What Happens When Therapy Isn’t An Option?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have been in therapy since I was seven. Starting with bipolar, anxiety, insomnia and now including borderline pd, avoidant pd, and PTSD. I work very hard to provide myself with an environment that is healthy and from the outside I live the ideal life.

Unfortunately, I continue to live with a lot of demons and anger that I literally can’t express without screaming, crying, and cursing. I work excruciatingly hard to keep it inside of me because I am so afraid of what will happen when people find out what a monster I am.

My question begins here. I had been with one therapist for eight years without me ever being able to touch the topic seriously. One day, I completely lost it on them. I let everything out. I was my absolute worst, but in reality no one had ever witnessed a truer me. They told me though that that was the last time we would ever speak. I then tried to kill myself. This happened this year.

I can’t believe that even someone I was paying to help me couldn’t handle my monster. The consequence has been my hatred for psychologists, psychiatrists, and basically anything associated. I know its kind of ironic that I’m asking for your advice but I thought it would be easier because you can’t see my face. I don’t know what to do. What does an extremely troubled girl do when everyone becomes the enemy? I want to note that I have been drifting from therapist from therapist in search of a “fit” and it only makes me sadder and angrier. I’m in between a bullet and a target and that bullet is looking very good.

A. You may be misinterpreting what happened in the therapy session. As you stated, you were in counseling for eight years but were not sincere with your therapist. Perhaps, when you “lost it,” the therapist realized that you had been withholding important personal information and no longer believed that he or she could help you. It’s not uncommon for a therapist to refer his or her patients to other mental health professionals when they feel as though they can no longer be of assistance. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not defending the therapist. I’m suggesting that you may have misinterpreted the event. It is a realistic possibility.

It’s understandable that you would lose confidence in your therapist but your opinion about one mental health professional should not extend to all mental health professionals. Therapists do not limit their patient clientele. Most therapists are willing to work with virtually anyone, no matter what the nature of their problems. Therapists work with sex offenders, rapists, murderers, etc.

You need to recognize the fact that everyone is not the enemy. Therapists have chosen to enter a helping profession. Someone who is willing and sincere in their efforts to help you is by definition your friend and not your enemy.

It is not acceptable to believe that suicide is a solution to your problems. It is instead a sign of depression. Viewed from a purely logical perspective, the consideration of suicide doesn’t make sense. Your perception of the situation is that you have tried therapy for many years and it has not been effective. You are in essence saying “why bother? I’ve tried it and nothing works” but your perception of the situation is inaccurate. The reality is that you withheld your true self, your deeper problems, your real issues from your therapist. That’s OK, because it does take some people a long time to trust a therapist with their deepest thoughts, the most vulnerable parts of their being. You can’t blame the therapy process for the fact that you withheld parts of you, important parts, from the therapist. Don’t blame yourself either. Blame the nature of your psychological problem. In actuality, I believe you had a breakthrough when you “completely lost it on them.” I have had similar moments, sessions, with my own clients. It was an important part of their therapy and the pathway to their healing.

I would strongly urge you to reconsider therapy. By your own admission you were not sincere with the therapist. It is very difficult to effectively help a client when he or she withholds information. I understand that you may be weary of therapists but this is not necessarily a bad thing. One should be choosy about his or her therapist. You should only work with a therapist who is competent and who has a successful track record of helping individuals with similar problems. Not just any therapist will do; it has to be the right therapist.

Please understand that suicide is never the answer. If you’re considering suicide you should go to the emergency room immediately or call 911. You should also have your possession the phone number to the national suicide hotline: 800-237-8255. Please take care. I wish you well.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Nov 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). What Happens When Therapy Isn’t An Option?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/11/29/what-happens-when-therapy-isnt-an-option/