Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Questions from Jumpinginpuddles

In the comments on the post More on Questions from Anonymous

asked a couple of different things. Both had to do with therapy and each question came from a different alter if I am guessing correctly.

jumpinginpuddles said "perhaps rising it might be a good idea to do a theme on healthy therapy versus not so healthy?"

There are a couple of ways that I can take this. A therapeutic relationship can be unhealthy. Also, a client's participation in therapy can be unhealthy. Either will compromise a person's progress.

There can be several reasons for unhealthy relationships with therapists. Not all therapists are qualified. Just because a person hangs out a shingle and says they are a therapist doesn't make them one. Some therapists who have the appropriate credentials are controlling and manipulative people. There is no way a therapist with that kind of behavior can help anyone. Controlling and manipulative behavior is the root of all mental illness from what I can tell. Therapy with such a person can only result in major problems.

Even the best of therapists can have issues. We all have issues. The relationship between a therapist and a client can be toxic if the therapist has not resolved issues similar to the client's. The client's issues can push the therapist's buttons and the resulting exchange can be not only non-productive but can actually cause damage.

A client's participation in therapy can be unhealthy if the client does not really want to be healed. If the client continues to look for ways to avoid changing, there is now way therapy can be productive. Also therapy can be unhealthy if the client isn't being honest. Therapy can not be successful if it's being built on deceit. The only way a therapist can help anyone is by being given the whole story. Withholding information and lying is not only non-productive, it can be destructive as well.

jumpinginpuddles said" i think healing can only work if you want it to, and that not every therapist can deal with every part really well. "

I certainly agree that therapy can only work if the client wants it too. I know! I took my teenage daughter to therapy when she was molested by her father. She did not participate in that therapy. She didn't want it and she only went because she had to . It did her absolutely no good. She is going to be forty this year and is still buried under the issues she chose not to resolve. It is a sad truth.

As for every therapist dealing with every part, I really feel for the therapists of multiples. Most multiples are so booby trapped, that the poor therapist is set-up before she/he ever even starts. There are bound to be personalities in there that take offense to the therapist because those personalities have been affected by their offenders. They have taken on the "rules" of their origin. Things they believe to be true and even they hold dear may be contrary to healthy relationships and healing.

Of course, the alters that take offense to the therapist aren't going to understand this. They're going to think it is the therapist's fault. When really the conflict is a result of those old rules that were affected by the offenders.

jumpinginpuddles said 'So what happens to those parts who don't get on with their T they don't ever get healing at all?'

If they would only give the therapist a chance they might find a way to work together. Therapists just need to know what they're up against. They need to know they are not trusted or liked and why. Only with that information do they have any chance at helping things along. They may have ideas to make things better, compromises or creative ways to resolve these issues.

Therapists have far more capacity for love and understanding than we multiples ever give them credit for. Part of the reason for that is we have never really been exposed to true unconditional love. We only understand strings and being manipulated. We tend to not trust what we do not understand. That is not the therapist's fault.

As an alter in a system where the therapy relationship is working for many alters, but not for us, we have a responsibility to give it an honest try. To talk to the therapist and see if we can find some common ground. Or talk through another alter at first and try things that way. BUT honesty must be employed.

In order for the system to heal, all parts must co-operate. There must be acceptance of all parts and the parts that have wounds must heal. I believe that alters who are uncomfortable with a system's therapist can work through those issues if they really try.

I know it will be hard. Therapy is hard. It is scary. Confrontation can be downright frightening BUT it is a necessary part of a healthy life. We have to learn to stand up for ourselves and speak our minds. Any good therapist knows this and supports this. An alter speaking up for herself/himself even in regards to the therapist will be appreciated by the therapist and the others in the system, I would hope.

I know that the therapist for jip's system is an expert in her field. I believe that she can handle anything your alters have to say. And I believe that she can do that in a caring manner because she really does care about all of the system.


jumpinginpuddles said...

so im trying to find the right words without being rude or anything so i really really hope i do not hurt you or anyone by saying this.

