I'm interested in the experiences those among us have had with therapists. Therapy comes up repeatedly in these forums, but I'd be interested in trying to get a sense of how therapists have viewed AB/DL in actual practice.
To be clear: I'm not looking for therapy for DL and I would not generally recommend therapy specifically for AB/DL to anyone unless it was interfering with their life or causing severe distress.
On the other hand, many of us struggle with mental/mood issues and, from my experience, therapy can really help in managing these. In some cases, I suspect that it might help the therapeutic relationship if the AB/DL stuff was part of the discussion. In others (my own included) I suspect that it would only be a distraction.
You are likely to have seen this in the "Is my fetish unhealthy…" thread.
My wife and I were discussing the attitudes of therapists towards DL the other night. My expectation is that most would be "if it isn't screwing up your life, why worry." Her take was that, particularly if the DL was still a teenager (or younger), the therapist would work intensively to get them to abandon (or at least delay) their need. Given the risks of being a teenager, I don't disagree in that case; I think it falls into the "(very likely to be) screwing up your life" category.
Having said that, my wife is a therapist (but certainly not mine) and she is in the "this is clearly not screwing up your (i.e., my) life, in fact it is making it better" camp.
I also have gone through a couple of rounds of long-term, pretty intensive therapy for bipolar II and recurrent major depression. But I never mentioned my DL side to the therapists. I was in bad enough shape in other ways that I expect their response would have been "let's put that on the shelf and come back to it when we know you're likely to survive".
So here are the questions I've been thinking about:
- Have you ever worked with a therapist on DL/AB related issues?
- Did you start seeing the therapist specifically to deal with these issues, or did they come up in the course of therapy for other issues?
- What was their response?
- Did you seek out therapy yourself, or were you encouraged or coerced into it?
- How old were you at the time?
As I say, I'm not as interested in the specific answers as I am in the discussion they might spark. So don't limit yourself to this list.