Psycho-Babble Psychology | about psychological treatments | Framed
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To read or not to read

Posted by vwoolf on September 26, 2004, at 12:02:33

I’ve been having a quarrel with my T about books, and wondered what your take is on the question.

I read a lot, and since I started therapy have been consuming piles of books on Psychology and Psychotherapy - mostly from a Jungian perspective because I am a member of the local Jung library. I know that many of you also spend a lot of money and time reading theoretical books about therapy - the list of recommended books following Dinah’s post is full of titles of books I have read.

My therapist thinks this reading is not helpful. She says that as an incest survivor it is helpful for me to be reading books by other survivors but not books written for professional psychologists. She says I should not be trying to understand what is happening to me in therapy, but should just be allowing myself to feel. In particular around the issue of transference, she says that the idea is not to understand but to allow it to happen to you.

I can see her point, I suppose. Without the interference of knowing what is supposed to happen, my feelings would be much more powerful and therapy can be more effective. That it is better to come to therapy fresh, without getting mixed up with other people's ideas.

It seems to me she is missing what I am trying to do. I don’t think therapy can be effective when the fear and threat of not knowing are too great.. Transference for example can be overwhelming. I guess it helps the Therapist to know what is happening to me. However I was quite convinced I was going crazy until I began to make some sense out of the transference - with quite a lot of help from friends here at Babble. I felt really suicidal until then and might well have carried out my suicidal ideas. I feel quite furious with her that she was not prepared to help me move through it by giving me some understanding, that she was prepared to sit there and watch me really suffer. Like a marionette dancing on strings I couldn’t see. It feels as if there is a huge power differential in this relationship, and that she is reluctant for me to take any control at all. To me knowing and understanding help me in some small way to hang on to my sanity.

What do you think? To read or not to read?




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