Assessment with therapy services

24 Aug

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, 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!)


Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “Assessment with therapy services

  1. gherkinette

    October 11, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I waited three and half years for PTSD specific CBT. I had some generic CBT in the meantime which was next to useless and made me very distrusting of therapy in general.

    The PTSD therapy was amazing. Within a couple of sessions my symptoms had eased to the point where I could cope with life for the first time in years. It didn’t solve it completely. I’m still very agoraphobic and hyper-vigilant, but I started sleeping within 3 sessions and that was like magic in itself. The fact I didn’t expect anything from the therapy probably helped.

    I had a therapist I trusted and she let me set the pace. I wasn’t given a choice of gender, but was given a female therapist as standard. Turned out it was the right choice even though I thought I’d be ok with a guy. I was glad to have the decision made for me. Much easier!

    Good luck!

    • femaleptsd

      October 11, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks for that – I really hope my preconceptions are proven wrong as I do want to get better! 3 and a half years though – wow – I’m in month 1 and not sure I could wait that long – not sure how you coped! Hope things are well for you now!!


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