First CBT session and horrified by the therapist!

Well yesterday was my first cognitive behavioural therapy session. After a pretty horrendous few months, 2 laps last year, ivf in 2 months time and bein unable to go back to work due to pain and fatigue, I decided I needed to learn how to stop beating mysel up. So I booked in to see a therapist in the hope that she would be able to help me come to terms with having to lower my expectations of what I can achieve, be more forgiving of myself taking in a reduced work load due to te endo. I gave we my history, explained why I was there ad then he told me I was fixed because of my surgery and I course I'd have a baby!!!! Wtf?? This is someone with no medical training, who told me I wa fixe based on the old line, oh I knew someone who had endo and she had surgery and never had any problems again and than had a baby. I'm livid, we've been given less than 10% chance of called pregnant with ivf, no chance naturally, and as for surgical success well I know you ladies all know that surgery is by no means a garantee of pain free happy life.... Raging. I now don't know whether to go back or find a different therapist, I'm paying for this myself and its not cheap, the alternative is to email her with some links to the statistics of surgical outcomes, with ongoing symptoms, or is that too passive aggressive? I feel like she was very unprofessional giving such groundless 'medical' advice with no proper clinical knowledge of the disease.....


15 Replies

  • Don't waste anymore money on her. She clearly doesn't have the expertise you need and expected, for the money you paid. You could terminate the contract by sending her links to various websites and newspaper items on this very topic and perhaps she will apologise and refund you and teach herself a bit more of the basics.

    I am pondering where you could go to find the right person to help you.

    Have you asked your GP if they have any local recomendations, or call your local council and ask them if they have any roving CBT staff on their books that might also do a private consultation with you?

    I do know Local Education authorities have CBT staff that a disruptive child can be referred to.

    Or possibly try a fully trained hypnotherapist to teach you ways to self hypnotise to cope.

    I bet you feel taken for a ride by this 'therapist'.

  • Hi impatient, thanks for the support, I don't really feel taken for a ride, but I think if I stayed with her and spent more money then I would. I think I'll call her in the morning and explain how I feel about the tone of her 'advice'.



  • Hi

    Maybe you should have a look to mindfulness meditation Breathworks. I have just booked myself an 8 week course in mindfulness meditation for chronic pain in London. It is all structured to help cope with pain, reduce stress and have better quality of life even with pain. Looking forward to it, so many people changed their lives with this type of classes.

    Jo x

  • Hi jo, mindfulness is definitely something I'd like to look into, but I thought I should go in for the big guns so to speak first and then follow it up with the mindfulness, definitely something I will be doing in the future.



  • Have a think back to the meeting when you feel calmer and think, did the person say "of course you can have a baby" or did they say something like "many people still manage to conceive with endometriosis".

    I know we can all take things the wrong way with such a difficult subject....

    However if the CBT therapist really did try to argue that you definitely can conceive then I would see a different therapist as I imagine the theraputic relationship has been damaged between you and this therapist.

    I have had some personal experience of counselors giving inappropriate and untrained opinions and a decision was made to walk away and seek another therapist.

    You could calmly report why you are leaving to the organisation, if there is one, or the therapist themselves if you feel up to it.

    Therapists are human and some, like this one, can forget where the boundaries are and stick our feet directly into our mouths. The therapist may well look back on your appointment and kick themselves.. they may already know they messed it up.

    Think back to a time when you have royally c**ked up and how you wish you could just swallow your words back up again... it is possible that a calm discussion may resolve this issue and leave you feeling heard and the therapist perhaps a little better at their job in future.

    But you dont owe anyone anything and its up to you

    I am sorry you have had a rubbish experience and CBT can be really, really helpful to many people.

    I hope you have better luck in future

    Crystal xx

  • Hi crystal,

    I hear you about being calm, actually atthe time I remember thinking, don't argue the point, let her finish, and then trying to explain again that my surgeon who is an endo specialist has aid I won't conceive naturally and that we only have a 10% chance with ivf, but she didn't listen. She actually went on to say that most of her patients her have anxiety about falling pregnant call her the week after finishing therapy to say, 'OMG you'll never gues what! I'm pregnant' (her words) now after I'd just finished telling her I had stage 4 endo, 2 radical excision laparoscopies and on the pill back to back to control my pain.... Seriously? I'm really more mad now than I was during the session as I've had time to think about how little she listened. Ill definitely be calling her to explain that I feel like wont be able to gain what I need from the therapy with her as she is giving me advise that is contrary to the medical advise that I have had to put my faith in.



  • Good for you, sounds like you have been all kinds of reasonable about this situation. It definitely sounds like the therapeutic trust has been irreparably damaged by her non-qualified advice giving.

