Joining a therapy group or seeing someone one-on-one is an open admission you need help. That's perfectly fine, as seeking assistance in life's problems is an extremely positive act you can do for yourself. On the other side of that relationship, you have a therapist who, hopefully, wants to help you. For whatever reason, it doesn't always work out. You can't crack through, or you can't figure it out, and you can only hope to find help through other means.
Reddit user, u/Ate10, wanted to know:
Sometimes, There's Too Many Factors
I am a therapist who works with families with adoptive children. I have had many clients I could not help. Families that seek help are often on the verge of ending the adoption. The children experienced trauma and unstable attachment and families have been struggling. It often feels like putting a bandaid on a bullet wound.
There have been many families who stopped because therapy wasn't helping: the children continued to "not behave." I currently have a family I worked with for a year that seems worse off than last year. Most days i struggle not knowing how to help them.
However. I remind myself that a therapist's role is small compared to the other factors for change (change happens when the person is willing and able and environmental factors support change). Also, I remind myself of the small changes that the families and me made happen together.
You Can Do Everything Right...
I provided therapy for people with acquired brain injury for several years. This one man of about 58 was sent for care. Sweetest guy in the world. Nothing worked. Nothing.
I created a behavioural tracking plan for him and observed that he was losing function, while in active rehab.
I contacted his doctor and asked for an urgent referral to a neurologist because I suspected dementia. It was dementia and the doctors agreed with me that he had suffered the accident that caused his brain injury as a result of thinking and coordination problems caused by the dementia. I helped get him admitted to a dementia care facility so no further harm befell him from trying to live on his own.
Sometimes, You Just Have To Pass Them Along
I referred them to someone I thought could help.
For example, I work a lot with ADD, but sometimes people need to be medicated before they can be expected to focus enough to do the work required in therapy.
They're Only Looking For Validation In The Wrong Ways
My gf is a person centred therapist and works with troubled women.
This one woman complained about her last week because she couldn't make it in one week and the week beforehand my gf had sort of triggered her to cry (but only by helping her reflect on herself, not because she said anything to her), ever since then, the girl was really offish with her and decided to complain and get another therapist, apparently my gf was her 3rd at the therapy Center she works at, the girl doesn't want help it's obvious she just wants someone to say mob yeah your life sounds really hard'
Nothing Worked For Years
I am on the other end of this question. I was a patient who was told by a psychologist he couldn't help me. When i was 17 i got hit by a car while riding my bike and i got hurt pretty bad but not life threatingly bad. it was supposed 3 to 6 months for me to heal fully but that never happened, i'm still in serious chronic pain 6 years later. So i met with a psychologist because my lawyer recommended i do so to help both myself and the case against the driver that hit me.
I explained what i was going through, he diagnosed me with ptsd, and told me theres nothing he can do to help my ptsd while i am still in so much pain. He told me not to book another appointment until i am out of pain, which never happend.
Parents Can Be The Worst
The kid I really couldn't help had severe ADHD and possibly bi-polar, though we strive to avoid diagnosing young kids with that unless it's really REALLY obvious. In this case the parents refused to follow my guidance or do a family therapy session with both parents present. The mom was the one doing all the "work" - giving the kid meds and literally physically fighting with her (DCF called)- but not using actual discipline- and would give into the kids demands as soon as she threw a temper tantrum. I tried to warn mom when you start using discipline after not doing so for 13 years, it WILL get worse before it gets better. But the parents worked long jobs and often left the child rearing and discipline to an older sibling or relative who wasnt equipped. I eventually recommended out to ABA because even though the kid wasnt cooperative, she was doing a lot of dangerous stuff that could lead to her hurting herself and I wasnt cool just leaving the case.
Thet being said it's rare for a kid to just not cooperate (tho it does happen). 90% of the time it's the parent who is not complaint or who actively sabotages the kids recovery (like I've literally heard a parent say 'If your grades go up theyll take away our disability money and we cant afford rent"). Family systems are generally responsible for a young diagnosis, especially depression or anxiety but the parents scapegoat the kid and act as though they have done nothing wrong. And I get it, it's hard to hear as a parent that YOU are actually the problem. They also treat the therapist like a babysitter (like no, you cant leave the house just because I'm here).