Is it the minorities who have the issues?
In other words say i or someone else didnt or couldnt relate to their therapist because of say hurt that had been inflicted in previous situations, is it soemthing an alter has to work through with that therapist if it involves them or can they see someone else and deal with it?
Not all alters are good at confrontations i certainly couldnt ever tell the systems T how hurt i am and wounded so i think what im asking is..... are you supposed to have to confront if it is your T that has hurt you?
And what happens if you just dont ever deal with it and let everyone else get their healing?


Lily Strange said...

I had a horrifically unhealthy therapy relationship after I was raped 10 years ago. When I first went to the woman I was barely functioning. She constantly told me that all I needed in my life was a therapist that I could trust. She seemed more concerned with getting me to bed before 3 AM, getting me to quit drinking hot chocolate before going to bed, and convincing me that men were not to be trusted than with actually hearing what was happening with me. After she said "You're doing so much better, Lily, you were an absolute basket case when you first came in here" I said EXCUSE ME??? I may not have the credentials, but I sure have the sense to know that you do not EVER call a client a "basket case" to their face.
I can't say I've ever been able to trust a therapist enough to completely come clean with them. I've come close a couple of times. There's one fellow I might still be going to but he's way out of my price range and my insurance doesn't cover him. :-(
Just in case you wonder, this is Cheesemeister's alter ego--the one that writes the books.

Fallen Angels said...

Therapy is definitely hard...quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever and will ever do. School is hard, especially the field I am working on...but it's a different kind of hard I think. And in all honesty, it would be far easier if I was further along in therapy, or if I didn't need to be in therapy at all! Of course if I had never started therapy I would probably still be working in an area of my field that I can't stand (dealing with other people's money), making too little money, with too much stress and no room to ever advance. Or I would be d*ad...since that IS the reason I started therapy in the first place...acute su*c*dality (not ideation...had a plan).

I sometimes wonder if I'm being deceitful with T when I tell her I am "ok" or "alright". I know I am usually not when I say that, she knows I'm not, I know she knows I'm not, she knows I know she knows...etc. :P For me it's a reflex to say that...something I'm working on changing, but it's hard because most of the people that ask are people that I don't really know and they really don't want to hear or need to hear the reality. So it's hard to change it only in certain instances.

I do think I got very lucky with T. I'll try to sum up a long story...went to GP, Gp said therapy. Went home and GP had called with list of providers on my insurance (she knew I wouldn't call insurance on my own). I crossed off all the men and started calling the women. Called 12 people that day, early afternoon. Same evening I got a call back that said nothing available, another call back from secretary saying can see you at the end of march (it was the first week of jan!) and T called... herself. Talked breifly, she asked if I had any questions, I said I don't even have any idea what to ask...she asked if I was su*cidal, I lied...I think she could tell. She then said she could see me the very next morning...which then became my weekly session time for 3 1/2 years...then it changed to another day. Have been with her ever since. I have changed a lot over those years, a few people have commented, like my partner...she is very supportive of therapy for me. Never asks anything other than "hard session?" if I seem distant or something afterwards. But she has commented that she has seen good changes...particularly that I don't wall myself off if someone speaks to me. I used to do that...which of course made me appear to be a complete snob when in fact I was terrified of talking to people! Because of this, her (large) family didn't like me except for her mom...they now understand a little bit and attribute it to being shy (and DO like me now), although her youngest sister who lives nearby does know a bit more now.

And that is a very long-winded and somewhat disjointed reply to your post! I'll sum it up by saying I think therapy is important, beneficial for many, and has and continues to change my life. I was ready for the changes though...and that is also important. And now I have to get ready to go to therapy!


Kahless said...

Another great post RR.

"Confrontation can be downright frightening BUT it is a necessary part of a healthy life. We have to learn to stand up for ourselves and speak our minds"

is just what I was speaking with my therapist about only 2 hours ago!

It is SO scarey but I agree, ultimately has to be done. And has to be learned step by step when it is something that you have never done; standing up for ourselves that is.