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Thread: Self Help

  1. #1
    Taking time out Nigella's Avatar
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    Self Help

    You know I have been thinking for a long time about this thread. I know full well that it could become controversial, especially in light of a recent thread. Anyway, letís post and see how it goes.

    My story of becoming who I am today has been one of mainly self-help. By that I mean that there had been no professional intervention until very recently.

    A very short synopsis of my life has been that I came out to the world as TG in 2005, not actually dressing 24/7, but certainly when the situation did not demand male clothing, dressing female. I was in full time employment at the time, had been there for 10 years and held a fairly visual post in the trade union. Out of all the family, friends and acquaintances that we knew, only one turned their back on us. The rest were accepting, and still are today, even though I have moved on.

    In 2007 I was made redundant from my job, not as a result of my TGism, but a change in the qualification requirements of the job I was doing, the company decided it would be cheaper to pay off the existing staff rather than retrain them, then offer the job out to contractors.

    I took this opportunity to re-apply for a job that had originally been declined. The company I reapplied to knew about me being a 24/7 cder, I made that clear in my original application. I was offered a position at this time, presenting 24/7 and changing my name legally to Nigella. I am still employed by them today.

    In 2010 I realised I was more than a 24/7 cder, I am TS. At this point I was comfortable with my life and who I was, I had needed no professional help in any shape of form, no Dr, no psychiatrist, nothing of that nature.

    Since coming out in 2005 until mid-2010 everything had been done on a self help basis. Mid 2010 I sought out professional help to aid me in my transition. I have been on hormones for 12 months. Whatís next for me, well I now have my first psychiatric review for surgery referral in a few weeks time,

    The aim of this thread, well what I would like to know, is how much of your transition has been through self help? Have you been able to do anything on your own, without any form of professional help?
    SOMETIMES JUST BEING THERE IS ENOUGH

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    New Member StacieJayne's Avatar
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    The only thing that I have approached the professionals for is a) getting onto hormone treatment, b) when I want GRS, I will need to use the professionals. Other than that, so far I have not needed any professional help whatsoever. 17 years ago, I had the chance to be 24/7 and went to Charing Cross, saw the specialist consultant, I forget his name now, and like a fool, denied myself the chance to become what I truly wish to be In 2007, I attended a local college as my namesake Stacie Jayne and loved being there as myself. Unfortunately, a boy of about 18 made some rather rude remarks one day, that put paid to Stacie until earlier this year. Also in 2007 I changed my name by deed poll, but have yet to put it to official documents. So all in all, I have not used the professional channels very much and only when I will really need them, will I use them.
    Life is what we make it....and I am making my life to be the best I can

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    Leisure Lady Vivian Best's Avatar
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    As I look back on life I wish I had taken advantage of the help that was available. I was embarrassed to let anyone know what I was and so I battled my demons by myself. I'm over 70 now and I have them somewhat at bay. I think my life would have been, if not drastically different, a little easier had I sought that help.

    You know what they say "hind sight is 20-20".
    Vivian

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    Hello Nigella

    It sounds to me like your road to transition is going just fine. It is your road after all and how you find it may be through therapy or by your own self-examination. In the end, therapy can only help one to discover what they really have in their mind. It can't "redo" their mind for them. Everyone has to travel their own path and there is no reason to say yours is not appropriate for you.

    Best of luck on your journey and best wishes on whatever future course you choose.

    Hugs and Love,
    Sandra1746

  5. #5
    Aspiring Member Kristy_K's Avatar
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    Hi Nigella,

    I have been very lucky I guess because the only professional help I have needed was to get me on HRT and my letters. You can't get an SRS without them darn letters.
    Kristy
    This is my Facebook page

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    Nigella, I am so glad someone raised this issue. This site and the scene of trans anything is replete with this standard form advice, go see a therapist, preferably a gender specialist, rely on support groups etc.

