First CBT/EMDR Session

07 Nov

Today has been a long time coming. Ever since I’ve been involved with the mental health services, it’s always been said to me that medication etc isn’t the answer for me. That it might give me some reprieve (eg sleeping), but that they believe therapy of some sort is the answer. I’ve gone along with this way of thinking and attended all assessments I’ve needed to get to today.

I had my first appointment with a lady therapist (going to call her t from now on) and to be honest she seems nice enough. I realised I wasn’t there today to judge her but to try and let her in to my world so she can help me.

My main concern (and has been for a while) is that everyone, including me, has put so much emphasis on therapy that it feels quite pressured – i.e. if this doesn’t work then there is nothing left.

So t asked me what my thoughts of cbt were & I said I’m sure you’ve read the letter from my initial assessment and know I’m fairly sceptical about it but that I’m willing to give it a go if it can help me.

She drew what I assume to be the very basic relationship model between thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical attributes and gave an example of each – I’ll put the ones she said here:

Thought: I can’t be bothered
Feelings: low and depressed
Behaviours: staying in bed
Physical: no energy because not doing anything

And this is where I have a problem with cbt. That all looks very simple – change either thoughts or behaviours and that impacts on others and you start to feel differently etc etc. And in some instances I truly believe it can work like that. However, like I asked today – where does the belief system fit into all that? All our thoughts are based on our beliefs. If for example I believe I’m the most gorgeous thing since *insert name of someone you think is good looking*, then my thoughts are going to be confident ones which then lead to confident behaviours which then back up the initial belief.

In my eyes cbt misses out this integral cog of how we work on a deeper level. I think I am worthless – that is my belief. Therefore how will changing my thought (eg I can’t be bothered) or my behaviour (eg get out of bed) change that belief – it won’t. The only way to change a belief is to deal with it at that deep level, not on a superficial level i.e. the thoughts – because your subconscious will always try and self sabotage your efforts if you don’t.

I don’t know if any of what I’ve just typed makes sense but it’s how I currently view that type of therapy.

Back to my session today. She asked about my general mood and I explained how hard a week I’ve had and that I’ve struggled with suicidal thoughts but my cc knows about these and we are trying to work through them (or someone else whilst she’s away). She seemed ok with all that and said she feels a few sessions of cbt will be good for me until my mood stabilises and then we will try some EMDR. I know the basics of that but not enough to go in to detail here – I agreed to give it a go.

She asked me to fill out a thought diary and gave me the sheet and I told her that to be honest it’s probably something I’d struggle to fill in as I hate those kind of forms. She said that’s fine and if I couldn’t we’d talk about why I couldn’t in my next session.

And that was it!! A sleepless night worried about essentially nothing. And then as I was about to leave she told me she would be calling the cmht to tell them I was suicidal and she was worried. Yet again, I understand the legalities of it all but I told her I’d said nothing to her that I haven’t to them and that they are aware of my current thinking.

I am due to speak to a social worker tomorrow in place of my cc so assumed it would be brought up then but I got a voicemail from the duty worker asking if I’d prefer to go in and see her rather than just a phone call. I won’t be doing that – I will talk on the phone at a push but I’m not going in. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings but in my eyes, nothing has changed from when I last spoke to the cmht!!!

I’m more than aware this post is a bit all over the place so apologies but I’m just getting everything out that’s going round my mind!!!


Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


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3 responses to “First CBT/EMDR Session

  1. Walking The Black Dog

    November 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    All I can say is that I had the same doubts and scepticism that you have described. But if you stick with it it is worth it. It is hard work, particularly at the times when you don’t seem to get it. But it seems to work. I can’t describe exactly how but it does.

    • femaleptsd

      November 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for that – good to know I’m not the only one!!! I’m definitely going to stick with it – nothing to lose by doing so 🙂

  2. Mike

    November 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Your analysis of your scepticism seems entirely sensible to me. Perhaps CBT deliberately overclaims its effectiveness to get people to engage,

    I know one person it has worked for and it’s mainly on the basis of not so much dealing with the deep issues but by highlighting the positives in one’s life that might go unnoticed otherwise. And perhaps that eventually works by raising one’s mood overall.


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