What Do You Look for Now When Therapy Didn't Help Before?
- Category: Coping Strategies
You are really searching for information now. You are checking out self help manuals, exploring affirmations, reading the symptoms of eating disorders, scaring yourself with medical information on the consequences of obesity, starvation and purging, lurking on eating disorder discussion lists, writing notes and information requests to online authors and psychotherapists.
But you don't know what's right for you. You were in therapy before. You didn't like it. The therapists wanted to take your food away from you or you felt pressured to eat more. They focused on your food and your weight. Or, they never talked about food or your weight. Or there was some other reason why you found psychotherapy unsatisfactory.
Getting out was a relief and a disappointment at the same time. Now, with some passing of time and the worsening of your eating disorder behavior, perhaps with some new and frightening side effects, you are looking for help again.
Congratulations on moving forward in your search. You are motivated to really get yourself on the healing path.
It's possible that in the past you went into therapy, worked, made gains and resolved some issues to a certain degree because that's as far as you could or needed to go at the time. Perhaps it was a limitation of the therapist. Perhaps it was a plateau in life where you needed live your life at that level of awareness for a number of years.
Now you are frustrated because your bingeing or starving or purging is getting worse or the consequences are getting worse or both. You are hoping you will find some way to get out of this pain and you feel you are failing because you need more support and knowledge than you can provide for yourself.
When a person is ready to go into psychotherapy again she is usually experiencing pain of some kind and a new level of courage and appreciation of consequences. She is willing to take a chance on herself rather than face a future filled with the same frustrations of her present and past. She is ready to move toward yet another level of awareness and healing. Regardless of whether she sees her former therapist or a new one, her experience in psychotherapy will be new and often surprising.
If your eating disorder behavior is ongoing or worse than ever you are most likely defending against something that is rising up in your unconscious unresolved, raw and too strong for you to tolerate and process alone. At this stage you understand that identifying difficult issues in your life is not the same as resolving them.
Often we partially resolve issues. That can be somewhat satisfactory until something directly challenges our integrity and core identity. We reach inside ourselves and cannot find knowledge or focussed inner strength to meet the occasion. Partial resolutions cannot support or empower us enough to deal with all of life's challenges. And the challenges keep coming.
In your new search for help you are heading for a new level of awareness. You may be ready to work with someone in private psychotherapy to penetrate and resolve your unfinished business.
Just because you worked with someone before doesn't mean you will be walking into the same or a similar experience. You have learned and grown since your last experience in psychotherapy. You are not the same. Your perceptions are not the same. Your ability to hear and feel is not the same. And your motivation to heal what needs healing is stronger than ever.
You may ask, "Why can't I just use written information, self help programs and e-mail lists for recovery?"
Many of those resources are quite wonderful and provide information and support in helpful and useful ways. However, you may be up against something that you cannot deal with alone. This is not a failure. This is just plain the way it is. Going for help when you need it, recognizing you need help, researching to find the best help you can, is active, industrious, courageous and a positive method for actually getting the help you need.
Having the steady, reliable and understanding presence of a caring and competent psychotherapist can be nourishing and healing company for you in your struggle for freedom. You can learn that you can choose someone and place that person in your life as reliable, caring, support and companionship on your journey to health. And that in itself, is part of your healing.
You are choosing health. You are choosing to give yourself an opportunity for greater happiness. Please give yourself respect and credit for knowing what you need and continue on your healing path.