    I have always been leery of this kind of help when it comes to authenticity issues involving myself. Up until I reached my decision I had never discussed my experience with anyone except my spouse since we met and one other person when I was 19 years old.

    I always felt that this was so important that I did not want the judgement of others positive (oh yes I think you are woman; why don't you try to find out if you are; try clothes and see how you feel) or negative (my god you are such masculine man; are you gay; are you mentally unstable; you suffer from a lack of judgement) clouding my ability to determine who I was or dilute the inner experiences I have had over the years.

    My biography is marked by being social and enjoying others while having a profound sense of loneliness and isolation.

    Two things come to mind for me; the second verse from Rilke's poem, "You who never arrived":

    [FONT=&quot]You, Beloved, who are all
    the gardens I have ever gazed at,
    longing. An open window
    in a country house, and you almost
    stepped out, pensive, to meet me.
    Streets that I chanced upon,--
    you had just walked down them and vanished.
    And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors
    were still dizzy with your presence and,
    startled, gave back my too-sudden image.
    Who knows? Perhaps the same
    bird echoed through both of us
    yesterday, separate, in the evening... [/FONT]

    Some time ago I wrote this:

    From my earliest childhood I experienced a profound loneliness. I experienced the dichotomy of world and I and understood that abyss that could not be bridged. Over my lifetime I have cherished those few moments when a true connection was possible, to another human being, to a moment, to a piece of art, and thought of them as my star hours. The experience of the abyss was accompanied by the knowledge that there were circles of self, Russian dolls each containing more intimate, sublime parts of my "I am". A dear friend of mine commented to me after reading my recent posts on this blog. She said:"I could not tell, you hid it well". Looking back what I see is the occlusion of Kathryn carried inside throughout, growing, developing, a grain of sand in the shell. It was painful and lonely.

    After I had decided to transition, I sought a clinical psychologist to get my hormone letters, approached my MD for prescriptions and sought some contacts and connections.

    In 21 days I will complete this journey with SRS and then will embark on the rest of my life.


    Quote Originally Posted by Nigella View Post
    You know I have been thinking for a long time about this thread. I know full well that it could become controversial, especially in light of a recent thread. Anyway, let’s post and see how it goes.

    My story of becoming who I am today has been one of mainly self-help. By that I mean that there had been no professional intervention until very recently.

    A very short synopsis of my life has been that I came out to the world as TG in 2005, not actually dressing 24/7, but certainly when the situation did not demand male clothing, dressing female. I was in full time employment at the time, had been there for 10 years and held a fairly visual post in the trade union. Out of all the family, friends and acquaintances that we knew, only one turned their back on us. The rest were accepting, and still are today, even though I have moved on.

    In 2007 I was made redundant from my job, not as a result of my TGism, but a change in the qualification requirements of the job I was doing, the company decided it would be cheaper to pay off the existing staff rather than retrain them, then offer the job out to contractors.

    I took this opportunity to re-apply for a job that had originally been declined. The company I reapplied to knew about me being a 24/7 cder, I made that clear in my original application. I was offered a position at this time, presenting 24/7 and changing my name legally to Nigella. I am still employed by them today.

    In 2010 I realized I was more than a 24/7 cder, I am TS. At this point I was comfortable with my life and who I was, I had needed no professional help in any shape of form, no Dr, no psychiatrist, nothing of that nature.

    Since coming out in 2005 until mid-2010 everything had been done on a self help basis. Mid 2010 I sought out professional help to aid me in my transition. I have been on hormones for 12 months. What’s next for me, well I now have my first psychiatric review for surgery referral in a few weeks time,

    The aim of this thread, well what I would like to know, is how much of your transition has been through self help? Have you been able to do anything on your own, without any form of professional help?
    "Never forget the many ways there are to be human" (The Transsexual Taboo)

    My Blog The Every Day

  7. #7
    Silver Member Jorja's Avatar
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    First let me say, congratulations on finally getting your review. I know it can take a while in some countries.

    Now then, As you may know, I am an older lady. I transitioned in 1980 and finally had SRS in 1990. Back then, self-help is about all we had. Self help can go a long way. We didn't even need letters for things like hormones and surgeries and sadly, many went ahead with them and destroyed their lives because they did not understand it like we do today. I felt really lucky then because I knew my direction and required very little help. If it had been required, I would have jumped through the hoops.

    I will be the first to admit professional help is not always required. I also will be the first to recommend that someone goes and sees a professional therapist when having gender identity problems. There is a reason for this. We as individuals usually have a poor track record when it comes to decision making and gender identity. Transition causes life altering changes to occur within our bodies. Many of us are not prepared for these changes and make bad decisions during this time. Seeing a professional will allow you to bounce your decisions off of someone trained to deal with these type of situations. Ultimately, the decisions are still ours but we have someone to compare the decisions and help us to make the best decisions for us.

    I hope that makes sense.
    Jorja

    I may not be perfect, but parts of me are pretty damn awesome!

  8. #8
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigella View Post
    The aim of this thread, well what I would like to know, is how much of your transition has been through self help? Have you been able to do anything on your own, without any form of professional help?
    There are a number of things that I did before therapy that I now understand in retrospect were part of the transition process. I didn't start gender therapy until a few months after I realized I am transgender, but I had already done a fair bit before then. The potential difference is that in the time before I started therapy, I didn't understand much about why I was doing what I was doing. There was a lot of inner pressure involved, and more and more risk taking that was probably leading towards negative consequences. With the understanding from therapy, I had less compulsion, more control, and more peace.

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    Silver Member LeaP's Avatar
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    The aim of this thread, well what I would like to know, is how much of your transition has been through self help? Have you been able to do anything on your own, without any form of professional help?
    I regard therapy as part, or even a form of self-help. In fact, one of the interesting aspects of my therapy experience is that the things being sorted out mostly by the therapist and not by me aren't gender, but co-morbid issues.

    On gender - I had already come to realize I am TS shortly before starting therapy. Odd, actually, because when I initially contacted her 6 weeks prior to that, I feared that might be so, but wasn't sure. The following period unleashed dysphoria that swamped prior episodes. Sessions have been guided self-help in many ways. Time outside of therapy is exploration, experimentation, and self-help. This site is self-help.

    I will initiate action on hormones or other direction as I see need, whether my therapist brings it up or not, though I am taking her lead by choice for now. So is that self-help or not?

    Doubtless there are those who defer both action and thought to their doctors and therapists, but that's not my experience. Perhaps you make too much of the difference.

    Lea
    "Wow, if I had to live in that head I would slap the bitch and tell her to shut up."

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    The results of my self-help prior to going to a therapist was very limited. Mainly because there was no one that I ever talked to or knew about that side of me. The result was denial and suppression for years.

    When I found this website was really the first time that it really hit me that there are others like me and that I'm not alone. I have always felt lonely deep down.

    My therapist doesn't tell what to do but tries to guide me through my own discoveries of myself. She lets me know that it's ok how ever far I transition as long as I feel it's right for me.
    Overall, I would say she has helped me greatly in me helping myself but in a guided sort of way.
    From some of her suggestions, I have meet some people in a local TS support group (that should prove interesting), went to LGBT healthcare conference (I would've never heard of it much less gone to it otherwise) and went to a book reading about transition written by a former therapist (he was amazing in his knowledge of the many transitions he witnessed).

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    Lot's of people can transition with little or no "professional" help. There is nothing controversial about it at all.

    Anyway, therapy IS a form of self help..
    It is a tool in your toolbox.
    and my theory is i wanna know every tool available for something like this.
    There is no issue, its just whether you want to take advantage of the option or not..

    If a poster comes here and lays out a story filled with anxiety, confusion, fear, shame, dread, misconceptions, unrealistic expectations, depression, loss, ......or any combination , then saying..."Help yourself" is absurd.

