30 December 2009

Outpatient Therapy-Day 29 (28 December)

Because of the Christmas holidays, the majority of the folks did not attend on Monday. After that last fiasco the previous Wednesday, I was glad the whole group was not present. In fact, with the exception of two other people, everyone else was from the other small group. I was concerned because Mr. Noisy was there, but when it came time for him to share the information from his daily check-in sheet he took a direct approach and did not go on and on about everything for a change (as he usually does when both groups join back up for the second half of the session).

It was odd sharing among this group; only two other people really knew me. My check-in sheet was pretty much straight forward. This was the second-to-last one I would be filling out and what a comparison to the first one I filled out 11 weeks ago. So much had changed over all this time. I knew that this coming Wednesday was going to be my last day. The input I received from the therapist was very positive. She couldn’t be as insightful as our small group’s regular therapist (ours was out for the holidays), but she still remembered the state I was in when I first joined the group. I at least appreciated that. She saw the tremendous difference in my attitude, but mostly how much I had changed in the anger area.

The second half of the session was spent still going over assertiveness. Much like the anger management module, this was a long one as well. Being more assertive is something I need to get under my belt. Much like the self-esteem module, the two seem to go hand-in-hand. The group discussion was far more controlled than last Wednesday and Mr. Noisy was less dominating throughout the discussion. I didn’t really have much input that day; mostly I listened to what the therapist was saying.

There is one tool I have been taught that has served me well. It’s called Using Your ABCs. “A” is awareness: the acknowledgement that an event has occurred—it is what it is and no value judgement is placed. “B” is your belief of what that event is. “C” is the consequential emotion of that belief. A ≠ C, but B = C. The theory is if you can acknowledge what the event is and form a healthy belief about that event, the consequential emotion will be a healthier emotion rather than a destructive emotion. Here is an example. “A” = my family has refused to invite me to family holiday celebrations. “B” initially was that I felt unwanted. “C” resulted in an emotion of anger and hurt that escalated more than the situation warranted which cascaded over the rest of the day and then some. If you can change the “B” to equal a response more like “Well, they are the ones missing out on my joining them,” then “C’s” consequential emotion will be healthier along the lines of perhaps still being hurt and yes, somewhat angry (there are times when anger is a perfectly rational emotion), but the intensity of the emotion will be far more controlled and not spill over into everything else that will ultimately escalate (or for as long as you repeat the same thought process).

These tools are serving me well, but I acknowledge that it is up to me to practice them so they will be available for use when I need them. Going into this program, I initially thought these tools were just a bunch of bullshit, but over time, I learned that they merited some attention on my part and realised their value to my success. I will be discharging from this group therapy this Wednesday, After doing this non-stop three days a week @ 3 hours each day, I have found the experience to be quite beneficial. While I am looking forward to being finally discharged since joining this program 21 October, I imagine there may be some group therapy withdrawal I may have to go through initially. This program has become part and parcel of my life since being committed on 11 October as an inpatient.

I have a follow-up appt with my individual therapist in early January to segue into a continued therapy module rather than just quit. I still have unresolved issues to deal with, most notably the tremendous stress I am feeling about returning to work. Yes, I am going to feel somewhat disconnected when my group therapy sessions come to an end this Wednesday.©2009

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