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)
- 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