    For folks that come here and say hey i'm transitioning, its all good, i'm working it out, ups and downs, but i feel i'm on my path..nobody says..."get thee to a therapist"...

    What i'm saying Nigella is that it just doesnt work the way you laid out the question...you didn't need therapy because you didn't need therapy..if you needed it, you would have sought it out...

    in my own experience..i made some progress on my own, but the information i gained from a smart, experienced therapist was invaluable to me and my family.

  12. #12
    Platinum Member kimdl93's Avatar
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    Forgive me for veering slightly off topic, but I just want to congratulate you and your SO for making this long and difficult journey together and successfully.

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    Aspiring Member Kristy_K's Avatar
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    Even so I haven't needed professional help. I think the professionals that I do have to see in order to get my letters, I think are surprise with me.

    I also think this forum and the people who makes it up has been the greatest help to me and gave me the courage to be myself. I owe a lot to this forum in my transition. But this forum isn't professional help.

    It is just plain help.

    For that, I would like to thank everyone.
    Kristy
    This is my Facebook page

  14. #14
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitlyn Michele View Post
    If a poster comes here and lays out a story filled with anxiety, confusion, fear, shame, dread, misconceptions, unrealistic expectations, depression, loss, ......or any combination , then saying..."Help yourself" is absurd..
    Or guilt. Or anger, denial, bargaining and repression.

  15. #15
    Senior Member JohannaH's Avatar
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    Like Kristy I say this forum has been a tremendous help in finding myself. I have gone through life feeling empty as if there was something missing in it. I could not put my finger on it. But I have now been able to develop my feminine side and that has been a real blessing. I have been able to give up drinking and my health is a lot better.

    I have my male name as my user name instead of a feminine one since I really don't like to go by two different names. The only time I would change my user name to be feminine is if I were to change me legal name as well. Likewise, I don't have a girl mode or a boy mode other than clothes I might wear.

    I also thank everybody here.

    Hugs,

    John
    My wife says to me all the time, "You're not a man".

    Well, guess what? She backs the statement up by buying me dresses.

    Johanna Anna

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  16. #16
    Senior Member KellyJameson's Avatar
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    Thoughtful thread Nigella

    My path since childhood made me terrified of peoples words, my mind could not hold anymore of the worlds hate that was poured into me because of my pronounced lack of masculinity and strange ways.

    I had to turn inward and develop my own personal resources and coping strategies, reading every selfhelp book ever written and pursuing higher education in the sciences of human behavior and not as a career choice all in an attempt to hold myself together.

    I think temperament, life experience and many other influences shape our attitude toward others and whether they will help us or hurt us and we act accordingly. My fear of others handicapped me because I was not able or willing to look toward others for help so self-help became my middle name

    I have dedicated much of my life energies toward trying to untangle my mind and for me this was also the best path. For myself I know it was my fear of others that placed me on it and that if I plan to move beyond the place I am now at I must overcome my fear of others and let these defense strategies go because it will not be possible to change without depending on others and that means trusting them and I absolutely hate the feeling of being vulnerable that trusting others opens me up to.

    I think self help/ self actualization must be the foundation that everything rests on but not as in my case because of the fear that others will hurt you. This was a very risky mistake on my part that I'm fortunate to have survived with the consequence that my autonomy has prevented me from taking the emotional risks necessary for my own emotional/mental/psychological growth. Self help will only take you so far and than you reach a deadend, we need each other to overcome our deepest fears and be released into the world fully realized.
    Last edited by KellyJameson; 04-16-2012 at 07:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitlyn Michele View Post
    If a poster comes here and lays out a story filled with anxiety, confusion, fear, shame, dread, misconceptions, unrealistic expectations, depression, loss, ......or any combination , then saying..."Help yourself" is absurd.