You Can't Make People Do The Work
I do motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy for people trying to quit smoking as part of a research study.
We have about a 65% success rate with getting people to quit 1 month. It's hard to say what the numbers are beyond that because, while we do collect 6 month and 1 year data points, we get a lot of drop off because people use the study as a means to an end and we get a lot of attrition once they feel confident they don't need the support anymore.
The biggest indicator of inability to quit is, like others have said in the thread, wanting to be off cigarettes but not being willing to put in the work. For just about everyone that has put the CBT, MI, and general coping strategies to use outside of our weekly counseling sessions has successfully quit. The ones that come in with external reasons for quitting (my wife wants me to quit, I'm tired of getting looks from other people, etc etc), don't engage in any "homework", and don't consistently come to sessions are the ones that don't make it through.
Except this one woman that hit every indicator of a soon-to-be successful quitter, was working with us for 3 or 4 months and was making good progress, and one week just completely cut contact. We called her, emailed her, texted her, sent her letters, but she completely vanished with zero indication that she was having a hard time or in danger of relapse. I still think about her pretty frequently. She was older, so I actually do hope she relapsed and got too embarrassed to call us back, because the alternative explanations for an older person trying to make positive change in their life going completely silent are more morbid.
Just To Repeat: You Can't Make People Change
It's not so much that I can't help, it's that people don't want to change. Someone will only make changes when they are ready, not before.
I saw a couple much older than me one time and it was pretty obvious that it was over before we started. Often times when people come to therapy as a couple it's already too late. I had quite high hopes, but they had such contempt for one another.
Nothing Is As It Seems
Secondary gains. Patients sometimes come to therapy maybe with a genuine problem maybe without but there's an ulterior motive their driving then coming and its glaringly obvious.
I'm trained to give unconditional positive regard so even if I'm suspicious I'll play dumb with you unless there's enough contradictions for me to point it out and even then I'm going to be understanding about it. However, please don't waste both of our times. If you want something, ask for it. If I can help, I will.
If I can't I will at least point you in the right direction or explain why it's a bad idea and ask if you do want to continue therapy. If you don't it means I can offer the space to someone with a genuine need and want to be seen. Our waiting list is currently 3 months to be assessed and 6 months to then be treated.
Behavior Is A Big Factor
Working in the psychiatry, with some of the worst patients here in my country. It's all about making the most stable environment and situation for every patient, if theyre too extrovert and act out too much for us to handle, we call the police which then takes them to the acute department in the hospital.
Crimes Are A Big Interference
My dad works as a therapist. He has a patient who has 5 kids, a wife, & lives in a somewhat rust belt town. Let's call this patient 'Miguel' Miguel is a heroin addict, who also sells heroin. He sells to a cop, and the cops raid his trailer. Arrest him. Eventually the cops drop the charges, or whatever they're called, & Miguel celebrates! BUT they put the case on a federal level.
Nothing That Can Be Done
My father, brother, mother and I went to family counseling when my parents were heading toward divorce. We were the the therapist's last appointment on a Friday evening.
She committed suicide that night. My family disbanded soon after.
The Wire Burns Both Ways
I was "let go" by a therapist.
I was being treated for depression by my university psychologist. In actuality I was bipolar and yet to be diagnosed. I was coping in every possible unhealthy way. Self harm, alcohol, binging/purging, etc. The university wasn't set up for long term care so after a certain number of sessions she had referred me to an outside psychiatrist but it was a terrible experience and I went back to her. She told me that she couldn't keep seeing me for her own mental health. She had become so concerned for me that it was affecting her.
It was incredibly hard to hear. Like "I'm so f-cked up I even disturb a professional." But mental health professionals are people too and I understand why.
If It's Not Working, You Have To Stop
Of course. Many times. Psychotherapy (whatever the flavour) is not always effective.
There's an ethical obligation of therapists to evaluate their progress with all clients/patients during the therapeutic process.
There's also an ethical obligation to discuss with them if there's no progress being made. It doesn't imply blame on either the client/patient or the therapist. But if things aren't working, it needs to be discussed, and other options should be considered.
It's just like if you had an infection, and a particular antibiotic wasn't helping, you don't just keep doing the same thing. You consider other treatment options, and also other treatment providers.
