Thursday, 24 May 2007

2005 - NHS again, hypnotherapy again & The Linden Method

At the start of 2005, the local National Health Service team suggested to Marie that she have 6 hypnotherapy sessions. Marie had already told them about her previous experiences, but they talked about all therapists being different and it was the relationship between the therapist and the client which mattered, etc., etc.

So Marie began attending Keith, a pasty, thin, timid 30-something. Most of what he did was the same as that which Marie had experienced before, but his total lack of charisma, personality and empathy made this experiment doomed from the start. After 3 sessions Marie gave up.

Marie asked the psychiatric nurse if she should try medication. She hadn't wanted medication before, so this avenue hadn't been explored. The psychiatric nurse said that she would refer Marie to the Psychiatrist. Months passed (as expected) but eventually Marie got an appointment with Lisa Dee, the psychiatrist. Lisa surprised us all by saying that she wouldn't prescribe any medication to Marie without a full assessment of her condition; and for 13 weeks after that, Marie went along for an hour and they talked. Sometimes Marie would ask for advice, but nothing other than the most basic advice was ever given. Marie and I couldn't really see where this was leading, but my enquiries on Marie's behalf didn't really get us anywhere except to be told that any future treatment for Marie would follow the conclusion of Lisa's "assessment".

At the end of the 13 weeks of "assessment" Marie was very pregnant and about a month away from giving birth. We didn't hear from Lisa Dee for months...

If you put "agoraphobia" into your internet browser, one of the sites that you'll get is about "The Linden Method". After reading a long sales pitch, you'll eventually get to the cost - £117 (normal price supposedly £320!) and of course you get £144 worth of stuff free... Typical sales pitch. Well, he claims to have cured over 82,000 people ( that's nearly £10million of sales!), although I don't know how he knows that. Marie bought it, read it, put it away and isn't "cured", but Charles Linden wouldn't know that since he has never contacted her. Has he contacted the 82,000 "cured" customers? I'll leave you to speculate on what the answer to that question might be.

The Linden method, in Marie's case (this is the very abridged version), told her to expose herself to panic attacks, get through them, and thus learn that she can cope with them. As a result, the panic attacks reduce in intensity, thus eliminating the problem. This might work for many or maybe even all other sufferers, but it couldn't work for Marie because she's so afraid of panic attacks that she can't expose herself to them.

Some of the free stuff is ok - the relaxation CD's, the relaxation exercises, etc., but the book, the main item, is so badly written, so grammatically inept, that I wondered why Mr Linden hadn't employed a ghost writer to write a proper book. Perhaps he's done that by now...

Eventually, Marie got a letter from Lisa Dee. It was 2 pages long, but it could be summarised as follows;

"Marie doesn't want to get better."

...and it concluded that Marie shouldn't get any treatment until she changed her attitude. Would you be surprised to hear that Marie didn't agree with this long-lasting, long-awaited assessment?


Ruby said...

I can't believe that psych's are the same on both sides of the world. The one that I am seeing told me a couple of weeks ago that she would have to stop the sessions as I wasn't trying hard enough.
I got very angry with her and said "how can she expect 19 years of avoidance to be 'cured' in just a few weeks, and that I was trying hard for me, but if she wasn't happy with it then she should do whatever she thought best. She said that she would carry on, but that I would have to try harder.

I still see her, only because it took 6 months to get in there, but I must say that I have lost respect for her personally but try very hard to do the 'homework' set for me each week.

If this is the way they treat mental health patients I am not surprised that the statistics are rising every year....because no one is given the time they need to get better.

I have been given the Linden Method as well by her, but its called something else. She says that I have to go anxiety provoking places and stay there till the anxiety has reduced dramatically. Now that is much easier to say than do, and I am still just rushing in and doing what I have to before the panic gets to severe. The thought of staying in a public place and riding out a panic attack is way too hard to attempt at this stage. I do understand the reasoning behind it and believe that it would probably help, but as I said, doing it is way too scary.

Let Marie know that I am thinking of her.


Robert said...

Hi Ruby -

I've passed on your best wishes to Marie.

I'm starting to be of the opinion that psychiatrists are not the best people for assisting anxiety/panic sufferers.

When Marie was a teenager, she had trouble crossing the road (agoraphobia starting). She visited a psych who took her outside to a main road and proceeded to coax her to cross it!

Could this woman have had the SLIGHTEST amount of understanding of panic/anxiety disorder? I doubt it.

The problem with psychs in this country is that they hold the keys to many other therapies, so it is mostly essential to see them from time to time.

It's a cruel world!


Shell1978 said...

Hi Robert,
I have been reading your blogs with interest as I too suffer from agoraphobia & believe I am not getting the help I need from my doctor or the NHS. When my agoraphobia first kicked in I was unable to leave the house, or even go near the front door as it was 'see-through'. This lasted for 4.5 months!! Then I started having CBT on the NHS which my psychotherapist was giving me lifts too & from. Every session was causing me great distress as the guy who was doing the CBT made me talk about my painful past trying to find something to put down as the root cause of my agoraphobia. After my 5th session he said I wasn't trying hard enough and he had cured previous sufferers in a much shorter time than me. Then he said for the next session he wanted to come out to my house, with my psychotherapist, and make me walk down the road on my own. Needless to say I was nowhere near ready to do this and when they turned up at my door, I wouldn't answer!!
Then I had my CBT sessions canceled. That was back in 2005 when I wasn't ready to get better. For the last year I have tried again to get CBT but my doctor won't refer me for it because of what happened before.
Throughout the whole duration of my illness I have refused anti-depressants as I don't believe they help - they just mask the problem.
For the past 18 months, I have had pretty much no help at all from the doctor...I have just been labeled 'agoraphobic' & left to it.
I constantly struggle with getting food in and getting to appointments as I can only make it if someone can come with me & give me a lift there & back.
Marie is lucky that she has you to take care of her..I am on my own with just a few friends to help.
All my family have turned there back on me as they just think I'm lazy staying at home all day and claiming Incapacity Benefit.
I used to work and was much happier when I did, not to mention the fact I had money to buy things. I struggle financially now and have very little to look forward to as every day is another battle to get something done, which I can't do on my own.
I firmly believe that I should be getting more help from my doctor but feel like they have just given up on me.