    For folks that come here and say hey i'm transitioning, its all good, i'm working it out, ups and downs, but i feel i'm on my path..nobody says..."get thee to a therapist"...
    Just don't expect someone to tell you who you are. You can get help for many things but not for this
    "Never forget the many ways there are to be human" (The Transsexual Taboo)

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathryn Martin View Post
    Just don't expect someone to tell you who you are. You can get help for many things but not for this
    I would hope that gender therapists don't tell people who they are. Their role is to facilitate the awareness, growth and psychological development of their patients. The patient determines what direction her life should take.

    I imagine many TSs suffer from guilt issues about the effect of transition on wives, children, parents, siblings, etc, and also fear of financial outcomes. The guilt and fear might make it difficult for some individuals to move forward.
    Reine

  19. #19
    wine flavored kisses Badtranny's Avatar
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    Professional help? Yes please.

    My story has been written so many times that I'm almost reluctant to retread some of this ground. Almost. ;-)

    I knew who I was, I always knew. I knew I was attracted to men, I knew I was not a man inside. I knew, but I couldn't deal with it until a few years ago. I finally moved away and came out as gay when I was 38 but all that did was open Pandora's box. It didn't take long to realize that I didn't quite fit in with gay guys anymore than I did straight guys. I think the key word there is "guys". Being openly gay only served to exacerbate my ancient and deeply hidden gender issues. After a few years of alternately dealing and denying (I was okay with being gay but I did NOT want to be a transsexual) and finally facing my mortality in a freak car accident, I broke down and decided to see a professional. I knew at this point that I was TS but I was looking for a way out. I was hoping the therapist could offer some solutions that I hadn't thought of. Alas, I was eventually faced with the truth and thus the solution. From there I went to another professional, the endocrinologist. My current GP happened to be an endo, so I started with him. He led me to a gender specialist that I saw for a few months and then switched to my current doc who seemed to be a little more aggressive and modern in his approach. Just a few weeks ago I sought out yet another professional, my FFS surgeon. His work has brought me to the end of my transition for awhile. I am now full time (no hiding these boobs) and getting the paperwork together to change my name and gender marker. I will use yet another professional (lawyer friend) to help with any bumps in the road as I pursue the court order etc. My transition has been an enormous project and I make no apologies for seeking the counsel of professionals. In fact my standard advice to clients and friends is always hire a professional if you have the means, and even if you don't, because your inexperience may cost you much more than a pro would have in the first place.

    I know there is an anti therapy contingent on the board but knowing myself is far different than advising myself on the best course of action. I've noticed that I can't always trust myself due to an occasional lack of objectivity. ;-)
    Quote Originally Posted by LeaP View Post
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  20. #20
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    I don't know where I would be, or if I would be at all, without my current therapist. Have had a lot of bad therapists, too. I've always admired those who are so well adjusted that they can just helpthemselves no problem, but there are others who think they don't need help but really do. Knowing yourself is really hard, but maybe you can know your category?

    e

  21. #21
    Swans have more fun! sandra-leigh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badtranny View Post
    I know there is an anti therapy contingent on the board but knowing myself is far different than advising myself on the best course of action. I've noticed that I can't always trust myself due to an occasional lack of objectivity. ;-)
    Even when I know myself, that doesn't mean I know or understand other people. And knowing myself doesn't mean I know how to change myself.

  22. #22
    Super Moderator Rianna Humble's Avatar
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    Hi Nigella,

    In a small way, my path has some similarity to yours except on a very compressed time-scale.

    I finally came to a point where I could not cope with being a man towards the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009 and tried cross-dressing as a way to avoid what I knew inside that I am a woman. Initially, I only went part time and tried to hide the dressing from as many people as possible.

    When I found this site in late 2009, I already knew that my hopes of being able to cope as "a bloke in a dress" were not going to work but I still didn't want to admit the truth. Up to this point, I had not discussed cross-dressing or gender with anyone. By December 2009, I knew I was not going to cope as a cross-dresser but circumstances prevented me from going full time.

