Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 323619

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Therapy and the feelings conundrum

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 12, 2004, at 12:29:34

I hope all see that I am not arrogantly saying anything about anybody. I stand here with open hands outstretched. Take from me what you want and can.

We go to therapy when and because we feel bad. The responsible Therapists work diligently to improve our separate situations, yet they only work on our many different feelings.

We say that we want the bad feelings to stop. Medications may help. Talking therapies may help. I feel it all "helps". Many thanks to Dr. Bob; this helps.

We can feel bad on a moments notice. Where therapy can help is being persistant and provide a narrowing of vision so that mmomentary feelings stop ruining our days. With luck, along with time-and-tides, we might start adding logic and reasoning such that we find and try better ways to be.

Any therapist can cause disruptions in the therapy process. I've heard here (and elsewhere) that disruptions are nearly catastrophic. I suggest that client feelings have settled into a lulled state that is in fact what is disrupted. So the therapist is momentarily more trouble than they are worth to the client. If you stand back and look at this paradox, the therapist has only help "drain the swamp". Therapist hasn't built a levee to prevent a "flash-flood" from refilling the swamp (full of bad feelings). I submit that is our job to build stategies for overcoming damage from the "flash-floods" of our own feelings. And, that takes employment of logic, combined with feelings, before the "rainclouds" arrive.

Once we get to the group environment, we can see and test how others have made their way(s). In 12 step parlance, we keep showing up to give "it" back (share with others our exerience, strength, and hope of recovery).

I consider my presence here a two-fold pay-off to me. First, as with (((Dinah))), I do journalling here so I get to put onto 'paper' what's in my head and heart. Second is my willingness to practice giving "it" back.

Again, I hope all see that I am not arrogantly saying anything about anybody. I stand here with open hands outstretched. Take from me what you want and can.

Rod

 

Hello Rod, Nice to see you But....

Posted by Karen_kay on March 12, 2004, at 13:12:48

In reply to Therapy and the feelings conundrum, posted by 64Bowtie on March 12, 2004, at 12:29:34

I must say I have to disagree with your statement about therapists not building the levee to prevent the future flash floods. I can only speak from my own personal experience, but speak from that I shall.

I began therapy with a nasty SI problem, severe mood swings, angry outbursts directed towards others, fears to the point that I was terrified to leave my house or shower with my eyes closed, sleep without a light on, and even thoughts that my dog was going to kill me. Wow! I can't believe I just admitted that. And yes, I had problems even worse than this, but I preferred to think I was having a quarter-life crisis. (Oh, and problems with avoidance as well, can you tell?)... But, after almost a year of therapy (and a mood stabilizer that worked for me) I was able to understand why I had these fears. I stopped cutting almost directly after I started seeing my therapist and today have no urge at all to engage in that activity. I don't take any anxiety medication any longer, nor antipsychotic meds, unless I feel a bit "manic-y". Through realizing (and in a very short time I might add) and talking about situations in my life that caused my hidden anxiety, I was able to finally not only build a levee but also have a freakin barbecue in the dried up swamp.

I understand why you say that some catastrophes involving the therapist seem to be more trouble then they are worth, however, aren't they just lessons and situations that we honestly need to learn in order to heal old wounds? I agree that learning from each other and ourselves is avery important thing to do, but at some points in our own lives we just aren't able to take a situation and make a logic or rational decision on our own. Having the guidance of a trained professional sometimes makes all the difference in the world. It did in my case.

You know, just a few days ago I lost a disk that had a very lengthy proposal on it. It was due in a few hours and I could have called my prof and told her about the situation and had a week's extension. Instead of resorting to my old ways, I started from scratch and created a new proposal that was even better than the first. I didn't even become stressed out in the slightest. Tell me that isn't a sign of improvement and I'll kiss you :) (See, the old me would have said I'll smack you!! Change is in the air, baby!)

 

I think you agreed with what he said... Ľ Karen_kay

Posted by Racer on March 12, 2004, at 13:47:58

In reply to Hello Rod, Nice to see you But...., posted by Karen_kay on March 12, 2004, at 13:12:48

It might just be my reading of the post, but I took Rod's meaning to be that the therapist doesn't build the levee for you, just gives you the specs to build it yourself. It sounds as if you've done that -- and I envy you for that right now -- but it doesn't sound as if you're actually in disagreement with Rod's basic point.

