Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Retaining What I Learn in Therapy

Pdocs, patients, anyone with an interest in therapy I'd really be interested in any thoughts or experiences you have had, or have, about the following ideas:

I'm not sure what other people's experience is with therapy (drs or patients), but my experience is that I feel I have an incredible rapport with my psychiatrist. I think he would say the same about me. I feel like I can bring up anything in our sessions. I also feel there are so many teachable moments in every session I have. However, sometimes I leave the session and instantaneously lose the lesson.

A couple of years ago I had an idea to videotape my 50 minute session for maybe the first 15-20 minutes each session...and then, with my pdoc, spend the rest of the session reviewing how I act, what I say, how we interact, what's real, what's not etc. I thought it might be a good way for me to become my own therapist...which is what I see the goal of therapy to be. The whole point of therapy for me is to learn to help myself.

My pdoc said we could do that if I wanted and he even offered to bring in a video recorder. The next session he never brought it up, and with my low self esteem I thought it was because it was a bad idea. Probably, him not bringing it up was more about allowing me to discuss my agenda that particular day and not his. He generally never leads the conversations.

My latest idea is to get a digital voice recorder and record part of my sessions. I think in the beginning it would be a good idea to record portions of my sessions and dissect them together with Dr. X. This (hopefully) would protect me from my tendency to read into the meaning of things that are said. It would also allow me to to clarify any interactions we had before I left his office. Of course I would get Dr. X's permission to record the sessions. I really want to make the most of what I learn in therapy, and I think it would help me to be able to refer back to the things my pdoc and I talk about.

As an aside: I also think the digital voice recorder would be good for my creative writing, as ideas, dreams, interesting thoughts come to me all the time and I can never write them down soon enough, or fast enough to save them for my writing.


Lara said...

I think either the video or voice recorder idea is fantastic! It reminds me of the days when I'd go get a psychic reading (I know, I KNOW - don't laugh) and would make the "psychic" tape record it so I could refer back, because there was no way I'd remember everything that was said in an hour.

I'm a huge fan of therapy myself - and anything you can think of to enhance the experience and help you get more out of it is excellent!

Polar Bear said...

I think recording the session is a great idea. I have been doing this with my therapist for almost 6 months now. We don't use any flash digital recording, but she has a basic tape voice recorder. We tape the entire session, and she gives me the tape to take home with me so I can review the session at home. I find that because I am sometimes very anxious during my session, I tend to miss a lot of what is said, or I might misinterprete certain things. It all becomes clearer to me when I review the tape.

Of course, you idea of reviewing the recorded portions of the session with Dr X is a great idea too. I think it will really help you to understand your reactions and interactions with your T.

I like taping my sessions too because often I find comfort in some things my T may say during the session, which I will promptly forget once I leave her office. having it on tape reassures me she said what she said and that it isn't just my imagination.

I'm looking forward to hearing about how it goes with your taped sessions. I think you should bring it up again with Dr X. Just because he didn't bring it up again doesn't necessari;ly mean that he thinks it's a bad idea. I would ask him again.

Aqua said...

Funny that you brought up the psychic, becau8se I just went to my first psychic last month...not something I believe in, but it was my sister's b'day and she wanted to go...I did like how she recorded it for me...good point. You may have noticed, I too am a fan of therapy:>)

polar bear,
Thanks for the feedback. You bring up a few really interesting points about the process. I will definately pursue this and keep you posted as to how it goes.

Rach said...

I dont think I'd ever want to video/audio tape my sessions. I spend enough of my week obsessing about Therapy. I think that this would be just one more mechanism that would egg on my obsession. Sometimes after my therapy sessions, I sit in the car and write notes on a Post-it, and then I leave it somewhere prominent to look at and think about throughout the week. But that's the extent of it.

jcat said...

for me any kind of recording would be a surefire way to completely stop me from saying anything. Pdoc already moans about me not talking enough - taping sessions would really ensure that! Even with tdoc, where I talk a bit more sometimes, I'd hate it.

That said, often I find myself thinking afterwards that I wish I could remember everything that was discussed.

So if you and him are both comfortable with being recorded, go for it! Just make sure that you post about how it goes, and whether you find that it helps you
to get more from your sessions.