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Old 29.06.2012, 22:30
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Linguistic problems from having therapy in another language (not native tongue)?

Sorry if the thread title isn't clear...

I've been seeing a psychiatrist here for nearly 3 years. We mostly talk in English, unless another member of my support network is present (who doesn't speak English), in which case we communicate in French. (Incidentally, neither language is her mother tongue).

I've been hospitalised 4 times, spent a lot of time as an outpatient. Communication was all in French.

I have also gone through 3 cognitive behaviour therapy programmes (20 sessions per programme). These are also all in French.

Now something strange is going on with my vocabulary and ability to communicate.

At first, I struggled to communicate in French. Then, the more CBT I did, the more my vocabulary improved for talking about my feelings, my struggles etc. But this vocabulary is all French. A few months ago I had a session with my psychiatrist and realised at the end that we'd switched to French half way through. Neither of us had noticed.

Then I started finding it hard to express myself in English when I was upset. In May I had a bit of a relapse (I've just spent 2 minutes trying to remember how to say that in English). I couldn't speak in English about it - even to my parents.

I went to my therapy group today, and got rather upset. And was unable to communicate in French or English. All I could do was gesture. I couldn't even THINK what I was feeling, the words just weren't there.

Am I going mad (or should that be madder)? Or can someone reassure me this is something they have experienced?

(It's only in emotional / upsetting circumstances I'm struggling, which is why I'm not posting this in the language corner. Witnessed by the fact that I can type this long message with only minor struggles.)

Thanks... tell me this is normal, please!
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Old 29.06.2012, 22:44
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Re: Linguistic problems from having therapy in another language (not native tongue)?

V, really sorry you are going through this..

I am not sure but it seems to me the inability to communicate, either in En or Fr has nothing to do with actual languages but with whatever is causing you to block.

I don't dare to estimate what's normal and what's not, but I know there are times to just feel things and not talk about them.

Have you looked into therapies that are not based on language and constant analysis? How about quitting cognitive stuff for a week and just take music lessons or painting, photography or so?

By the way, the weather has been so amazing, hope you get the energy to chill on the beach for a bit.
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