CBT is kind of gaslighty

internal

MyPTSD Pro
i am of the opinion that both cbt and dbt are useful therapeutic modalities when paired with the consideration of the patient's cultural and historical context. i think that one without the other may not be as effective much in the vein as @grit states where cbt is focused upon a more logical aspect and dbt is more focused upon the emotional aspect.

when i was much younger i was very much a typical borderline personality and you can still spy some traits from time to time. i was under the age of eighteen so did not receive a diagnosis but i am certain those traits exist, and i have practiced dbt exercises for years that have helped me to separate: myself, other people, boundaries between myself and other people, my emotions/experiences versus other people's emotional experiences and feelings versus facts.

it is very effective however my traumatic processing was not addressed. i am hoping that the exposure therapy/cbt side of things will assist with this.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
The cult I grew up in used CBT techniques extensively for thought control. To this day, if I sense a smattering of CBT in ANY interaction with a mental health professional, I will shut down or lash out so fast it leaves them speechless. I actually don't qualify for some government programs because CBT is such a trauma trigger for me, and CBT is ALL they use. Yeah, I'm not a fan. I prefer other modalities, even in spite of the trauma issue. I just don't like being told what/how to think.
Wow, this is super interesting to me! I always struggled with CBT and never knew why! I also grew up in a cult and yes! It is very much like that experience. I always try to use CBT but my brain fails to want to work with it. DBT has been easier for me. Maybe because it feels more like something I can control or choose?

Sorry if I'm off topic. Just found this reply hitting a light in my brain! Yes, sort of like gaslighting to the OP's point. But more, sort of like brainwashing. Not calling it brainwashing. It just triggers those same areas of the brain for some reason.
 

anthony

Founder
Take for example hyper vigilance and being a survivor of a systematic type of abuse. Like for example a hate crime or of gendered violence, when we explain to a therapist being hyper aware around men after sexual violence isn’t that justified? All women are conditioned to be aware from a very early age. I can see where cbt can have a place but it sometimes feels like it’s invalidating to the realities of the real world. Where you’re probably not being paranoid and your co-worker probably is racist and micro aggressive and you probably should keep records of it. Where if you’ve gotten bad vibes and red flags off your boyfriends friend you’re probably right to be scared.
This isn't CBT, and anyone using it like you're explaining, to invalidate a realistic threat, is doing it wrong.

It is not the therapy type, its the person delivering it.

CBT does not invalidate real things, in fact, CBT is specifically written to not do that.

CBT is designed to look at irrational fears in relation to your response. Not rational fears and a rational response.

CBT rationality starts and stops with you, your situation, your environment. You determine what is rational, what is not. A therapist, or anyone you bounce things off, are there to help identify the rational from irrational.

You may have some irrational wrapped within rational, and vice versa. That is how CBT is applied.

Yep, DBT is good for more complex trauma with significant emotional instability.
 

Shae-Ra

New Here
@NoWhereKnowWhere,

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been feeling like this for so long and can barely find any information about CBT not being the end all be all of PTSD therapy. It's made me feel like I'm not safe in my own head. I had an experience in group therapy years ago where the therapist conducting it brought up an example where your friend called you lazy. She then went on to explain that maybe your friend meant lazy in a good way. After a while, I couldn't stand it anymore. I raised my hand and offered the possibility that the friend did mean lazy in a bad way but perhaps they were having a bad day and overreacting to something you didn't do or possibly projecting. She reluctantly agreed that maybe they meant it in a bad way but... Then she checked the therapist's workbook she was getting the exercises out of and said that it said what I did.

It was then that I began to wonder if I was ever going to be able to get real help. After a while, I traced my problems with CBT to the therapists in charge. I've had extremely validating therapists but most of them that I've seen use CBT in a way to enforce me questioning my every thought, feeling, and action.

