Psychotherapy and Side-Effects

Aeon, Psychotherapy is not harmless: on the side-effects of CBT  

The research cited in this article doesn’t sound all that robust, but it’s an interesting question to think about. Personally, I think therapists of all stripes are well aware that the process has side-effects, but they see it as part of the therapy and I’m not sure they always fully appreciate the potentially negative and unwanted impacts. One of the reasons why I ended my last course of therapy was because I didn’t feel that my therapist was taking my concerns about unwanted effects seriously enough.

Ending Therapy

I’ve decided to bring three years of therapy to a close by the end of August. This is difficult because my therapist doesn’t really agree with the decision. She thinks we should continue and explore some of the more painful issues that I’ve largely avoided bringing into the room. She says she’s concerned that I may be “abandoning myself” by stopping therapy right now.

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Thoughts on Depression and Self-Support

Depression snuck up on me and took over my life these last few weeks.  I had so many things I wanted to do, blog posts to write, books to read, people to catch up with.  Instead, I just about managed to do the essentials at work and stagger home in the evenings to sit on the sofa and watch Star Trek.

This particular bout of depression got me thinking about how to identify that I am depressed and then how to support myself through an attack.  Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that my own depression is probably transposed anger. Rage always seems close to the surface when I’m depressed, which suggests to me that it’s the underlying emotion in my case.  Growing up, I had a lot to be angry about in my life, but middle-class girls are not allowed to express anger in healthy or assertive ways, so like a lot of them, I turned my anger against myself and, inevitably, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders followed.  I hate the depression, but maybe it’s easier to cope with than facing up to my anger and the causes of that anger.  Right now I’m dealing with the emotional fall-out from a very difficult holiday period which brought up a lot of issues around my family.  In fact, I think I’m just starting to really get to grips with what really happened in my family, something that has only started to become possible since I’ve lost the buffer-zone represented by my father.

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