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Therapy increasing shame?

Posted by tabitha on August 8, 2004, at 14:47:56

I think I realized why I'm going downhill lately. What's happening is I get upset by the group sessions. I end up hurt, and angry at either group members or my therapist or both. Then I go into individual, and she convinces me that my anger at them isn't justified, that it's my problem, that I'm not seeing clearly, I'm not taking responsibility for my part, etc. She points out how it must feel from their perspective, looking at me.

Then my anger switches into shame. So I go in angry at what they did, then I come out ashamed of what I did, and ashamed of what I felt. Then I have this big burden of shame, and it's driving me into patterns of thinking and behavior that I thought I had left behind years ago.

In all the years with this therapist, I sometimes come out of the sessions more upset, because we've discussed painful stuff, but I've never come out feeling ashamed. She used to reliably lift my shame for me.

If I tell her this, I know she'll tell me I'm misinterpreting what she's said, and she's not trying to shame me. I know she's not trying to shame me. I don't know exactly what she *is* trying to do. It kinda seems to me that some unjustified anger might be healthier for me than a pile of self-blame and shame.

Last week she said she can't support my pathology. Well I've never had her talk about me in those terms. Pathology. Man, that's de-humanizing. And she somehow brought up that I'd talked in the group about feeling suicidal, and how bad that must have been for the others to hear. Well they were apparently fine with it, so I don't know where this is coming from. But I felt soooo ashamed, like I'd done something awful, for both feeling suicidal, and for telling people about it. That in turn brought up memories of suicidal stuff from years ago, and a whole load of shame about that, and I started actually feeling suicidal again, from the shame.

She keeps telling me it's chemical, that I'm having such a bad experience with the group. But I'm pretty much at the same level I've been at for years. Kinda low end of acceptable. I just don't know why therapy has gone bad like this. I've never had the experience of the therapy increasing shame, or seemingly creating it. I really don't know how to cope.




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