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Re: General thoughts on the subject of responsibility

Posted by susan47 on August 30, 2008, at 17:27:21

In reply to General thoughts on the subject of responsibility » rskontos, posted by seldomseen on August 30, 2008, at 11:36:01

> " I don't think in any case the therapee is to blame. You are acting like you are wholly to blame for your therapy going south. As the professional I think your T needed to know when to stop things from getting out of hand. He needed to say whoa nelly not you."
> Let me first emphasize that what follows is my thoughts only on this paragraph and do not relate to any one particular case. Everyone's therapy is specific to them. I also do not think my thoughts apply at all to inpatient situations or to children.
> What sparked my thinking was the notion that the therapee is freed from responsibility when therapy goes bad. I'm not sure I agree with that and would also add that I'm not sure we should think that way at all.
> I think therapy is very much a two way street. Both parties are responsible for the content and their responses both in and out of the therapeutic space. I think therapy is a place where we may freely talk about how we feel and divest ourselves of some horrible stuff, but, as adults, we are very much in charge of our reactions. While we cant help the way we feel (obviously), we can and should be responsible for those feelings, learn from them and develop the skills to handle them. That is our work in therapy and the therapist, I think, should be considered a coach, and not the boss of our recovery.
> When something bad does happen, we owe it to ourselves to examine our part of it. To really look at and sort out what our contribution really was. Whether it was staying in the situation too long, not being open to warning signs, or not controlling our own behaviour. If we simply say well it was the therapist then I think this does 2 very damaging things. (1) It keeps us from identifying problems in the way we handle things, thus impairing change and (2) I think it locks us into the perpetual victimhood that some of us are all too familiar with. As adults we are no longer in that powerless place of childhood. We can effect change and direct the course of our own life, and that includes our therapy. Think of how empowering it would be to realize the no one is in charge of my behaviour or can even affect it but me! Without that internal locus of control, quite often we give ourselves permission (consciously or otherwise) to act quite badly.

I do have that inner voice that tells me whoa, hold on, what are you doing.... and I consciously took marihuana to shut it up. Because somewhere along the line, very early on in the relationship, I had given myself permission (?) to do that, to shut the voice up, to be as crazy as I had to be in order to exorcise the demon that was myself .. and that demon, I believe, is none other than the illicit love I felt for my own father. He was a demon who squashed me my whole life, who still does, who I feel responsible for, who I feel I created, by being some ugly awful monster. So transference? You bet. And somehow I have to be responsible for that, too. I do.
> Im also convinced, and this is new thing for me, that the notion of blame is pretty outdated. It connotes all kinds of negative things and does nothing to fix the problem, whether it be in therapy or anywhere else. The focus should be the problem, what led to it, how to fix it, and how to prevent it from happening again.

And in all parties verbally and fully taking responsibility in their own part for what went wrong, in bad therapy. And this is something we don't have, yet. There is no method or system for this, and it holds up healing. Damn it. Why does NOBODY LISTEN? It's as if I were invisible, and the more invisible I feel, the more rage I want to express.
> Now, having said all of this, I will also say that there are some lousy lousy professionals out there and its hard to spot the good ones from the bad ones sometimes. There are also times when, upon examination, we are not responsible for something happening at all. But everything merits that examination nonetheless.

You betcha.
> Seldom.




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