If you read my last blog (14.5.2019), you'll know I'm trying to convey my experience of having Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) on the NHS, and how it changed everything for me, for the better.
TFP is a psychodynamic therapy and I was extremely wary of that when it was suggested to me as an option. In my early twenties I had a taste of this branch of therapy and found it abrasive, almost traumatic. And there didn't seem to be much benefit to outweigh that.
Through my mid-twenties and my thirties I moved around the country, and everywhere I went, GPs suggested Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I had four courses, two quite long. You've got to wonder why they kept suggesting it when the benefit wasn't lasting ... I think they were offering what was most readily available and I wasn't very assertive. I didn't know what else I could have, and I trusted them to be offering what best matched my symptoms.
In my early 40s I had a major mental health breakdown. There was a 'perfect storm' of events that precipitated it, against the background of being in a marriage in which I felt I couldn't be myself. It was during this breakdown that people started to realise CBT had not worked for me and another approach was needed, and urgently. I had two small children so the stakes were high. My health visitor was the person who realised most strongly that I had to get down to the roots of my issues. She was instrumental in getting me referred to the Specialist Psychotherapy Service covering my area, though my GP was excellent too. While I was on the waiting list, they regularly contacted the service to remind them how much I needed to be assessed.
The leaflet from the psychotherapy service outlined the four types of therapy it offered, one of which was TFP. I had heard of it, because at that time I was convinced I had traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, though psychiatrists didn't really agree with me. On websites I'd consulted, TFP had been mentioned as having been developed for that illness.
The period between referral to the psychotherapy service and assessment for therapy was such a bad time for me that I struggle to remember what order things happened in. Twice I was under the care of the Home Based Treatment Team of my local hospital. The second time I was referred to the Community Mental Health Team when I was discharged. This was intended to keep me safe until the therapy started and to support me during therapy.
Finally I was assessed. And I was offered the dreaded TFP. I was terrified but I knew, I absolutely knew, it was what I needed. I asked to have 24 hours to decide. I had nightmares that night but it was my fear of TFP that convinced me it was the right thing. I said yes the next day.
A Moodscope member.
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