I am continuing on the list of things that are recommended for therapist to do. I believe these are important to recognize for the client because as a person seeing a therapist I can make the work harder or easier. If I understand what my own options are I can work towards my strengths. Sadly, many, including myself, look for one answer. With trauma through out childhood, rebuilding a life takes more than one answer. We don’t expect a roofer to know how to be a plumber or a plumber to landscape a yard yet we expect one solution for a complex problem. Doesn’t work that way and the people at https://www.blueknot.org.au/Workers-Practitioners/For-Health-Professionals/Resources-for-Health-Professionals/Best-Practice-Guidelines agree with me.
12. Recognise the extent to which the above requires adaptation of, and supplements to, `traditional’ psychotherapeutic approaches (i.e. insight-based and cognitive- behavioural)
Research in the neurobiology of attachment establishes the limits, as well as benefits, of `talk’, and the need for active addressing of physical, sensorimotor, and experiential processes as well as cognitions and verbal expression of emotion (`bottom up’ and `top down’) (van der Kolk, Ogden et al.,2006 )
The above they are referring to are the other 11 points about being a therapist and specifically about treating the whole person. Fortunately for me, my first counselor understood this concept and used a wide variety of methods to teach me to cope better with my life. Sometimes he would give homework assignments designed to help me discover for myself ways to heal. He understood that he could not take me the whole course, it would be a life time. He gave me a variety of tools to help me restructure my life. Each person has their own journey towards healing. Methods that work for me, may or may not work for someone else. Yes I talked in therapy. He was the first person that ever listened to me. But I also did home work assignments that had nothing to do with talking and a lot to do with learning a new way to look at myself and my healing process. Not everything he tried with me worked. A few back fired. A few times pushed me to the very limits and spent hours on the phone with my therapist trying to hang on. Someone on one of the FB groups I followed talked about worrying about losing progress by not following up correctly after one session. I explained that healing is closer to a carnival ride that twists turns and flips you around. I described counseling as turning my world upside down and inside out. Nothing about my life was left untouched. Yea, I lost my job in the process. I lost contact with some family members. I lost sleep. But what I found way out weighed these losses. I gained boundaries, a sense of purpose, a totally new perspective, and a clear understanding that I have rights as a human being and people that trample on those rights are not my friends any way.
There are more and more choices to healing. Art therapy, medication, massage therapy, talk therapy, companion animals, music therapy, grounding, boundaries, weekend or in house treatment centers, and the list is growing. It comes down to doing your homework and trying what works for you. Looking for ready made answer you can buy at the local corner market won’t get you what you need. Sometimes in the process you look back on that bridge you crossed, give a little smile and flick that match because you are NEVER going that way again. Patterns of abuse need to be disrupted and changed. Patterns of negative self talk need to change. I actually agree with Dr. Phil when he asks unhappy clients, “Is it working for you?” We are the only animals in the World that if life isn’t going how we like we can change it. Saddest thing in the World is the number who don’t believe it.