experience] dealing with the needs of traumatized, adopted children. This
is where my experience lies. I like to pretend I have it all together. I
dont. I actually came into psychotherapy through family therapy with
my adopted son. We were working with an attachment oriented process, and
I ended up doing some intense work there which brought up many emotional
issues from my childhood. Unfortunately . . . I could not
finish the work I had started. So I found another psychotherapist, who I
have been seeing for about 10 months. The question is this: I actually need
her to sit closer to me in order to allow myself to experience emotions there.
Or certain emotions, most notably sadness. My prior therapeutic relationship
felt emotionally containing, though touch there was actually minimal. Is
it so wrong to ask my psychotherapist to sit next to me and hold my hand
while I go there? Usually she sits on her own chair and I sit
on her couch. It is comfortable. But not nearly containing enough. I am really
not certain if I can do the work without it. It is too scary.
In an ideal world, every child would experience the containing
touch and gentle speech of both parents that give love and ask nothing in
return. And through those experiences, the child would learn to trust
deeplyand to discover real love, rather than the bribery
that passes for
in todays very imperfect world.
So, if you
experienced a childhood that was far from the ideal, you do have many emotional
wounds that have to be healed through the adult experience of psychotherapy.
And, because as an adult you are a creature of language, your healing must
be done through language. In other words, you cannot just become a child
again in the consulting room; instead you have to put the trauma of the past
into adult language, so as to break the spell, so to speak, of
the past. Its a bit like how in the fairy tale of
Rumpelstilzchen the queen was able to free herself from her dilemma
by discovering the name of Rumpelstilzchen.
All of this means,
then, that having your psychotherapist hold your hand may feel comforting,
but it really serves only to avoid the deepest pain that must be spoken from
the depths of your own
As I say in answer
to another question, doing these sorts of courageous
things in treatment may feel about as safe as playing catch with a bottle
of nitroglycerine. But, if you learn how to do this in your own healing,
you will find that your relationship with wounded children will improve
immensely: learning how to speak your own pain allows you to hear the
childs pain with pure trust. But if you havent learned how to
speak your own pain honestly, then every touch you give a child will have
within it a veiled hint of your own needs to be soothed. And that, to a child,
let your experience liespeak it
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