I’ve gone off page lately in my therapy sessions. With therapy (especially Clinical Psychologist NHS evidence-based time-bound psychological therapy,) you start with a blank page.
You don’t know your therapist and they don’t know you. True, they may have notes to read made from other professional clinicians, but essentially you begin with a blank page with neither of you knowing exactly how your therapeutic work is going to go and what controlled chaos will ensue!
You start off explaining why you’re there-why you’ve sought help-what things bother you and test you and limit you-what things make you cry-what things make you shout-what things make you clam up like a hermit and want to avoid mentioning (**PEARL OF WISDOM ALERT- these unmentionables are the hardest aspects to get to grips with, but invariably the ones you need most help with).
Your therapist builds up a picture of you…mentally they sketch you out. First the sketch of you is made up on the bare bones, and in time as they get to know you they flesh you out, and the portrait of you and your psychological makeup becomes clearer and clearer. I imagine (though I’d have to check with her) that this is how my therapist might have initially sketched me out….
They will look in the cold light of day at your strengths and weaknesses. They look at you in the observer role. They are emotionally distanced from you, not meaning they don’t care, but distanced in the sense that they don’t actually live in your head.
They’ll start to work out the kind of junk and treasure that is stored in that mind of yours… all given what you say, how you say it, and what you do, and how you do it.
The sketch is then complete.
They picture you as you are (through their eyes)…which may be either quite similar to your own self-perception, or very damn different.
During discussion you both work to figure out what you believe is wrong with you (or ‘could be improved’ is a nicer way of saying it). You then (to put in bluntly) compare what YOU think is wrong with you, with what THEY think is wrong with you. But they never say it in these terms. This is just my flippant call a spade a spade un-subtle way of describing it in blog posts.
They write a psychological formulation which is approved by you and then a copy is sent to your GP. Eek. That bit is always awkward-you wonder do you really want your GP knowing all this personal stuff about you?
Annoyingly, you don’t have a choice. Professionals always share information-it’s how they work. There are understandable reasons for it. So you just have to deal with it.
Anyway, going back to the formulation thingie, reading your psychological formulation is like reading a school report but MUCH MUCH WORSE! … because this is talking about you in the here and now, plus it is like reading a clinically stripped down list of your flaws and all your sources of deep inner pain. There is always good stuff in in too. It is always written in a balanced way, but in my experience reading my psychological formulation was a bit EEKish!!! AWKWARD.
**Reminder-never share therapist’s psychological formulation of yourself on any form of social media or tinder dating app lol :P
Anyways…so your all profiled up and psychologically sketched out to the max. Next you jointly decide on treatment goals. (I will have to dig out all this old paperwork at some stage.)
….and then put in measures and desired outcomes, so you will know what you’re aiming for, and be able to realise when you have achieved them.
I would say at this stage (February 2017) my significant treatment goals are pretty much nailed! This girl did good!! I worked hard at this therapy thing that at all times was VERY HARD. Therapy is still beneficial though, which is why my psychologist is content to continue the sessions for the time being. (The final therapy ending date remains unspecified).
Every therapy session is hard work, and some are harder than others. Fortunately today was a relatively easier one YAAY!
Today was more ‘off page’. It wasn’t a therapy session where an ill person went to discuss her mental health troubles as per the psychological formulation NHS treatment goal plan set up…more a sesh where summerSHINES reeled off a list of all the ways she is proud of how she’s managing her mental health and all the achievements she’s had in the last week. :)
It felt bloody nice to do that-BLOODY AWESOME actually, as not every incidence of therapising is so positive and epic.
I just don’t feel unwell anymore….which is nice.
When I’m positive, she is positive and we have a jolly nice chat about all things psychological and inner and deep, but with a slant of happyishness :) When I am negative she’s still positive, but I reciprocate like a grumpy five year old would who is NOT pleased it’s her birthday and DOES wanna cry if she wants to! Those sessions are demanding, for her and for me. They happen less and less these days though which is excellent news.
My psychologist lady and me had “the chat” today…the chat that keeps happening where I say I’m frustrated at services not being more positive about all my grand plans re. the media/writing work I want to do. I think we made some progress today though…or rather I persuasively steam rollered her into my way of thinking ;) I don’t think she is used to her patients discussing their media aspirations with her…probs because they don’t have any? but I very much do. Her job is to remind me that if I push myself too hard or have too much on my plate of destiny that I won’t be able to keep up and my stress will increase and then I might crash and feel overwhelmed like I can’t do anything.
I said that whether I crash and become overwhelmed or not is my responsibility, not the mental health service’s responsibility.
I am a driven person with a lot of bubbly enthusiasm (which I’m sure can be quite irritating at times as I’m so intense about things,) but this is who I am. This is my true personality remerging after a long period of illness where that personality was very much supressed.
I am not ill anymore. I am someone who is in recovery and managing their mental health glitches admirably like a bloody solider.
My new motto is THIS GIRL CAN & THIS GIRL WILL.
Mindset is everything.
I don’t need people to doubt or worry about me. I’ve got this- I really have got this.
I’m growing up. I’m maturing. I’m evolving. I’m becoming more resilient. I’m bouncing back better from difficult things that previously would have floored me for a long time.
I don’t need therapy. I don’t need that cotton wool wrapping up stuff.
I GOT THIS.
I’m turning the therapy page.
The future is mine.
The world is my oyster.
…And ALL THAT JAZZ!
Have a wonderful weekend guys XXX
[With babysitting then a Saturday morning skyped radio interview I am very hopeful I will] :)
…And hope is all you need.
Hope you’ll meet your treatment goals.
Hope therapy will one day FINALLY come to an end!
And now, hope that when that happens I’ll be confidently ok :)