Since I'm sticking my nose in here, I figure the least I can do is tell you something about how I see it, so that you can put anything I say in context. Sound fair ;-)

Everything involved in mental illness is complex, because it involves the physical and biochemical, the behavioral, and the experiencial. So, we may have a genetic predisposition to depression, for example, but it's only going to be manifested if we're exposed to triggering stresses that we can't process in an adaptive manner. So, our life circumstances, our physical/biochemical/genetic makeup, and our behavior in responding to stressors are all integral to the dis-ease we feel. (Yeah, I get into semantics. So whatcha gonna do? Sue me? Sure, you can have all my assets: sick cat, lame horse, and broken down car -- that's about the extent of it...) None of those can be addressed in a vacuum, they all have to be part of the solution. Does that make sense?

If you follow that line of thought, mental illness is a nonreductible phenomenon. All aspects need to be integrated into treatment. The therapist is there to provide a framework or structure, and advise us on specific strategies for change. The therapist is also there to provide support and reassurance while we make frightening changes for ourselves. The therapist, though, is not there to do any of it for us. The only part of a therapist's job that involves taking on responsibilities that properly belong to us is in that reassurance. Eventually, in a perfect outcome, we'll learn to reassure ourselves. But in the meantime, I want someone to be there on the sidelines, saying, "Rah rah sis boom bah! That's the stuff, baby! You're DOING it!"

Mind you, my beliefs on this are probably more complex than that sounds, but there's a nutshell view for you. Maybe I'll change professions, and become a well-medicated psychic: that sounds like I'm advocating a Happy Medium between what I understood you to be expressing and what I understood Rod to be saying.

OK, one last time: Man, today I really envy you on your progress. But I really envy that you've done so much of it for yourself, with the assistance of your therapist. Does that make sense? It's not just that I envy the progress you've made, it's envying your ability to do it for yourself with help. Does that make more sense? I hope so, and I hope you can read the sincerity with which I write this.

 

Well sheesh, if you say it like that..

Posted by Karen_kay on March 12, 2004, at 14:54:31

In reply to I think you agreed with what he said... Ľ Karen_kay, posted by Racer on March 12, 2004, at 13:47:58

then I guess I couldn't agree more. But with Rod and his somewhat nonexistent language I seem to become confused. Or perhaps I just like to argue with him? Hmmmm.. I'll use logic and reason to figure that one out...

But, I took his post to mean that the process of therapy was essentially causing more harm than good, as people were becoming too dependent, or some minor argument became a huge disturbance, etc. I guess perhaps I was wrong. There's a first time for everything, I suppose. :)

Racer, of course I'd see the sincerity in your post. How could I not? Thank you for that. There is one thing though that you said I found rather striking. You referred to therapy as sort of having a cheerleader on the sidelines. The funny thing is that Bubba was more challenging than supportive. In fact, I often complained about his lack of support. It just struck me for a second and maybe it's nothing or perhaps it's something, as we all need soemthing different to finally progress and make the changes we need. And of course, I'm not completely "done" yet either. But I think the fact that he challenged me far more than supported is a large factor in my own personal changes. He was able to say the things that I'd been avoiding and make me talk about the things that I didn't really want to.

But, back to you... Thank you again. I'm pleased you're envious :) Because, if you weren't then that means I'd still be stuck in my personal funk and that wasn't fun. And it wasn't really tough work, per se but it was facing reality. And that's something I don't like to do.

Therapy does give you the tools. You just have to build with them. That's the way it works. I always just thought that was a given. Doesn't everyone see it that way? I'm curious.. Do people here think that their therapist is going to "cure" them? I mean it just doesn't work that way. In the beginning, Bubba always used to correct me when I'd say "When you fix me." Soon I learned to say, "When I fix me with your help" and I meant it.

 

Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie

Posted by terrics on March 12, 2004, at 15:43:42

In reply to Therapy and the feelings conundrum, posted by 64Bowtie on March 12, 2004, at 12:29:34

Well it seems you have a healthy way of looking at things. We all see things differently though. so I'll take what I need...I think you have a little something for all, but I am not everyone else. thanks terrics

 

Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie

Posted by All Done on March 12, 2004, at 17:18:45

In reply to Therapy and the feelings conundrum, posted by 64Bowtie on March 12, 2004, at 12:29:34

Rod,

Iím not big on metaphors. My T once had us going in circles with this bubble metaphor. I about screamed before I told him I just couldnít do it anymore :), but Iíll give this my best shot. Hopefully, Iím not just confusing everything youíve said.

