Tag Archives: talk therapy

Thinking, Feeling and Therapy

By Will

I want to leave therapy knowing that I have done the work. I want to leave having covered all the bases, spanning right back to my early childhood. I want to leave therapy blossoming, knowing that I understand myself so much more. This notion of mine is probably the reason why I haven’t left therapy and why I am now approaching 5 years with my current analyst. Part of ourselves can trap us in this search for perfection and complete understanding. How can we possibly know ourselves fully when we are continually changing. We cannot ever know ourselves fully, and searching for some kind of ‘completion of oneself’ is a form of controlling behaviour, as part of us is not willing to accept that life is chaotic. The mystery of life is acceptable as far as the heart is concerned, but the head will always try and think it’s way around the bumps and curves, and for the mind this constant thinking exercise will be never ending. You can’t blame the thinking mind for doing what it does as that is it’s job. You could say that all that is real happens in the heart, and all that is not happens in the mind. However, the mind has to think sometimes so that we can complete certain daily tasks and our heart may need to stay out of the way, especially living in Western society. A harmonious balance between both worlds feels correct.

My thinking and philosophical mind has certainly expanded and deepened over the last 5 years, and in my therapists words he has said; “You are an extremely creative thinker”. I left that particular session (thinking once again), that if I am a creative thinker, I must spend much of my time thinking and not feeling, which is what I tend to do. Thinking is very protective. Thinking can shroud our emotions and feelings like a non-porous membrane. An obvious example of this constant thinking is when we think of a person in our lives who is dear to us. We can all be guilty of attempting to work this person out by thinking about the thousands of possibilities they may be thinking or feeling. What is more important is how that person makes us feel. Once again the mind is trying to control things, it even attempts to control another’s thinking and feeling.

The reason I entered therapy in the first place is that I was lost. A part of me had overshadowed another part and I was out of balance, lop-sided and anxious. At that point in my life I needed some help and support and our therapeutic journey began. However, by staying with a therapist, teacher or master for a long while, on some level we are enabling the kind of self talk that got us into difficulties in the first place to continue. We are once again engaging in another pattern of reasoning and debate, focusing on our sad and bad issues. I am not saying that therapy is damaging or that it is not conducive for awareness and happiness. What I am saying is that too much of anything can be counter productive, and the difficult part of our therapeutic work is knowing when both the heart and mind need to move on and go it alone. Perhaps when we leave, that is where therapy really begins.

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Growth and the Search for Oneself.

By Will

Staying with very difficult and stormy feelings is about as testing as it gets for man. Sometimes a kind voice from another can gently nudge you out of these dense and believable feelings. Staying with the pain and recognising it and investigating it is very hard. We may find that the hurt is old somehow, in as much as it seems familiar, and we may get the sense of our unease having been around before.

When we are surrounded and somewhat engulfed by our sensations we may lean towards keeping them inside as they can be viewed as ‘dangerous’ feelings. The thought of sharing them with others may annihilate the listener or may lead us to believe that we may be outcast or abandoned by the other person. We also have a tendency to believe that we should not be feeling or thinking such thoughts which creates a divide inside of how we should be feeling against what we actually are. Self soothing and acceptance can help and personally I find it helpful to share these feelings with others.

The American psychologist Rollo May said “We are more apt to feel depressed by the perpetually smiling individual than the one who is honestly sad. If we admit our depression openly and freely, those around us get from it an experience of freedom rather than the depression itself.” Another quote from Rollo May which may give our emotions a sense of purpose is “One does not become fully human painlessly.”

If you are working towards a greater understanding and acceptance within yourself with the help of therapy, old stories and ways of viewing the world and ourselves are slowly eroded away leaving a sense of emptiness. When this happens not only do we feel a sense off loss, we may also be left wondering about our purpose in life and who we really are. We may realise that our old patterns of behaviour may have not served us well in the past and it makes sense that we need to grieve and say goodbye to them. It takes courage to say to the world, this is me take it or leave it. It is much easier to conform to ourselves and society and this is what most people tend to do. We may be in limbo with anxiety, who’s purpose is to keep us away from discovering our true selves, but when we can manage to live with anxious feelings by our side, our next step is to face what is underneath, which is yet another difficult and painful task, but a task that is necessary for our personal growth and freedom within.

