By: Revanche

Blogging v therapy: an early cost benefit analysis

February 12, 2018

A little cost benefit analysis between blogging or therapyRecently, I pondered whether this blog serves a real purpose outside of being a personal money venue and a bit of therapy when my family is being my family. It definitely serves a personal need, but I also spend precious hours on blogging every week and I regularly assess if how I spend my time and money is appropriately aligned to my priorities.

A friend offhandedly joked that of all people, I should be best placed to analyze the cost-benefit of blogging in comparison to formal therapy. As it happens, as a good human who doesn’t want her boundless depths of rage with her estranged family to spill onto her beloved family, formal therapy seemed called for. I scheduled a few sessions with a therapist to help me work through the issues raised by the Dad issues.

Our first appointment was an intake session. This appointment was to go over the background of my issues, share what services she could provide, figure out what I was looking for (I don’t know … stop being so angry?), and assess whether I was in crisis.

Neither of us thought I was in crisis but there’s also a better than even chance I was doing therapy wrong because the therapist thinks I’m dealing really well with a “shitty situation” (her words) and that this much rage is normal. She pointed out that the definition of dealing well included: not self sabotaging, taking logical steps to protect myself and my family, facing the truth now that I’ve heard it and acting appropriately to enforce boundaries.

Maybe I should have pointed out that it’s par for the course for me to robotically do all the right things because keeping busy keeps me from focusing on the flood of negative feelings but I’ll save that for next time. It’s also possible that this therapist isn’t good at digging deep. We’ll find out in future appointments.

I have a second appointment coming up, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of anger at Dad to share when he refuses to cooperate, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll need to have a better focus on what I want to get out of therapy before I go.

For the money part

Unlike this blog, where I can say whatever is on my mind whenever I feel like it, therapy costs $20 per appointment. But also unlike this blog, that cost is relatively low. Adding up all the expenses of hosting and so on, including FinCon because I wouldn’t attend that if I didn’t have a blog, AGSL costs about $150 per month.

But for comparison’s sake, I’d guess that the reason I’ve dealt with this whole Dad thing somewhat sensibly is in part due to the support I get from writing and from friends I’ve made through the blog and through Twitter (also blog related). You’ve given me insight and feedback, encouragement, and empathy, privately or in the comments. I can’t put a price on that but it’s always going to feel more valuable than money.

We’ve agreed that I’ll continue to go to therapy once a month to check in during this process and sort out any lingering issues, but I’m not expecting a huge boost of confidence or revelations from these sessions. Just a useful confirmation or a helpful suggestion or two for taking care of myself going forward.

:: Have you ever seen a therapist? How do you manage this sort of stress in your life?

27 Responses to “Blogging v therapy: an early cost benefit analysis”

  1. FWIW, I agree with the therapist. You are handling a shitty situation well. If you expect negative emotions later, tell her that, but you know, those are normal too.

    Also, it seems like you’ve already had your revelations and I’m not sure that this situation is one in which confidence-boosting is a likely outcome. Most likely you’re right that you’ll continue getting confirmation that you’re doing the right thing because you are, and she may have some good suggestions for handling things going forward.

    Also, $20/session? That’s insanely cheap!
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…DH got a 10% raise and now we’re really going to have some obnoxious money postsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I think it would help to have clearer expectations but for now I will settle for ensuring that none of my beloved chosen family catch any backlash of my emotions.

      $20 within the HMO system so I have a fairly limited set of people to choose from but it’s better than alternatives! It’s the one thing that we come out cheaper than others for, I think.

  2. Cindy in the South says:

    I have done therapy before in about 1994 for about a year, so it was before blogging. I think therapy can help you to talk out difficult situations, and depending on the situation, good friends can help also. I consider therapy to be kinda like preventive medicine except preventive mental health.

    • Revanche says:

      Preventative mental health: I like that. We don’t pay nearly enough attention to preserving mental health as we should!

  3. I’ve definitely used blogs as a dumping ground for working through feelings in the past. Also venting to good friends and heavy exercise. For me, there are very few things a good, long run won’t put into perspective.