I've referred many clients that weren't being helped. It's not about giving up, it's about seeking the best outcome for the client (not the therapsit). To think that you are the only therapist that can help someone says more about your narcissism than the client/patient.
Who's that one patient you couldn't help? Tell us all about it!
The world is a big and fascinating place.
What do you genuinely not understand??
Sometimes what you don't understand isn't that crazy of an idea, but it still doesn't make any sense to you.
"Why can I never find my shoes?" for example.
It's A Skill All Mother's Attain
"Why when my mother asks me to go get her something and I can't find it, but when she gets up and looks for it, the thing she asked me to get was right in front of me."
"It's called refrigerator blindness:"
It's A Game We All Play
"The economy, as in I understand everything hypothetically, but have no clue how Im going to implement my "knowledge." Yeah I know how a mortgage works, and I know how taxes work, but what do I do? Just go to the bank and say "1 mortgage please!" I just feel like Im missing something about the "real world" and since Im 17, Im only a couple years off it"
"1 Mortgage please" is just about right lol don't worry you're young. There's still people in their 30s and 40s out there who don't understand these concepts either. Just the thought of you trying to understand these concepts at your age puts you ahead of the curve. Stay curious and always ask questions."
Looking At You, Comments Section...
"When native English speakers can't:"
"Editing so ya'll can stop commenting the same ones:"
A lot of science goes deep into the territory of sounding made up. It's all real, it has to be. Otherwise it wouldn't be something we could study. Yet even with those explanations, to some it feels like there's a bit of fiction behind it.
It's Magic. Only Explanation.
"I know there's grooves but how does a needle going over those tiny grooves make such a specific sound, like the vocals, guitars, drums, keyboards, or any other instrument? And how did people invent this so long ago?"
"I've seen closeups of a needle in a groove but it still doesn't make sense to me how a few ridges can produce these sounds exactly. And how do they even put those specific grooves in there, especially over a century ago."
It Just Keeps Growing And Growing And...
"What's in space and the absolute vastness of it"
"I took astronomy in college only thing I remember is that humans will never be able to comprehend how big space is or the distance"
"From what I know, the speed of light is the limitation we're facing. The light from extremely far away places is expanding faster than the speed of light can reach us so in an infinite amount of time, we'll never get to see or even know about what was there."
All I Know Is You Plug It In And...
"I've read the theory and explanation, even simplified ones and I just still don't understand. I've done some calculations in uni for it and I had to mentally separate that it was electrical theory to understand the equations."
"Definitely black magic."
Maybe go for a walk in the park. Look at some trees. Those are easy to comprehend. No need to stretch your brain to the point of breaking.
"NFT's for me it's just online pictures you speculate with"
"You've figured it out then."
"I really hate the NFT bandwagon, because I still find no sense to it after trying to read about it every chance I get and I feel this is the line that turning me from tech-savvy to the uncle you need to teach how to use his phone."
It's All A Bit Wibbly Wobbly
"to be fair none of us genuinely understand. we're merely pretending to, by making it relative to us. good answer"
"People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff"
No On Really Knows And ISN'T THAT TERRIFYING
"Either it always existed, which is a thermodynamic nightmare which makes no sense because how can a chain of events not have a start, or it did have a start, which is preposterous because time (spacetime) is a PRODUCT of expansion; there literally was no "before" the big bang because there was no time to have a point in to call "before"."
"Ontologically, ONE of these statements has to be at least nominally true, but BOTH are f-cking bananas."
There's ideas, concepts, scientific theories, you can hear and be retaught many times yet still not fully understand. And that's okay. You don't have to understand everything. Just accept we're moving forward, in time, in a universe we don't fully grasp, and move on with your life.
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You know what?
I genuinely like being an adult. I don't exactly like paying bills (who does, right?) but it's nice to know that I have my independence and that there is no one else impeding on my time. When I was a kid, I was very annoyed with the rituals of life, like going to school and seeing the same terrible people each day. Being out and about in the world, being free of these things, has been a game-changer.
But there are things you're never really prepared for, such as the fact that there's always something to do.
We heard more after Redditor Bootyshortsforcorgis asked the online community,
"Adults of Reddit, what part of being an adult caught you completely off guard because no one talks about it?"
