I’m Scared I Can’t Get Help

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have struggled with therapy since I started it for the first time a year and a half ago. Each time, it seems like it is helpful for a little while, then we hit a wall and have to stop because it isn’t helping any more. The bad feelings come back eventually, driving me to seek therapy again.

I also seem to fight therapy. I don’t know why I do this. I really want to feel better, but I also have to do things myself. I feel uncomfortable doing some standard recommended things like deep breathing. I think part of that is due to autism. Some movements and actions just make me uncomfortable and I hate doing them (please don’t recommend that I practice more. I have already heard that suggestion).

Recently, I have been out of therapy again and the bad feelings are coming back really bad, but it seems like my fighting help is also coming in hard, too. I have been trying to reach out for help again, but at the same time I seem to shoot it down. Do I just not want help? Do I like my disease, even though it is killing me? Sometimes I wonder if the fighting comes from the disease itself… It seems to have a hold on my personality, making me insufferably stubborn and unable to change if I can’t do it my way. But I can’t do it my way–I don’t have the tools!

What can I do when I fight therapy, but desperately need the help?

A. I don’t have enough information to know what might be wrong and why you are reluctant to stay in therapy. It’s possible that you simply haven’t found a competent therapist. Lacking confidence in your therapist might explain why you are unwilling to take his or her advice.

It’s also possible that you are not ready to change. Sometimes people become stuck in their ways and even though they say they want help, they don’t act accordingly. They think they know better than their therapist.

You mentioned that you might have autism. Autism is associated with rigidity which can make behavioral changes difficult. If you do in fact have autism, it could be contributing to your problem.

You also said that you can be “insufferably stubborn and unable to change if you can’t do it [your] way.” If you are attempting to impose your will upon the therapist and then quitting when it does not go your way, that would be a big mistake.

At times therapy can be unpleasant, unsatisfying and emotionally painful but it is necessary to grow and to prosper. If you’re willing to return to therapy again, try not to impose your will upon the therapist. You admitted that your way isn’t working and that you don’t “have the tools” to fix your own problems. If you truly believe that, then act accordingly and allow your therapist to his or her job.

The book The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck discusses some of the issues that you are facing. It might help you to understand your resistance to change. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Aug 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). I’m Scared I Can’t Get Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/08/18/im-scared-i-cant-get-help/