The Courage to Dive into Deep Therapy

Did you know there are therapists on Instagram who have tens of thousands or millions of followers? I am not one of them. But that is OK. I am doing my own little Insta-memes and videos with a small but loyal following. It is a good sign that people are more open to therapeutic guidance, Insta-therapy, you might call it. Apparently, they are benefitting from the short, concise reminders. It may be serving a need. Therapists are quite busy these days because so many folks are experiencing more anxiety and depression than ever, likely due to events here on planet earth. Pandemics. Wars. Climate crisis. Hate. Poverty. Injustices… So, new ways people might gain insight and growth is a plus in my mind.

(photo by micheile-dot-com, Unspash)

But if you are choosing to go beyond Insta-therapy to do the deeper dive into slow-therapy, attachment-therapy, trauma-therapy, I applaud your courage and want to help you understand some of the mixed experiences you may be having, particularly in the beginning.

As you know, it is important to find the right therapist. The therapeutic relationship is at the center of the process. If you experienced relationship injuries, then, they are best addressed in a safe and reliable relationship; so that trust with humans can be rebuilt. Trust. Safety. These are basic to our well-being and are damaged in a family where there was abandonment, abuse, or neglect. If the injuries and losses happened early and often, the remedy will take time. Feeling safe in the therapy relationship takes time. Your counselor’s understanding of your experiences and complexities takes time.

The time needed to heal may be one of the frustrations you are feeling. You may not recognize the depth of the trauma you experienced. It is typical that we minimize and discount our childhood abuse. When it happens to us, it feels normal, so we blame ourselves for feeling so unable to resolve our anxiety or depression on our own. We tell ourselves it wasn’t so bad, others had it so much worse, it happened in the past, just stop complaining. But if we were to imagine a child we know now, being raised by our parents, we are usually horrified by that thought. There is your evidence.

Because you have a rainforest mind, you are used to fast problem solving and control of situations that are intellectually oriented. You may expect the same with therapy. When you do not feel relief or gain insight after a few meetings, you may feel frustrated or like you are “too damaged to fix.” And, of course, there is the financial stress that comes with therapy. You may feel financial pressure, then, to find answers quickly.

(Note: In my opinion, this is why therapists ought to keep their rates lower than other medical professionals, including offering sliding scale rates. Therapy, unlike your family practice doc, requires weekly visits for some length of time. The money adds up. There are agencies with low fee options and insurance options but more private therapists need to address this inequity.)

(Another note: Typical counseling is one hour a week. If you go weekly for a year, that is 52 hours. 52 hours is about 2 full days. When you have been in therapy for a “year,” it is really only 2 days. Healing from childhood trauma will take more than 2 days.)

It might also help to understand the benefits of therapy so you give yourself permission to stick with it in the early stages. I am quoting myself:

“…if you give it enough time, if you dive deep enough, it will transform the fear and shame. The self-hatred. It will slowly, tenderly, turn it into love. Self-compassion. You will pick healthier friends and partners. Set better boundaries with toxic people. Be more confident.  Be a better parent. Your future life paths will become clearer. Your intuition stronger. Your health will improve. You will feel more peaceful. You will stop the legacy of abuse in your family line. You will find your voice.

…you will be more of your true self. The person you were born to be. Curious. Enthusiastic. Creative. Insightful. Quirky. Empowered. Intuitive. And you will love that self. Less fear and shame. More love and light. You will understand what you are here to do. You will feel safe to expand into your full rainforestness!

If you are still not convinced, here is another post where I talk about the crazy soup of our families, the impact, and how we heal. Plus this collection of posts that include how to find a therapist and what your therapist needs to know.

And, in case you need a little more convincing, there is this, from an earlier post:

It can be scary and frustrating to start the psychotherapy journey. But I promise you, it’s so worth it. I’ve been in and out of therapies for many years, working with different folks as my needs changed. I started in my 30’s. And, if you must know, I was a mess back then. And I am so much less of a mess now. Ask my sister. She’ll corroborate my story. And, hey. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for the children in your life, in your community, and in your world. Stopping your family’s dysfunctional legacy will heal future and past generations. It just might make the world much less of a mess. You never know. 

_______________________________

To my bloggEEs: Are you in therapy? What have you learned? Are you following any therapists on Instagram? Has this post helped you? I should add that this type of therapy is not right for everyone. Sending you much love and gratitude, as always.

We are still working on the revised blog/website. It has taken longer than I thought. Could it be my particular perfectionism or my persnickety aesthetic??


Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label “gifted” is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They’re also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I’ve been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

61 responses to “The Courage to Dive into Deep Therapy”

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  1. Tina Avatar
    Tina

    Love this Paula!💖


  2. pprober Avatar
    pprober

    Hi everyone. This is my new updated blog. I am still working out the glitches. Seeing if comments are working. If you try to comment and you can’t, can you email me and let me know? paula@rainforestmind.com. Hope you like the new look. It may take some getting used to. Thank you! Will write a new post soon.


  3. Pulp Fusion Avatar
    Pulp Fusion

    elinevanantwerpen,

    Thank you for the heads up on ‘Searching for Meaning’. I just read its description, and it sounds like an important book about existential depression.
    As I’ve understood, gifted individuals are more prone to this type of depression than the general population is. And it makes sense to me, since gifted individuals are known to be “big-picture thinkers”. This way of thinking or perceiving is perhaps also applied to any trauma(s) that the gifted individual may have experienced. I personally do, though I’m not comfortable with labeling myself as gifted:

    ‘I see trauma as a part of our human condition: It does not only belong to me, but to all of humanity.’
    (Think in terms of all the wars that have taken place throughout our history, and that are taking place right now.)

    My point is, that if one leans towards such a big-picture view in general, and thereby also of one’s own trauma, then it’s likely that one expects that the approach to healing one’s trauma should also be in a big-picture way – “holistic.” Existential depression, in this regard, can be said to be the suppressed expression of the passionate expectation of such a holistic response.


    1. G W Hayduke Avatar
      G W Hayduke

      “Existential depression … can be said to be the suppressed expression of the passionate expectation of such a holistic response.” I had to sit with that sentence for a few minutes. I find that to be sharply accurate.

      The quote included about trauma reminds me of some of Gabor Mate’s speaking and writing about trauma.

      Again, thank you for this. This entire exchange has been the gentle nudge I’ve needed to unstick my thinking.


  4. Pulp Fusion Avatar
    Pulp Fusion

    * This blog article, and the comments to it has really made me think.


  5. Pulp Fusion Avatar
    Pulp Fusion

    This blog article has really made me think..

    I wonder if any of you have thought about the possible relationship between trauma, spirituality, and the gifted individual. When I use the word gifted here, I use it in the sense the Polish psychologist Kazimierz Dabrowski used it: Individuals with “overexcitabilities”, and high developmental potential. In Dabrowski’s ‘Theory of Positive Disintegration’, the disintegration that can follow trauma is, as the name of the theory suggests, positive: It’s the first step towards selfrealization, and not in a materialistic sense. Carl G. Jung advanced a similar notion in his theory of ‘individuation’. Anyway, if this might be true for us, what happens when in our process of positive disintegration we turn to a mental health professional that pathologizes our step towards selfrealization along with the trauma that initiated it?

    “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”.

    – Leonard Cohen


    1. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
      elinevanantwerpen

      Reminds me of ‘Searching for meaning”, an excellent book about the depression that tends to come with giftedness


    2. G W Hayduke Avatar
      G W Hayduke

      Wow that is a great point. Something that never occurred to me before but it makes sense. I agree with elinevanantwerpen — Searching for Meaning is excellent. If I recall Dabrowski was quoted expensively. This has got my mental gears turning – going to have to do some reading. Really – thanks for this.


  6. Clignett Avatar
    Clignett

    As I was re-reading this blog and all the comments of us BloggEEs, this song popped up in my mind: “Read all about it” by Emeli Sandé.. It’s appropriate to the content of this blog, I feel.

    The lyrics:

    You’ve got the words to change a nation
    But you’re biting your tongue
    You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence
    Afraid you’ll say something wrong
    If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?
    So come on, come on
    Come on, come on
    You’ve got a heart as loud as lions
    So why let your voice be tamed?
    Maybe we’re a little different
    There’s no need to be ashamed
    You’ve got the light to fight the shadows
    So stop hiding it away
    Come on, come on
    I wanna sing, I wanna shout
    I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
    So put it in all of the papers
    I’m not afraid
    They can read all about it
    Read all about it, no oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh

    At night we’re waking up the neighbors
    While we sing away the blues
    Making sure that we’re remembered, yeah
    ‘Cause we all matter too
    If the truth has been forbidden
    Then we’re breaking all the rules
    So come on, come on
    Come on, come on
    Let’s get the TV and the radio
    To play our tune again
    It’s ’bout time we got some airplay of our version of events
    There’s no need to be afraid
    I will sing with you my friend
    Come on, come on
    I wanna sing, I wanna shout
    I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
    So put it in all of the papers
    I’m not afraid
    They can read all about it
    Read all about it, oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh

    Yeah, we’re all wonderful, wonderful people
    So when did we all get so fearful?
    Now we’re finally finding our voices
    So take a chance, come help me sing this
    Yeah, we’re all wonderful, wonderful people
    So when did we all get so fearful?
    And now we’re finally finding our voices
    Just take a chance, come help me sing this
    I wanna sing, I wanna shout
    I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
    So put it in all of the papers
    I’m not afraid
    They can read all about it
    Read all about it, oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh
    Oh oh oh

    I wanna sing, I wanna shout
    I wanna scream ’til the words dry out
    So put it in all of the papers
    I’m not afraid
    They can read all about it
    Read all about it, oh


  7. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
    elinevanantwerpen

    OK inspired by Clignett I’ll share “not-so-anonymously” too 🙂

    A day or two after my burnout diagnose I signed up for a mindfulness course and have never stopped practicing since.

