read things you and others have said about therapy and I understand
intellectually the reasons why I am finding therapy so painful and difficult
even after three years. However, I just cant get my feelings to understand.
I just cannot stop the intense longings and desires I have for things from
my therapist that my therapist cannot give me. I also do things in the session,
like act like a child or become speechless, that make it even harder to have
a normal adult relationship with her. It seems impossiblethat my feelings
will never accept reality, and that I will never be able to end therapy having
gotten through to the other side this. What can I do to align my knowledge
and my feelings and accept the limitations of this relationship?
You touch here upon one of the most difficult aspects of
psychotherapy, and its a place where many clients get stuck. As you
say, knowing something intellectually is one thing, and letting it reach
deeply into your being is something else entirely.
Now, some of
the other difficulties you describe can be called an issue of
That is, the same needs and resentments about basic human relationships that
trouble you from your past are being experienced in regard to your
really only one psychotherapeutic solution to such a difficulty: to speak
about your experiences to your psychotherapist. Not just once, but over and
over again, session after session, until one day something inexplicable will
click and, with new insight, your intellect and emotions will
begin to recognize each other.
People get stuck
here because they believe that such talking over and over is
nothing but complaining or whining. But as long as your psychotherapist can
listen to you and offer interpretations about connections between what you
say and what you are feelingeven if you arent consciously aware
of those feelingsand as long as you remain open to hearing and
considering those interpretations, the work will be productive.
Note that if
you have a psychotherapist who fails in offering proper interpretations of
what you say, then everything you say will be just complainingand
you will remain stuck. In fact, you most likely got stuck in the first place
because when you were a child no one bothered to listen to what you were
really saying and to offer interpretations of what you were experiencing.
As an unconscious
defense against this
sort of frustration you then trained yourself to disconnect emotions from
So, for those
persons who have been so deeply wounded in the past that they have disconnected
emotions from intellect, psychotherapy can be a slow, tedious process. But
competent psychotherapy does lead to progress. Its all a bit like a
child who has to walk in circles around a big, friendly dog until she works
up the courage to see that he wont bite and to reach out and touch
himand to allow her affection for him to reach deeply into her
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