Thursday, 24 March 2011

Therapy works?

So... some people say that talking therapies are not appropriate for people with autism, and can in fact make their 'symptoms' much worse. Experts recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is structured counselling, which focuses on desired outcomes, and strategies for attaining these.

Handling my emotions has always been difficult, I spent quite a few years in therapy, before realising I had Asperger's Syndrome. I started out with Jungian therapy (think Woody Allen!) which was a lot of me talking, and a lot of questions from my therapist. This was useful in coming to understand some of my feelings around being adopted (more about this on a later blog). I can't remember what my therapist looked like, as I never looked at her while I was talking. The stuff we were dealing with was too painful.

I stopped this therapy after 2 years of going every week (and crying for an hour afterwards), and at the end of this period, I at least was able to name all the emotions I was carrying around. Prior to therapy, I was emotionally illiterate, and never understood what I was feeling, or how I was projecting it outwards.

I ended up back in therapy as soon as I became pregnant for the first time. Even though this was planned, and I was 35, I thought I was going crazy. The hormones along with quite a lot of unresolved stuff around my mothers (natural and adoptive) and my own fear of being a bad mother, sent me quite doolally for a while. This time I went for more structured counselling, I wasn't able for the delving into deep-seated and ancient feelings of loss while I was pregnant. Counselling was very helpful, and I was able to put some stuff in the places it belonged, and leave it there permanently.

My son is currently partaking of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and it is really helping him to manage his anxiety, but then he has had me to help him with identifying and accepting his difficult emotions since he was tiny, this has been an important role for me since always.

When I finished my last counselling session I felt like a bit of a fraud, because there was something about me that I wasn't managing to communicate, that I was too afraid to voice. Stuff about how I related to people, even my own family. Stuff about my constantly changing obsessive interests, and how everybody in my life took a back seat to them. Stuff about just being generally weird and having to DIAL IT DOWN around other people all the time. I was too ashamed to bring any of that stuff up, and I didn't have the words for it, or any way to communicate any of this as a total experience.

I didn't have the word Asperger's.  What a great word.

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