    I also followed “loopbaanbegeleiding”, a Belgian government-sponsered way of re-orienting your career. It is sponsored by the government IF you have worked fulltime for x years, which then applied to me. Fair enough… ish.

    This guy had only recently helped a coachee of his become therapist herself. I was one of her first clients but he trusted it would be a good match. And it was. She gave “IV therapy”, a mixture of all kinds of techniques/philosophies. First meeting already, she said many things that I knew were true, but that apparently have took me more than 7 years to understand (have experienced). I think I saw her about 10 times and I also got a friend to see her. She helped him a lot with his mourning process.
    She had given me lots of exercises me to change my perspective and stuff but I guess I was still in denial of my sickness so unconsciously unwilling to start the healing process.

    NEI (neuro-emotional integration) helped me with that. It came on my path at the right time. It doesn’t need you telling your story or reliving evil memories, the technique talks with your unconscious parts and its convictions (like “I just cannot be ill”). This guy I saw about 15 times in 3-4 years time, and I also followed his “speed-course” to start giving this therapy myself because he said he noticed potential in me for helping others. I made quite some progress and the last session he found out that – at that moment – there was nothing blocking me anymore that could be solved with NEI. He gave me the address of his holistic general practitioner but I never went because mine was always writing absence notes when needed.

    I had repressed trauma to solve before I can help other people.
    Time went by and I found jobs and lost them again because too stressy. I ate self-help books for breakfast and followed some workshops etc. Got re-interested into spirituality too.
    A friend of a friend had just started her business: advising people by channeling. One of the messages was clear: you know as much as you need to know, just start DOING already.
    Exactly. The spirits were right.

    So I came across intuitive painting & writing, online self-help groups, more books, … I started doing the trauma healing work on my own, combining all of my knowledge including NEI and also EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) which came on my path only recently.

    So, yes, I’m in favour of body work + meditation above speech therapy too. Mainly because I simply cannot afford much professional help, I always had to select carefully who, when, what. Professionals always say “You don’t have to do this alone, I can walk next to you for a period of time” but my wallet says otherwise.


    1. Clignett Avatar
      Clignett

      Thank you so much for your story, elinevanantwerpen! It’s truly inspiring and gives me more to explore for myself (I never heard of NEI, neither of EFT).
      I’ll look into these, once I’m finally settled in my new place. (Probably next year Christmas-time 🙄😵🤣)

      And thank you for being inspired by me 😊😘!


      1. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
        elinevanantwerpen

        Anytime Clignett and good luck! You don’t have to wait so long unless you feel you do 🙂

        This nice Dutch speaking lady introduced me online to EFT: https://www.in-motion.live/


        1. Clignett Avatar
          Clignett

          Oh, wow! I just read her website and added the page to my “stay open” tabs! I’ll definitely look into this earlier than next year Christmas-time ! 😃 Thank you!!

          Now I also understand WHY tapping helps me to stay more relaxed and not go full panic attack outside in busy environments. I tap to keep me focused on the tapping. I do breathing exercises at the same time, and/or I think just random numbers in a loop.. but this explains WHY that works, and that it can be expanded to bigger issues than a panic attack (although that is bad enough on it’s own, feels like a heart attack sometimes..).

          People still look at me strangely when that happens, but I don’t care, too busy getting home/to safety/somewhere I can breathe again.
          And I still wonder afterwards, doesn’t anyone recognize these signs? Help out at that particular moment? I do, when I see someone doing these type of things, or someone having a panic attack and doesn’t know what to do. “Breathe with me: deep in… hold 1, 2, 3, 4.. let go… all the way.. and again.. deep in.. hold.. let go.. “
          and with the third breath I add the tapping.. or the repeating of random numbers. It helps!


          1. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
            elinevanantwerpen

            The website is indeed clear on what she does and why 🙂 I didn’t know about tapping before. Glad for you that it helps in difficlult circumstances and yes indeed, let the people think what they want.

