Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 453772

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A book worth reading

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 20:11:23

My analyst recently recommended to me ""Trauma and Recovery" "by Judith Herman, Written in 1997, it gives an excellent overview of how csa has been thought of during the last 150 years. The reality of it has apparently been understood, and then quickly forgotten, at least three times during that period, because of the painfulness of the topic, and the damage it does to everyone's sense of hope about life.

Two parts were especially helpful to me. The first was how treatment proceeds- beginning with the establishment of a basic sense of safety, and at least a partial attachment to the therapist. The second stage involves remembering and mourning, and the final stage regaining a sense of agency and competence as one moves out more into life again. The author emphasized that these processes overlap, and are revisited many times. There was also a lot of emphasis of how long this process usually takes- a number of years- perhaps even many years- depending on the complexity and length of the trauma.

There was a very interesting section on the kinds of "traumatic transferences" people tend to develop when they have histories of severe abuse, and the very complicated counter-transferences which occur in the therapists.

The final really interesting thing was that this author thinks there is basically ONE diagnosis in people with csa- Complex PTSD. She thinks that "borderline PD" should be relegated to the scrapheap, as "hysteria" was before it.

This is the first time in two years of therapy that my analyst recommended a book to me: it helped me understand the kind of transference reactions I have been having, so I thought I'd pass the title along to all the Babblers who are struggling with the same thing that I am.

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by namaste on February 5, 2005, at 20:29:27

In reply to A book worth reading, posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 20:11:23

Thank you for the book. from your post i think we are both in a similiar recovery. peace

 

Re: A book worth reading Pfinstegg

Posted by daisym on February 5, 2005, at 20:51:56

In reply to A book worth reading, posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 20:11:23

Where did you find the book? I've been looking for it. I have read a number of articles by her and her husband.

Last time I checked, Amazon was out. I guess I'll go check again.
Thanks
Daisy

 

Re: A book worth reading daisym

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 21:30:21

In reply to Re: A book worth reading Pfinstegg, posted by daisym on February 5, 2005, at 20:51:56

I found it in an independent bookstore. I think you would like it.

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by namaste on February 5, 2005, at 22:25:56

In reply to A book worth reading, posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 20:11:23

Pfinstegg can you get a little into what the book said about the t transference and counter t?

 

Re: A book worth reading namaste

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 6, 2005, at 1:49:34

In reply to Re: A book worth reading, posted by namaste on February 5, 2005, at 22:25:56

About transference, the author mentioned how intense and extreme all the forms of it are. When clients have an idealizing transference, they HAVE to feel that the therapist is *perfect*, because that's what they feel they must have to survive and heal. But, inevitably, he/she isn't perfect; this leads to rage and despair, and a feeling that nothing can be done which will ever help. A particular form of transference that is seen in csa is a "traumatic transference", in which the therapist and the abuser become confused in the client's younger mind, leading to distrustfulness and outright fear reactions even to the steadiest and most empathic therapists. Over time, this can become a huge stress for them- they can feeldefeated despite their best efforts.

From the therapist's point of view, there is constant, rapid switching from love, idealization, utter dependence to rage, fearfulness and suspicion. She points out that the stress of these reactions to the therapist, plus the difficult commitment to listen to all the details of what is a horrible crime, can cause the therapist to become demoralized and "deskilled". Then he may resort to feeling that he needs to rescue his client- which he cannot do. She advises that, just as the client cannot recover alone from abuse, and needs an empathic therapist, the therapist needs a support system of his own, involving colleagues and supervisors. He needs to keep faith in the power of what he does the very best- listening empathically. She cautions that therapists who run over time, take lots of evening and weekend or vacation phone calls may be inviting burn-out in themselves, and may also be doing the client a disfavor- reinforcing her idea that she is helpless to take care of herself, when one of the goals of therapy is to restore her sense of faith and initiative in herself.
Well, that's about all I can remember at the moment! I have very intense transference feelings of every possible kind, and it was reassuring to me to read that it's expected in PTSD-csa. I think recommending the book was his way of letting me know that he knows he can handle it, and believes I can handle my part, too. It reinforced my confidence that we do have a strong therapeutic alliance, which is really helping me, despite all the daily storms I have!