"Even when you think..."
"How absolutely constant it all is. Even when you think you're getting a break, like a vacation, you're just doing other adult things you don't normally do in your everyday life."
Like I said... there's always something to do. Yeah, it can get to you sometimes.
"After 40+ weeks..."
"After 40+ years on this planet, you can still be traumatized by something that happened in your childhood."
Time doesn't heal all wounds, people. You know what does? Addressing those wounds. Therapy is important.
"How much I..."
"How much I would need to lie on the floor to make my back feel better."
"That many do not mature or grow up after high school."
Ain't that the truth. It's why I'm glad I no longer live in my old neighborhood.
"Having to decide..."
"Having to decide what to eat for the rest of your life. It can turn into laziness which leads to unhealthy eating. I don't wanna do all that cooking when I can just throw a pizza in the oven. Even though I know deep down I need to eat more veggies and not have food go to waste."
"That you'll spend..."
"That you'll spend a huge portion of your life doing things you really don't want to do (work, cleaning, being around people you don't like)."
Also true. One of the things that I do like about the pandemic? More time at home. I despise commuting. Do not miss it in the least.
"The complete unwillingness..."
"The complete unwillingness of most people to have difficult conversations. Most people would be perfectly happy carrying on like nothing is going on."
"Realizing that your parents were also just trying to figure it all out."
That they are. Many of us have become more forgiving of our parents as a result. Note that this doesn't necessarily apply if someone's parents are or were abusive.
"High school and college..."
"The opportunity to meet people is limited compared to when you were in high school or college.
High school and college provided you with extra activities/clubs to do that helped you meet people with similar mind-sets/interests as you. When you graduate, you lose seeing those people consistently or even at all.
So when you make it to the real world, the friends you did make from those things, aren't as available as they used to be. It can be hard to meet up and do things like you used to."
"You move out..."
"You move out and suddenly realise there are no pens. Your parents have lots of pens, but, you realise they never bought pens, they just had lots of them. Where did all those pens come from? Years of accumulation."
No one said adulthood was easy, but hopefully you'll be a bit more prepared now that you these observations in mind.
As for me... I will never miss being a teen. I'm good where I'm at.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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What if? That could happen. You never know. All thoughts that muddle the mind. It is unhealthy to live life in a vacuum of despair and scare but really... you do never know. And anything can happen.
So! How to proceed. First we must figure out are you scared or cautious? And are those messages getting confused? They are important questions.
It's natural to be concerned in life, and it's smart to be ready, but living in fear is no good. For instance, serial killers exist. In fact several are reading this now. That can't stop us from going outside. Can it?
Redditor u/IgnoreAndScroll404 wanted to chat about all the things that leave us shooketh in life, because maybe, you never know. They asked:
What unlikely event are you terrified will happen to you?
I hate elevators. I'm claustrophobic. I am sure death by elevator is imminent. Has it happened to others? Yes. Will it inevitably happen to me? Yes. I mean maybe. Who can tell.
The EndFail New York Knicks GIF by Indiana PacersGiphy
"Being impaled by a log falling off of the back of a truck, final destination style."
Over Troubled Water...
"A bridge collapsing when I'm driving over it."
"Back in '93 my aunt, uncle, cousin, and I were on a road trip from Illinois to Massachusetts. We drove through NYC and we entered Manhattan on the George Washington Bridge. During that year al-Qaeda had plans of using high powered explosives in New York and one of their targets was the GW bridge. Thankfully the FBI foiled that plot before it could be carried out. I distinctively remember as we were on the bridge I was hoping it wouldn't collapse."
"Die before retirement."
"This. All that crap for nothing. This is why you should avoid overtime even if you love what you do, you're not only giving up time now but also time later. Stress will cut your lifespan down as fast as anything."
"I'm afraid that one day I'll travel to a country that's got a lot of ice. I'll for some reason, cut a hole in the ice so I can jump in. Swim a little and then not be able to rise to the top due to all the ice and can't find the way out! I've had literal nightmares about this."
Clues...clue turnaround GIF by Paramount MoviesGiphy
"I'm a woman who watches too much true crime. I'm so riveted when watching, but later in the middle of the night I wake up and repeatedly check the doorway for serial killers."
