sharing what was going on for me, I felt that the feelings I carried were too big for my therapist to carry. I now know for sure is that therapists can carry all those difficult feelings for us with care and consideration, after all they get supervision too, so someone else carries their shit too.

keep an open mind and remember the space in that room is yours and yours alone to look at what you want to look at. Once you get confident and realise the benefits of therapy you will open new doors and look at much deeper stuff

It took me 2 years to speak and feel totally secure in that strange environment, but I am glad I hung on in there, it changed my life for the better.

Sounds to me as if you are looking for reasons not to go to therapy. This is completely normal, You do not know that you will suffer trauma as your mother. The traumas you speak of “I’m worried that I'll be consumed by those past traumas if I allow them to take up head-space” have you thought that they may be feelings based?

Have a look at Transactional Analysis you might be pleasantly surprised
 

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@master of time and space

Thanks - actually, I really needed to hear all of that and you're probably correct about looking for reasons not to go to therapy. I booked an appointment and I'll try to keep an open mind.

What you're saying about CBT makes a lot of sense. I had a bad experience about a year ago when I did try to speak with a counselor again, but she was so fixated on CBT (which I already know how to deploy) that she didn't know how to help me. It was discouraging.
 
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