“Steady, patient growth in freedom is probably the most difficult task of all, requiring the greatest courage. Thus if the term “hero” is used in this discussion at all, it must refer not to the special acts of outstanding persons, but to the heroic element potentially in every man.” ~ Rollo May

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Growing Takes Time

By Will

Most of us that are on a spiritual journey, who are attempting to get some understanding of ourselves and be more in harmony with our true nature, battle with patience. It takes time to create new patterns of behaviour and thought and to accept and understand those old patterns that we have lived with for so long. Although there are people who claim sudden enlightenment, the majority of people will have to partake in long and often-times painstaking journey’s, where they may have to repeat the same mistakes over and over again until they learn and accept the lessons or truths that they need to. We need to take this long term relationship with ourselves slowly and steadily, and realise that in as much as we have taken years to mis-understand ourselves, it may take the same amount of time to get in touch with our true nature and purpose once again. You can liken this process to learning to play a musical instrument. We can’t play it harmoniously straight away, it’s virtually impossible. We have to learn to play the notes first and then perhaps a chord, then a song, and eventually we can play intuitively.

I once apologised to my therapist for having a ‘nervous day’ and he replied ‘it’s just a day’. How we perceive our situations is important if we are going to spend lots of time within them. If we can also create conditions that allow our true selves to flow we may realise that some of our old patterns of behaviour hinder us on our journeys. For example, the right conditions for coping with grief may not be a party for some but for others it maybe exactly what they need. There are no rules and we cannot learn these things from books. Experience is key, and while we are learning, growing pain is inevitable. If we can learn to flow with this pain, learn to flow with the energy of the pain and realise that it is required for us to have a positive and meaningful existence, in the long run, we can be safe in the knowledge that we are sewing the right seeds to form a secure base for ourselves in the future. Pain comes when we feel that we should be feeling other than what we are feeling, so we create a disconnection within ourselves, rather than simply accepting what is.

One thing that helps us to endure the long gravel path is faith. Some pray for strength and patience while others may ask their angels or a higher being of some-kind for help. Many of us seek meaningful and intimate connections with others to soothe us and support us on our journeys. One thing all faith has in common is that it is shared. We are not mean’t to be alone.

Often time it happens, we all live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key ~ The Eagles

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Michael

By Will

He spoke with hurt and I chose him,
This unfortunate soul becomes ego’s friend,
Father’s boundaries adhered never challenged,
His patience tested on a radius of denial,
Whose crib does he sleep that man in consciousness,
All earthly answers lie creased under pillows,
While the boy rides his bike with tendency to fall,
Caught in sympathies yielding nest,
Growing pains heard from mountains afar,
Gods dream, ripped apart thorn by thorn,
A man is born like a calf with unsound legs,
Who now walks alone under his full moon.
 
Only the wounded healer can truly heal ~ Irvin D. Yalom

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Leaving Therapy

By Will

I will always remember these words from my first therapist “You begin to live when you leave therapy.” I like to think that you can also live when you are in analysis as well, but if you are like me, you may carry your therapist around in your pocket some of the time. So how does that enable you to be free? Having this little thinking and reflecting ‘action man’ with you at all times can be both comforting and irritating. If you have experienced some extremely emotional situations with your therapist, and you have felt comforted by him, you may tend to elevate your analyst to a God like status as they become the Master, the Knower or the Buddha. This can put you in a juxtaposition and in day to day situations you may be influenced by your therapist, and you may judge many of your actions and thoughts with him in mind.