    In January 2010, I went part time at work, dressing up to 3 days a week under the company's two-tier dress code (business smart Mon-Thurs, casual Fri-Sun). In May of that year, the constraints were lifted and I decided that I had to have medical support to become whole. I went full-time and changed my name on 1st July 2010 without seeing a therapist, but after the mandatory (in this country) psychiatric evaluation and with support from my GP to refer me to the GIC.

    48 weeks later, I got to see a doctor at the GIC for the initial evaluation. Like you I was not looking for someone to tell me who I am, but by this time I needed two GIC doctors to agree that I could start hormone therapy.

    After I lose sufficient weight, I will need my primary clinician at the GIC to recommend me for surgery. I have also needed the support of a speech therapist to develop my new voice.

    Like you I did not seek out a support group to tell me who I am, but I did find a group so that I can spend a little time every now and then with people who at least have some understanding of what I am going through.

    Where my point of view may differ from yours is that I fully agree with what Jorja said:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jorja View Post
    I will be the first to admit professional help is not always required. I also will be the first to recommend that someone goes and sees a professional therapist when having gender identity problems. There is a reason for this. We as individuals usually have a poor track record when it comes to decision making and gender identity. Transition causes life altering changes to occur within our bodies. Many of us are not prepared for these changes and make bad decisions during this time. Seeing a professional will allow you to bounce your decisions off of someone
    For those who are struggling with who they are or with possible fall-out from transition, a professional can help them to ask the right questions of themselves and can help them see clearly the pros and cons of any given choice.

    However if that professional ventures an opinion as to whether their client is or is not "truly transsexual", I would recommend the client to ditch the therapist as fast as possible.

    It seems to me that on this side of the pond we have an innate distrust of discussing our lives with strangers - especially if they claim some qualification, but I believe those people can be useful in the right context.
    Check out this link if you are wondering about joining Safe Haven

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  23. #23
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    To Rianna & Nigella, I have a question. Is there a stigma in the UK associated with seeing therapists? I ask, because I've also noticed a few posts from other UK residents along similar lines, giving the impression that therapy in general is not necessary. I know you're not saying it isn't necessary Rianna, but you seem to almost be excusing your reasons for going to a support group. And Nigella I know you're not putting down others for seeing therapists, but you seem to be quite proud that you've never had to?

    My own father believes that people are either weak, or they're wasting their time when they see therapists. But, he's old school and this is a man who doesn't even want to take an aspirin when he has a headache.
    Reine

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kathryn Martin View Post
    Just don't expect someone to tell you who you are. You can get help for many things but not for this
    YOU are the one saying therapy is about getting told who you are..or getting help for "this"..

    if a therapist tries to do what you are saying, they are not doing a good job..and like all things, its a personal responsibility to make judgements around good and bad therapy situations..

    therapy is inherently a hugely positive thing for people that need it...it just is..

    There are bad therapists, and way to many of us hide in therapy or live day to day for therapy (as opposed to just LIVE, and use therapy to live BETTER)....

    a good therapist would have helped you get to your current place (which is a wonderful place) FASTER

    I find it a constant undertone here that people that don't use therapy are ANTI therapy...which is just ridiculous..

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReineD View Post
    To Rianna & Nigella, I have a question. Is there a stigma in the UK associated with seeing therapists? I ask, because I've also noticed a few posts from other UK residents along similar lines, giving the impression that therapy in general is not necessary. I know you're not saying it isn't necessary Rianna, but you seem to almost be excusing your reasons for going to a support group. And Nigella I know you're not putting down others for seeing therapists, but you seem to be quite proud that you've never had to?

    My own father believes that people are either weak, or they're wasting their time when they see therapists. But, he's old school and this is a man who doesn't even want to take an aspirin when he has a headache.
    Maybe it is generational? Certainly within Oz it is still somewhat of a stigma, even in my generation (late 30's years old), but even more so in older generations where any sort of pyschological problem was treated in a "looney hospital".

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