Posted by Wittgensteinz on January 14, 2009, at 8:38:31
In reply to Re: Hurtful diagnoses, posted by yellowbird01 on January 13, 2009, at 19:59:38
Please don't give up! I disagree, I don't think you can be 'too honest' in therapy. You should be able to say everything and anything that comes to mind regardless of how strange, crazy etc. you may feel it is. As long as you don't act out on those things you speak, then you are keeping within the boundaries and doing what you are obliged to do as a client. It sounds like somewhere along the line you were punished in some way for doing this.
My therapist has the opposite view about diagnosis. I have to push him to even talk about it.
He once referred to it as 'name-calling' (his exact words were "throwing terms around like borderline and other personality disorders seems rather like name-calling"). His view is that it isn't constructive to dwell on labels, he would rather work with me and who I am as an individual than worry about how I might best be labeled/categorised. I suppose this view hangs on what the therapist believes the use of the DSM manual to be. Why use labels? Obviously for insurance purposes it can be helpful. It can be necessary to get certain kinds of help e.g. if you would benefit from receiving help at a centre for people with personality disorders, then you'd first need a PD diagnosis.
Perhaps your therapist has the view that by focusing on the diagnosis she can best work to help you with certain symptoms or traits? Perhaps it is her way of 'keeping on track'? I'm curious what kind of therapy she practices. It sounds like you want a therapist who will tailor the therapy to you specifically and not just to 'people with your diagnosis'.
I would find it very difficult too if my therapist kept bringing up the diagnosis. I would feel depersonalised I think - I would also start thinking that he was looking at a label and not at a person, me.
Something else my therapist said once was about culpability in relation to ones diagnosis - that if someone is too focused on their label, they might tend to say "well it's not my fault, I'm an X and therefore I behave in this way" - so the diagnosis becomes a means of justifying or even reinforcing behaviours rather than moving toward other ways of coping. Personally I find the term 'personality disorder' frightening. A person's personality is their essence - to tell a person that their very essence is 'disordered' or damaged is hard to get ones head around. If your therapist's tactic of emphasising your diagnosis makes you want to go 'underground' or hide parts of yourself, then it does seem to be counter-constructive.
I hope you can voice some of your thoughts to her. Ask her why someone's diagnosis is so important. The DSM is by no means infallible :)