My assessment with the psychological services was today. The man who did the assessment reminded me of an abuser and so I found the whole thing extremely difficult. I have managed to get my whole history down to 2 minutes and it only filled 1 side of an A5 jotter pad – that’s how many times I’ve had to go through it all. I’m sure I’m starting to miss things out but I am getting tired now of all of them.
The therapist told me he thought CBT could help and also EMDR (which is supposed to have had success with enabling memories to be processed and therefore stopping flashbacks) and so I would be put on the waiting list for these services. He asked me if I had a preference for male or female therapist. Normally I am really not bothered; I think it is more about the person and the relationship than the sex of them. But because he reminded me so much of someone I knew, I requested a female to make sure I didn’t get him – is this wrong?
We then discussed CBT and if I knew about it. Briefly for anyone that doesn’t Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that looks at the way you think, and the impact of how that makes you feel and behave in the present. And so if you change the way you think, that in itself changes how you feel and behave.
As an example (taken from www.rcpsych.ac.uk), you’ve had a bad day, feel fed up, so go out shopping. As you walk down the road, someone you know walks by and, apparently, ignores you.
From this can come both unhelpful and helpful reactions:
Unhelpful thoughts: they ignored me, they don’t like me!
Unhelpful emotional feelings: low, sad and rejected
Unhelpful Physical: stomach cramps, low energy, feel sick
Unhelpful action: Go home and avoid them
On the other hand a helpful reaction:
Thoughts: They look a bit wrapped up in themselves – I wonder if something is wrong?
Emotional feelings: Concerned for the other person
Physical: none – feel comfortable
Action: Get in touch to make sure they’re ok.
As you can see CBT is very much a now centred therapy in that it looks at your thoughts now. Whilst I know it has helped a lot of people my issues are twofold:
1 – I feel that the NHS have jumped on the bandwagon because it can be done in relatively few sessions as opposed to the more traditional talking therapies that could go on for years. Therefore, in essence, I feel it is somewhat of a cost saving exercise for them. I have no issues with this if it works, but one size doesn’t fit all and for some people CBT just doesn’t work for them!
2 – I used the following analogy of my view of CBT with the therapist in the assessment: let’s say you break a leg. It is x-rayed and put in plaster. That plaster I view as being the CBT. But what happens about the fact the reason the leg has broken is due to a bone disease as an example. I guess what I am trying to say is that CBT is more a patch up therapy.
Anyway, the assessment ended with him asking if I still would be willing to give it a go. I replied that it was my only option and so yes of course. I am now on a waiting list that is apparently about 3-4 months. I will go in to it with an open mind (or as open as I can manage!)