I prefer to think of a river instead of a swamp. For example, each year, the river near my office gets to a pretty low point. In order to get the river back to a reasonable level where families can enjoy the beach and boating, there has to be some rain. Most of the time, I donít enjoy the weather when itís raining, but in any event, itís necessary. I, for one, want to enjoy the river when I can. But somewhere along the line, I may have forgotten about my raincoat, lost my umbrella, and perhaps I never learned to use windshield wipers. My T is reminding about the coat, helping me find the umbrella, and teaching me about the wipers. Or maybe, heís even teaching me to sometimes just go out with no umbrella and enjoy the feel of every single drop of rain on my skin. And since I want to enjoy the beach and boating, I must endure some rain. The rain isnít going to stop and thereís no way either of us can stop it. (Not that I haven't begged him to on occasion :).) I just want every option open for me in deciding how to deal with it.

You said, ďWe say that we want the bad feelings to stop.Ē Iíve never told my T that I want the bad feelings to stop. In fact, the most productive few weeks Iíve felt Iíve had with him, I experienced great sadness and anger as well as happiness and elation. I want my T to teach me how to deal with my feelings and emotions as they occur because I donít think anyone can stop them (or build a levee) and I wouldnít even want that. Sometimes, my feelings seem to be few and far between, other times they happen all at once. Perhaps the later situation is what youíre referring to as the flash-flood.

Well, I see Iíve tangled a terrible metaphoric weave and now Iím just rambling. Iím not sure whether Iím agreeing or disagreeing with what you wrote, Rod. Sorry, I guess this is just me thinking out loud...

All Done

 

LOL!! Ľ Karen_kay

Posted by Racer on March 12, 2004, at 17:25:43

In reply to Well sheesh, if you say it like that.., posted by Karen_kay on March 12, 2004, at 14:54:31

Yeah, well, far be it from me to interfere with your pleasure in arguing with anyone! Personally, I find that to be very therapeutic at times....

And my view of cheerleading is not that far off from challenging. I guess it's colored by the fact that I don't give myself much slack, and do challenge myself a little more than is maybe healthy. I need someone to strike a balance between pushing me to adress scary things head on, and still reminding me that I don't have to be perfect in all things in all ways at all times. (Yet?)

My pdoc said something to me the other day, about 'that's not unusual for a perfectionist...' -- my kneejerk reaction was, "What the hell's his problem? I'm not a perfectionist -- I don't do anything perfectly!" So, I'm a *failed* perfectionist! LOL Now if only fixing it was so simple, eh? (Another example: we were talking about childrens books, and I said something about how there are often books from childhood that provide comfort and magic to adults. He immediately responded "The Little Prince!!" Just immediate and emphatic. Well, I've read The Little Prince in three languages, and it's never touched me. My initial response to that was, "There really is something wrong with me -- why can't I *get* it?" My revelation is that, it's OK not to share this seemingly universal response to the book. If it doesn't touch me, it doesn't. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with me, right?)

(Man, that sounds so healthy, doesn't it? But I'm still rereading The Little Prince to see if I can figure out what the fuss is all about...)

 

Re: I think you agreed with what he said...

Posted by DaisyM on March 12, 2004, at 19:36:15

In reply to I think you agreed with what he said... Ľ Karen_kay, posted by Racer on March 12, 2004, at 13:47:58

<<<But in the meantime, I want someone to be there on the sidelines, saying, "Rah rah sis boom bah! That's the stuff, baby! You're DOING it!"

One of my homework assignments was to write about how I feel about therapy. I wrote about a swimming pool and had my Therapist on the side, cheering me on. His take on it was, "I see you are still keeping me out of the pool, not letting me help you." So I guess therapy isn't just the Therapist giving you the tools, cheering you on and providing support while YOU do all the work. I think they are in it with us, modeling what needs to be done, cheering when we "do it right" and letting us borrow their strength when we need to. There have been times, during an emotional flood, that my Therapist offers to "hold the hope" --- so he is doing the work for me at that moment, being the dam so to speak.

I think it really, again, is the fit of the client and the Therapist and the needs in the moment. And those change all the time.

 

Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie

Posted by Dinah on March 12, 2004, at 20:01:41

In reply to Therapy and the feelings conundrum, posted by 64Bowtie on March 12, 2004, at 12:29:34

Oddly enough, therapy is sometimes designed to make us feel much worse. Those of us who walled off our feelings to live in the world of intellect and logic will feel very bad indeed when the long dormant feelings are reactivated.

But only by reactivating them, and learning to bear the pain and find out what is causing the pain and learning to move past the pain, can we truly feel joy. And wisdom.

When I lived by logic and reason, I was clever. But I wasn't wise. I could be happy and interested, but I couldn't be truly attached to others, truly alive, truly happy. I could feel misery, but not excrutiating pain.

When someone is living with part of themselves walled off, therapy will cause pain. And using logic and reason isn't the best answer for those people.

