I entered counseling with the idea of getting marriage counseling. After years of raising kids I felt like there was this stranger in my house that I was married to. I was in for a real shock when after 2 months the counselor explained that my reactions to the homework assignments were not what he was expecting. I finally remembered one of my night mares and the journey into my past began. However, I couldn’t talk about my past because I couldn’t remember it.
In the guidelines of best practices it points out that disclosure is painful and problematic. Different counselors believe different ways. I was horrified when one lady described how a therapist actually had her relive her experiences. That sounded terrible to me. My counselor explained that some knowledge of what happened in my past would be helpful to know what we need to repair. He compared it to having an infected cut on your arm, have to clean out the infection first before healing can take place. However, he believed that a vague outline was sufficient without prying open every single detail. In the process I learned that fuzzy is good. At the beginning, I wanted to remember all my past and reclaim my life. After a few ugly detailed memories I understood that fuzzy is good and we could work from that.
In the counseling process, one of things necessary was to share my emotions. When I started, I didn’t have any or so I thought. Work began any way. One day I came to counseling. “I found it” had a whole new meaning. My emotions were dammed up in a boiling cauldron. Releasing it all at once would be dangerous for me and everyone around me. We worked at slowly draining what I called Lake Rage. My counselor was vigilant at not asking me to do more than I could process in a session but there were still some messy slip ups that resulted in emotional melt downs. It was tough.
Important thing for each client and therapist to do is to find the path way that works. Might mean delving deeply into the past. Perhaps a bit of dabbling to get the lay of the land or general idea. Or some people want to leave the past in the past and move on from there. Bravo if they can do this. I really needed a better understanding of why I did what I did. Many of my quirky behaviors had reasons and ties to my past. Exploring and healing those past experiences helped me to release the present day anxiety tied to the issues.
One tip I can give you that came from my therapist, “If you lived through it, you can survive remembering it.”
Past memories came in bits and pieces with blanks all around.