Fairly miserable experience at a discussion on talking therapies - ending up being bashed over the head

Posted , 2 users are following.

Today I attended a group at my day centre which was discussing talking therapies (yes, self-referential or what). The person chairing the group is a user/member who I used to be friendly with but I decided that I didn't trust him because he would raise things that I had said in a group out of group when we were supposed to be respecting confidentiality. He proceeded to read from some description of types of talking therapy from the Internet. There was only one other user there who doesn't have much to say for himself. There were 3 non-users there - a member of staff, a volunteer and a student OT. So I have had a lot of experience of groups and 1-1 over the years. I would be recounting experiences that I had had in groups. The volunteer is a sweet lady but she trained when younger as a psychoanalyst and she thinks that she is there to practice that. So if I was relating a negative event she would start questioning me about this. I finally had to tell her that we weren't here to psychoanalyse me or words to that effect.

So not only had I had this bad experience she was almost blaming me for it.

Naturally I felt utterly miserable afterwards. It didn't help that I wasn't feel at all well yesterday.

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  • Posted

    Hi Nick, I've done some group work and have mostly felt the people in charge of these May well be qualified / experienced in their own way but fall way short in dealing with not only the vulnerability of a very complex range of people in that group but also don't have any idea around the confidentiality aspects , legal implications around breaking that confidence and dealing with a person who may well need urgent mental health intervention of something has triggered an acute situation for the individual while attending . Having said all of that in the short term try getting support from forums like this , it may help at the moment . Good luck
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    • Posted

      Lynne, thanks for your support. I must stress that this was a user-led discussion group - it was not even supposed to be some kind of therapy group so that the volunteer in question was totally out of order (When I mentioned someone else in a group therapy who i had said was "horrible" and whom I had said I could use a swear word about she invited me to do so when, of course, I could have done. but doing so would have been against the rules of this or most other organisations. She then suggested I was projecting something of myself on this young woman. I mentioned a particular innocent remark that I had made which led to an unwelcome comment by the fellow group member. The volunteer again analysed. I felt doubly violated. The first time all those years ago and then again yesterday at which, as I say, was not a therapeutic group. Fortunately I wasn't surprised at the volunteers behaviour as I had a long while ago experienced this behaviour by her. After a shortish exchange I told her that we were not supposed to be talking about me.).

      Anyway I recognise that a staff facilitator is not expected to give their own personal experience. But what about a user leader. When this fellow was asked about his own experience he said that he was interested in different aspects of mental health. It was a chutzpah excusing himself with baring himself. So I gave of my own painful experiences. Indeed I edited some of my own experience because he had "previous" as far as I was concerned and he would bring up things that I had said and mention them in private or not so private conversation at the centre. So a group about groups turned into a nightmare. But yes, I have found some groups or at least benign. It is the only forum I have for talking about my experiences recent or otherwise and therefore to be drawn over the coals is not what I expect.

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  • Posted

    I guess i am out of my depth on this one because i have only ever attended group stuff through NHS and not for very long lengths of time.I am a healthcare professional working in an environment where we have regular training re: confidentiality,valuing peoples views etc so feel naive to how the type of session you attended/describe works.I always question the safety net/ground rules/confidentiality etc if in our own work related discussions about our clinical practice /patient/client input we are dealing with and feel it is important for each person regardless of their opinions/ experiences has the right to be respected.If I have any doubts or am dubious about outsiders joining in particular disscusions reiterate above no question.While i am mindful that this group support appears to be an ad hoc way of supporting mentally ill/vulnerable people i think there does need to be some clear rules regarding what it's function actually is.Quite clearly it has had a completely negative effect on you today.


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    • Posted

      This is conspiring about me. I had to reset my password and then they continually froze my account for 10 mins.

      I have experience of MIND counselling, Relate (well actually MGC) counselling and group, NHS (in hospital and otherwise).

      Don't get me wrong I don't imagine that counselling, therapy or groups is supposed to be enjoyable.

      Incidentally the group with the "horrible" lady was at the Institute of Psychiatry. I never returned after the incident that I recounted. When I reported to my psychiatrist that I had left never to return, he responded that I must be getting better.

      More recently the peer support group at a charity where the user with previous that I mentioned above bit my leg (metaphorically) and didn't let my go for a time. I mentioned that I had applied to be a mentor with a charity. He immediately said that I couldn't be doing that because he was being mentiored at the same charity. There was no staff facilitator but one of the ground rules was that it was supposed to be non-judgemental. Well non-judgemental not. When I approached the fellow after the group he said that I could do the same to him. Well attacking someone no. In fact, he never discussed any emotional problems, depression etc or treatments. The only thing that he talked about was his financial problems - when he had reputed savings of £1m. When he talked about this each time I just sucked in my cheeks.

      I emailed the absent facilitators that I wasn't attending the group again because of what had happened. This was before Xmas. She replied that she would contact me after Xmas. She never did. The group continues - I had enjoyed it and I did regard the members mostly as friends so it was quite a blow feeling no longer able to attend.

      I am afraid that at some private charities certain members are seen as untouchable. In my view such people are bullyng in their behaviour.

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    • Posted

      Nick , I have no more to add as I say way out of my depth with this . I really hope you have the strength to keep remembering that you are as important in this world as the next person . I've now had a glass of red wine and enjoying watching two chickens we have tugging at cold spaghetti that we've given them !!! Simple things give me such pleasure , nature is incredibly grounding . I wish you well x
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