Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Comments by newdirections

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  • I’ve been deeply hurt by not only mental health professionals, but also by the training I received as both an undergrad and post-bacc research assistant. Anytime I’d bring up issues such as iatrogenic effects, therapy abuse, treatments needed for therapy abuse, accountability needed for practitioners (no matter their titles), etc., their nuanced responses were pretty much take it or leave it. Although I had no intentions of becoming a practitioner (I actually want to do research on therapy abuse and other forms of victimology less discussed, such as retraumatizations in treatment, including discrimination, microaggression trauma, etc.), I wanted to address the issues that continue to plague our world in the mental health field. I’ve been misdiagnosed, had bad reactions to psychotropic meds, had bad reactions to certain therapists with certain attitudes, etc. I knew this because any second opinions or more would render different diagnoses, depending on how they screened me. I felt that a lot of times therapists would put words in my mouth, or hold me back, etc. One told me I wouldn’t be able to do school; I graduated from two different colleges with straight A’s! I still had my unresolved issues with many traumas, including therapy abuse, but no therapist wants to hear my story and help me to heal because in their minds their fellow therapist bretheren cannot do any wrong (it’s always the patient’s fault). I still seek therapy, and I still volunteer as a research assistant until I feel better enough to return to a different (non-clinical/non-mental-health) program in grad school, where I can learn how to do community research to address many people who do not seek treatment or who stopped seeking treatment (including what I mentioned above plus cultural beliefs and practices that become an alternative to mental health treatment, the stigma of being in treatment, and the potential career losses if having a record of seeking treatment). Confidentiality is not always there. And training from certain clinical researchers and/or professors avoids these issues; you only succeed in those programs if you agree with their “way of life”–never questioning their authority, but yet constantly questioning yourself. Thankfully, I did find some good therapists (three different ones from three different institutions over the course of three different years) who stated that my research mentor was emotionally abusive and that I needed to leave. Initially, I was too in shock to believe that, and I instead wanted to fix myself. But the more I revealed, the more I learned from good therapists that I was being revictimized. It’s not easy being a trauma survivor, but it’s more challenging when the people you’re supposed to trust for your healing harm you. I even went to sites that discuss therapy abuse, and their helpful teams reached out to me and suggested that I find alternatives like non-clinical support groups. I’ve instead spent a lot of time for the past year being alone – and relocating to start over in life. So far, it’s going okay. But I’m still broken, hurt, harmed, and dealing with the aftereffects of such abuse. If only there was research on that among community (non-clinical) populations, then maybe those clinical scientists would pay attention. Even then, they might just think we’re “mad” in America. 🙁