            Recognising a panic attack isn’t easy indeed… Most of the times I just notice “hey, I can breathe again” when getting off the bus or so. But got my techniques too, especially not spending much time amongst people 😀 :S


  8. Clignett Avatar
    Clignett

    * side effects, not “snide” effects of course. 🙈🙈


  9. Clignett Avatar
    Clignett

    I hear and understand all of you who have had bad experiences with therapists. Myself included, unfortunately. I’ve been misdiagnosed many times, from schizophrenic to ADHD, and all in between..
    Mismedicated, overmedicated, under medicated, until I found the righ combination which works for me. Not always, but mostly they do. Which meant standing on the barricades for my prescriptions, trying then out (not longer than a week if I’m not comfortable with them), and came to the conclusion that the same “”working” ingredients will work from one brand but not another brand. It’s the topcoat they use why some medicine doesn’t work, while the other does work. It’s a struggle to find the right medication for everyone,!with acceptable snide effects that can differ from person to person..

    But maybe because I’m a sceptic person, I believe only what my “gut” tells me is right, and I’m not afraid to counter the therapists. I can have a “big mouth”, will blurt out spontaneously what I’m thinking as I’m thinking it, without thinking about consequences.
    But, in an environment that should be safe, that trait should be a good one. Not every therapist agrees with that, I discovered.
    Some were offended when I corrected them in diagnosing me, some apologized (after I’d gotten so angry, that my rant took about half the session).

    I know who I am, I know how I am. So don’t tell me any lies about me. I get that enough from my dysfunctional family members (narcissists). And I recognize it now, and run away from it now. I can’t deal with that, nor do I want to.
    I come to therapy with a blockage somewhere, and I need help to see and examine and dissolve that blockage. I don’t need any “horse tales”, don’t accept that from anyone, so why should I accept that from a therapist who should be there for me?
    So, after the “great therapist” I mentioned earlier, and having many bad experiences with other therapists, I decided to turn the table: “tell me why I should or could trust you with my story and struggles? Tell me that before I even think about telling you why I’m here.” That question always throws therapists off, most stumble trying to answer it. But the good ones, you can see that they are trying to win your trust by telling them about themselves, by having normal conversations first, about anything and anyone. And thát’s when I stay and try to feel my gut telling me it’s ok to open up. Or not. Could be either way, but at least we’ve both tried..

    On the group therapy mentioned, I’m not a group person. I’ll try to help anyone else but myself. So that doesn’t work for me.

    What eventually did work was EMDR, one on one conversations (not necessarily therapy!), mindfulness, meditation, some form of yoga (whatever my body will allow on a particular day), nature walks, talking to myself (as writing is sometimes difficult, and I don’t always have my reading glasses with me – aaarrrggghhh… aging… 🙈), so I record myself talking to myself. Sometimes just a reminder, sometimes a song that pops up in my brain, sometimes solutions to a problem that might just do the trick, you name it, and I record it.

    And talking to animals, any animal. As we are animals as well, why not communicate with each other? I’ve had a conversation with a magpie, just a baby still. The bird came as close to me that I could touch it, wiggling his little head from side to side, listening to my voice. Indie was sniffing further away in the grass, not at all interested 🐶🙈🤣 (per usual, I can hear him think “you crazy lady, you’ll talk to anyone and anything! Pfff.. doing my things now, you’re not paying attention to me now, so I can do as I please 🥳!” Eh, no, Indie, I still see you! “Snort”). But those encounters, those experiences give me hope, give me reassurance and tell me I’ll be alright. It’s all about energy, isn’t it?

    At our last walk this night, Indie was barking his lungs out at another dog, who was first startled, and then gave a growl. As I was crossing the street to give the dogs more space between them, I told Indie the command “ignore!” And louder “ignore!!”, also to the other dog. With a friendly voice, no drama, just as if all was well. The owner of the other dog was coming out of his house with a big hurry to see what the racketeering with the dogs was (Beagles have an enormous bark) and he saw Indie. And me. And started laughing… hów do you do it? And “ignore”?? Yep, it works as you can see.. and Indie and I just walked on..
    The point of this is that I can react differently, like the man storming out of his house, or I can de-escalate the energy between them using my voice, my body language (I’m not afraid of you, I don’t want to hurt you, and my dog will make a lot of noise, but that is his nature, and his communication. He will not hurt you, he’s a bit anxious about you. I don’t understand “bark”, but every dog understands that you (the alpha) are de-escalating and moving away.

    I’m also not a texter, so if you want a conversation with me, call me. Or wait a few days/weeks before I finally remember that I’ve read your text, answered it in my mind, but not to the person who sent the text..


