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Is there anyone out there who can inspire me with stories of how counselling, especially with a psychotherapist, has transformed their life?

(50 Posts)
spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:06:09

We have attended one session with a psychotherapist and whilst I really liked her I can't see what is going to happen in order for my relationship to improve.

Can anyone out there please give me faith that these people are miracle workers?


MoggieMaeEverso Fri 15-Jul-16 23:10:00


I've gone to several different counselors over the years and it's never been life changing. I think it just doesn't work for some people, but the people who it does work for tend to say that it's because I haven't found the right person??

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:11:58

Oh wow, thank you so much for replying. So, if you don't mind me asking, have the people who are pleased with the results overcome significant obstacles?

My dh and I are going through a very tricky time. And have been for years And the idea that these meetings are going to help is the only thing that is keeping me sane.

acasualobserver Fri 15-Jul-16 23:14:47

I believe psychotherapy did transform my life but expecting your therapist to be a miracle worker is a dangerous hope, I think. Ultimately, you will have to change yourself, yourself; no-one can do it for you.

limon Fri 15-Jul-16 23:15:55

Only you can change your life and relationship. If she's a skilled counsellor she can facilitate change and help. No they are.not.miracle workers.

I lived with ptsd for four years and 10 sessions of emdr have life.for the better.

Birdandsparrow Fri 15-Jul-16 23:16:39

I haven't for marriage counselling but did have psycotherapy to deal with my relationship with my mother and it was really excellent and helped me immensely.But that was because it helped me sort out me iyswim, I don't have any experience of joint counselling.

Eyeslikethesea Fri 15-Jul-16 23:16:41

I've been to many different types of counselling through the years.
My husband wanted me to try again and I knew from experience it wouldn't work, but to keep him happy, (and to try anything to stop the suicidal thoughts) I went to a different psychotherapist. I didn't expect much but over the weeks and months I began to see a glimmer of myself.
It took a lot of tears and anxiety but I truly believe if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here today.

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:19:29

Okay, so this is really helpful. I guess I am hoping that by a few sessions I realise that my husband and I do want the same thing. Or that it makes it very obvious that we actually don't.

at the end of our first session she basically said that we should call a truce on all of our tit for tat arguments and we were given an exercise to complete in appreciating each other for our next session. She said that if we didn't call a truce then our meetings would simple be the same as our disputes at home. I guess that is totally true. So can anyone help me with what the meetings will be like? What sort of things will we be asked? And do you get sent home on a positive note?

LittleMissSandy Fri 15-Jul-16 23:21:04

I attended counselling in my early twenties. my parents practically dragged me there weekly. I just wasn't coping with every day life, starting a new job, meeting new people, having to be grown up and live with people I barely knew. Things I should have been able to cope with, I just couldn't, it was all so overwhelming.

I think I got quite lucky with my therapist, he was nice & he listened & he encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone without ever making me feel inept or stupid. I was in counselling for 2 years and a few months, I've never had any sessions since, but those sessions I truly believe changed my life.

EssentialHummus Fri 15-Jul-16 23:22:25

This is going to be a bit of a non-post since I struggle to articulate how, exactly, but psychotherapy changed my life.

(Disclaimer: I have a master's in Freudian psychoanalysis, so I went into therapy with a heap of expectations.)

I started therapy because I was depressed, and it was affecting everything. I hadn't been in the UK long, I had no idea what to do with myself after uni, no relationships (either close friendships or romantic), just general gloom.

Nothing changed overnight, but very slowly I felt I was able to think better and to make better decisions. I got a proper job. I moved home, twice. I met a first then, second BF (now husband). I realised that I was not responsible for my parents' dreadful mistakes. Perhaps most importantly, I learnt to enjoy myself, my company, and my life.

It was difficult to take the plunge, but I'm very glad I did.

wizzywig Fri 15-Jul-16 23:22:50

Its saved our marriage. My husband started psychotherpy. I was on the verge of leaving him. But it happened because he wanted to go and he wanted to change things.

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:22:54

Oh please, this is encouraging, does anyone have anymore information about any of this stuff. I guess I am nervous. And I don't really understand what her role in the meeting will be. Or how they decide what to ask without basically causing us to piss each other off more than we already do.

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:25:34

Hummus, I am especially interested in how you learned to love yourself.

Please tell me more. What do they ask? How do they stop you bickering? How do you know it is helping? How do you know it is time to stop going?

I feel weird that it is sharing personal stuff without getting to know them because they are a professional and not a friend.

How do they stop you digging a bigger hole for your relationship?