    I am sure you will find a therapist who knows the boundaries of their role

    Good luck x


  • I'm sorry to read how your session went, was very interested when I saw the title.

    I had hoped to read how you found this calming and easing etc, could you perhaps try to see a different therapist next time if you decide to go back?

    We're they recommended to you?


  • Hi nicky,

    I'll be going back just not to the same lady. It's one of the things that really annoys all of us I guess, all those, 'oh I knew someone with endo..... It's just really bad periods isn't it? OR.... They had babies so it'll not be a problem for you..... OR..... Oh they had a lap and they need looked back'. People who only have anecdotes about endo are ill informed and uneducated, they do not understand the individual nature of the disease, how it can affect different organs, vary in pain levels and surgical outcomes.... When I told her that I might have to have a hysterectomy she said oh but that'll be away in your late forties or fifties... Like she knew that all hysterectomies have to happen around the age of menopause... Not in your early hotties because of a disease that is shredding my insides, and don't even ask what she thought when I tried to explain about my adenomyosis!

    How do I suggest she educates herself or restrains from trying to placate people when they tell her about their health issues with coming across as passive aggressive? I don't want to just walk away and let her give someone else poor advise.



  • Im so sorry to hear what happened. I myself go for counselling and have been very lucky and found a fantastic counsellor who respects me, have bn going a year now and would be lost without it. Expensive but i wouldnt change it. I done counselling skills at college and i am disgusted to hear that anyone would say that to you. Defo look for a diff counsellor as there is lots and sometimes it happens that u need to book with a couple before u find the one u need. The place i went to i had a introduction with a guy who has ran the place for over 20yrs, i spent an hr with him and told him my life story in short and he picked the counsellor, its very well done and worth it. I really hope u dont get put off as they aint all bad. Oh and i would actually put in a complaint as u are paying for that too. Hugs to u and fingers crossed u find the one u need, xxxxxx

  • as someone administering CBT he should not be giving his personal opinion or annectdotes. this is not the point of the sessions. he is meant to be impartial and help you to work through your cognitions to help make positive behavioural change. try seeing someone else. or just try counselling instead of CBT maybe. I am seeing a gynaecological counsellor through NHS at my local hospital and she has been absolutely brilliant and helped me to sleep at night instead of lying worrying and depressed over everything. you need someone with a specialism and understanding. I dont know if they have this available where you live? might be worth finding out. xxx

  • Sickening! Sadly, so many 'medical professionals' and even Drs themselves don't know what on earth they are talking about half the time. You'd get more sense from audiobooks in self help categories, there are some really great ones through amazon and itunes and the reviews really help.

    I did a 12 week course and from what I understand, CBT is about teaching the 'patient' to help themselves. The most helpful material for me is the booklets, study guides that list the processes and give exercises to work on including relaxation and 'mindfulness'. I'm no expert but I write this in the hope that perhaps you will find something of you to you without having to spend that much money on people that really shouldn't be in the job they are. I hope you feel better soon x

  • Oh! And also, have you talked through pain management with your endo specialist of GP? I was put on amitriptyline for longer term pain management and I have Tramadol/Codine for emergencies. xx

  • I had a similar thing with my first Gynae appointment, who told me that a) I couldn't possibly be having period type pain in my lower back if I wasn't menstruating. b) Endometriosis is not hereditary c) I was too old for Endometriosis (I'm 43). This was mid December and I was told to go back and see her in April!!

    Totally upset and disgruntled, dreading having to put up with daily pain and Morphine for 4 months, I wrote to the head Gynae of the department. I politely and unconfrontationally told him of my experience and questioned his "professional opinion." I included in the letter some web links (NHS ones) confirming that her advice was incorrect. I didn't really expect to get a reply, (although it would have been wrong of him not to at least acknowledge my letter) I just wanted him to know that a member of his team was misinforming his patients, however, I did get one confirming that I was indeed correct in believing the opposite of what she told me. Furthermore, he booked me in for a Laparoscopy!!

    See my post: Has anyone questioned their Gynae's decision, I have a letter I am thinking of sending?

    Perhaps you could try the same, write to the Practice Manager and politely question them as to is how you were spoken to part of their normal procedure.

    Good luck. xxx

  • It sounds like CBT is not the best option, have a look at the bacp website-which can provide a search engine for accredited counsellors in your area. CBT is about changing the way people look at things as opposed to looking at your emotions in depth. As a counsellor in training I would say move away from CBT and find someone you feel most comfortable with then it will be worth it with the support you get.

    Good luck x

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