  10. G W Hayduke Avatar
    G W Hayduke

    Sorry to leave a second comment. In a way it’s really nice to hear that my experience with talk therapy was not unique. It almost seems like we need a support group for gifted people traumatized/retraumatized by bad therapy experiences. I know in my case I have lingering trust issues with therapists, and I have found that subsequent therapists have been somewhat uncomfortable discussing it. I wonder if anybody (Paula?) has any ideas about how to host/facilitate something virtually. Might be helpful for many of us to share amongst ourselves — maybe as a way of gaining perspective and sharing tips for what has worked and what to look for in a good therapist.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      You are welcome to leave more than one comment, as you can see many do, GW! I don’t know of groups like this. There are probably some for the general population on this topic (except for the RFM part) but I don’t imagine those would serve you well. You could contact Aurora Remember to see if she might form a subgroup? If I hear of anything, I will let you know.
      https://embracingintensity.com/about/ Or maybe Julie Skolnick’s FB group? https://www.facebook.com/withunderstandingcomescalm Both might just be interesting as places to meet other RFMs. Then maybe bring up the topic?? But I haven’t found anything yet that seems “just right.”


      1. G W Hayduke Avatar
        G W Hayduke

        Thanks. After checking both of these groups out, I agree that neither are quite right. I really feel like continuing this dialogue could be helpful for those of us with similar experiences, so I started a subreddit. It’s completely blank. If anybody is interested in co-creating something that could help us all, please come and check it out. If there’s no interest that’s OK too. Here is the URL: https://www.reddit.com/r/TherapizedAnonymous/


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Oh, that is a great idea. I hope you get some responses. And perhaps the conversation could also morph into general RFM issues??


        2. Pulp Fusion Avatar
          Pulp Fusion

          G W Hayduke,

          The feeling is mutual. I checked out the link, and read the following:

          “The moderators of r/TherapizedAnonymous have set this community as private. Only approved members can view and take part in its discussions.”

          I’ve never used Reddit for conversations before.


          1. G W Hayduke Avatar
            G W Hayduke

            Pulp Fusion,

            I changed the settings for the subreddit so maybe now it’s visible? IDK – I really don’t use social media much so this is a learning experience for me.


          2. Clignett Avatar
            Clignett

            I’ve added your page to my account, had to create one first, but it works! Posted a reaction on it, with a different username though, Tattertje (my personal Instagram).
            Took me a while, but that was more due to setting up an avatar and reading everything before continuing to the next page.. 🙈😁


            1. Pulp Fusion Avatar
              Pulp Fusion

              I already have a Reddit account (for some reason), and have joined the community page, but I still can’t read the comments..? Btw, I posted a comment on the page. Can any of you read it?


              1. Clignett Avatar
                Clignett

                I just played around a bit with all the options, and apparently you have to press the “live chat” button to see the messages. I still haven’t figured out how to get notifications, but we’ll get there! 🙈🤣


  11. Pulp Fusion Avatar
    Pulp Fusion

    What you describe so well in your post resonates with me!

    In retrospect of my own experience, the role of the therapist, generally speaking, was not to teach me, the individual, how to be ok with not fitting the norm of society, but to bring me back into conformity with it – *in ever so subtle ways. In other words, they were not on my side, so to speak, but on the side of mainstream society: I represented a liability to it.

    *Theraphy, in my experience, is based on ‘reframing’, which is usually practiced by the therapist in a benevolent way. However, as you’ve unfortunately had to experience, it can sometimes be used in a malevolent way as well. Personally, I believe reframing is not the solution to our problems.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I am hearing many of you saying your experience of therapy has been to get people to fit into the “norm of society” with things like reframing, medication, maybe even coping strategies. What I hope is that many therapists are working to heal dysfunctional, abusive family systems and empower clients to be their authentic selves and then contribute to creating a better more compassionate world!


      1. Pulp Fusion Avatar
        Pulp Fusion

        We know you’re on our side <3


  12. Paula Prober Avatar
    Paula Prober

    And anyone reading my blog who is a therapist or coach for the gifted, you are welcome to list your contact information here.


  13. Paula Prober Avatar
    Paula Prober

    A few possible therapists who know giftedness and are outside the US so can work anywhere, as far as I know. In Norway, Pascale Coutanceau (speaks French, too) https://www.arendalpsykoterapi.no/arendal-psychotherapy-professional-support-for-gifted-adults/
    In the Netherlands, Danielle van Sundert https://praktijk-hoogbegaafdheid-haarlem.nl
    In France, Margerie Veron https://www.margerieveron.com/perfectionnisme-sain-toxique-chez-le-zebre-haut-potentiel-multipotentiel/ Also, there are more on this list from Noks Nauta in the Netherlands: https://ihbv.nl/hulpverlener-int-zoeken/ (there is someone in Germany on this list!)
    Hope this helps some of you find someone. Of course, you’ll still want to check to see if they are right for you!


