I started seeing a psychotherapist and during our last session (5th?), I
felt things got a little ugly. I got the sense that I was being attacked,
having my words twisted, having my current state indirectly belittled (Im
not proud of it, and I dont need to be told how harmful it is), being
repeatedly told that my emotions and beliefs about myself are false, being
told to what amounts to lying to myself, being cut off while Im trying
to express myself, suggesting I get medication when she previously told me
she didnt think its necessary and said I didnt need to
if I didnt want to (Im very anti-meds and she didnt even
suggest trying alternative therapies first), and generally being treated
like Im stupid, like I dont know Id be unhappy if the status
quo continues. I could tell she was getting frustrated with me, and I dont
blame her for it given how Ive been very unresponsive to some of her
suggestions (which mostly consisted of telling me repeatedly to give power
to my positive aspects). And yet...
she said, Look at how beautiful and sunny the weather is outside. Inside
here (the therapists office) its all dark, I felt really
unwelcome in her office. I mean I know Im not Mr. Sunshine, but the
comment felt really out of line, unnecessary, and unhelpful.
is very different from my previous therapeutic experience, which was
overwhelmingly positive. Yet I also recognize that when when I was with my
previous therapist, I was more receptive, open, and upbeat given I had some
wonderful people in my life.
all in my head? A problem with my therapist? Me? Both of us? Are the things
Im feeling and thinking a warning sign of sorts or should I give this
one more shot? To be honest, after the last session Im not sure I can
trust her enough or anymore to confront
her. . . .
Actually, you are lying to yourself. In fact, we
to ourselves because so much of our perceptions and motivations are outside
of our conscious awareness. The task of competent psychotherapy is to help
you get close to your
unconscious so that
you can understand when and why the lying occurs, and,
consequently, to live more honestly than a person who has not been in
simply being told that you lie to yourself does nothing to help you; instead,
it only makes you defensive and leaves you feeling like you have been
here of a poignant old story; I can remember only the core idea, so I will
just make up the other details.
In the days before
psychotherapy was practiced, a man went to his physician and complained of
feeling depressed. The doctor, not really knowing what to do, said, Look
here. The circus is in town. Go see the clown Zambini, and he will make you
laugh so much you will forget all your problems! The man hung his head
and replied, But doctor, I am Zambini.
So what good
is a remedy if it cannot help itself?
cant be cured just because someone tells you to be cured. Nor can you stop lying just
by telling yourself to tell the truth, because telling yourself that you
will tell the truth is in itself a lie.
psychotherapy, by paying attention to how your unconscious is revealed in
the things you say and do, you discover the reason for your
lies. But to do this, it is important that everything be conducted in a
positive, respectful manner. It is important that both you and your
psychotherapist examine your thoughts, emotions, and behavior with compassionate
curiosity. Then, once you can speak about your unconscious, you can learn from it.
So how can you
identify incompetent psychotherapists? Theyre the ones who try to tell you
what to do, and, because you havent yet acquired the true motivation
to do it, youre left feeling stupid. Bad psychotherapists leave you
feeling stupid because they are unwilling or unable to take the effort to teach you
how to speak about your unconscious.
advertisingno sponsorjust the simple truth . . .