My current therapist does this a lot but it's taken me a while to realize it. It's added to my confusion that so many don't blink. However, so much of my trauma is wrapped up in invalidation, blaming, and gaslighting. I have a finely tuned radar for it. I also realize that because of that I'm liable to see it's reflection in the harmless. I will remain vigilant. But part of what I'm seeking therapy for is to stop overanalyzing which I tend to do because people often blame me for things which aren't mine so I don't need my therapist's help. Another big thing is in setting boundaries and I don't need to be told, like I was the other day, that if someone doesn't like the way I something and snaps at me because of that I should go back to the drawing board to figure out the way they'd like to hear it. That's the story of my past life and I'd like it not to appear so much in my future life. It's interesting to be told you have to be super clear about your own boundaries and the next moment be told that you need to "figure out" how to communicate to others they would like. If it's my job to state my boundaries, why do they encourage me to work hard to keep relationships wherein I would have to work just as hard, if not harder, to figure out their boundaries. If they could play the movie of my life, they would know that's how I convinced myself to stay in the most abusive relationships of my life. I don't need help with that and neither do you.

So, thank you for posting this. I agree with you wholeheartedly that CBT is useful in the right hands and I hope we find our way out of the entanglement.

P.S. This was one of my favorite thoughts from your post: "I’m just a little sick of feeling like I’m the problem when the problem is societal."
 

barefoot

Sponsor
I don’t have much experience of CBT (the small amount I had, which was on a sleep disorder course, I found simplistic and unhelpful) but I agree that, in the NHS, it is often offered as a catch all in a way that I don’t think is helpful for everyone.

Just really posting to add that EMDR was offered to me on the NHS via the local IAPT. Is this definitely not available where you are @NoWhereKnowWhere ? It wasn’t offered straightaway and I had to really dig around to get that offer - they seem not to publicise it!

As @jaccat mentioned, lots of therapists working on IATP services seem quite inexperienced, so I wonder if that’s also been the case for you? Perhaps it’s then a combination of cbt maybe not being the right modality for you, plus provided inexpertly by inexperienced practitioners?

My partner sees a therapist privately. She’s got years of experience, is a clinical psychologist and also a supervisor. For a while, she worked on the local IAPT service as she wanted to ‘give something back’ and help people who couldn’t afford private therapy. But, in the end, she left because she said it was badly run/managed, had a high turnover of new/inexperienced therapists and that, despite everyone’s good intentions, she just didn’t feel it was offering a good service to patients.
 

cachectin

New Here
It's understandable. But it isn't healthy for us. I have this core belief: all men are unsafe. And it is robbing me of being ok, of assessing risk appropriately, of thinking of situations for what they are rather than interpreting them into something else. E.g a few weeks ago I was the only female left in the hairdresser's with 4 male hairdressers. I think at least 3 of then were gay. But in my head popped a message: they are all going to rape me now. Trauma response rather than taking in the information around me in the moment.
Saying all that, I don't know about CBT, but my T is working on me being able to assess the moment safely. Not abandoning healthy assessments of who is around me, but not bringing in trauma response to that assessment.
If that makes sense?
So it is my response to the situation that needs to change to a healthy one (which isn't denying that there is risk out there).
I am new here to this site, so this feels really weird to write to a bunch of strangers.

I have experienced a lot of sexual trauma by men and by women - I am a heterosexual cisgender woman just for disclosure purposes. I used to feel safe around gay men until recently. My cousin is a gay male and we were really close. However, I suspect he is Borderline PD - my mother is clinically diagnosed, in addition to suspected NPD - so I am really familiar with the presentation of related behaviors. He got really attached to me, he always has been, but more so after I went no contact with my parents and moved close to him about 3 months ago.

Recently, he was over at my apartment (he lives in my apartment building) and I felt like he was intoxicated on pills and made him leave because I have a 12 year old daughter and this is not acceptable to me. This sent him into a 2 and a half week rage, where he harassed and threatened me with various harms, demanded $1400 for botox because he helped me with a lawyer for a custody issue, and tried to sabotage my standing with my sister-in-law, which my brother and her are really the only remaining family I have. I had to threaten him with a restraining order to get him to stop. He still leaves plants(?) by my door to try and make amends.

