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Forgotten Childhood- The Downside of Cognitive Behavior Modification Therapy

Posted Apr 29 2011 3:53pm

Most of my childhood is a blur; only a few fragments of my memory remain. I didn’t have a bad childhood, in fact my parents worked hard to ensure that it was stable. Rather, it was the trauma of going through intense psychological therapy that damaged my childhood memories. My parents and I decided against the use of medication (although I was not completely aware of what was going on, I did not want to go on medication. I had seen the negative reactions in some of my fellow classmates), so our only alternative was Cognitive Behavior Modification Therapy.

We met Dr. E through a child psychiatrist and I started seeing her three times a week. The goal was to completely breakdown and rebuild my psyche. My parents were told that my emotional level was years behind, and that intense therapy was needed to ensure my future stability. I spent almost a decade in therapy, and although I was able graduate from both high school and college (when I was originally diagnosed with ADD my parents were told that I would never graduate from high school. So when I did graduate, it was a huge moment for my family), I was left with some debilitating problems.

After years of intense therapy, I developed a nasty co-dependency problem with my parents. By the time I was 19 I couldn’t leave the house  (I was working during this time., but my mind works in weird ways, it was able to rationalize leaving the house for work, but nothing else). I was too scared to walk outside. All I wanted to do was live with my parents, watch TV and pretend the world around me did not exist. There were instances when I did leave my parent’s home, but most of them ended up in disaster. I still remember this party/get-together I went too. I had finally made some friends and they forced me to go out.  It was a coworker’s birthday party and instead of enjoying myself, I sat alone and sulked. My mind was filled with negative thoughts and it would not stop racing- Why did I allow them to drag me to this party? I don’t know anyone. I am just a loner, a loser and fuck-up. I am going to die alone. Life would be better if I was just in front of the TV watching cartoons. The reality is that no one wanted to invite me, I was just there because they felt sorry for me….for fucksake I better leave soon, they are starting to dance. I got so paranoid that I almost vomited.

At the time I did not realize I was suffering from agoraphobia, instead I just ignored the problem. It would take me almost a year to realize that my mind was unstable and I needed to find a help.  So I called up Dr. E and set up an appointment (I don’t remember the exact date, all I know is that I was between 19 and 20). I told her about my anti-social problems and growing paranoia. After awhile, Dr. E stopped the session. She told me that I had developed agoraphobia (which had evolved from the co-dependency) as well as OCD and that the source of my problem was the Cognitive Behavior Modification therapy I had gone through a child.

I was confused.

Dr. E explained to me that she knew I wold develop a co-dependency problem when I started therapy. I felt betrayed and hurt. The one person who was supposed to help me, lied to me. I was never told that I would develop more problems if I went through intense therapy. So I walked out of Dr. E’s office and never saw her again. To this day, I blame Dr. E for a lot of my mental issues and as such, I have a hard time seeing a therapist.

Sorry for the rambling post, this was really hard to write, it has taken me two days to produce this piece and I have been tempted to delete it.

*Just to be clear I am not against Cognitive Behavior Modification Therapy, I would never have gotten this far without it. However, like most “cures,” it has its darkside.

Dave.


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