My 'Not So Great' Experiences with Talk Therapy
The first time I can recall seeing a therapist was when I was a pre-schooler. The session was actually for my mother. I sat in the waiting room the majority of the time playing with toys. Finally, I was asked to come in for the last 5 minutes or so of the session. The therapist basically told me that I needed to listen to my mother, be a good girl and behave. I don't recall the therapist asking me what I thought or felt. I remember feeling that it was a very one-sided communication. I actually had a lot to express, even if I couldn't talk very well yet. I felt under-minded. The therapist had no idea what I was going through at home and didn't care to ask. The truth of the matter was that my home life was a bit rough. My father had recently moved out of the apartment and I had experienced what I would consider to be physical, mental and emotional abuse. I didn't understand why I needed to behave better. If anything, I needed others to behave better towards me. My mother wrote out a check and passed it to the therapist. That was when I had my “Ah ha” moment. Whoever gives the therapist money is the one who is in the right. I was already starting to understand the hypocrisy of this world at a very young age. I accompanied my mother to yet another therapy session when I was in my younger elementary school years. However, once again I found myself sitting outside in the lobby waiting for my mother to get done talking to the therapist. I finally met with the therapist for the last 5 minutes or so of the session. I don't really recall the conversation I had with the therapist. Perhaps it was not meaningful enough to remember. But my mother seemed a bit worried. She told me that she had said some things in the session that perhaps she shouldn't have said, for instance- her desire to throw me in the oven sometimes. We had a difficult relationship to say the very least. Before long there was a knock on our front door. It was child services. My mother nervously took me aside and told me that I needed to lie about our home life otherwise child services would take me away and place me in a foster home. Years later I realized that I probably would've just ended up living with my dad. But at the time I was scared and I did as I was told. I explained to the lady interviewing me that my mom was a good mom and sometimes hit me when I was bad, but nothing aggressive or crazy. I had no scars on my body, so everything worked out and I was able to stay living with my mother. Once again I learned that therapists were not to be trusted. If you tell them too much they may just send someone to your home to take you away! Years later my father convinced me to start seeing his therapist, whom he had decided to stop seeing for one reason or another. It was a real conflict of interest to say the least. But I started visiting Bernie once a week. Everything was going well I suppose, until one day Bernie told me that I was living in a dream world. All of my ambitions in life were a big fantasy and I needed to wake up and get back to reality. I forgot exactly what I had told him... Perhaps that I wanted to be a celebrity entertainer or something to that degree. I cannot recall exactly where my mind was at during that time of my life. I know for sure that I was unbalanced though, dealing with both physical and mental health issues... some depression, hypomania... or both?. However I was also a very head-strong, independent-minded free spirit. I was definitely not going to sit around and allow someone to tell me that my thoughts were irrational. Needless to say, I completely disagreed with Bernie's so-called professional opinion about me. He was living in his white collar therapy world, and I was living in my creative pisces world where anything and everything is possible. He was close-minded and I was open-minded. That was my perspective. He was trying to impose his own belief system of restrictions and limitations on my dreams and ambitions in life... and that was a big no no! Therefore I decided that continuing to see him was not going to be in my best interest. Thus my sessions with Bernie came to an end. Years later I decided to see a female therapist in Los Angeles who was actually a very nice, kind and soft spoken woman. She was an artistic type and utilized art therapy to help some of her patients. As nice as she was though, I didn't feel like the sessions were really making a positive difference in my life. I found myself rambling on and on about the same things week after week. I felt like I was just reiterating the same problems over and over again, however they were not getting resolved at all. And I was talking so fast in these sessions that I was nearly exhausting myself with my negative ramblings. And I felt like I was exhausting my therapist too. She appeared very tired when I talked to her. I almost felt like she wanted to yawn while I was talking. Perhaps I was draining her energy a bit. It just didn't feel very good to me. Finally, one day, my therapist tells me that she has cancer. It was kind of devastating. She showed me her bald head from the chemo and although she kind of looked cool bald, I didn't feel like I wanted to continue seeing her. I was already dealing with depression and anxiety. Now the fact that my therapist had cancer was making me feel worse. This was not helping me at all. Believe it or not, my mother who met this therapist and really liked her, told me that I needed to stay on as her client and be there for her in her time of need. That was the craziest thing ever! I told my mother, “I am her client. She is my therapist. I am not supposed to be paying her so I can be there for her during her chemo!” Anyway, I felt horrible when I told my therapist that I just couldn't see her anymore. The cancer thing was just too much! The good news is, my ex-therapist ended up making it through the chemo. I ran into her in my neighborhood a few years later and found out that she was very much alive and doing well. But I never went to see another therapist after her. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started creating healing protocols for myself. I realized that talk therapy was never really that beneficial for me. I was simply stating bad feelings and problems over and over again week after week and nothing was changing. When I started meditating, practicing the law of attraction, auto suggestion, reiki, making dietary adjustments, taking supplements, acupuncture and herbs...that's when my thoughts and reality really began to change for the better. I realized that I needed to have an inner dialogue with myself, not a dialogue with other people. Anyway, I've always been so talkative that it's not difficult for me to open up to people... even complete strangers. I do it all the time. Sometimes I over talk and tell people too much. But perhaps for those who are more reserved and have difficulty expressing their feelings, talk therapy could be of great benefit. And no doubt, talk therapy has helped countless people change their lives for the better. But if you are someone like myself who has not had the greatest experiences with talk therapy, then I urge you to continue your search... Seek out alternative healing methods... There are various ways to heal yourself. What works for one may not work for another. We are all unique beings. But I do believe that if you really want things to change for the better, and your persistent about creating this change, you will eventually create what it is that you envision for yourself. Remember...What you seek you shall find. Everything starts with the mind. And most of the time the answers we seek are actually not so far from us at all... You just have to take some time to search... within yourself. Peace and Blessings!
Jennie Haiman is a Reiki Master Energy Healer, Co-Founder of Self Saviorz Society California Non-Profit 501(c)(3), Poet, Author and Entertainer with goals to help raise the vibration and consciousness of humanity!