Cart before the Horse

I am in holiday season mode.  Maintaining and not moving too much.  Hence, the breaks and gaps between posts.

A couple of weeks back I posted about the “Gold Standard” of counseling being taught in phases.  My experience was I wanted to get strait to the processing and hurry up and get it over with.  I wanted to skip Phase 1.   I started counseling as marriage counseling and there were glitches showing up left and right.  Humbling to learn that it was me that was causing these glitches. I could not express how I felt about anything.  I needed phase 1.

Phase one is essential:

The ability to tolerate emotion (self-soothe; regulate affect) is a primary task of treatment, and accounts for the importance of Phase I.

I didn’t feel my emotions until delayed by weeks if not ignored completely.  I learned that I couldn’t process my emotions until I felt them and recognized the cause/effect relationship between what happened in my life and what I was feeling.  The whole self-soothing and self regulation was unheard of since I used extreme dissociation to cut myself off from my feelings.  Phase one is to feel your feelings and own them and care for them and learn to regulate them.  I didn’t feel emotions and I wanted to move forward without knowing more.  What I didn’t understand is working without emotions is similar to driving a car with 4 flat tires.  You can move forward but the progress is slow and extremely stress filled.

My first counselor spent a good share of the first few months working with me trying to figure out just what caused my problems in the first place.  Not an easy task when I had no memories of my past, especially before high school.  Skipping this phase is like  putting the cart in front of the horse and try to move forward.  Not happening.  I am concerned reading post after post on the PTSD/CPTSD pages I follow where people want to stop their emotions.  The false idea that a life without feelings is preferred.  I’ve been there….it isn’t the best choice.  Gray is my best description, lots and lots of gray.  During this time in my counseling I did a photo project of grays.  My professor was amazed by the over 100 pictures I brought to discuss with him.  He didn’t realize that the actual number was closer to 600 and I brought in only the ones that fit my criteria of gray without using black and white mode on my camera.  The world around us does not care for gray.  I searched for it to help me image and show to the outside world what my inside felt like.



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