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by namaste on February 6, 2005, at 12:35:12

In reply to Re: A book worth reading namaste, posted by Pfinstegg on February 6, 2005, at 1:49:34

Pfinstegg Wow! thank you so much for your time in relating what the book said as regards transference. I too have big transference issues. A couple of sessions ago after 21/2 years My T had a countertransference reaction of impatience at me resulting in her annoyance. T apologized, we have a very strong Therapeutic alliance and she is an excellent T. I still feel wounded somehow but trying to let it go as you wrote have to realize Ts aren't perfect.Interesting reading.Helps to know i am not the only one to have storms in therapy.And we move on maybe stronger.

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by namaste on February 6, 2005, at 19:27:00

In reply to A book worth reading, posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 20:11:23

I ordered the book from Amazon and it ships in 24 hours no problem.

 

Re: A book worth reading namaste

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 6, 2005, at 19:41:29

In reply to Re: A book worth reading, posted by namaste on February 6, 2005, at 19:27:00

Will you let us know what you think of it?

xxx, pfinstegg

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by namaste on February 6, 2005, at 22:52:23

In reply to Re: A book worth reading namaste, posted by Pfinstegg on February 6, 2005, at 19:41:29

definitely.May you all be free.

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by Susan47 on February 9, 2005, at 11:16:29

In reply to Re: A book worth reading namaste, posted by Pfinstegg on February 6, 2005, at 1:49:34

Pfinstegg, I just picked up on this thread and feel like a complete idiot for not knowing what I was doing to my therapist. I don't think I have csa, but everything else is there. I remember the look on his face when I was talking to him at times he reflected a lot of worry.
They say a person doesn't remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel.
If a client is making the therapist feel like a failure, no wonder I got the feeling he didn't like me. I don't know what type of support system my therapist had, I suspect he tries to go it alone. I'll have to try and get a copy of the book for myself.

 

Re: A book worth reading

Posted by Susan47 on February 9, 2005, at 11:21:22

In reply to Re: A book worth reading, posted by namaste on February 6, 2005, at 22:52:23

Yes, namaste, I have two books coming from Amazon now, and if you think this one is worthy, I'll order it for myself. Gosh, I wish I'd known I wish I'd known. I beat up on myself so much for being afraid of this gentle, kind soul who only wanted to help me. And being hard on him, not wanting to but wearing him ragged and not wanting to, not wanting to at all. I wanted to be loved, I wanted to be alive, I wanted to feel like life was worth living. Oh god now I'm crying again. I'm too old to be crying like this.

 

Re: A book worth reading Pfinstegg

Posted by daisym on February 11, 2005, at 18:19:56

In reply to A book worth reading, posted by Pfinstegg on February 5, 2005, at 20:11:23

Ok, I read the book. Our local book store had it in the University section...

It made me think about so much more than the sexual parts, like how often I established hiding places as part of my play -- no matter where we moved or how old I was. The earliest I can remember is when I was about 5, I had an alcove in the way back of my closet. I use to sit in there and do "lite-brite." It makes me wonder if the abuse didn't start earlier than I remember. But, this could definitely have been a response to "disciplining" --

It also validated for me the body memories that are so creepy.

I want to reread it again, more slowly. I felt like I needed to get through it the first time, holding my breath, seeing myself, waiting for the rescue to happen. I missed the miracle phrase that makes this all better. *sigh*

Thanks for the recommendation.

 

Re: A book worth reading daisym

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 11, 2005, at 19:02:07

In reply to Re: A book worth reading Pfinstegg, posted by daisym on February 11, 2005, at 18:19:56

I'm glad you read it. I got the message that there is a lot of hope if we just hang in there through the three phases, but this may have been in part from talking about the book with my T.

I'm wondering something. I think you said that the known abuse you suffered took place at around age 12-13. I guess this would be old enough for at least some of the memory of it to be available to you in your explicit memory. I'm getting the impression that, as you have worked with your T, more memories of details came from your unconscious, implicit memory. Is that right?

