I feel that I owe this blog a post, but I’ve been under the weather, so have not ventured out of the house at all lately, and have nothing to report on. I can tell you that the west sky out of my bedroom window was pretty tonight, with a white cloud backlit by the sun. For some reason, it seemed the cloud was setting behind the houses opposite mine. It was moving west I guess, so sinking under the horizon.

For any PTSD friends that might be reading from time to time, it occurs that I haven’t mentioned this lately. Well, I’m not cured yet. I still go to therapy. My therapist has eased off the EMDR, saying she doesn’t want to re-traumatize me.

Years ago, it was felt that the way to get over PTSD was to excavate all the memories, talk about them, and so somehow de-activate them. Nowadays, that is thought not to be the best treatment, because it can put the patient / client back into a crisis.

In our last session, I asked Ms T what method of therapy exactly she was following. I kind of knew she wouldn’t want to say. She said that she didn’t think it would help me to know the details. I don’t see why this would be a secret. She ended up saying she was coming at this from a humanist angle, as that is her background. With EMDR added on. She said currently she’s working on establishing a strong relationship with me.

Well, that’s what I’m paying the big bucks for – so we can have a relationship. That doesn’t seem worth paying for. So is it the relationship that heals I ask. Then she hedged some more, and said that we are doing the EMDR, but she wants to move slowly with me.

So I used up some of my session trying to figure out what she’s trying to do with me. I think she doesn’t really have a firm plan of any kind. But she does have experience with trauma. And it’s true I was getting overwhelmed with EMDR.  And theoretically, yeah, you are supposed to stabilize a client and ply them with coping mechanisms before venturing into trauma memories.

Then I used up some more of my session complaining about my social anxiety group. I have concluded that the group is not the one for me. Most people there are too scared to talk, and the facilitator does nothing to make it easier for them, like asking questions or giving people a turn to talk.

I went to this group again last week but felt totally unsupported there. When I talked about my anxiety issues, people responded as if they were sorry for me. And then, no one else besides me is actually going out and interacting with new people. I just end up feeling angry, misunderstood, and with people who cannot or will not challenge their anxiety in any way.

Ms T thinks I should look for a different group, not one for social anxiety. I’m just not as socially anxious as the other people in that group. If you’re in a support group, but everyone is afraid to talk, then what kind of support can it be? I am able to talk in a group, so I need to find one where that is more of the norm.

I truly believe that a social anxiety group needs a lot more structure than what is being provided. If the majority are afraid to talk in a group, then their first step should be to say a few words in a group. To do that, you’d have to have some kind of turn-taking where it’s clear what you say – maybe hello and your name. If people repeated hello and their name every week for a while, they’d get over that fear and could move on to something more complex. As it is, there are around 20 people showing up to this group week after week and not saying a word. How on earth will that help them? That’s just reinforcing failure – an inability to talk in groups.

Well, that was my big rant. This group has helped me in the past, mainly by going out for coffee after the meetings and becoming friends with some of the participants.  But it’s time for me to let go of it. It’s just getting me upset.

  1. Nechtan said:

    Hi Ellen,I do get the impression that the therapy has started to weigh down on you. Were it me I know it would tire me out. It is good that you are asking the questions as personally I don't think it is right to be paying money for a service and be told you don't need to know what that service actually consists of. I'm not saying the therapy is wrong but for your own peace of mind you need firstly to know what ends you are working towards.I hope this period passes quickly for you. Its not a good time but it will pass. Until then take care and try to recharge those batteries.All the bestNechtan

  2. Ellen said:

    Hi Nechtan,Thanks, nice to hear from you. I am actually physically sick, some kind of flu, I don't think I was very clear in my post. It's not the rigors of therapy getting me down this time.I agree, I should know what I'm paying for. But….I am kind of relieved to have someone to talk to about my PTSD symptoms. I can't deal with it on my own. And I do have rapport with this therapist. And talking about my past is upsetting, of course, but that doesn't mean it's an unhealthy thing to do. At the moment, I'm going to keep going, with eyes open. Hope things are good with you.

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