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Re: Recipe for disaster? long

Posted by daisym on April 8, 2005, at 20:02:29

In reply to Re: Recipe for disaster?, posted by Poet on April 8, 2005, at 18:00:03

I think the disaster could come about if/when the therapist didn't handle the dependency/attachment well. My therapist has this whole soap-box speech about how the world would be a better place if we were all inter-dependent -- not dependent and not independent. But if we allow ourselves to rely on each other when we need to, then we would all have more support, etc. etc.

Society worries about dependency on therapists a lot. When people learn that you are in therapy or counseling, and that you are attached to your therapist, there is an immediate judgement that this is unwise and dangerous. And it could be, if the therapist was unethical or unaware of their own "stuff." But somehow the definition of "dependent" in therapy has come to mean that you can't make a decision by yourself, you can't get through a day by yourself and you need permission from your therapist to make a change, a move or whatever.

Truth be told, emotional dependency is necessary in some cases to build trust and to learn to emotionally trust others, IRL. For some of us, it absolutely feels like life and death, right now. I think because we have no strong core and we need their emotional strength to shore us up. In an EMOTIONAL sense. We talk often about the developmental stages of emotions and security. Toddlers learn to separate from their mothers, slowly. They return often to touch base, to check in and to draw security and strength. And they venture further and further out into the world, knowing they have a safe base to return to.

Good therapists know that clients will develop enough to leave the nest, eventually. That doesn't mean that the very real emotional connection, love, trust and caring, won't still exist. It does mean, like grown children, they move away and also, will want, or need, to return and check in. I think that should be OK. And some of us need to stay in the nest for a very long time or forever, because we are wounded or need the more support than we can internally generate. I always think of it in terms of the spectrum of children I work with. Some will never leave home, others will go far away. Therapy clients span the spectrum too.

There is not doubt in my mind that the termination phase will be painful. But I can't imagine doing this deep work without someone who is warm, caring and connected to me, who allows me to need him as much or as little as I want and who even encourages clinging (metaphorically, of course) tightly during these more turbulent times. I'm blessed. I'm scared of how much I'll eventually miss him. But what a shame it would have been to miss this relationship for fear of what is down the road. I'm glad he made me see that.




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