Mine took place at ages 6-7. It was completely unconscious until I began to allow myself to free-associate in analysis. Gradually, more and more details are coming to my mind, but it still is not exactly the "oh, I remember that" type of memory. It is largely non-verbal, implicit memory, but I know it is real, Using the art therapy, without any censoring, has been a big help in uncovering it. This is just a long way of getting around to the thought that you may well have been abused earlier, also. Did it happen to your sisters at younger ages? Since your parents are still alive, can you ask them non-threatening questions? (saying you are just interested in knowing the kind of child you were), I'd want to ask them to describe how I was at 3,6.9 etc.in terms of personality. Did you change from outgoing to reserved ever? What were the things they believed were most important when disciplining you? How, and how often, did they do it? Did you ever "act out"= be naughty? Did you ever have years when you were frightened at school and did not want to be with your friends? Did you have times when you lost interest in your studies? For you, do you feel you have any unusual gaps in your memory- that's supposed to be a big red flag for abuse. I bet you could find out a lot without cornering or threatening them. I would love to make a time line of my childhood. I can do it easily from 1-5, but then a blank cloud descends over everything.Maybe you'll be able to.

I don't know what you think of this. I'd give so much if my parents were still alive, as I would really like to fill in my huge gaps!

 

Long answer - triggers Pfinstegg

Posted by daisym on February 11, 2005, at 20:48:57

In reply to Re: A book worth reading daisym, posted by Pfinstegg on February 11, 2005, at 19:02:07

>>>I have been talking with my therapist about this book too -- he notes the double edge sword of seeing that it takes a long time and that it is OK that it takes a long time. We talked about intellectualizing all of this (again) and the realization that no matter how well you might understand it, you still have to go through the feelings in order to heal. What we talked about most was my increased understanding of emotional abandonment. That during the abuse, especially the sexual stuff, no one heard my silent cries and I was utterly and completely alone. This is helping me to understand why I'm terrified of him leaving me, even when reality indicates that he isn't going anywhere. I learned long ago that a person could physically be around and yet still you were alone.

****Lots of questions -- I'll try to answer them.

<<<I'm wondering something. I think you said that the known abuse you suffered took place at around age 12-13. I guess this would be old enough for at least some of the memory of it to be available to you in your explicit memory. I'm getting the impression that, as you have worked with your T, more memories of details came from your unconscious, implicit memory. Is that right?

<<<Mine took place at ages 6-7. It was completely unconscious until I began to allow myself to free-associate in analysis. Gradually, more and more details are coming to my mind, but it still is not exactly the "oh, I remember that" type of memory. It is largely non-verbal, implicit memory, but I know it is real, Using the art therapy, without any censoring, has been a big help in uncovering it. This is just a long way of getting around to the thought that you may well have been abused earlier, also.

****This is correct. I've always "known" I was touched, beginning around age 11. I never allowed myself to think about it much, I told myself I was one of those people who wasn't effected by it. When I entered therapy, I had no intention of talking about it, I didn't think it was relevant to my "mid-life crisis" or sadness around my husband's illnesses. Surprisingly, 6 months into therapy, I told him. I think the younger parts of me felt safer and safer and began to emerge as emotional ghosts, so I felt haunted all the time by an unnamed sadness and restlessness. But first I needed to trust him and to develop a vocabulary for what I was feeling. I couldn't process it intellectually without that. As we worked on this stuff, little daisy emerged during a session in full force. She "told" me lots of stuff, especially while journalling. So I worked out the timelines by doing the house walking exercise we've talked about. The sexual abuse started when I was 7 and continued probably until I was 15. I don't have all the memories worked out about the ending of it all yet, those are still very cloudy. What I know was happening earlier than 7 was that I lived in a volatile household. Dad had a temper and exploded over little and big things. And he hit. So perhaps my hiding was tied to the fear of spankings. I have a clear memory of being 6 and waking up in the middle of the night and being terrified to go get my mother but I was sick. I threw up in the corner of my room, cleaned it up, hide my pjs under the bed and got rid of them the next day. And I want to instantly add here that we looked like a perfectly normal middle class family in the suburbs - dad had a PhD, mom was an accountant -- they drank at night, like most other folks of this era, but not excessively that I remember. It was the temper in the background that made it tense all the time.

<<<Did it happen to your sisters at younger ages?
***My sister said it happened to her between 7 - 12 but all she remembers is being fondled. She spent three years in therapy after rehab so if she was going to remember more, she probably would have by now.

