Long-term therapy vs. short-term crisis resolution

I’ve been thinking about how to update my blog the last few days, but I’ve not felt able to do it. Partly because all my energy has been channelled towards fighting my way out of a flashback. Again and again and again. Times a million. It really has been kind of never-ending – and the only way that has worked to give me any kind of longer break has been to either make myself black out or to cut, neither of which is particularly healthy.

To say that it’s been a difficult few weeks would be a severe understatement. It’s been pretty relentless, and at times I’ve really just wanted it all to end, because there is only so much a person can cope with. The crisis team have been quite good (well, the nurses more so than the pill pushing doctors) – but it’s also been hard to find myself back in this system. Also, I’ve felt that the crisis team has been quite critical of the therapy I’m doing with A,, and they have frequently asked me if it’s really helpful to have this kind of therapy when it’s made me have such terrible flashbacks. Also, my relationship with A. has been questioned. More than once have they asked me if I’m not a little bit too attached to my therapist. My answer throughout has been that it’s not the therapy which is causing these flashbacks, it’s a combination of going home and then returning a week before therapy resumed, in conjunction with a number of other factors.

I’ve defend both my choice of therapy and the relationship I’ve worked so hard to form with A. on numerous occasions, but it’s tricky when you’re talking to people who see medication and CBT as the cure for all ills. It’s not so easy to explain that the whole point of therapy is that you form a close relationship with your therapist, and that it allows you to look at other relationships and see how they may be played out as little echoes within the therapeutic relationship. That in my veiw CBT is a bit of a band-aid, masking deep-rooted problems, and wouldn’t be at all appropriate for the kind of issues I’m dealing with. That, yes – this is really hard work, and yes it does bring difficult things up, but that it’s my feeling that the only way for me to be able to find some sort of peace within my past is to dare look at all those difficult things and realise that I can in fact survive the pain. And that’s what the work I do with A. is all about.

Despite this difference of opinion, having the involvement of the crisis team has also been of value – I’ve felt held by the fact that I’ve been seeing them on the weekends, when I don’t see A., and that they’re available to talk to on the telephone 24/7. It does help. But, that does in no way mean that I’m any less committed to the work I’m doing with A. I see it more as a crutch between sessions – for the time being – so that I can carry on with what I do in therapy.

Following yesterday’s adventures at A&E when I had my cuts stitched and SteriStripped – with a tetanus shot thrown in for good measure – R. from the crisis team came down to have a chat with me, and she said that she felt that my self-harming behaviour was going in the wrong direction, that it was escalating rather than subsiding, and that she felt I needed more support than what the crisis team can offer, and she suggested she make a referral to Drayton Park Women’s Crisis Centre.

I’ve stayed there in the past – years ago – and it has been helpful, so I agreed to R. making the referral. I think Drayton Park could be a safe option while I’m in the middle of this crisis. To me it seems like a happy medium – I’ll still be able to see A., but rather than going home to a lonely room battling flashbacks and urges to self-harm, I’d be going back to Drayton Park, where I’d be able to talk to someone about my urges to self-harm. Also, I know that they will be a lot more encouraging in terms of doing the type of work I do with A. han the crisis team has been.
Fair enough, I’ve never actually been at Drayton Park when I’ve been in therapy, but I have several friends who’ve stayed there and have felt that the Drayton Park staff have been very much in favour of them carrying on seeing their therapists while they’re staying at Drayton Park. Essentially what they say is that your therapist is your long-term support and who will help you with long-term goals, and Drayton Park is a place to feel safe while being in the middle of a crisis. It’s a short-term add-on support system, not a replacement for your long-term aims and goals.

Anyway, I’m meeting with one of the workers at Drayton Park tomorrow for an assessment, and it still remains to be seen if they’ll deem it appropriate to offer me a place for the week.

Think it’s time to hit the hay now – hopefully I’ll be able to sleep a little more than I have been in the last few nights..

Be kind to yourselves.

xx

Little S At Six Months

Little S At Six Months

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12 responses

  1. Really feeling for you at the moment, but in awe of the way you are handling everything – so glad you have been able to ask for the help you need and are making good decisions. I’m also really glad you stuck up for A and your therapy together! I do hope things improve soon and you start feeling a little less overwhelmed. much love, xx

  2. Hello R.
    Home for a brief time before heading back to Drayton Park.. Things are pretty dire. Can’t get the flashbacks to let up. Horrendous stuff.
    But, hopefully, I’ll see this through.

    And – yes – no doubt in my mind that the work A. and I do together is what will make things better for me.
    CBT/DBT/MBT – I’m sure they’re all perfectly helpful to some people, I’m just not one of them. I’m analytically minded by nature, thus psychoanalytic therapy is what makes sense to me.

    Love etc

    S

  3. I’m new to your blog but just wanted to send some supportive thoughts your way. It sounds as though you’re going through a really difficult time but it’s good you’re able to reach out and get the help you need. I hope Drayton Park is helping – one of my friends has stayed there a few times and found them really good.

    I can relate a lot to your therapy experience – I’m having psychoanalytic group therapy, but my psychiatrist is very CBT oriented and doesn’t really believe in it, which gets frustrating. I’ve had CBT and it did teach me some much needed coping strategies but hasn’t helped me recover or heal. I’m very open minded about different types of therapy but I feel the psychoanalytic place in my city has been the only NHS service to really take my issues seriously and be prepared to offer me the long-term and in-depth treatment I need. I admire you for doing the 3x weekly thing though – I was offered it but the thought of getting that dependent freaked me out which is why I chose group instead!

    Thinking of you and hoping you feel a bit better soon x

  4. i stumbled across your blog whilst googling about experiences of reform judaism and conversion etc. i find this entry very profound. as a graduate psychologist, i agree that many people can find it easy to just state that therapies like CBT is a one size fits all cure for problems. it’s not. whilst it helps some, of course it won’t help others. i am a fan of psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theories and i hope that you find something that helps you through this difficult time you are experiencing, and get all the support you need. doctor’s can be pushy. ive worked with plenty in inpatient settings and sometimes it would almost appear that they would mock therapy and the work of therapists and almost attempt their own version of therapy. be strong and take care x

  5. Hello Jenny and thank you for your comment. It’s always such a lovely surprise when someone takes the time to respond to what I’ve written. Like I said in one of the other comment replies, I do think that CBT can be helpful to some people, especially in combination with other things, but find it very frustrating how within the NHS it’s often hailed as the cure-all for emotional difficulty, when of course there is no such thing. Personally I am pretty analytically minded and the way I understand what it means to be human falls closer to psychodynamic strands, and so it makes sense for me to choose this particular approach for my personal therapy. That said, I think that the relationship between the therapist and the client is much more important than most anything.. And I am very VERY happy with the work A. and I do. (Read back and you’ll see I terminated with a previous therapist because, although she was also a psychoanalytic therapist, she simply wasn’t the right match for me..)

    Once again, thanks for stopping by.

    S.

    (If you have a look on the right hand side you should be able to navigate to entries I’ve written about Reform Judaism. I’m going to post on my big Beit Din day soonish, so watch this space!)

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