  4. Joe says:

    What? How did you get $20/session for therapy? I went to a few and they cost much more than that. Insurance paid for most of mine, though.
    $20/session is dirt cheap. I guess insurance is helping with the cost.

  5. Jax says:

    Seconding how inexpensive your sessions are. I pay $79 for mine, and that is after insurance pays some.

    I’ve seen several therapists and they all comment how self aware I am and how well I am doing under shitty circumstances. It’s reasonably true, I guess, because what is the alternative? Never leave bed?

    One thing that I gain from going is that I have an unbiased opinion validating my concerns and thoughts. The therapist isn’t telling me what I want to hear because they love me (unlike family and friends) or because they don’t want to rock the boat or any of the reasons the people we’re close to chose not to be entirely honest with us. I don’t have to worry about burdening my therapist with my worries because that’s their job! To listen!

    • Revanche says:

      Being not self aware and staying in bed is actually one of the options, just not available to us, I don’t think.

      I guess I always assumed that my friends would tell me the truth even if I don’t want to hear it but it’s very possible that’s not true! But yes, at least this is someone’s paid job so I don’t need to feel bad about using the resource 🙂

  6. Yes, I’ve talked to a therapist to help me sort through a decision, as well as for more serious issues. This is where I learned that I was “neglected” as a child. Otherwise, I thought I was a regular kid 🙂 My husband and I also went to a couple sessions at first, as a preventative measure. But I haven’t had any reasons to go lately. Needless to say, I view therapy as a way to talk out your feelings and deal with unresolved issues as a positive. I would encourage anyone to go, if they can swing the costs.

    • Revanche says:

      “Neglected”? Do the quotes mean you don’t agree with the assessment? I like that you went as a couple as well, that’s smart when you have the resource available to head off any issues.

  7. I’ve been to therapy twice; once when my mother died (three sessions), and again after my second miscarriage (more than three sessions, but I don’t remember). I found it helpful both times.

    But I would definitely recommend that you spend some time thinking–as you already are–whether this therapist is the right therapist. When I went to therapy after my second miscarriage, I started by looking for a woman therapist. The woman I talked to was qualified on paper, but seemed to want to mother me and connect through shared loss–and that was not what I was looking for. The next therapist was a man, and he was a much better fit even if he will never physically share my experience. So feel free to try out multiple therapists, because what you’re looking for is very individual.

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I think that you’re right, this therapist may not be the right fit. It’s also possible I didn’t know what I was looking for but now that I have a bit of an idea, it’ll help me decide if she’s a good fit.

  8. Honestly I’m surprised you HADN’T been seeing a therapist before now because those issues are definitely more than reasonable to need a third party to talk through. Glad blogging has helped as an outlet though – and yes, Twitter is the best for support and encouragement (and mutual frustration when called for).
    Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early recently posted…Our Family’s Frugal Alternative To The Instagram #Vanlife WeekendMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I live in my own head a lot! Plus writing here and talking to friends helps me work out the rest of the frustrating tangles. I’m hoping that the therapy is another useful resource!

  9. Court says:

    I’ve been in and out of therapy since early 2000s, first to deal with sorting some stuff out that I wasn’t managing well (and was self sabotaging etc) Talking through some of it, doing some soul searching, and cognitive behavior therapy was really helpful. During that time, there was a personal trauma for which my therapist referred me on to someone else. For awhile I saw them at the same time. When there was another personal trauma, I reached out to the one that I had seen for that instead of my usual one.

    My original therapist no longer bills me for “check-ins” as she calls them because she gets as much out of my outlook and perspectives as I do from her thoughts/questions.

    It’s all about finding the right person though. A woman I used to be friends with had some serious issues going on and her therapist basically told her she was fine. This therapist was well out of her depth though. Her practice was geared towards telling the suburbanites it wasn’t a personal failure that their offspring wasn’t speaking 3 languages fluently, featured in art shows, and playing elite hockey/soccer/baseball but age 12, not getting into some truly serious issues that this person needed to resolve. Her therapist said she was fine, who was any one else to questions that? Everyone around her.