<<<Since your parents are still alive, can you ask them non-threatening questions? (saying you are just interested in knowing the kind of child you were), I'd want to ask them to describe how I was at 3,6.9 etc.in terms of personality. Did you change from outgoing to reserved ever? What were the things they believed were most important when disciplining you? How, and how often, did they do it? Did you ever "act out"= be naughty? Did you ever have years when you were frightened at school and did not want to be with your friends? Did you have times when you lost interest in your studies?
***I've been asking my mom stuff in round about ways. I want to know more about how much they drank and about how she dealt with my dad's temper. She tells me she worked a lot (sound familiar?) I was an extremely shy child, I would bury myself in a book and stay lost for hours at a time. When I was little I wrote poetry, beginning at age 5. I wish I had saved some. My whole life I wanted to be a writer because writers got to work alone. I was very close to my siblings, but we moved ever few years so they were my constant companions. My older brother isn't even a year older than me and we were very tight. In fact, I remembered a while ago that I told him that "dad touches me" when I was 12 and his answer was "don't tell mom. She can't handle it." And that was it. We never talked about it again. I don't even know if he remembers it now. We were disciplined all the time, rules were rules and if you broke them, you were in trouble. I rarely was naughty intentionally, but I was sort of flighty, I'd forget things and waste time and be late...stuff like that. I got straight A's usually, except for handwriting. (I have my dad's exact handwriting.)I never lost interest in my studies, I loved school. I couldn't wait to go to college. I had a few close friends but when I became a Junior in high school, I suddenly ran with another crowd, drank myself to death every weekend and was much more outgoing. I've stayed outgoing and out spoken ever sense. People are SHOCKED when I tell them I was a shy child. I have no idea why the change.

<<<For you, do you feel you have any unusual gaps in your memory- that's supposed to be a big red flag for abuse. I bet you could find out a lot without cornering or threatening them. I would love to make a time line of my childhood. I can do it easily from 1-5, but then a blank cloud descends over everything.Maybe you'll be able to.

I don't know what you think of this. I'd give so much if my parents were still alive, as I would really like to fill in my huge gaps!

****I think you might struggle with the destruction remembering causes. I have different relationships with my parents now and I see that being tainted by these memories. I ask myself what this is going to accomplish in the end -- will it leave me totally isolated from my family? I ask these questions in therapy all the time. My sister told my mom a few years ago and she wasn't believed. Of course, her drug use makes her the family flake so it was easy to dismiss her. I've not told anyone, not even my sis. I'm the "strong, steady, smart one" so my telling will have implications. I often wish I had waiting to do this work until they had died. My therapist says either way it is hard and either way you are still left with the question of "why?"

I hope this reply wasn't too long. I'm in a reflective mood today so I'm writing a lot. What I want to know, are your implicit memories felt memories? Is your body remembering? If so, how? And, have you had conscious sensory flashbacks? I've been fighting them the past 10 days, which makes me even more aware of the deep fear place we've touched.

I wrote a whole paragraph called "the smell of unwanted sex." It was very graphic and scary. My therapist wants me to share it with him. Little daisy wants to share it. I want to pretend like I can't remember these details.

 

Re: Long answer - triggers daisym

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 11, 2005, at 21:24:10

In reply to Long answer - triggers Pfinstegg, posted by daisym on February 11, 2005, at 20:48:57

Not too long at all. About the implicit memories, they come out as sudden outbursts or statements to my analyst- about the abuse- that I never know I'm going to make. There are all sorts of flashbacks- like lightning, and very quickly over. There are LOTS of body memories. It doesn't feel exactly like 'normal" memory, yet it's coming more and more, and is starting to seem more like regular memory- it has always felt like it was really true. It was just astonishing, because I had repressed the whole thing totally until I started analysis, and I'd made other therapy attempts without a glimpse of this. The art therapy is wonderful. as it's a bit easier to draw the memories, though talking is getting easier, too. And with the analyst and art therapist, I feel like I have a completely new, loving mother and father...so nice.

In the book, it spoke about how important it was to relive and process the traumas with as much detail and feeling as possible. It sounds like you've really gotten to the point where you are able to do that. That must feel so good; at least, I hope it does.


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