But the icing on the cake was when he, 1) sent a nude text of him taking a home drug test to me, which I felt was a bizarre act of sexual aggression, and 2) compared my very early childhood multiple sexual assaults by a male and female to his adult prostitution activities and mocked my trauma. And I am sorry if this is a bit much information, but since then I have felt isolated in my home, as if it is a prison. I have a cPTSD diagnosis and your post resonated with me in terms of a feeling of being unsafe. Oddly, I don't really have this with men despite a ton of sexual trauma - which kind of now adjacently includes my gay cousin. And women, which also includes my mom - adjacently. I just wanted to sort of relate to your experience in the feeling of being unsafe as a core wound, which can manifest in different ways depending on traumas. And also how they can be re-shaped in unfortunate circumstances.
 

cachectin

New Here
Any actually useful/effective therapy is dangerous with the wrong therapist.

BehaviorMod is my personal stare at it and hiss like a cat.
Even though I use it all the durn time, to very happy experience & effect, for decades it was used out in he wise world to it’s worst possible experience and effect. The only reason I don’t have childhood trauma surrounding behavior mod therapy? My grandfather was a surgeon, (meaning he had no problem telling people to f*ck off); who took a keen interest in people, & how they worked (not just physiologically). He was also raised on a farm. Breaking horses and dogs? Rather than training them? Is lazy, was his opinion. And breaking children, so they’d behave better, would find him breaking you. With his Irish stick. (Gaelic spells things beyond my ability to imitate. It’s cudgel like, with a big knot on one end.)

Most existing therapies -the useful & effective ones, anyway- are used IN torture/interrogation, in different ways, in order to break people down and extract info from them. They’re “just” being used to serve the interrogators, rather than the “client”.

A therapist is a highly trained manipulator. In unethical or incompetent hands? Any therapy they use on people can be exceptionally dangerous. A surgeon is a highly trained blades expert. In unethical or incompetent hands, any cut they make can be exceptionally dangerous. Most people are asleep whilst a surgeon is cutting on them, and most people are made equally vulnerable in the hands of a therapist. In good hands, a person is helped. In bad hands?

I happen to be a huge proponent of CBT. And you’ll not only get no argument from me that in bad hands it’s dangerous, but my enthusiastic agreement. Of course it is.
I don’t have much experience of CBT (the small amount I had, which was on a sleep disorder course, I found simplistic and unhelpful) but I agree that, in the NHS, it is often offered as a catch all in a way that I don’t think is helpful for everyone.

Just really posting to add that EMDR was offered to me on the NHS via the local IAPT. Is this definitely not available where you are @NoWhereKnowWhere ? It wasn’t offered straightaway and I had to really dig around to get that offer - they seem not to publicise it!

As @jaccat mentioned, lots of therapists working on IATP services seem quite inexperienced, so I wonder if that’s also been the case for you? Perhaps it’s then a combination of cbt maybe not being the right modality for you, plus provided inexpertly by inexperienced practitioners?

My partner sees a therapist privately. She’s got years of experience, is a clinical psychologist and also a supervisor. For a while, she worked on the local IAPT service as she wanted to ‘give something back’ and help people who couldn’t afford private therapy. But, in the end, she left because she said it was badly run/managed, had a high turnover of new/inexperienced therapists and that, despite everyone’s good intentions, she just didn’t feel it was offering a good service to patients.
I did EMDR on two separate occasions with two different therapists and it nearly destroyed me. Disclaimer - I have cPTSD and am really high in dissociation. Plus, I am a single-parent with virtually no support network, so that could have been a big set of reasons why it did not work. I lost about 3 months out of my life that I do not remember after multiple EMDR sessions. The therapist I worked with was super confrontational and whatever she provoked in me did not like it.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I just wanted to share to share some space for other people who may be cbt critical. I often times get the impression with cbt type therapy that if it didn’t work we are asked to hold personal responsibility. Like we didn’t do the work we didn’t do the homework it’s our fault we’re not doing it right.

I’m seeing online a lot of up and coming therapist who are also critical of cbt. There seems to be a turning of the tide with it.

it makes perfect sense that it’s not for everyone. Antidepressants aren’t, emdr isn’t, so why is cbt (in the uk) the go to and no other options are given. It doesn’t make sense. Well it makes sense when it’s a set amount of sessions and therefore cheap but, for everyone? It just can’t be.
My guess is that CBT can be taught in groups, it's more economical and you can reach more folks teaching them basic coping skills to assist in better functioning. I know there are alot of trauma clients....and not enough trained trauma therapists...with enough experience to be flexible in their approach.
 

