Psycho-Babble Psychology | about psychological treatments | Framed
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Posted by Dinah on November 6, 2007, at 13:03:52

It's not that I mind being pragmatic. Isn't that one of the DBT skills? Learning to be effective in relationships?

But sometimes I worry that my pragmatism is too cold blooded. I don't *think* I manipulate... And my therapist says I don't manipulate... But there's no doubt that I consider the effects of my behavior.

I'm sure those of you who know me have seen it. I just am enormously pragmatic in my relationships.

I think it came up in therapy because I felt like I was talking in a flat monotone, and that that was putting my therapist to sleep. So I asked for his help with my monotone speech. He was ok with that part, but he was adamant that it wasn't my job to worry about his staying awake. It festered between sessions, and I concluded that it might not be my job in a "Steven Levenkron as he describes himself" case study where the therapist is always perfect. But in the real world it kind of is.

My take on it is this.

The sacred therapy space is created by two people engaging and joining their energies to form a bubble of special energy. While it's ok that one person or another puts more energy into it in any given week, it works at its best when both people put their energy into sustaining it. And it can't be created by only one person, because if it could, we wouldn't need therapy at all.

If he's not putting energy into the encounter at all, I'll likely mention that he doesn't seem present. And vice versa. But when, as is bound to happen in long term twice a week therapy, he doesn't put a lot of energy in, my reaction isn't to sit and be angry with him, or wait passively for him to conjure engagement, or to think that he *should* be more engaged. My reaction is more likely to try to elicit engagement. By not being monotone, or by coaxing a response, or in some manner considering it my job to try to obtain what I'm looking for in the relationship.

So yes, it is his job to come to our sessions engaged and with energy to put into creating the therapeutic space. As it is my job to do the same. But it's not "not my job" to try to elicit that if he doesn't for some reason offer it. That to be pragmatic, his level of engagement will vary over many sessions in many years, and that my behavior can and does have an effect on his level of engagement.

And to be honest, it matters more to me than it does to him. Not because he doesn't want to be a good therapist, but because my idea of a good therapy encounter is a bit demanding.

So I'm again left wondering at my pragmatic nature. Is it sensible or is it cold? Or manipulative...

I do take into account the needs of others as well as my own needs. And I'm never trying to achieve anything other than what I'm openly trying to achieve. Nor do I try to hide what I'm doing. I just tailor my response.




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Psycho-Babble Psychology | Framed

poster:Dinah thread:793593