Danger. Danger is all around us. Even in the house we're in trouble. We're never safe.
The Wavetsunami GIFGiphy
"Dying by tsunami."
"This. I am simultaneously fascinated and terrified of tsunamis. I have dreams about running from tsunamis about once every couple of months, sometimes I survive, sometimes I don't, but its so freaking scary to think about. And yet I also like to look up footage of tsunamis online for some reason, like some kind of Stockholm syndrome."
"A brain aneurism. Thanks, Archer."
Rabies. Despite the fact that I'm vaccinated and the chances are low as hell that I would end up with it if I got a booster shot after exposure."
"It is basically the zombie plague from horror movies. Sure, it turns out the logistics of zombie infection doesn't lead to hoards of zombies roaming the streets. But seriously it's a ridiculous nasty disease. My grandfather worked with the virus as some sort of researcher. I got an illuminating email from him back when I was in school doing a report on rabies. Not my favorite disease by a long shot."
"I am scared a plane will crash into my house. Not actually because of 9/11, I had this fear since before then because of the major event near San Diego California where 2 planes crashed into each other mid-air. Bodies and plane parts etc fell all over a suburban neighbourhood. It's one of my biggest nightmares and still bothers me to think about that. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Southwest_Airlines_Flight_182"
Knock me out...Tired Monday GIFGiphy
"Doctors doing things without my permission. Such as while under anesthesia, ignoring my requests for something to not happen, claiming I'm incompetent to make decisions, etc."
Life is a gamble. You gonna play or just wait out your turn? That is a more serious question than you think.
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Capitalism wants to push its workers to work for ultimate productivity--even if that comes at the expense of other things. A worker's well-being has been placed second to their productivity in America for too long. That time is changing now.
Workers are no longer willing to be completely mowed down for a paycheck. Something's gotta give--and either it's the money or the job. And more people are willing to stand up for themselves.
"What was your 'I'm not paid enough for this s**t' moment?"
Here were some of those answers.
Think Of The Children
"Telling a grown a** man that he shouldn't be sh*tting in a school parking lot. I was eating lunch in my car and saw him in the rear view mirror."
"I got out of my car and shouted as loud as I could SIR YOU CANNOT POOP THERE, not to get his attention so much as to make him, you know, not sh*t on the side of my school building. And embarrass him out of doing it again."
"I was pissed off, too, there were two portapotties within sight of where he was."-8dogsinatrenchcoat
"When a customer had a full-blown adult tantrum on the floor of the supermarket I was working at because we were out of red cabbage two hours before we closed on Christmas Eve."
"Mind you that almost everyone eats red cabbage on Christmas here in Germany. To top this off she also threw frozen bread rolls after me because I told her to have her tantrum outside."-Lelexxia
Knowing Your Value
"While working with a client as a consultant employed by a consulting agency. The client tried to hire me full time and offered me triple the salary."
"That was like the wtf moment which made me research the market value of my skills and turned out I was super underpaid. So I left and found a new job straight away."-vegetable-table-man
It's hard to think of ourselves in terms of money, since we aren't made to be consumed for value.
Gotta Love A Truck Stop Moment
"So I'm working this register at a truck stop circa 2011. It's by a door that gets very little traffic so I mostly just watch the gift shop area and try to deter people from stealing."
"It's an overnight shift about 3 am. This man comes barreling in bleeding from his hand and yells 'IVE BEEN STABBED!'"
"Immediately I call for security. My manager is nearby. Security calls 911 on their way and shows up a few moments later. This guy is bleeding profusely, all over my freshly mopped floor mind you."
"I'm off to the side 'Sir where is the stabber?!' My manager is asking for towels, so I bring a clean towel. Again I ask 'SIR, where is the stabber?!'"
"My manager and security are saying stuff like 'Put pressure on it. Go wave down the ambulance when they arrive!' So at this point I'm practically yelling 'There is a stabber on the loose in that parking lot some where and I'm not going out there until I know where he is!'"
"Finally the guy goes 'Oh he was at the truck stop across the street. We got into an argument it wasn't random.' Relieved and now no longer fearing for my safety I went out to wave down the ambulance."
