Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why Are You In Therapy?

Really? Why are you in therapy? Think about it a minute and then scroll down.

[taps toe in carpet, waiting]

[stares at ceiling patterns, waiting]

So, why are you in therapy?

Here's one thing I keep reading on blogs, in psych articles, in books clients write about therapy, etc, etc. There is a common thread that always rears its ugly head. People always end up saying, "[therapist] is making me talk about "this or that"; she keeps bringing up "this or that" and wanting to get me to talk about it; he says I'm avoiding "this or that".

What is "this or that"? For me, it was the "ceremony" of the damned that forever altered my life and created a part of me who believes she has no right to live and who waits for all, any, every, man to hurt her. She lives inside me and is more powerful and alert than the EverReady Bunny. I wasted at least 2 years of therapy playing the stupid game of "Okay, I'll make an appointment with you, come and sit here, and then you just see if you can drag it out of me why I'm cutting myself and why I hate you and all men."  AND "Oh, and let me pay you thousands of dollars every year because I'm going to do this every week, sometimes twice a week, game."

Sound familiar? Why do you go to a therapist and then get mad because he/she is trying to help you? I did it because no one said all of this outright to me. Yeah, the therapist said it but that was like my dad telling me - I didn't hear it.

I'm out on a limb here and I'm going to suggest something to everyone of you who reads this:  If you go to therapy and then fight your therapist, you are playing games AND you probably don't trust the person you have given your mental health to. Not fair to either of you. If you trust your therapist, then trust what he/she is attempting as treatment for you. Go with it, try it as if your life depends on it. Stop fighting the program, stop it right now.

Yes, we think we know how we should be treated, therapeutically, but do we? Really? No. If we did, we wouldn't be in therapy. When I decided to trust him, I began to heal. Not one minute of it was fun, but it created a healing journey. I'm still not there and now? OMG! He's wanting me to get on an airplane and allow myself to be hurled thru the sky without a net! Darn it.   

I will do it. He will be here to help me thru the space of time between now and when my daughter takes my hand and walks with me onto the bullet airplane.

Think about.


Missing In Sight said...

Good topic, Ivory. I found it really encouraging. I know Therapist wants to talk about my "mom" issues tomorrow and I DON'T want to, but I will, and all because of your post.

castorgirl said...

Thought provoking stuff Ivory :)

To put it simply, I don't trust my therapist - but then I've only been seeing her for a few weeks. But that aside, I think it takes time to develop enough trust to reach the point where you are ready or able to tell the secrets/issues. Quite often we start off telling the smaller issues to "test the waters" so to speak. Then, as the trust builds, you feel able to go explore further.

I agree that there are some who play games, but there are also many who are trying their very best to learn new ways of doing things. That means, not only trusting the therapist, but trusting themselves.

Even when trust is there, sometimes I get so scared of an issue, that I avoid it. But, I also know that I'm avoiding it, and that brings my attention to it. By bringing my attention to it, I can start to work on it prior to therapy, so when it's talked about within the therapeutic context, I already know some of the underlying issues. Quite often, I ease myself into an issue by reflecting on it within my blog.

It's that old saying about feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.

I'm glad you've found a therapist who you trust to help you through the tough stuff.

Take care,

Kerro said...

Yay Ivory, this is a great post! It certainly echos my own experience. I fought my therapist for a short while (3-6 months), thrashing about, not wanting to go places or address issues.

As soon as I stopped fighting, I started healing. That took a lot of courage, and faith, and trust - in the therapist and in the process. It reminds me of that scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies where Indiana has to step out over a chasm and have faith that there's a path. There is, we just have to believe it. We don't even need to understand it, just believe.

Ivory said...

I'm glad you found this encouraging. I actually waffle on this subject. It's hard to remember that I'm going there for help, not to dig into the sand and hold my place.

Yes, there are many who are trying, and that is healing, even when it doesn't feel like it. I remember your problems finding a good therapist and that sucks. That makes it more difficult for you on several levels. I really hope this one works out, tho!

I think dedication is a "learned" behavior. It's not easy to achieve. I think learning to trust a therapist is an aspect of healing.

Grace said...

Ivory, I struggle with this constantly. I trust then pull away out of fear. A part trusts the therapist and it angers another part. A trusting part "shares" something shameful and then we go into hiding.
Yes, learning to trust is part of healing...and it's definately cyclical.
~ Grace

Exhale said...

Interesting post...I trusted my first therapist only to have discovered to late that he wasn't trust worthy. His favorite line me, he took away our power. The issues of trust with my second therapist was resolved so to speak when she encouraged us to trust ourselves, the primary focus was not to build a relationship with her but to establish one with each other. Therapy for us is not black and white, some believe and particapate and others don't. I use to think it was game playing but now I see it as different opinions lived out through different parts of our humanity. Healing started when we began our journey, it become more really and tangible when we started trusting each other, our therapy is no longer about our therapist it's about us.

Ivory said...

Cyclical is a great way to put it!

Yes, therapy is about us and not the therapist and that often becomes out of focus. A good therapist will always bring it back to the client and will teach us how to determine whether we should trust.

Paul from Mind Parts said...

Very though provoking. I go to therapy not because my therapist is doing anything to me. I go to therapy because I'm in control of how I heal. My therapist guides me, I don't fight her. I work with her.

Ivory said...

I'm glad this made you think. I'm glad it's made everyone think. I think sometimes we lose perspective...
Be well, Paul.

Michael Finley said...

I work as hard as can in therapy.

How I hide is not living my life in a way that allows me to work harder in therapy.

Ivory said...

You are so right. Fear of living drive me to hide. I'm working on it, tho!