  14. Ms Artista Avatar
    Ms Artista

    Newbie here! So grateful to find you by the mention on Highly Sensitive Refuge’s site. I was just talking about how important it is to not only seek help, but the right help. Find a therapist who specializes in what you want to heal and work on IMO:) Sometimes it’s not a good match and that’s ok!! You deserve what’s best for you. I never knew I had a Rainforest Mind. Thank you


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Welcome, Ms Artista! Glad to have you here.


  15. Pulp Fusion Avatar
    Pulp Fusion

    Dear Paula,

    I’m not in therapy, and, to be very honest with you, I do not see myself being in therapy in the near future -based on my experience with therapy in the past.
    This is not to say, however, that I didn’t learn anything from the interactions with my various therapists over the years, just that what I did learn unfortunately failed to have any long-lasting effects on my then precarious mental health.
    I say ‘then’ because my current mental health is a substantial improvement from its former state; brought mainly about by the practice of ‘mindfullness meditation’, introduced to me by some of the institutions as a supplement to the therapy I received there.
    One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned through my ever-evolving “practice” of (mindfulness) meditation is to sit and be with whatever presents itself in my awareness. This includes the pain of childhood trauma.

    As for Instagram and other popular social media platforms, I don’t use them. (It’s just a personal choice.)

    Your post has made me reflect on my position on therapy. Thank you, Paula!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      There are many roads to healing and self-awareness for sure, Pulp Fusion. Many people have found forms of meditation very helpful. Thanks for sharing.


  16. Sheep's Wool Avatar
    Sheep’s Wool

    G W Hayduke, sending you love, strength and good wishes. I like what you have written about energy work.


  17. Me Avatar
    Me

    Yes Paula, your little reminders on Insta actually do help a lot! Sometimes it is just what I need, a little reminder.
    In Germany it seems impossible to find a therapist at all, never mind one that deals with giftedness.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m glad my reminders are helpful, Me. There are some therapists who work outside of the US who can work in multiple countries. I will try and find a few and add them in the comments when I have time later today.


      1. Me Avatar
        Me

        thank you Paula 🙏🏻


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Looks like there are a few people in Germany on this list: https://ihbv.nl/hulpverlener-int-zoeken/


          1. Me Avatar
            Me

            Thank you Paula!


  18. G W Hayduke Avatar
    G W Hayduke

    I appreciate the sentiment behind the post, but as somebody who has been struggling to get help for over 20 years with learning how to be OK not fitting the norm, and who in the process has experienced terrible medication side effects and has been seriously traumatized by one therapist in particular I’d like to say to my fellow atypicals that talk therapy does not work for everyone…if this is your experience, it is NOT your fault.

    In my case therapists have struggled to identify what my “problem” is. They seem more concerned about labeling my discontent than understanding it. I’ve had numerous diagnoses including dysthymic disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder. The last two were given to me by a therapist who insisted that I needed to attend church. After trying for awhile and coming to the conclusion that Christian dogma is incompatible with my pantheistic and animist beliefs I told her it was not for me. She accused me of being antisocial, a heated discussion ensued, and the next week I got new diagnoses. When I told her it seemed punitive she used that as evidence to support my supposed paranoia. Kinda like the old joke about how the louder you insist you’re not crazy the crazier you sound.

    The reality is that psychotherapy is far from a science and has a rather checkered history of inflicting damage while insisting otherwise. Think lithium, electro shock, lobotomy, and Freudian analysis. I often suspect that the DSM, SSRI’s and CBT will be regarded as similarly misguided 50 years from now.

    I also think there needs to be better mechanisms for identifying and removing inept and/or dangerous therapists. I really wish there were more therapists who are gifted-literate and affirming like Paula. Unfortunately this is not the case. Maybe that’s why some good therapists have large Instagram and WordPress followings.

    I’d also like to say that there are alternatives to talk therapy. I’ve had better luck working with energy workers to help identify stuck energy/trauma and EMDR to release it. Both require minimal talking and do not require a formal diagnosis.

    Whatever happens, even if therapy fails or hurts you or you have to walk away, don’t give up on YOURSELF.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing this, GW. I know there are people who have actually been retraumatized in therapy. That is why choosing someone carefully is essential. And, just so you know, I agree, there are many modalities in therapy, including EMDR and what is called somatic experiencing. Also Internal Family Systems therapy. Talk therapy is important but only one tool. And, yes, to good energy work as well. Also body work, like cranial sacral therapy. Journaling! I often tell my clients to use multiple modes to do their inner work, so I am with you! I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Glad to have you here.


    2. Jennifer Avatar
      Jennifer

      Thank you for bringing this up GW. I was only 19 years old when I mustered up “the courage to dive deep into therapy”. It was the single worst decision I’ve made in my life. In the space of only five years I went from being a young rising star in university to living in chronic poverty off of inadequate disability benefits.

