Posted in Coaching and Therapy, Marie's Garden, Mental Health Advocacy

Therapy is Tough: There are no Pills to Prescribe nor Pop


Dear World,

I started my official therapy practice on the 2nd of April 2018, and to say it’s been all rosy will be untrue. However, reflecting on the above has helped me to be filled with compassion for all I see and to recognize the reality of the situation in my country as far as mental illness/challenges and alternative treatments especially therapy is concerned.

Many want a quick and permanent fix which they are sadly yet to get with the medications they are taking. They are prepared to give something else a try, but helas not many want to try something as tough as CBT or psychotherapy. CBT involves work and honest vulnerability and collaboration. One honestly told me he couldn’t trust me or himself.

Some reasons I have come to think Therapy is Tough are the following:

  • It takes some time

Depending on the problem formulated (which itself could last an entire session), I could suggest some therapeutic engagement of 2/3 months. This time for me is good enough for a more accurate assessment of both the client and the work accomplished. The clients (many are patients) don’t have that time to spare especially given their current state and search for good health. Then, there is the family whom I love to. I have however only met a handful of the families whose patients am trying to work with. I think they expect me to understand their embarrassment, frustration and lack of motivation to give this ‘therapy thing’ a try. They simply don’t have any more time to go try this alternative treatment. It all boils down to the patient’s engagements which I have hinted can dig up a tsunami for all concerned. A few have carefully pondered this and told me they are not ready, they prefer to keep ‘suffering’ while hoping the right meds for their condition is found one day;

  • The pervasive meds culture is here too

Well, for almost all I have seen out here, it is all about amazement at the many meds they take which can’t do the trick. The shrink told them to just take their meds religiously and since they take and nothing happens, he only adds some and stops some or increases the dose and the circus continues. I have seen like 3 who are at their 4/5 hospitalization in 8/10 years of crisis. Maybe the shrink being overwhelmed (only one available for 30/50 patients some days), and not really having many options to suggest to the patients and their families, hardly recommends seeing a psychologist or therapist (assuming there were a handful in the city lol)

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  • The families don’t buy into therapy and many don’t have money

Throughout my stay at the hospital, I have sadly found several families to be discouraged and dispirited more than the patients they bring. I know how difficult it can be, I was once the family of a patient. But mum was instead open to trying anything and I mean anything. I accompanied my brother a therapist and other appointments, and one actually came home for their sessions. But, the reluctant families here, even when as part of my internship I offer talk therapy for free, don’t really think it can be of any good. Imagine how discouraged the already discouraged patient can be to talk to or talk with you. Talking of money for out of hospital sessions especially as I’ll be leaving there in less than 10 days, the big excuse is there is no money – all the many meds have already drained up all resources. Reduce the fee to the barest minimum and it is still no – thanks. A few have come for one session and paid up yes but have thought about it again and just stopped.

The above is some of the reasons I have come up with in my analysis of the challenges of therapy in my setting.

I don’t know about the approach to therapy elsewhere; nor the appreciation mental health consumers have for therapy. I would sincerely appreciate any comments in this respect. Thank you very much.

Ps: I am not contemplating stopping practice, just sharing a side to the coin of my reality since starting practice as a CBT Therapist and clinical psychotherapist

Have a great week everyone

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Author:

Marie Angele Abanga (simplified to Marie Abanga) aka MAG likes to describe herself as a “Jacqueline of several trades”. She is an everyday woman and mother with a zigzag profile. Let’s give it a try! She is an Activist, an Author, a Coach, a Consultant, a Feminist, a Lawyer, a Lecturer, a Prince 2 Project Manager, a Psychotherapist, a Philanthropist, a minister of the Word of God and...! She just loves to sum it up by saying she is a person of passions and a tale of talents. Her life’s journey has filled over 6 books already and her three musketeers keep her busy at home. MAG is also the founder and CEO of the association Hope for the Abused and Battered, and the Country Director of the Gabriel Bebonbechem Foundation for Epilepsy & Mental wellbeing. The plethora of life's experiences and shenanigans she has lived through and learned from in near 4 decades of existence, have equipped her with such an arsenal to coach, train and motivate just any and everyone. She is so charismatic, dynamic and full of life, going by her designed mantra of 3Ds: Determination; Discipline and Dedication. These sum her+her quest to be the best version of herself and impact others perfectly. She attributes all her wealth of knowledge to her conscientious attendance of both informal and formal school.

3 thoughts on “Therapy is Tough: There are no Pills to Prescribe nor Pop

  1. Wow, you are up against some huge challenges. The situations you describe so well are incredibly sad.. Things aren’t that great in this country, as you know, but it’s a very different climate, as you also know. More people have $ for therapy and more people are open to it.

    All I can say is that I’m glad you’re not giving up – that’s not you! ❤️

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