Defaultxlove

MyPTSD Pro
im glad you posted I didn't read responses just your op.

I like the way you processed it out. And I benefited from reading from it. I think I feel this way right now with my T which is how I found your post.

Im not changing therapies but it helps me understand why I get mad at her a little sometimes.
 
D

disgusted

I’d like to preface this with acknowledging that CBT can be very useful and a lot of people find it helpful. Like most most modalities it’s the therapeutic relationship that’s the most important factor rather than they type of therapy.

Now, that being said CBT is quite often used as a self help. I’ll guess a few of us have had some form of it and probably read some books probably the “feeling good” one.

I do still use some cbt skills I’ve learned and it is the absolute go to (sometimes the only thing the nhs offers for literally everything) for the nhs because it’s cheap and evidence based.

All that being said I find it (I’m finding it hard to find the words) gaslighty. Take for example hyper vigilance and being a survivor of a systematic type of abuse. Like for example a hate crime or of gendered violence, when we explain to a therapist being hyper aware around men after sexual violence isn’t that justified? All women are conditioned to be aware from a very early age. I can see where cbt can have a place but it sometimes feels like it’s invalidating to the realities of the real world. Where you’re probably not being paranoid and your co-worker probably is racist and micro aggressive and you probably should keep records of it. Where if you’ve gotten bad vibes and red flags off your boyfriends friend you’re probably right to be scared.

I’ve very much fallen out of love with cbt. I think dbt is the better looking sibling but still has some of the same problems. I can radically except that things are shit and sometimes people are terrible. I can offer myself self compassion and care because that really sucks. I’m just a little sick of feeling like I’m the problem when the problem is societal.

another thing if you’re already a victim of gaslighting it’s a slippery slope and I don’t like the way that cbt constantly makes me question my reality when that was used as a means of abuse for me in the past. I already have to do a lot of self assurance to validate my feelings and cbt feels like a step in the wrong direction. I can, doand will continue to work on myself (yes it wasn’t my fault but I’m the one responsible to try to heal).

I’m interested as well did anyone have the experience of getting worse/more symptomatic after/during CBT. Then never feeling quite as stable as before cbt?

please don’t come for me I know there are big advocates on the site. I just think it’s not the catch all the NHS would like to believe it to be and for more marginalised people with the wrong therapist it could be potentially dangerous.


Absolutely, wholeheartedly agree. I was sent to a sex therapist who tried to convince me that pain during sex isn’t a problem at all and I just need to stop having sex and find something else I like more than sex. Um…no? It’s not up to her to decide that the problem im coming to her with isn’t a problem. It’s not up to her to decide I’ll like something I already tried and don’t like, after I’ve informed her that it’s a no for me. SO gaslight-y and gross
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
CBT does not invalidate real things, in fact, CBT is specifically written to not do that.
Yes, but the question is, who is the purveyor of truth in this situation?

I was actively being stalked and terrorized by my ex et al. I was asked to stop my hypervigilence because it was making me too tired and how could I possibly defend myself if they did catch me in a corner somewhere. I felt like there was a bit of a wink/wink in that statement from my therapist. Throwing that around with a woman who is insisting (and friends were verifying) that this was actually my reality, was dangerous.

The problem is, while I was unstable, it really threw me around the bend having to defend my position and having someone try to talk me out of my reality. I think CBT sucks for people who are in activated trauma. Just my thoughts on the matter.

I say, if it doesn't feel right, then get the hell out.
 
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anthony

Founder
I was actively being stalked and terrorized by my ex et al. I was asked to stop my hypervigilence because it was making me too tired and how could I possibly defend myself if they did catch me in a corner somewhere.
You are your truth. That simple.

If what you said above is accurate, your therapist should not have been trying to stop a symptom caused by a current threat, as the only focus should have been on helping you deal with the current threat in meaningful and real ways based on the threat.

Yes, you don't know when your stalker MAY approach or IF they will attack you, but they ARE stalking you, which is the real threat.

Real threats must always be treated as such, even by therapists, and dealt with first and foremost. Safety, safety, safety. Symptoms of a real threat are valid, even in CBT.
 
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