My CBT Experience

A year ago I did an interview with Chloe from Chloe's Concept about suffering with low self-esteem and the struggle to be confident.  You can read about that here.

In the interview I mentioned that I'd had CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) in the past in order to combat chronic low self-esteem which had plagued my life for so many years.

However, with the benefit of hindsight, I realise that I didn't enjoy my experience with CBT very much.

In some ways it was a little bit helpful - I learned a little bit about different types of negative thoughts and thinking patterns, and the importance of being assertive - but in a lot of ways, it wasn't.

To be honest, it wasn't the best.  I have a lot of deep-rooted issues and CBT was never enough for dealing with those.  CBT is useful for helping you to deal with how you handle issues in the present, but not in the past.

Having said that though, I had a lot of issues at the time and I was very unhappy.  I was so depressed and miserable.  I was living in a crappy house in a crappy area, I was feeling less than confident, and a couple of my housemates at the time were being extremely horrible to me and they were treating me so poorly, but whenever I'd bring up my issues my therapist was extremely dismissive and patronising, and she didn't want to listen to me at all.  I felt as though I couldn't open up about things, and I felt as though she wanted me to say what she wanted to hear.  Sometimes I'd talk about the difficult situations I'd been in at the time, and she'd say:

"Did that really happen?"
"Did he/she really say/do that to you?"
"Are you sure that happened?"
"Aren't you just dwelling on things?"
"Maybe you're interpreting things in the wrong way?"
"Perhaps you're overthinking the situation."
"Perhaps you're just predicting things."

In my opinion, therapy is supposed to help me deal with my issues (which have all had a negative impact on life) and that's why I had CBT in the first place.  I didn't go to into therapy sessions with the intention of shutting myself up and sweeping my issues under the carpet.  However, I felt as though I wasn't being listened to and my problems were being dismissed, and I didn't feel able to open up and talk about my issues, despite the fact that I had opened up in my first session and despite the fact that CBT involves talking about your recent events and how you handled those situations.  I was being patronised and infantalised, and I didn't like that at all.  I also felt as though my problems were assumed to be "not serious enough."  Also, I think that when one has therapy they should be in a comfortable setting, but the whole time I was in a doctor's surgery!

I was supposed to have 20 to 24 sessions, but I ended up having 11.  The reason for this is because while I didn't quit CBT, I felt as though I was progressing on my own, and I felt as though I was at a dead-end with CBT.

I always told myself that I'd probably try CBT again but I would never go back to the same therapist, but now I think that I wouldn't go have CBT again.  I just think that my issues are far too deep-rooted and I find CBT far too clinical.

Please note, I'm not saying CBT is rubbish, and I know that some people find it useful, but I'm simply saying that my experience wasn't great.

Have you ever had therapy?

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