      I was too young to know that I was supposed to “shop around” for the best therapist because I had no idea about the potential dangers that lurked in the therapist’s office. Medications have labels that warn of potentially dangerous side effects, so how come therapy doesn’t? After all, being harmed and retraumatized by therapy happens far more often than most therapists seem to be willing to admit.

      And so this recent article in The Guardian couldn’t be more timely: “I’m a psychologist – and I believe we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/sep/06/psychologist-devastating-lies-mental-health-problems-politics

      “Individual therapy is brilliant for lots of people, and antidepressants can help some people cope. But I worry that a purely medicalised, individualised understanding of mental health puts plasters over big gaping wounds, without addressing the source of violence. They encourage us to adapt to systems, thereby protecting the status quo…”
      “None of this is to dismiss the value of one-on-one therapy (that’s part of my job, after all). But therapy must be a place where oppression is examined, where the focus isn’t to simply reduce distress, but to see it as a survival response to an oppressive world.”


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thank you for sharing, Jennifer. I will read the article. I am so sorry you’ve had such awful experiences. Good therapy should not be about ignoring the “oppressive world.” It should address one source of violence, the oppression, in the family system. This is one way to get to a source of the larger violence in the world by starting with the family. “Protecting the status quo” is certainly not what I am after. In my sessions, we definitely address the factors beyond the family that are impacting us. But I see what you are saying and know that others have had similar experiences. Glad you are here.


      2. Pulp Fusion Avatar
        Pulp Fusion

        Thank you, Jennifer! I just read the article you linked, and it’s overwhelming. I’m probably going to need some time to process it.
        I’m a person of color from an immigrant family, and I was reminded by it how I pleaded with some of my therapists “to put down their books” and talk to me like a human being.

        P.s. I’m very sorry to hear about what’s happened to you.


  19. Clignett Avatar
    Clignett

    Thank you as always, Paula! I agree it’s so important to find the right therapist for the need you have at that moment. I’ve been in and out of therapy for about 20 years now, started early 30’s. Mostly because of the company where I worked insisted on it for all (higher placed) personnel. Which was new for me, but so helpful! Especially when you are in a position where you have to keep “Chinese Walls” around you, it’s hard.. and it’s tough! Some of my co-workers were friends, that makes it even harder.
    So I searched and found a therapist who was willing to be a personal coach as well. That meant that some days we would talk about the issues I had concerning my job, and other days we would go deep into my personal issues. This therapist was a RFM as well (hindsight of course), and could think even faster than I could, which was such a relief! He’d say “come on, keep up with me! Use that gigantic brain of yours!”, and we’d both be laughing because we both visualized the “gigantic brain” in my small head.. 🙈🤣
    Unfortunately, due to (then) new laws and restrictions therapists have in The Netherlands, he got so bored and fed up with all the paperwork he had to do, which would cost him 2 days a week, which meant that he could not practice his passion (giving therapy and seeing people), he quit his practice and went back to his “other” passion: writing and selling software for the health industry. He’s still in my mind, I was seeing him for over 5 years..

    The therapists after that were not even half as good, nor capable. Some I just had one meeting with, others I stayed a year or something like that. I was educating them, instead of them having me figure my issues out..

    After having seen about 10 therapists, I found another good one, who helped me tremendously. Also being honest about the point where he couldn’t help me anymore, and helped me get referred to another institution where we both though I’d get the further help that I needed. I was accepted, stayed there for more than 2 years, until that was exhausted as well. But not without a referral to another institution where I could receive more treatment.

    So now without therapy, but on the waiting list for another institution where I would get a full diagnostic of possible Asperger Syndrome or just highly sensitive and highly intelligent. I’ve put myself back on the waiting list twice now, due to moving to another apartment (the stress of buying and selling was almost too much to bear, let alone having to go there for full days to be examined and tested!).

    What I have learned from therapy.. so so much! For one: I am who I am and that is okay! No need to change me. Do I have trauma? Yes, deep complex early child and adult trauma. Did we address all the trauma? No, some things are so hidden in my brain that it would possibly make things worse by dredging them up. Maybe someday, but for now best let it be hidden there. Until I feel and know that I’m ready to face it and deal with it (because it’s not hidden anymore then). It’s been a long and bumpy road so far, sometimes nothing would come out of me, other times I’d be unstoppable..
    And Indie.. my dear sweet beautiful sensitive loving playful naughty funny and sometimes just rude Indie.. he’s helped me through so much, and I’ve helped him through so much. Completely in sync (when he is not ONLY following his nose 🙈🐶🤣). Couldn’t remember my life without him anymore!