MysteriesOfTheOrganism Fri 15-Jul-16 23:26:08

Truly honest reply: No, we are not miracle workers. We don't have an Aladdin's lamp to rub and have a genie make all your problems disappear. Just turning up to sessions and being in our presence is not going to fix your life. We are not gods and we are not magicians.

What we are good at is helping you fix your life yourself.

If you're talking about depth psychotherapy, then we can help you understand how your childhood and the family dynamics caused you to unconsciously write a "manual for being me" that really doesn't serve you now as an adult. We help you understand how and why that manual got written the way it did, how it has impacted your life and how it shapes every significant decision you make. We then support and encourage you to rip up the manual, and write a new guide to life - one that really works for you.

You have to do the hard work yourself. It is your life, after all!

But if you're prepared to do the hard work, then, yes, your life can be utterly transformed.

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:26:41

Wizzy, if you don't mind me asking what did you husband have to change?

Was it significant stuff. I am really worried that we are past the point of repair.

pennefortheguy Fri 15-Jul-16 23:27:49

The counsellor just facilitates the process of you helping yourself. It's not about the counsellor but the process and what you put into it.

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:27:51

Mysteries - I am so happy to hear from you.

Do you mind if I pm you?

MysteriesOfTheOrganism Fri 15-Jul-16 23:29:08

Spad - yes, fine to pm

acasualobserver Fri 15-Jul-16 23:31:10

The therapist should guide you in a conversation where you gain insights into yourself, your relationship and each other. This understanding might be painful at times. I have never had couples therapy but I reckon you might piss each other off at times during it - hopefully your therapist can help you to see something useful in those feelings.

EssentialHummus Fri 15-Jul-16 23:32:05

I can't comment at all on couples' therapy / meeting prep - I've no idea. In general, if I have doubts/questions/anxieties/concerns, I swallow hard and ask the therapist (everything from "I think you got my bill wrong" to "What did you mean by X?") Just because it's not a normal convo doesn't mean you can't ask. If you can, ask him/her about what the meetings will be like.

Loving myself... again, it's hard to articulate (and it sounds so cringy!). Looking back, I was very anxious, and anxious thoughts crowded out most other things in my mind and meant that I didn't really enjoy anything much. Over time in therapy, I felt I gained more space in my mind to notice how I was feeling and change things if they made me unhappy, and also to enjoy the good things around me.

spad Fri 15-Jul-16 23:36:57

This has been such a help thank you everyone. Please tell me more. Anything is very interesting and encouraging.

Emeralda Fri 15-Jul-16 23:56:18

Getting the best out of seeing a counsellor is a bit like getting the best out of going to the hairdresser - you have to take an active role in the process but also trust that they know what they're doing. I would ask your therapist all these questions if you feel comfortable enough to do so. If you don't, that tells you something in itself. If you don't feel it's working or you don't feel you're talking about the right things, say that. Different therapists and different therapies will suit different people and if this doesn't suit you, something else might. But talk to the therapist about what you want and how you're experiencing it as you go along.
There's lots of information on the BACP website and your therapist should have a leaflet or website, but it's hard to explain until you're in it, and everyone will experience it differently.
Individual therapy has worked for me several times to get me through tough times. I found couples counselling much more challenging and wish we'd changed therapist early on, in hindsight.
Good luck!

Notyetforty Sat 16-Jul-16 00:12:44

I've been in psychoanalytic psychotherapy for a few years and can honestly say that it's been the best thing I've ever done. It's been hard, even awful at times but I really believed it's turned my life around.

We also went to relationship counselling and found that to be very helpful too. I think it probably saved the relationship at the time. It's not an instant fix and both people need to want the relationship to work. I think having a 3rd person there, gave us breathing space, whilst also feeling as though we were being heard. It takes more than a few sessions though, just be warned.

spad Sat 16-Jul-16 00:19:32

I so hope you are all right. I am so scared we have reached the end of the road. Maybe it is good I don't feel so needy? Do you reckon booking a few over a week can make a difference. An intensive course rather than a drip feed?

justilou Sat 16-Jul-16 08:14:21

Generally speaking, statistics show that most people get to a relationships counsellor far too late. This is not meant to diminish the effectiveness of a good counsellor, but to show that we are bad at recognizing when we need to seek help. If your counsellor makes you both look at your own behaviours and ways of thinking and nobody is feeling "blamed" or taking responsibility for all of the relationship issues - and you feel that you have things you can work together with, then good. Just realize that you have both developed these behaviours over a certain period of time and it is unrealistic to expect things to change overnight.

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