By which I'm saying that there are different reasons for therapy and different types of therapy that suit them.

My therapist coaxed and bullied me into feeling again. And bingo, the anxiety attacks were greatly decreased and the painful feelings were greatly increased. And that was therapeutic *for me*. Had I come to therapy with out of control feelings, my therapist would have done what you suggested.

Isn't life grand in its diversity?

 

Re: Clever-itis... Ľ Dinah

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 13, 2004, at 11:13:23

In reply to Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie, posted by Dinah on March 12, 2004, at 20:01:41

>>> When I lived by logic and reason, I was clever. But I wasn't wise. I could be happy and interested, but I couldn't be truly attached to others, truly alive, truly happy. I could feel misery, but not excrutiating pain.
>

(((Dinah))), how are doing???

<<<
Glad you brought this up. Most of us are tricked by our eyesight, until we decide not to be. When I was living "through" my feelings, a normal practice in childhood but significantly destructive in my adulthood, my eyesight was biased toward seeing what fealt OK as being good and whatever fealt bad was to be avoided. I was even certain that I was using logic. Wrongo!

I now know the difference between problem solving with feelings and problem solving with logic. Sad that I was an honor math student in a private high school and still didn't get it!!! But I was a problem solving star, and very clever to boot. Cleverness is more easily understood when seen as problem solving with feelings.

Since I had layer after layer of dysfunction from both parent families, I couldn't see any differences that I needed to see. There was way toooo much "swamp" in my way. Cleverness helped me lie and otherwise avoid punishment. I still decided to lie even though it didn't feel like I was wrong in the first place, alot! Now that was clever decision making.

You say you are not cutting anymore. The decision to cut or not to cut was not a decision involving any logic. It was a "feeling decision". How did it work out to cut? Sometimes feeling decisions don't work out, no matter how clever we feel we are.

(((Dinah))), I am four-square standing side-by-side with you against the storm. So please let me know if I irritate.

Rod

 

Re:Re:Thank y'alls... I'm working on responses

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 13, 2004, at 11:16:03

In reply to Re: Clever-itis... Ľ Dinah, posted by 64Bowtie on March 13, 2004, at 11:13:23

Y'alls humble me!!! I am so grateful for this place to share.

Rod

 

Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie

Posted by Dinah on March 13, 2004, at 12:35:55

In reply to Therapy and the feelings conundrum, posted by 64Bowtie on March 12, 2004, at 12:29:34

Sorry, Rod, my post was intended to respond to what I thought you said. But reading your reply, I'm no longer sure that I interpreted your post correctly. Or vice versa. Or something.

So, never mind.

 

Re: Hello Rod, Nice to see you But.... Ľ Karen_kay

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 14, 2004, at 0:13:59

In reply to Hello Rod, Nice to see you But...., posted by Karen_kay on March 12, 2004, at 13:12:48

<<<Thanks for answering, and good to see you here, toooo....

>>> I must say I have to disagree with your statement about therapists not building the levee to prevent the future flash floods. I can only speak from my own personal experience, but speak from that I shall.
>

<<<None of this is about a therapist doing any recovery for the client. Building the levee would be doing the work for the client. I suggest that the therapist usually can encourage the open discussion of what's in the "swamp" and how to drain it. We are most effective when we build the levee....

Rod

 

Thanks for the good words (nm) Ľ Racer

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 14, 2004, at 0:15:06

In reply to I think you agreed with what he said... Ľ Karen_kay, posted by Racer on March 12, 2004, at 13:47:58

 

Thanks for your support (nm) Ľ terrics

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 14, 2004, at 0:16:18

In reply to Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie, posted by terrics on March 12, 2004, at 15:43:42

 

Re:Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ All Done

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 14, 2004, at 0:27:32

In reply to Re: Therapy and the feelings conundrum Ľ 64Bowtie, posted by All Done on March 12, 2004, at 17:18:45

<<<Thanks for answering.

>>>In fact, the most productive few weeks Iíve felt Iíve had with him, I experienced great sadness and anger as well as happiness and elation.
>

<<<None of those seem like normal "crumbyness type feelings" which I equate with "bad feelings". Those four feelings are not what you normally call "bad feelings" are they? If so, I see your point. If not, please think about what I'm trying to point out: most clients go to therapists because they feel bad toooo often and want it to stop (without hurting themselves).

Needless to say, thanks for responding....

Rod

 

Thanx for the great response (nm) Ľ DaisyM

Posted by 64Bowtie on March 14, 2004, at 0:34:53

In reply to Re: I think you agreed with what he said..., posted by DaisyM on March 12, 2004, at 19:36:15


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