    As for Instagram, I don’t follow many therapists (except you of course!!), but I do follow some pages that are really helpful and insightful to me. I’m not sure if I can name them (please do revise if not!), but for me Butterflies and Pebbels, Moonomens, The Asher House (because it’s so beautiful and wonderful what Lee Asher and his team are doing and it relaxes me), JMStormquotes, thinkologyofficial, wordporm, Stevemaraboli, lessonslearnedinlife, and a lot more.. unfortunately Instagram has put in a new algorithm, so now I really have to look for them to see what the new posts are..

    And just to react to the anonymity: I’m fully aware that my name is mentioned. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think it’s too important to be able to discuss and tell your story, be “out there” in a safe environment, and to be open about mental health in general. Therapy has been a taboo for too long, mental health issues are sky-rocketing and everyone should know there is absolutely no shame in getting help for that. No judgment about people who want to stay anonymous, don’t get me wrong, but do try to tell your story. Make it a “normal” thing to seek help. To be open about trauma and the need for help or therapy. And, every so much important: do not settle for a therapist that doesn’t suit you. It’s your life, your need, so the therapist you need might not be the first (or second, or third, and so on..) that you see. Search, ask, try and be honest with yourself and the therapist if you feel it’s not a good fit.

    Lastly on the new blog/website: it’ll be perfect once it’s ready! No doubt about it! Just take your time for it, Paula, I can imagine how crucial some decisions are! Sending love and hugs and 🐾🐾🐾 🐾 from Indie 🥰


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing your particular therapy journey, clignett, and who you follow on Instagram. I do know many people have trouble finding a good match for therapy and also someone who can be there for the long haul. But, of course, there is always puppy therapy!


    2. elinevanantwerpen Avatar
      elinevanantwerpen

      Thanks for sharing your difficult path and for the call to un-taboo mental health!


  20.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    Hi! I feel so seen by you. Thank you.

    And a request, Facebook has a new feature where a comment can be done anonymously which I think would be very helpful for your page.
    I was just about to comment when I realized others I know would be able to see it, so I deleted it.
    Thanks for the consideration.


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So, this post is anonymous. So you figured it out? Many people here post anonymously. Thanks!


  21. Mary Avatar
    Mary

    I got into therapy for other reasons, and have a great therapist. She was actually the one who suggested to me that I was gifted! It would never have occurred to me. I knew my IQ and I knew I had some unusual abilities but I still was (and am) afraid people would think I wasn’t very bright. I actually still think I am dumb for a gifted person. But I guess it’s progress. Anyway, having a good therapist is wonderful!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      So glad you found a good one, Mary.


  22.  Avatar
    Anonymous

    I have been in therapy on and off for over 8 years now. the longest was 4 years with the same therapist and that was a first for her.
    Over here in the Netherlands the ideal is a fast ( couple of months) of therapy once or twice a week, and preferably group therapy ( much cheaper only one therapist on 6 to 12 clients).
    the first time I was 15 and having my first midlife crisis, or that was what if felt like. “Why am I on this planet, Why havent I succeded at anything yet. My life is worthless”. That therapist answer to all that. I needed a boyfriend and then I wouldnt have time to think so much.
    I am so glad I didnt follow that advice.
    I am now without therapy but in doubt if I should start again. Because I just dont want to help a therapist invent the wheel again. but I am still a mess.

    My main thing, I feel like I am in the waiting room of life. if only I get this one thing I can start really living. but I do not have a clue as to what that one thing is.
    All the things I did manage to get fixed (( money, house, time, education, pets) are great, and before I had those I was sure it was the one thing. But still that one thing is escaping me.
    And no it is not getting a boy friend.


    1. Ewab Avatar
      Ewab

      for some reason my name is no longer on here. I am EwaB.


      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Don’t know why it did that, EwaB. Sorry! Do you know of Annelie Neuteboom. She is a therapist in NL and knows about giftedness. She might be someone to try.


  23. cherylhlmn Avatar
    cherylhlmn

    Paula. Are you open to do therapy with a blogger (aka myself)?
    If so, how does that process start?


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I was going to put this in the post just in case this came up. So thanks for asking. I am only licensed to counsel in Oregon so can’t work as a therapist outside the state. You will find that is the rule for all licensed therapists in N. America. That said, I consult internationally. But that is not doing the deep trauma therapy. It is only addressing the gifted topics that are in my books and on the blog relating to your rainforest mind. If you are interested in that, you can email and I will send details. Consulting is short term, usually just a few meetings. Thanks, cherylhlmn.


      1. annette Avatar
        annette

        So if I drive over to Canada, I can call you?…just kidding. Gotta love our “rules”. Thank you for the article & keep them coming!


        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Thanks, annette. I will. 🙂


  24. litebeing Avatar
    litebeing

    Well done Paula!


    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks, Linda!

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