"Unfortunately $8/hr is not enough to get stabbed over."-ItsTylerBrenda
Ice Ice Baby
"I worked at a Starbucks in a grocery store and a customer got mad because she wanted a drink cold but it was served hot.
"The girl taking her order was new and didn't ask her if she wanted hot or cold, I was making the drinks so went with what was on the cup."
"So she threw it at me, while still freshly hot. Burned my face down to my stomach. I was 5 months pregnant. I quit a week later."-Zealou_luv
Sometimes, Spirit Is Inappropriate
"So if you're familiar with Build-A-Bear, you know the happy faces the employees are supposed to have. You might also be familiar with the bear stuffing process."
"You pick a bear, bring it to me, pick a heart and you do a little dance (or whatever else I'd pick) I'd stuff the bear, you put the heart in and I stitch it up."
"There was a couple that came in one night in January 2008. She was extremely pregnant. They came in and pick one of the little blue bears. I asked how they want it stuffed, the normal."
"And then when they pick the heart oh, they also pick one of the fancy hearts that has a heartbeat. Then tell me that their son, who she is still pregnant with is going to be stillborn. And they are making a bear together to give to him to be buried with."
"Obviously, I immediately tone down to the happy-go-lucky bullsh*t. The store was empty so it didn't really matter. And no, I didn't make them do the little dance and wish that you do for most people."
"I finished the bear myself, walk them through the clothing, check them out myself and then close the store. I got written up the next day for not showing the Build-A-Bear spirit. I was 16. I quit and got into a screaming match with that dumba** manager."-enemyoftoast
Mary Mary Quite Contrary
"When the boss said he was going to hire 'Mary' back. Mary, the woman who was fired for having her friends call me with death threats because I wouldn't switch days off with her."
"Mary, the woman he told me he was never in a room alone with because she was 'the type to claim sexual harassment'."
"He hired Mary back and gave her my job after I quit. He was fired 6 months later over the sexual harassment claim filed by . . . . Mary."-jaimystery
We will never put our mental and physical health at risk without being duly compensated.
"I was on a royal navy warship and we'd pulled into Hull UK for a visit. Their dockyard regulations prevented the ship from discharging solids overboard so the total of all the crews toilet flushings were diverted to a holding tank so we could discharge it overboard when back at sea."
"After the crew had been in port for two days, which for most involved copious drinking and then finishing off with a large curry or spicy kebab, the additional load on the system was too much for the circulating pump inside tank."
"The pump was also used pump the contents overboard so needed to be fixed before we went back to sea. Unfortunately I was duty electrician the day the pump failed."
"The contents of the tank was about a foot and half deep! I suited up with waterproofs and copious amounts of duct tape to seal the seams and descended."
"The pump was bolted in place and to free it I had to work with my face about four inches from the liquid curry and beer smoothies as I bent over. I definitely want getting paid enough... But I was given an order and it was my job, so I just got on and did it."-Androm57
"Was working in a large bakery for my first job at 15. Tried to pull a six foot tall baking tray but there's a lip to get the tray over, started to fall on me and caught it with my forearms, burning myself (not terribly, but still not great feeling)."
"Told my boss and showed him my swelling, reddened forearms and asked to go home. He said I could, once I'd mopped out the bottom of all the 10+ freezers and then he left, leaving me alone."
"I left as soon as he did and then rode my bike home to take care of my burns."-therustedrobot
The Donors Need To Be Coralled
"Working for a nonprofit. At a fundraising dinner, a major donor touched my knee then later my butt and flirted heavily. I am a woman and was 25 at the time."
"When I brought it to my supervisor I was told that is just something you have to put up with when fundraising if you want to make the organization money."
"Stayed at that job a few months before I was fired for not being happy enough. Note that after that incident I refused to attend events where the creep would be there.. Can't say I was sad."
"Got a job that paid twice as much and came without sexual harassment. An employment lawyer probably would have loved if I called them, but I lacked the confidence to take that big of a stand."
"Now I would absolutely take action. I would actually probably yell in the moment to get your forking hands off me. Which would have been awkward for him because his wife was present."-smughippie
There you have it. Across the board, people have put their foot down when it comes to work. If you want higher paid work, you need to pay me more.
Let's never settle for less again.