A girl with too many thoughts...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Therapy Isn't A Magic Cure

When I first started attending CBT sessions at the age of seventeen (around two years ago now) I expected it to be a magic cure. I was disappointed to find that even after a few months, nothing had dramatically changed. At the beginning, I found it incredibly difficult to engage with the therapy; I just 'didn't get it'. At that point, I was adamant that it wasn't for me and that nothing anyone said was going to change my thought processes. I realise now that I was wrong.

What I failed to realise at first is that to a certain extent, therapy is what you make it. If you want it to work for you, you have to put in effort and co-operate. It's so easy to think to yourself 'well there's no way that's going to help me' before even trying it, but that attitude will never get you anywhere. If you want to recover, you have to try. Otherwise, what's the point?

The truth is that even the best therapists out there cannot cast a magic spell that will make all of your problems disappear within one session (although, it'd be a whole lot easier if they could). Treatment is a lengthy commitment that you make, and it's down to you more than anyone else to do the things that are going to make you better! You are only doing yourself a disservice if you don't engage.

Discomfort is part of the process in recovery. It's not going to be easy (because if it was, you would've done it by now). We all would have. As human beings we want to minimise our discomfort, but you have to learn to embrace it if you want therapy to be successful. You can sit in a therapy office hour after hour, but don't expect much to happen if you don't continue to put the tools you learn into practise when you walk away from that room.

With OCD, your therapist can teach you ways in which to control your anxiety when you don't perform a compulsion. They can tell you again and again that performing compulsions only reinforces the irrational fear. Yet, if you choose to ignore that information and go back to performing all of your safety behaviours anyway, instead of learning to sit with the discomfort, your OCD is going to remain as strong as ever.

I realise that therapy doesn't work for everyone, and that's totally fine and I completely respect that. I also realise that some therapists are better than others, and it's extremely important that you 'click' with your therapist in order to engage with them. All I'm saying is don't make the same mistake I did and assume it doesn't work without giving it a proper go.

I'm glad that I decided to continue with my sessions even when I was sceptical because I use the techniques I was taught in therapy every hour of every day. Without them, I'd never have the control over my OCD that I do now. Therapy took an awful lot of time, patience, discomfort, frustration (and a fair few tears) but if I'd given up for those reasons, I would never have improved.

Thank you for reading.
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