Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Common Questions’ Category

Are you dissatisfied with your therapy? Is it you or is it your therapist? Let’s evaluate and find out.

First I will tell you what is reasonable to expect from a competent, experienced therapist. In the next post I will explain the notion of transference, positive and negative, and then how to work with your current therapist to see if negative transference is the problem.

Here are some fair expectations you should have of your therapy process and your therapist:

  1. You should make progress. If you don’t think you are, ask your therapist why they think you are or aren’t making progress. Don’t automatically discount your your own instincts. Listen but don’t assume the therapist knows more than you do just because they are “the professional” if what they say doesn’t make sense to you.
  2. You should get something new out of every session. If you are not, ask yourself if your therapist is:
    • not really working when you are in session – they should be.
    • just being “someone to talk to”: therapists should have a lot more than this to offer.
    • not clearly showing you how to get engaged in your sessions: You have to if you want to grow.
    • just giving advice: you should be learning how to answer your own questions and make your own decision.
  3. You should be learning from your therapist. Your therapist should know more than you do about the general kinds of issues you are dealing with. They should be able to clearly relate this understanding to your specific situation.
  4. You shouldn’t feel worried about your therapist’s feelings – it’s the therapist’s job to take care of themselves. The therapist should call you on doing this and reassure you they don’t need or want this from you.
  5. You should feel your therapist likes and cares about you. If your therapist doesn’t accept who you are and like things about you, you deserve more.
  6. Your therapist should have several ways to approach you and your problem. You should never feel like you are supposed to fit into their way of doing therapy.

If these expectations are not being met, talk to your therapist about them. It is also reasonable to look for another therapist. Remember, just because this therapist is set up in an office or clinic doesn’t mean they are good at their trade.

On the other hand, if you find yourself repeatedly switching therapists I would recommend you stick with your current therapist and make a sincere effort to work out your dissatisfaction.

If you fire a therapist, it may rid you of the problem at hand, but another version of that same problem will likely show up with your next therapist. You need to give your current therapist 3 to 5 more sessions while you focus on working out your relationship. This may well be about transference which is the unconscious phenomena of transferring feelings from one person to another; in this case unconsciously transferring your feelings for some one else in your life to your therapist.

Transference is one of the reasons therapy can work so well and it is also a reason why it can fail. More about that next in “Transference in Therapy“.

Read Full Post »

I’m afraid of not liking my parents if I find out they hurt me when I was little.  I want to be able to love them and be close to them.  Maybe it isn’t worth finding out what happened to me, or is it?

That is a real and serious question.  Would you rather live with the truth or with your hoped for fantasy? Would you rather have your whole self, or your relationship with your parents?  I suggest you look at what troubles you in life and decide how much you want that to be different.

 

So what in me probably has to do with past childhood abuse? No one is perfect, what can I assume about myself is attributable to childhood abuse? 

Low self esteem, relationship dissatisfaction, trust issues, lack of self actualization, unnecessary fears and anxiety,  problems with your sexuality, to list only the most obvious.  I have never known a person who has worked on their childhood abuse be sorry they did.

 

Read Full Post »

Recovering from Childhood Sexual  Abuse

Common Beginning Questions:

I think I might have been abused but I’m not sure. Does that mean that I probably was?

Not necessarily, but maybe.  In a way, your job is the same whether you were abused or not:  I would recommend you get into therapy (with someone who has experience with survivors of sexual abuse and who clicks with you) and do the therapeutic work about what ever is interfering with you having the life you want now.  If there was any abuse, and you are ready to deal with it, it will come up into your conscious awareness and you can address it.

What does it mean to be ready to work on abuse? 

Readiness has to do with being in the right place, internally and externally,  so that when you find out the reality of your own abuse,  you will profit from the therapy work and not be unduly  beaten down by it.   Abuse that you had to repress (forget happened) is likely the experience from your childhood that was the most destructive to your self-esteem.  Being ready to deal with this and having it be a healing experience takes readiness.  Left to your own devices, you  very probably won’t remember anything you aren’t ready to deal with.  This is why I don’t use hypnosis with my clients who want to remember what happened to them.

So being “ready” to work on abuse means that  the relationship you have with yourself  ( your internal environment)  is strong:  Your resources inside are lined up PRO YOU. You spend more time supporting and validating yourself than putting your self down.   No matter what else,  in the end you basically like yourself, enough anyway, so that you can help yourself through this process.  You can remember painful things that happened to you and heal from them rather than being over whelmed or  becoming self-destructive.   The good news is that once you are through this work,  you will like yourself,  love yourself,  more than you ever have.

What is this “outer environment” part?   This  could be about relationships and if you have good support, for example  being  in a good relationship or out of a bad one. It can be about finances and when you have the money for baby sitters or transportation or the therapist’s fees.  It is probably also about timing so that you can afford an occasional day off  when you truly need a mental health day.  Therefore  it’s probably not when you are a single parent of young children and working part time and going to school at night.

Read Full Post »

Question: It seems that when my friends go to therapy, they end up being mad at their parents. I don’t see why this has to happen; I love my folks and think I had a good childhood.  Relationships are a struggle for me and I would like to change that, but I don’t want to be turned against my parents.

It is not a necessary for you to “get mad” at your parents to have success in therapy.  After all, as adults it is our job to take responsibility for ourselves and not just blame our parents for being inadequate.  Although understanding your relationship with your parents is part of the therapeutic process, it is not the end.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

QuestionMy boyfriend and I are fighting a lot and he refuses to go to a therapist with me. I love him, and don’t want to leave, but I can’t handle all the fights. He says a stranger can’t help us – and that we can work it out by ourselves. The problem is we don’t and nothing is changing. What can I do?

If he won’t go to a therapist,  go by yourself. You will learn about yourself and your relationship and most likely will grow in your own self estimation.  You will become better equipped to deal with your boyfriend and more able  to know what you have a right to expect in a relationship.

Many men agree to see a therapist once their partner has been going and obviously getting something from the sessions, so you may be surprised about him.

Read Full Post »

Question: My therapist says she doesn’t deal with repressed memories and that I can get over my Uncle’s abuse of me with out “doing memories”. I don’t want to have to remember it either, but I keep having these strong images come to me of him raping me and they won’t go away. What does that mean and what should I do?

Some therapists don’t want to help clients recover repressed memories because of recent litigation that has accused therapists of planting “false” memories. While it is true that memories can be unreliable, especial in detail, you seem to be experiencing vivid but incomplete memories and resolving these is an important part of your therapy.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Question: My therapist says I have depression, and I guess I do, but he wants me to try antidepressants and I don’t want to use medication. What can I do?

It would be important to know how severe your depression is to make specific suggestions. You may be interested in a brief Self Evaluation for Depression or information about Types of Depression. Depression can be very serious and should be treated. Successful treatment can be life-altering even for mild to moderate depression. Fortunately, if you want to avoid the use of medication there are some options, but what will works depends a great deal on how severe your depression is.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »