Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 905944

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Using symbolism during sessions long

Posted by Daisym on July 10, 2009, at 0:47:38

I want to write about using symbolism in a session. Doing something concrete as a symbol for something else appeals to me but it also makes my practical side cringe a little. I guess I feel a little foolish, that I need "parlor tricks" or something.

But today my therapist had me work with him symbolically and I was really surprised at how powerful it all felt.

I've been struggling a lot with worry about being able to turn men into sexual monsters. I think lots of us who experienced csa struggle with the guilt of it all - the big question of "why?" and we reflect on what our part in it was. And I think the younger you were when it happened, the more mixed up you are about all of this. For me, I feel like I did something "bad" or wanted something I should never have wanted. I wonder about giving off signals - and then I wonder if every man who touches me is going to eventually get angry and turn sex into a some kind of domination and weapon. We've worked on this a lot but it still gets really big sometimes.

Like right now. I had another memory "pop" back - and I'm even younger. So it is pretty devastating to be losing more and more of my good dad. So I have to wonder, "what happened?" What did *I* do that turned him? In my grief, I wrote a letter (did not mail it) to my dad apologizing for whatever part I had in giving off the wrong signals and trying to explain how confused I am about all the abuse and the reasons why. It was just one page.

I told my therapist about it yesterday, in the midst of a melt down. He asked me why I wrote it and what I hoped to get from being the one to apologize. I want to fix it, of course! So he asked me if I would be OK with bringing the letter in and reading it together, so he could understand what I'm apologizing for. I told him I that while I wrote it, I wasn't ready to mail it. I was still in conflict with myself around that. He nodded and said he didn't think mailing it was a good idea because he'd rather we ripped it up. That was kind of scary.

So I took it in today. First we talked about how I always feel like I make mountains out of mole hills and then we talked about the need to take control by making it your own fault. Because you can change yourself, not someone else. And if I can understand it, maybe I can keep it from happening again.

So I read it. And there were things in it I didn't remember writing. Lines that were angry, not apologetic. More conflict. And then my therapist asked me if I could rip up the letter with him. He had a copy, I had a copy. Rip it up and not apologize - because he was adamant that there was nothing to apologize for. He wanted me to begin to let go of the guilt - "just rip up the letter Daisy, it is OK to do this." So we did. And I started to cry - over what? Stupid letter, horribly written and so conflicted. So it was best to get rid of it. But the more pieces we made, the harder I cried. And then we had this whole pile of pieces. He kept saying, "It is OK that we are doing this, he can't hurt you and you've done nothing wrong." It was so powerful to just rip all that paper. And when I stopped, he'd rip again. He said he was taking the pile home and burning it. My homework was to go home and delete the file from the electronic journal. (I haven't done that yet.)

So...who knew doing something symbolic like that would feel so powerful and scary and important? It was a different kind of session - not just talking - but as hard as it was, it was also connecting too. He said, "if it gets hard this weekend, you call me." Not the usual "you know you can call me' but more protective, but not in a bad way. Do I sound confused? It was an exhausting session.

I just wanted to share and I'd love to hear other stories about using symbolism during sessions.

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long

Posted by Tabitha on July 10, 2009, at 2:00:11

In reply to Using symbolism during sessions long, posted by Daisym on July 10, 2009, at 0:47:38

Good post DaisyM. Sometimes actions bring up feelings in a way talking never does. I'm a big believer in rituals.

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long

Posted by annierose on July 10, 2009, at 21:12:57

In reply to Using symbolism during sessions long, posted by Daisym on July 10, 2009, at 0:47:38

What a difficult and important and wonderful session. I'm glad you trusted your therapist to help you rip up the letter. You never need to apologize to your dad - NEVER. HE (your T) takes such good and special care of you.

I hope you trust yourself to delete the computer file too. And to reach out for him if you need to this weekend.

I've talked in symbolic terms with my therapist, but it doesn't compare to what happened in your session.

