How does it happen that intelligent people stay with abusive therapists or self development leaders or healers for so long, becoming more and more dependent, and giving them more and more money?
‘Therapy’ at Psychology, Philosophy and Real Life, Page 24
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Therapy creates a situation in which someone by definition in distress or wanting to change meets a professional who says they have the knowledge and skills to help the other, and thus charges money for a service, which is extremely hard to define. The power differential is built in and the potential for abuse is great.
“The world is much more than can be formulated by our theories, but when we approach it with a particular theory it responds in a particular way. Our theories can draw out different aspects of the world.” This quote comes from The Focusing-Oriented Counselling Primer, which I have just finished reading.
I don’t conceive of counselling as a navel gazing activity, nor as one which encourages the individual to take either the blame or the responsibility for their circumstances. It is not my intention to imply this when I state that although we did not create this structural, institutional power imbalance under which we live, the only way we can change it is by empowering ourselves to take action.
Depression is the most isolating thing. It seems as though there were an invisible sheet of glass between you and other people. This sheet of glass comes, in fact, between you and the world itself, between you and your own experience. Everything is covered in a kind of fog, everything is wrong, tasteless, dull, not as it should be, an insurmountable task, a deep pointlessness.
The lesson that it is facilitative not to press others to disclose, and to communicate that lack of pressure explicitly, is a useful one in all kinds of relationships; mothers persistently asking their children to tell them what happened at school springs to mind, as does the situation in which the stereotypical wife ‘asks the husband to talk about his feelings’.
Why is it that if a fascinating or difficult client comes along and the counsellor spends an entire supervision session, or most of it, working out how to proceed, this client invariably never comes back? Is this the widely known and surely scientifically proven by now ‘Sod’s Law’? Or is it just me?