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Talking Therapies – Lise’s Story

Talking Therapies: A woman talks on the phone looking out of her window at the sunny sky

Talking Therapies (IAPT) provide a range of support for when you experience difficult emotions, such as low mood, anxiety and stress.

Lise has struggled with anxiety for most of her life. We spoke to her to find out more about how her recent experience with Talking Therapies has helped her to cope.

How did you hear about Talking Therapies?

I heard about it through my GP. I’d had a bad year and was struggling. She offered not only medication but also the opportunity to refer myself to talking therapy. I was nervous, as I haven’t had great experience with therapy in the past, but I felt needed something to change.

I completed the referral form and then within a week someone was in contact and we started the process. I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly – it was so easy!

Which kind of therapy did you receive?

I had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), so my first sessions were an introduction to CBT. I learnt about what it is and how it works. I realised that you can talk forever and ever about trauma in the past, but it’s how you deal with it in the present. I can’t change what happened, but I can do something about it now.

My initial sessions were over the phone. As you can’t see the person, it made it easier to talk, especially at the beginning. As I started to feel more comfortable, it became helpful to see the therapist on a video call. She could share images and diagrams on screen.

It was also super convenient – you’re already at home! I could finish work and then start my therapy sessions straight away, as I didn’t need to travel anywhere. It opens up the opportunity for therapy in a different way.

Can you talk me through how the sessions were run? What did they involve?

The original sessions focused on methods I could use to manage my anxiety, such as tools like starting a ‘worry diary’. Then the sessions became more personalised. With my therapist, we would check-in to find out how I was doing, then we would have a conversation about different themes each week. The themes related to where the anxiety is within me. We discussed problems versus worries, negative core beliefs, and worry issues.

Every week I was given work to do at home. It was made clear that I had to put in the effort; the therapist couldn’t solve the problem for me. It was very inclusive. Together, we would discuss what was next, how I wanted to do it, what I felt I needed. If I didn’t know, then the therapist helped to guide me.

Have the methods helped?

Yes, absolutely. My therapist said, “I will teach you to become your own therapist”, which is a really good point. You can’t become reliant on people, it’s me that has to manage this going forward. We’re now working on a programme for me to use when the sessions have finished.

The whole experience has given me confidence to move forward. I talk about my feelings much more now. My friends and family have noticed how open I am. I’ve learnt that worrying is not abnormal.

Would you recommend Talking Therapies?

Yes, 100% – it has been truly fantastic for me. I’m so hugely grateful to have access to this therapy.

As mentioned, the therapy I’d had in the past wasn’t the best for my situation, but I didn’t know it at the time. This time, I felt so supported and understood. If something isn’t working, your therapist can change it. They listen to how you feel, then steer towards a therapy to help you – you’re included in the decision.

That’s why I wanted to share my story, in the hope that it will help others who may be struggling. There is help out there. Give it a go. You can always stop if you don’t get on with it. It’s important to know that you’re not alone in this.

Refer yourself for Talking Therapy

Our Talking Therapy team can help if you are struggling with anxiety, depression or low mood. Find out more about the service and register.

 

 

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 12th May 2021

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training