Help with choosing a therapist- gender and triggers

RussellSue

MyPTSD Pro
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I just ordered one from amazon :) Thank you for this suggestion! I thought they were only bed-sized and mine is too heavy to lug up and down the stairs.

Super! I hope it helps. I've been really happy with mine. I have tried a lot of different anxiety reduction gadgets and whatnot and I think that lap pad has been my favorite.

Excuse me while I tell you all about some of my experiences ?

I had a weighted belt but it looked a little too much like it ought to have grenades hanging from it and it made me self-conscious while riding Portland, Oregon's public transit which was what I bought it for. I was trying not to make new friends while riding the train ?. I was really afraid it could be a conversation starter. I tried putting it under my clothes but the extra fat roll look wasn't working for me, either. If I weren't so self-conscious, it might have been great.

The At-Ease glasses are not at all helpful for me out in public. They work like horse blinders to block out excess stimuli but if I need to/want to see what is around me in my peripheral vision, they can actually make me more anxious. I couldn't wear them while walking down the street. They are helpful in the house toward the end of the day when my eyes and brain are exhausted but they weren't worth the money for me. Though, they may have been a few years ago when information overload was constant.

Fidget spinners and gadgets tend to make me anxious but the squishy clay-like stuff is soothing for me.

Since I have a lot of aches and pains, my infrared heating pad is a favorite. I am unfortunately going to be without a bathtub for the foreseeable future and I take baths for anxiety and pain. So, I am planning to order a sauna blanket in the next month or two. I have high hopes for that. Just the fact that I will be bagged for a while is likely to produce positive results.

Lastly, I have an Ergo Ergo stool that I ordered from Amazon. I have a shit ton of nervous energy and being able to rock side to side, front and back and round and round while I type at my computer is somehow helpful. I'm only 40 but I have arthritis in my hips and it helps with that, too, but I find that it is my favorite daytime chair because I get some of my leg fidgets out while I am doing mundane computer stuff.

Alright, that's enough about me. I hope you like your lap pad.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
After reading Pete Walker’s cPTSD book, twice, and almost 4 decades of trying to sort things out on my own, I want to find a trauma therapist. I’ve seen two counsellors briefly in the last 3 yrs who both left their practices after I’d had a few sessions with them. They were both kind, and I liked them as people, but neither seemed equipped to work with me (both gasped and were expressively horrified by just the most surface-y details of incidents I’ve experienced).

They were both female, and I am very uncomfortable with females in general (I’m female also), and I don’t know if this is something I should learn to tolerate or if it would be more helpful at least in the beginning of working with a therapist, to choose a male therapist so that I am more comfortable sharing and taking conversational/therapeutic direction from them. I feel totally lost and stressed by typical female-style communication.

I don’t hate women at all, and I am feminine in expression. I am just totally bewildered by women in general, no doubt because my mother was extremely abandoning, negligent and (less extremely) cruel. I had my very first conversation with my mother two yrs ago and it was fine, but I don’t know how to talk to women, and from my own experience, there is a way to talk to/communicate with women that is very different than to men.

Also, to be clear, it is not a sexual thing. I’ve been badly abused by men and have general trust problems with everyone.

I saw a (male) psychiatrist who told me that I should not push myself or listen to advice to “get out of my comfort zone.” He said that what I need more than anything is to seek comfort, since no part of me feels safe or experiences comfort. He said to pay attention to my body and if it’s telling me to run, freeze, or fawn (I have no fight response so far), then to leave that situation/person immediately and without explaining or defending, to just end it by any safe means possible.

I am just beginning. I started using a weighted blanket and it’s so relieving and comforting (after the initial week of panicking and having to slowly bring it up from just my feet and now I pull it up all the way and it’s comforting). I’m new to seeking and finding comfort in anything. Is it best to find a comfortable therapist? Or one who triggers me?

You won't get very far if you find a therapist who triggers you.....intentionally....I'd call that a bad fit. Look for someone who is empathetic, listens, is very comfortable with their trauma skills, can answer your questios in English and give examples, and someone who is goal oriented....you know....you all create a plan together.....you drive the bus.....they are there to help you navigate the brambles and help you make sense out of your feelings, etc. If you have abandonment issues, look for a therapist who sets good boundaries.....I think that's important. Good luck.
 

Teawitheggs

Not Active
Thank you all for your input and sharing your experiences :) The local listing is so spare I’m guessing that therapists are just not publicly listing, so I’m taking my friend’s suggestion to ask the first therapist I saw- who very suddenly changed careers- for a lead.

@RussellSue , thank you for sharing what you’ve tried! [The quote function is not working on my phone] I was going to look through posts here tonight for exactly those suggestions and experiences!

I have multiple head traumas and the last was catastrophic, so I also have other things going on. I’m not really sure what will help with what; I’ve just started experimenting. I know that fidgety things make me very anxious and cause cognitive overwhelm. Weight and stillness feel best unless I’m deliberately moving, like dancing or jumping or climbing, etc.... Music is a major healing balm for me. And art. But I have severe energy/fatigue challenges that make many otherwise helpful and relieving things inaccessible. So it is great to learn about things that help others, or don’t. I didn’t know that most of what you mentioned even existed!
 
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I concur with everyone, pick one that makes you feel comfortable. Like shoes, if it's not a good fit grab another one. Look at their approach to. CBT if very common, not my favorite but it depends what kind of work you want to do. Most people don't understand that. What do you wan to work on.
 

Sues

Confident
A therapist should never be shocked by your story. Gasping and expressing horror is unacceptable and damaging to the client. It's one thing to agree with you about the horror of what you've been through, and another thing to react negatively. If that ever happens, please talk to your therapist about it to let them know they messed up, and then find someone else.

Your preference in the gender of your therapist is simply that, your preference. It is very important to you and you should honor that. Your relationship and comfort with your therapist is the number one factor that dictates how successful your therapy will be. I am a female and I prefer male therapists. I relate to them better and I feel the same as you about female style communication.

You should never be triggered by your therapist. You need to be comfortable with your therapist and they need to get to know you, and your triggers, so they can help you. Your therapy space needs to always be a safe space where anything and everything is ok to talk about.

It's a long process and there are many good, not so good, and bad therapists out there. It's perfectly ok if you leave a therapist because it's not a good fit. They will understand. They will want you to leave and find someone else you can relate to better. If they don't feel that way, then all the more reason to leave. You can always ask for a referral and most therapist do this and feel obligated to do it so that you are not left without any support. It's normal to have to look around and go through a few therapists before you find a good fit.

Weighted blankets are great! I've also seen weighted stuffed animals, but haven't tried one yet.
 
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