My thoughts and observations following my assessment session for on 15/10/2019.
Covered in this session
- Identified what was to be covered in session
- Identified main issue to be addressed
- Established level of immediate risk
- Next appointment time agreed.
Wow, what a difference a change of therapist can make.
Those of you that have read my previous blog posts about therapy will be aware of how negatively I tend to approach it, but despite not having a session for almost a month I have managed to maintain my determination to get better. I’m not saying I haven’t considered giving up on therapy and going it alone – I have, whenever I feel less bad – but my mild panic attack the other day opened my eyes to how much I am struggling. I can only assume that if I didn’t have the benefit of 20 years of experience with mental health issues and various therapies that I would be in a much less functional state right now.
Back to the assessment though. It was a pre-planned phone call with a trainee therapist called Rose. She introduced herself and talked through the format of the assessment, which was undertaken much more comprehensively than for the online therapy.
Most of the session was similar to before, ie. the therapist asking for personal about the areas in which I have been struggling.
I briefly explained to Rose my history of mental health issues. I also explained that I now believe that my current struggles are related to the postnatal depression (PND) that I developed over 2 years ago and never received treatment for. My PND was compounded by interpersonal issues at work (some would say bullying). The bad experiences at work resulted in me feeling such severe guilt, anxiety, stress, self-doubt, depression and low confidence that I believe I am essentially traumatised by these events and that is why CBT isn’t right for me just yet. Rose suggested that a better path for me would be some counselling, followed by CBT once I am in a position to focus more on the here and now.
Finally, I thought, someone is actually listening to me!
In addition to immediately having more of a rappor with Rose, I also had the benefit of a few weeks of soul-searching and reflection on the last therapy to build a more articulate depiction of my current mental state. I felt I had a better grasp of what I did and didn’t want from therapy and therefore felt more in control of the assessment process. I felt that recommendations were reached with mutual input, rather than me being forced along a standard path of treatment, as if that was the only option.
Overall I felt much more was covered in a shorter time than in the online sessions. We overran the allotted time by 15 minutes but at no point did I feel rushed.
I found it much easier to built a rappor with Rose due to the assessment being done over the phone rather than the clunky chatting format. Her approach was friendly and quite passive (in a good way), rather than insisting on validating everything I said in a patronising manner, which is how I felt my last therapist approached things.
I feel so relieved to talk to someone that actually seemed to listen to what I was saying and understood it.
However, I am fairly sure that my positive experience has a lot to do with the therapist undertaking the assessment (Rose), so if I am referred to another therapist for the counselling then I may find myself in a similar position to the last therapy, where we just didn’t ‘click’. This may cause me some anxiety initially, but hopefully it will prove to be unfounded.
Mood at start of session: Anxious
Mood at end of session: Positive
Has anyone else had a similar experience with therapy? I would love to hear from you.