Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Stage Fright And A Request For Help

Tomorrow is the big day and I have started to develop a bad case of anxiety. I still have a little work to do on the lecture, but it is mostly cosmetic in nature, and I also have to finish off the PowerPoint slides but that won't take much more than half an hour to do and is mostly a matter of copying and pasting information and then changing font sizes or adding in a few words. None of it is going to stretch my intellectual or computer skills. Which is just as well because I only had a couple of hours sleep last night, and the night before, and I am not overly optimistic about how much I shall get tonight.

The strange thing is that although I am building up to a truly horrendous case of stage fright, I am also rather looking forward to giving this lecture. It is the subject matter that made me agree to this in the first place; the user's experience of therapy. The mere fact that a 'user' is being asked to talk to people who are going to be among the therapists of the future to explain what it is like to go through therapy seems almost unbelievable.

Writing the material for the lecture has proven to be quite traumatic at times. My first experience of therapy was not good, and led to me distrusting therapy and therapists as a valid means of getting relief from depression. I have to say that the psychodynamic psychotherapy that I am undergoing at present has helped to change my mind about that. And the reason that I have changed my opinion is because of the massive difference in the therapeutic relationship that I have with my current psychotherapist compared with that which I had with my first one.

One of the things that I have been asked to provide for the students is a list of reading material giving a user perspective on therapy. The problem is that I have not read any books that are written by users; all the literature out there seems to be written by psychiatrists and psychologists and the books are written for the therapist, although some do provide a little useful information for the person who will be undergoing therapy. This is rather a sad state of affairs because it means that the patient/client/user (whatever they may be called) starts off at a disadvantage. They have no clear idea of what the therapy is going to be like, what they will be expected to do, and the kind of effects that it may have on them. I believe that this is part of the reason that so many people give up on therapy when they do actually manage to get it. Nobody bothers to tell us that the process is going to be difficult and that there are going to be times when we feel very uncomfortable talking about things with someone who is a stranger to us.

When I was discussing this with 'S' when we met a couple of weeks ago, he suggested that I might consider writing that book that doesn't seem to be out there at the moment. And it is something that I am seriously considering. It won't be a massive tome, nor will it be particularly learned, but if it can help people to understand what therapy can and cannot do, and help them to prepare themselves for the therapy experience, then it will be worth the effort.

The reason that I am writing about this, is that I need the help of fellow bloggers who have had the experience of therapy whether it be good or bad, and it doesn't matter what sort of therapy it has been. In fact the wider the range of types of therapy the better as far as I am concerned because then it will be possible to help more people. I know that bloggers who write about their mental health problems embrace the anonymity that blogging allows, and I am no different in this. I would like to ask any blogger who would be willing to help me in this enterprise to either contact me by submitting a comment to this post or by emailing me at Because all comments on my blog are moderated, anyone who offers to help by submitting a comment can be assured that their comment will not be published if they ask for it not to be.


Niika said...

One book that describes therapy in detail that I know of is "Get Me Out Of Here" by Rachel Reiland. It is about her experience in recovery from borderline personality disorder -- but it was successful, and the therapy is described in quite a lot of detail.

alhi said...

I would be happy to help in any way I can.

madsadgirl said...

Thanks for your offer of help. Would you drop me an email, or a comment, giving me an email address where I can contact you. You could set up a free google.mail account if you don't want to use your own email address.

Anonymous said...

I am most certain you will do yourself proud tomorrow. I think the anxiety is perfectly normal and given you have put a lot of preparation into this I am certain you will be word perfect!

You are right about books, I can find nothing written by therapy users, ermmmm maybe there is a market out there! One of the Therapist in my group Zoli has actually contributed to a book and translated it I’ve actually managed to pursued him to do some Sociodrama with us in the group next month, but he’s already tested the water with us the second week he arrived but at the time I and the others didn’t have a clue he was a Psychodramatist and it was his forte!

Good Luck for tomorrow!


alhi said...

I forgot to say good luck for tomorrow, I'm sure you'll be great, and, even better, that you will enjoy giving it!