More Information About David Forest
David Forest currently has a therapy practice Gainesville, Gainesville. David Forest is licensed to provide medical treatment under their counseling credentials, .
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I was wrong
May I revise my former assessment? I have begun to see David's actions in a far more sympathetic light. For a very long time, I assumed that the reason David cut me off so harshly was because he was angry at me for monopolizing the group's time; for this, I couldn't forgive him. Only now, with the clarity of almost four years hindsight, can I see that he more likely cut me off because he was trying to direct my attention to what actually mattered.
The question was, "How have chemicals placed your life in danger?" and I chose to tell a long story about how I ruined a date. I explained how I went on a date with a guy I was really excited about which I ended up ruining by getting too drunk. The guy ended up cancelling our second date supposedly because he "didn't want to go out that night" and I ended up running into him at a bar downtown (my voice literally cracked as I told this part). Then, after I successfully played it cool upon leaving the bar, I ran out into the street and was almost hit by an SUV. At this point, David harshly interrupted me in a very angry voice, and said, "Okay, you can just say, 'I ran into the street and was almost hit by an SUV.'"
I thought David was angry at me for being too long-winded, but now I think he was trying to get me to focus on what actually mattered in the story. And the truth is, he was absolutely right. That guy was a total loser who I had absolutely no business dating in the first place, and the truth is, if we had continued dating, I would have lived to really really regret it. I should have been thankful that I got to see that night the truth of who that guy is (a liar), but instead, I got obsessed with him for several months after that, because I have severe OCD and it tends to blind me as to what really matters (same reason I've been obsessing over David's treatment of me in group therapy for so long).
David was prodding me to break through my OCD thought patterns and focus on what actually matters- that I nearly killed myself when I ran out into the street. In fact, David was placing a higher value on me than I was capable of placing on myself.
I guess this is what "denial" is all about, and I suppose this is why "confrontation tactics" emerged in substance abuse treatment...
I regret my posts below, and I have asked the site managers to remove them, but they have not yet.
To be specific...
David's treatment of me when I presented my first step - a highly confessional assignment in which I was offloading some very heavy stories which I had literally never shared with anyone before and sadly rambling and babbling and having a very hard time choking out what I was trying to say - was a masterclass in incompetent therapy compounded many times over by his refusal to admit he had made a mistake.
It began with David bizarrely opting for a harsh confrontation tactic instead of a gentle supportive suggestion as his approach to encouraging me to be more concise. Because he sounded so angry at me, this caused me to feel deeply ashamed and believe that my disclosures had been horribly inappropriate. I consequently collapsed and rushed through the rest of the assignment, giving half-hearted answers to everything. Then, David failed to even acknowledge that he had clearly devastated me and rendered me incapable of completing the assignment. Then, when the other therapist in the room frowned at him and made it clear that he had hurt me and said that I really needed to do the assignment again, David merely nodded and said “With her sponsor” without acknowledging responsibility, again implying that I was to blame, not him. Then, when a patient challenged David more directly on how he had treated me, David viciously lashed out at the patient - and because the patient was sitting right next to me and because he was standing up for me, it felt like David was lashing out at *me* compounding my feeling that I had done something totally inappropriate. Then, when I started to cry, David cited that triumphantly as evidence that he had helped me get in touch with my feelings. All this while I was one of three women in a room filled with about twenty men so I was scared as hell and in even more need of emotional support in that vulnerable frightening moment. Far from helping me, he traumatized me; therapy doesn't get much more botched than that. Over three years later, I still think about this episode every single day, in deep pain. And the sad thing is that all David had to do was just sit quietly and listen to me – sorry, not a tough job! I could do his job with my eyes closed.
To be fair...
In David's defense, I feel I should add to my above review that he did have many gifts as a therapist. In particular, his lectures on finding inner peace were lovely. And I know of at least one addict who told me David really helped him in a meaningful way. I was just personally so deeply wounded by his tactics of confrontation that I sometimes forget his strong points in retrospect.
While ample research shows that effective substance abuse therapists are highly sensitive and empathetic, David subscribes to an outdated school of thought in substance abuse therapy which holds that the counselor can help the addict by publicly humiliating him/her, and he is very talented at doing that. He will ‘call you out’ for what he deems your character defects in front of everyone, in an abrupt and rude manner. If someone comes to your defense, he will viciously lash out at that person for challenging him, as he evidently lacks self confidence and emotional control. He left me with enduring emotional scars.