The thought of leaving therapy can be daunting. What will happen to me when I leave? Will I be able to cope? Is our work really finished or is my ego forcing me to end the relationship? Is my therapist trapping me? You may be reluctant to leave therapy as you do not want to hurt your therapists feelings. These are vital issues that require working through and together you both may reach a better understanding. It is almost impossible for both Therapist and Patient to collectively feel that therapy is over simultaneously, so one person as in all relationships, may feel at a loss. When we leave therapy knowing we have not addressed all our problems we may be mindful that we will always have problems and issues to solve as this is part of being human. We can cling to all sorts of illusions and justifications in regards to ending the theraputic relationship but I guess the obvious reason for leaving therapy is that you want to.

We may sometimes loose sight of the fact that therapy is self-centered and your therapy is about what is good for you. After all, your therapist has worked on themselves and should be able to digest the loss and work through it alone or with supervision.

“Intimate knowledge creates vulnerability. Where intimate knowledge is asymmetrical, vulnerability is also. Whoever is known most about is usually the vulnerable one, for multiple reasons. In psychotherapy, this vulnerable one is the client.”

*Quote by ~ http://sleightmind.wordpress.com

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Time is Up

By Will

The clock is seen by two and watched intensely by one; fearing those dirty words approaching, “time is up”.

I hear the little boy inside say “I want to stay with you”, but my lips are muted by adulthood.

The practised joker in me plans to fake a fall, anything to stay with the connection.

“You can’t do that” the sensible one claims, “he will think I am mad”.

The punisher steps in “Well, you are mad” and my eyes look up and catch a smile from my master.

“What happened there Will”? he says; “I don’t know” I reply, and I turn again to gaze at the clock.

It’s 1pm, and all I have left is the seconds I see winding away.

“Say it”! demands one voice, “there isn’t time” is cried in defense.

Words pour out without prompt from either side, “I want to stay with you”.

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My Therapeutic Introduction

Jade

By Jade

Training to be a therapist is a hard job, especially when your as young as I am. Being 19, carefree and a rebellious teenager is alot of hard work. Training to help people in worse situations is even harder. Having to think and act like an adult sometimes has its advantages, you get taken seriously and people see you for you and not some silly little kid. I found out from my course that I have to have 40 hours of therapy. I immediatley felt sick, what on earth can I take to therapy, I dont want to talk to a stranger about my problems. Then I sat back and laughed at myself, how can I expect clients to come and talk to me if I cant even take myself to a therapist.

I booked myself an appointment the next day for the following week. Every day went by so quick and before I knew it the day was here. All day I thought about what I could say and remembered to try and act “normal”. I walked up to the building (it looked normal enough), the sign was small so no one knew I was going in for therapy and I didnt even get a chance to knock on the door when I was greeted by a small plump lady with big rosey cheeks. I felt the colour come back into my face.

We walked up the stairs and into a cosey beige room with a big red sofa. I plonked myself down and tried to get comfortable. The therapist was called Helen, she looked like such a lovely person, even sounded like one. She sat down on the other sofa and got a book out of her pocket, this was for taking notes. Next thing I knew I was getting bombarded with questions.

Age, date of birth, sleep patterns, eating, sex drive, health problems, family health, mental health, suicide, self harm, drugs, what i’d have on my grave stone ect. This felt like way too much for a first session. I noticed that I zoned out of the room and ended up going back to having counselling in secondary school with a women who would constantly ask me questions and then judge me. Helen clicked her fingers and I came back into the room, I apparently zoned out for about 5 minutes staring at a painting. I explained to her about my past history with counselling sessions that werent even real, how it felt, how it’s impacted on me now ect. It was really strange being there and I felt very uncomfrtable after that.

My OCD kicked in with the room once I got agitated and I cut the session short and left. I havent been back to her since. It wasnt that she was a bad therapist, I just felt that it was too much too soon, she did ask quite alot of me.
I have now found myself a new therapist whom I know as she was my tutor in university. I trust her 100% and i’m sure I will be able to write something interesting from her therapy. Im quite excited about this journey with her… I shall let you know.

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