    Good luck. It’s not easy but I’ve found that most of the people who do it, feel better for it.
    Court recently posted…Join me for a cup of coffee?My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’ve heard some great things about CBT! I’m glad that you were able to find a good therapist, I’ve met one or two good ones but they were through temporary resources and I couldn’t continue seeing them.

  10. Linda says:

    I hope you find the right therapist fit for your needs. You’ve had to deal with some amazing levels of crap, and as you put the final pieces of your plan into place to completely sever relations with your father that could stir up more for you.

    At this point I manage stress through a bi-monthly therapy session, medications, and limiting my exposure to people and situations that are triggering for me. The local therapist I’m working with is doing OK, but I don’t have a lot of choices here if I want to stay in-network and budget my healthcare dollars.

    If I take my anti-anxiety meds and my coping mechanisms are kept in place, then I can usually get through the days without many problems. I’ve had to schedule an extra therapy session this week, though, since I have to deal with the sister drama that emerged last month. I can’t keep avoiding my sister forever, after all, and right now any time I think about talking to her about this conflict I start feeling anxious and crying.
    Linda recently posted…Yet another eye updateMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks – that’s exactly what I was thinking may happen. When I finally get to lay down the burden, I’m not sure what else will assail me aside from guilt and resentment and anger. Sadness at truly having lost my family. Grief. Etc.

      Like you, I’m not ready to find more money in the budget for another therapist out of the network so I’m going to stay in network and see what we can do.

      *hugs* I’m sorry about your sister situation, that’s too upsetting.

  11. Therapists are such a mixed bag. The one I went to seeking advice for post-partum depression, the guy was some sort of Freudian nut who wanted to get into whether I desired to have sex with my father(!!!). No kidding: he was obsessive about it. The ex’s shrink turned out to be a superb counselor. My friend who’s a psychiatric nurse-practitioner (never had a professional relationship w/ her) seems to be at once empathetic and commonsensical. I guess the trick is finding someone who listens to YOU, not to Theory or to his/her own opinions. Blogging is an effective way to work through issues that stress you. IMHO.

  12. Athena says:

    I remember vaguely seeing a therapist once or twice when I was younger but it was nothing that was consistent or actually stuck. I went to therapy again after an insanely bad breakup in 2012 but that therapist just told me what I wanted to hear & didn’t help me. Then I tried another one in 2014 but she wasn’t that helpful. Finally, in 2015, I found a therapist I actually like & has helped me. I’ve been seeing her for the past two and a half years and she has helped a lot. I probably wouldn’t have the relationship w/ H now, dealt with my cancer or school if I hadn’t been going. I have a lot of mental health issues (BPD, Bipolar 2, PTSD, Codependent) and I’m happy that someone finally took me seriously and didn’t wave me off because I am considered “high functioning”.

    • Revanche says:

      That’s great you finally ended up with a good therapist! High-functioning is good but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use professional help.

  13. Dar says:

    I have seen therapists at a few pressure points in my life, and I was mostly looking for advice and accountability – someone to help me set goals and stick to them. I found some therapists use that technique (based around functioning) while others go more into talk therapy, underlying issues and emotions. I stopped going to one therapist who would not initiate any conversations and simply wanted me to open up, talk and cry. I was not having it – that wasn’t what I needed at the time. But maybe another time, it might have worked. So I would advocate switching therapists within the network as needed.
    Dar recently posted…In and Out of JanuaryMy Profile

  14. Kris says:

    Based on reading about the situation with your father, I agree with the therapist that your handling it well. Your being rational with your decision-making and not letting your emotions takeover. I’m also happy that blogging and Twitter has given you an outlet to reveal your feelings about anything your going through. And of course we are glad to provide you with any advice

  15. I’ve missed what’s going on with your dad…but, I think that blogging and therapy are a great way to deal with emotion and stress. I find blogging to be very much be a part of my weekly rhythm. I type thoughtfully, focus on something that is solely mine, and it gives me the opportunity to tune things out. Therapy, likewise, gives you the opportunity to focus 100% on self-care. And, in this fast paced world-we don’t get enough of those moments.

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