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Re: Therapy increasing shame? tabitha

Posted by Racer on August 9, 2004, at 18:20:27

In reply to Therapy increasing shame?, posted by tabitha on August 8, 2004, at 14:47:56

Dear Tabitha -- and make no mistake, you are very dear to me and to many others here.

As usual, I don't really want to tell you what I think should happen now, because it's only my view and -- while I think you're absolutely strong enough and healthy enough that you wouldn't let someone else's opinion influence you -- I just worry about that sort of thing anyway. My own issues coming up.

I agree with Dinah all the way, and think that, as usual, she's given you the best advice in the world. And, also as usual, I'm gonna add a few words, too.

First of all, you really don't come across here as any sort of a well of pathology. Do check with someone you trust, if you can, for a reality check. If what we see here is anything like an accurate portrayal of you, then the distortion is not on your side. (Just because I know that you care about this therapist, I'm also going to stick up for her here: it's very possible that she's just so excited about the possibilities of CBT that she's just in a phase of overdoing it right now. It can happen to any professional, but that it's natural doesn't mean that it's any less damaging for the client -- especially in psychotherapy.) (Oh, and you deserve better than to be damaged by any professional's enthusiasms. Not "you" as in "one", either. You, Tabitha, deserve better than that.)

Also, if you feel strong enough to do it, you might also get a feeling of empowerment by taking notes on her "reframing" or her other criticisms of you, and then applying the techniques you've learned through that process to them. If you're honest with yourself at every step of the process, it might help ease your shame.

Now for the personal note you knew was coming. You know that I quit The Therapist From The Black Lagoon, after really agonizing on it. Mind you, I know that she was quite short term, but it was still agony. So was deciding to quit The Intern From The Planet Clueless, for that matter. Those two experiences together did not go on nearly as long as your group experience has, and yet I'm still angry -- and ashamed. I'm still in worse shape than when I started with TTFTBL. And I've gotten outside reality checks on that statement, too. My husband has brought it up -- he's angry, too, and his support has really helped. And I've had a professional reality check, too, from our marriage counselor, who brought up a few times that something is really wrong, because I have gotten so much worse since she started working with us in November of last year. (Mind you, our marriage has gotten *much* better in that time, so I trust the MC's judgement on that.) The point I'm trying to make is that this sort of problem really can be damaging, and the whole idea is for you to *get better* -- which you have, although it's mostly showing up in negative ways, like recognizing that you're moving from anger to shame in your sessions and not because you should be ashamed. Honestly, Tabitha, the best thing my new therapist said to me the first session was that she saw the goal as improved mental health, *not* identification of specific pathologies.

You've made progress, Tabitha. Maybe this is just as far as you can go with this therapist? It doesn't mean that the progress you made with her isn't real, and it doesn't mean that you're being disloyal to her.

Just occurred to me: have you gone back over your older posts lately? Sometimes it helps me to read some of my old posts to remind myself of how far I've come.

I really hope you resolve this soon. It worries me to see you in such pain.


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