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Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hi Smiley Happy 

So a bit of background info I have generalised anxiety disorder and specific phobia diagnoses and my GP thinks I may have some OCD and disrupted eating issues as well. 


Firstly I have seen 3 psychologists that are paid and I have seen a therapist at a free service run by the government, however, I haven't really found any of them useful and I feel discouraged because I'm beginning to think therapy isn't actually helpful and a waste of time and money. My GP thinks that I need to go see an experienced clinical psychologist who specialised in CBT and anxiety related issues because I have more than one main problem and my case is complex but I can't afford that so I'm stuck with the free service atm. 


I just wondered if anyone has actually found therapy helpful for serious mental illness and actually thinks its worth it? 


I'm especially discouraged as I'm currently in uni studying to become a clinical psychologist, however because of these doubts and other things I have been reevaluating my career goals and am planning to apply for medical school and become a neurologist in the next few years, but I really care about mental health however because of my own experience with therapy I don't know if I want to be a psychologist anymore if its useless because I want to use my skills and time to significantly improve or help peoples quality of life and health. 


What do you guys think?




Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hi @Charlie-29-1999 thanks for sharing with us Smiley Happy Firstly I'm sorry to hear that you haven't found any of the services from psychologists helpful, that must be really frustrating. I can see why you would be feeling conflicted as to whether or not to continue your studies in Clinical Psychology. Neurology sounds really interesting and I think it comes down to personal choice. I love that you care so much about improving people's quality of life and health, it shows you have a big heart Heart I don't have much personal experience with this but I'm hoping someone in the forum can provide you a bit more insight into their own experiences with their studies or therapy. I'm wondering if there's a Course Coordinator or even a Career Counsellor you can chat to further about this? 


Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hi @Charlie-29-1999
I'm sorry you feel this way!
Was there anything specific about the sessions that made them not useful/not helpful?
Just as @Lan-RO has said I think it's really amazing that you care a lot about mental health.
I'm actually a psychology student myself (postgrad now) and I know that sometimes a therapeutic relationship takes time to develop and often a person has to try some different ones to find the 'right fit' for them.
From a student's perspective the more we learn, the more we become experienced in different therapeutic techniques that we think may work for a client.
I'd love to keep chatting with you about this, I hope it helps Smiley Happy

Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hey @Charlie-29-1999 Smiley Happy

Sorry to hear that you're feeling discouraged lately by your experiences with seeing psychologists - it can be so disheartening when you share your story with a new psych and you know that it isn't going to work well for you. As @missep mentioned it can take a long time to build a therapeutic relationship and it can be really tricky to find a psychologist who is a good fit for you. Personally I have seen several psychologists that were really not a good match for me and also found it really discouraging in a similar way - because I'm studying psychology too and also started to question therapy.

I think seeing a psychologist really does work for some people and having a person in such a supportive role is important - especially for people who might not have that many supportive people in their lives. So I definitely think it's an extremely important profession. I also found the ideas around acceptance and commitment therapy extremely helpful for me personally to cope with anxiety. That being said it's totally okay if you think therapy might not be that helpful for you. Are you planning to continue using the free service?

It's great that you're exploring different career options and it's amazing that you want to dedicate your time to helping others. @Lan-RO suggested speaking with a course coordinator or a career counsellor about different options, is this something you would consider?

Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hi @May_ @missep thanks for the reply, I think my main issue with therapy is that she doesn't actually give any advice or techniques to help its just I go in and talk for like an hour I just feel like all I'm doing is talking about my problems without being able to do anything about them and I'm a goal orientated person. I do intend to continue using the free services but I only have 2 appointments left. I like my therapist and we get on well but I just don't feel like I'm progressing, improving or achieving anything. I have spoken to career councillors etc at uni but I am practically equally as interested in med as I am psychology, I know all the information about both career paths its just up to me to pick which to go down but I can't decide and I keep switching between the 2 options, I have tried to get work experience in both fields or to shadow professionals but because both are confidential I cant so I really can't decide. 



Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

@Charlie-29-1999 as a goal oriented person myself I can see how that would be super frustrating! Smiley Sad I've seen a psychologist who had a similar method ('talking therapy') and I also found it not very helpful compared to psychs who gave me more practical techniques and strategies. Have you thought about bringing that up with the counsellor?

Choosing a career path is so so tricky - especially in confidential fields where shadowing isn't an option until you are qualified. It's really great that you've done a lot of research and spoke with a career counsellor, did you find it helpful at all? Have you considered doing any volunteer work in the helping fields (as a way to see a little bit more about what it might be like)?

Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hi @May_ I have mentioned it very briefly that I want more techniques to cope however I still only really receive talking therapy and I'm too anxious to ever bring how I don't like her style of therapy. My GP thinks I should see someone else more with more training and experience in CBT and complicated cases of anxiety however I don't have the money to do that. I can't even afford to pay for my uni textbooks for the next uni semester Smiley Sad as I don't have a job and am experiencing significant difficulty finding any.


I personally didn't find the career councilling particularly helpful as I already knew all the info I was given and I think I would be a good fit for both careers so I'm at a standstill. I have applied for volunteering in any field that is even remotely related to med or psych but haven't heard back yet and I can't find much I can do and I can't commit to the hours and timeline they want as I can only really do a few hours a week on weekends as I'm at uni 9-6 Monday-Friday. 


Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

Hi @Charlie-29-1999,


Just reading through all of your posts, I can see you have really put a lot of thought into what works for you and the sort of career you would like to have! It sounds like whether you continue with psychology or go into medicine, that you will be helping others and supporting their wellbeing Heart I'm sure that your lived experience will support you to be an amazing health professional in whichever field you choose Smiley Happy


Recovery and treatment is such a unique journey to each individual. You have mentioned that you feel techniques to cope might be helpful, but talking therapy has not been enough. From my personal experience, do what works for you- I know for me I had to try a few different types of support before I found what worked for me, including some non-clinical avenues such as peer support, art therapy and music Smiley Happy You may even consider multiple approaches!


Depending on where you are located, your local primary health network (PHN) may offer some additional services that have no cost to you to access. For example, in my area I know there are support groups where people come to share their personal experiences and learn from each other, there are exercise groups, clinical support services (eg: CBT and DBT) and many many more. If you google your local PHN, you might be able to find some more options that don't have a cost Smiley Happy


Lifeline centers across Australia offer some fantastic free support groups and individual therapy too that combine clinical and lived experience knowledge. And of course headspace also has a wide range of services (they even have peer workers now for non-clinical support!)


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Re: Is going to therapy/becoming a psychologist even worth it or helpful?

@Charlie-29-1999 good on you for bringing it up - I can definitely see why you wouldn't feel comfortable saying you don't like that style of therapy.

Finding work and volunteering positions is really challenging and often requires a bit of luck in terms of timing - as well as finding something that works around your really busy uni schedule. It's awesome that you've been applying for things though as this can take up so much time and energy. I find talking to friends and peers about what types of volunteering they are doing is helpful to think about options you might not have tried yet. Do you think you will keep searching for something?

@Jess1-RO has given some great suggestions - another service that comes to mind is headspace. Some centres do not charge any fees at all, some charge a small fee depending on which one is near you. Some centres also run groups which are free which can be great for self-care (I did a free yoga group there which was great!). Is headspace an option for you?