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Daisym

Posted by muffled on July 10, 2009, at 23:56:12

In reply to Using symbolism during sessions long, posted by Daisym on July 10, 2009, at 0:47:38

Daisy, does your t do much parts work w/you? I know thats a REALLY broad term.
But sometimes I think that symbolism is good, cuz parts of self that maybe don't understand other things as well, understand the symbolism, on some level anyways....even if they don't really understand, they might be pleased that someone has made an effort for them.
Symbolism kinda scares me, lol, everything scares some friggin part of me! But I shy away from that. But I have heard good things bout it from others.
Guess thats why there are so many symbol type stuff in our world.
Take care.
Bye.
M

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Tabitha

Posted by Daisym on July 11, 2009, at 18:16:37

In reply to Re: Using symbolism during sessions long, posted by Tabitha on July 10, 2009, at 2:00:11

Thanks for saying that Tabitha but clearly the post was too long, as usual. I think that's why I've stopped posting much, it is too hard to get through all my stuff to get to my point. I'm working on it though!

I think rituals are important to and markers of time. I guess that is why I'm always startled when therapists do not understand the meaning of gifts and they draw these hard line, zero-tolerance policies.

I hope things have settle down for you this weekend.

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long annierose

Posted by Daisym on July 11, 2009, at 18:20:24

In reply to Re: Using symbolism during sessions long, posted by annierose on July 10, 2009, at 21:12:57

It's funny - I think I want to talk about this in group but I'm worried I'll end up having to defend my therapist - sometimes the group gets funny about him being a guy and his willingness to be available during sessions. I'm working on just letting it be what I need it to be and never-mind what anyone else thinks. It is hard though.

I guess we all use symbolism if we consider that words often have more than one meaning. Annie Rogers writes about this a lot.

Thanks for the support.

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long muffled

Posted by Daisym on July 11, 2009, at 18:23:53

In reply to Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Daisym, posted by muffled on July 10, 2009, at 23:56:12

Hi Muffy,

I think I'm scared of lots of things too - mostly about losing complete control. I told my therapist last week that sometimes I want to hide between the mattresses - not under the bed but between the padded parts so I could just go nuts and noone would hear me.

We do lots of work with different parts and pieces. Sometimes I tolerate it better than others. After so much time, he is quick to recognize when some kind of change has taken place. It isn't always easy to talk from these states though - it is scary and I feel stupid.

Thanks for the reply. I hope you are doing well.

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Daisym

Posted by sunnydays on July 12, 2009, at 9:16:39

In reply to Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Tabitha, posted by Daisym on July 11, 2009, at 18:16:37

We've never done anything that compares to that - frankly, my T is forgetful sometimes and he has suggested very symbolic things before but we never seem to do them - maybe he's waiting for me to take the initiative? He should know by now that that rarely happens with those sorts of things...

Please don't think that your posts are too long -- I love them so much because they're so detailed. I was on vacation the past week so I'm just catching up.

sunnydays

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long sunnydays

Posted by Daisym on July 13, 2009, at 23:57:14

In reply to Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Daisym, posted by sunnydays on July 12, 2009, at 9:16:39

Thanks Sunny, I think I'm still fairly insecure around my writing.

We talked about that session today and about how mixed the feelings are. I think my therapist wanted to make sure he hadn't pushed me too hard and I wanted to make sure he didn't think I was stupid.

I think you should take initiative where and when you can. But it is super hard to follow through on. I sometimes think that Therapist err on the side of non-demanding - I think when we have some pressure, we actually move ourselves to take action better.

k

 

Re: Using symbolism during sessions long Daisym

Posted by antigua3 on July 14, 2009, at 8:14:16

In reply to Re: Using symbolism during sessions long sunnydays, posted by Daisym on July 13, 2009, at 23:57:14

What do you mean? You are a great writer. We can all see that very clearly and it's something good you need to accept about yourself! :)

I'm glad the symbolic gesture helped you so much. All I have to compare it to is going out with that bat and beating it against a fence, pretending it was my father, and expressing how angry I was at him. Too bad it didn't stick. I still have trouble with the anger.

My pdoc and T both have copies of a letter I wrote to my father. They've never even really talked about. Maybe we should burn it, or maybe I just need to do that. As a writer, I find an unexpressed response to be very invalidating...

Take care, and I'm sorry about the new memories. I know how painful they can be,
antigua


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