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JHCP

Going to therapy for the first time in my life

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I’ve had a rough go of it. Lots of ‘ACE’ (adverse childhood experiences) issues apparently. My outlook has always been to move forward and not dwell on things and be stunted or stuck. I feel stuck though, and I know my s*** has had an effect of me. 

The therapist after my first session heard about all of my issues and my trauma and asked me where I wanted to begin. My pain mostly comes from Jacks death. It happened in my arms. I can rationalize and dismiss a lot...prob not so healthy...but I can’t help but cry over Jack even though it’s more than 3 years now since he has passed. She wanted me to tell her where my issues come from, I can’t even tell you my exact issues...let alone why I have them. I think she may be a poor choice for a therapist. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. Just a bit frustrated

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The first few sessions are meant to be a "getting to know you" period, so your therapist can base her work with you on a thorough assessment of your needs. She wants to know what brought you into therapy (why now?) and what you expect to get out of it. Sometimes that takes more than one session. I'd encourage you to give it a bit more time ~ a couple more sessions ~ before you decide that she is a poor choice. Still, you should feel comfortable and safe with your therapist, so pay attention to your gut and use  your own common sense. You are the consumer here, and you deserve to get what you're paying for. 

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Luckily each session costs $5. However I only get 10 sessions from my coverage. So I want them to be well spent! I have so many traumas. I let my mother be privy to one recently and she insisted I do at least 3 sessions. One down, and I feel like I didn’t make any progress. She wasn’t helpful at all. She heard it all and just talked with me. Didn’t give advice even. When I asked ok where do we start she asked me where I thought I should start?? Super huge waste of time with her. Therapy isn’t a waste if it is helpful

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8 hours ago, JHCP said:

My pain mostly comes from Jacks death. It happened in my arms.

I think this statement is key, my dear, and this may be the primary "issue" you want to bring into your therapy. As my colleague Dr. Robert Neimeyer notes in his AfterTalk post here, the images of having your beloved die in your arms can result in "more intense struggles in bereavement. Whatever the source of the imagery, it can have remarkable 'staying power,' lingering and intruding into the survivor's consciousness (and nightmares) for years beyond the death."

No doubt the way Jack died was for you a traumatic experience, and Dr. Neimeyer points out that today there are specialized procedures for working with troubling imagery in grief therapy, using a trauma-informed approach. Before your next appointment, you might have a phone conversation with your therapist, asking if she is familiar with such procedures, or if she can refer you to someone who is. Not every therapist is skilled in treating complicated grief and / or traumatic loss, and you've every right to ask if your therapist has experience and training in this specialty. Remember that if you had a broken bone, you wouldn't expect a cardiac specialist to know the best way to fix you. If you do decide to stick with your current therapist, I also encourage you to come better prepared for your next session. See, for example, Going to Therapy For The First Time? Here's What to Expect.

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As usual, listen to Obiwan Marty.  I was fortunate that I had been seeing my therapist and a counselor before Steve got sick, so that connection was established.  I did try a couple counselors before finding the right fit.  My experience was that by the 3rd at most, you know if it’s a good match.  Don’t be shy about asking them questions as well.  You get to interview them too.  For the grief, I learned one had lost 2 husbands and the other a child.  One had contemplated suicide in their life.  This helped me know they truly understood the emotional impact loss brings.  If they won’t share any of their personal experience, that was a red flag to me.  

I just read you are limited in visits.  That will create a problem, in my opinion, because 10 visits would never be enough to truly help you thru the largest transition you’ll ever make.  Your trauma of being there so intimately is huge.  On that I am at a loss of what you can do.  This family here is a jewel of support.  Face to face is needed for many tho as well.   All I can think of is there a way you can appeal for more sessions?  I know the thought of that is overwhelming.  It makes my blood boil how insurance downgrades counseling. They’ll pay thousands for something physical, but deny treatment for the brain that can prevent physical complications which grief definitely can do.   I have to pay out of pocket, but that was budgeted into our financial allowance from our estate.  

I am hoping you find a way to the help you need and deserve.  Wish I had a magic wand for you and everyone here.  Please make use of the people here tho.  Someone always is there having a better day than another.  We all step in when we can.  Some days they have to tend to themselves, others they can reply so you know you’ve been heard.  I don’t know what I would do without this haven Marty created and the truly empathetic family this has become.  Maybe a little color will help, maybe not.  🌺🌸🌺🌸

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