Therapists – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

(I recently discovered neurofeedback and am reflecting on the difference between wellness tools like neurofeedback and talk therapy alone.)

I have worked with more therapists than I can even count. I’ve had a few of my own therapists and my kids have had countless. There have been some who I adored and considered highly competent professionals. Unfortunately, I am sad to say that the lion’s share of them have been either marginally helpful or downright toxic. When I’ve spent time at those appointments that just weren’t that helpful, it was a drain because of the time and energy spent getting to, waiting at and handling other kids while in the appointment. It was an opportunity lost to make things better and that was challenging. But when I had a therapist who was themselves dysfunctional, I would leave feeling even worse and more upset than before I saw them. After many years of working with therapists, to say that I’ve become jaded would be a distinct understatement.

To be clear, when someone has a good therapist, it can be immeasureably helpful. (I’ll give a few hints at the end on how to make sure you have a good fit with your therapist.) And if you have a therapist you like, keep them! Also for anyone with significant trauma, having a skilled and trusted clinician while doing neurofeedback is ideal. However, for many of us we don’t necessarily need a therapist to feel better, we need good tools that will tangibly help.

Neurofeedback is so exciting to me because it is a powerful and efficient technology that can really change things up. There are so many other things too that can make a real change for us that don’t just involve talking it out. Our stress, illness, and trauma manifest themselves in the brain wave patterns of our physical (as well as psychological) brain and in the cells of our bodies. Interventions that can make a direct impact on our physiology can be of much greater benefit than talk-based therapy alone.

Conversing about what matters to us can be very important. But there are times when we don’t need to hear back solutions to our problems. We need to just-get-it-out! We’ve lost a lot of our natural social connections in this modern era, and we can easily feel a bit isolated. And I truly believe that this is the deep human need that therapists are filling for us. But unfortunately many therapists are unable to live up to that challenge. For many people, the status of “therapist” has given them more authority and trust than can be warranted. The human brain and it’s conditions cannot be easily divided into this or that diagnosis much of the time. One therapist’s anxiety disorder is another’s oppositional defiant disorder. Despite the criteria in the DSM, it all mostly seems to depend on what story the therapist constructs around their patient. As a parent I saw very consistent behaviors in my children over the years and yet so many different diagnoses. It began to feel like a roullette wheel what each new therapist would decide what the problem was and how to go about solving it.

I found it exhausting. So now I have taken my mental health into my own hands. It’s helping others do the same things that I see my role as at Restorations Neurofeedback & Wellness.  I am not someone who can or even wants to diagnose your problems. What I want to do is help you untangle life’s knots as you know best. I can help you uncover your priorities and set a road map for getting there using a wide variety of tips and techniques that I’ve gathered over the years. Many good ideas have come from therapists, but many other excellent ideas have arisen from other areas of  holistic learning and research that I have done. Together we can help you and your family be your best. Neurofeedback and wellness coaching is a powerful combination that can make real change.

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P.S. How do you know if a therapist is a good fit for you? My most imporant piece of advice on this is to trust your gut! Do you like them as a person? Do they seem to really take in what you say and seem like they care (professionally) about you? One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was actually by a therapist. We spend a lot of time trying to talk ourselves out of our feelings. You do not have to be able to always rationally explain your feeling that something is off. If you leave sessions feeling worse than when you came in or just somehow uncomfortable, that’s a good sign that the therapist is not the best for you. Additionally, if they seem to not understand your situation or your kids’ behaviors out of the shoot, they probably will not ever get it. Move on! Finally, if they seem unskilled, unprofessional or creepy in any way, it goes without saying, they aren’t who you should be workign with. Many of us, especially women, feel bad when we’ve seen a therapist a few times and we feel like we’re comitted to continuing to go to see them. Don’t make this mistake. Your time is valuable and working with a bad therapist can actually make your life worse. The good news is, there are a lot of therapists out there. Try another if one doesn’t work out.

 

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