Exploration in full swing

Dr. Rujuta Vinod
Sep 2nd, 2009

After the initial smooth (or rough) steps of our journey, we start with actual exploration phase in therapy. I send few sets of questions and compile the answers sent by clients. I help clients revisit their past right from very early age till current life status. It takes first 4-5 sessions to gather all relevant information about my client's emotional world. A systemic compilation of answers helps me look for missing links.

Majority of our clients very readily pour in their hearts and describe in details very painful incidences during their life journey.

They talk about: - Effects of harsh disciplinarian behavior of their parent/s - Effects because of the insensitivity of their parent/s - Effects because of mental illness of their parents - Effects of physical abuse by one or both parents - Effects of divorce of their parents - Effects of adoption - Annoying behavior of their step parents - Lack of warmth and understanding with step brothers/sisters - Deep effects of sexual abuse done during childhood/adolescence - Hurt because of injustice (discrimination) done by their parents. - Effects of behavior by alcoholic or addicted parent/s - Effects of infidelity of their parent/s - Effects of multiple affairs of their Bio-dads or that of Bio-moms - Their current or past deep financial trouble/s - Discrimination done by their older siblings during their childhood - Abuse done by their neighbors - Abuse done by their relatives/acquaintances - Viciousness of school classmates - Their own alcoholism, addictions - Their own sexual exploitation/s - Academic upheaval - Child labor - Gay behavior - Frequent change of jobs/migrations - Accidents, illnesses, disabilities to self-parents-children - Competitive world at office, effects of the company politics - Very busy and challenging parenthood and/or professional life - Binge eating, shopping, smoking, talking, - Various phobias Clients experience variety of emotions when they make this endeavor. They become aware of shame, guilt, rage, anger, jealousy, rivalry, need of attention and appreciation, sadness, loneliness, self-pity, shifts in moods, panic states, insecurity, fear of losing close ones, fear about death, fear about break in relationships, fear of losing jobs, fear of losing friends, fear about what people will say...

We explore their dream world as well.

Dreams do occur everyday/night during deep or superficial sleep in every person’s life since his/her fetal life. We need dreams to organize bizarre storage of the input we receive from the outside and inside world. We react emotionally (overtly and covertly) to each attended stimulus coming from all our sense organs. We react to dreams as well. Dreams especially nightmares and recurring ones mostly have an existential message for us. Exploration of the dream world is thus of high importance during therapy.

Clients write about

Falling experiences Drowning Abuse/harm done by them or by someone else Running/avoiding Choking Accidents Threat to life Death of self or close ones Snakes Fire Coffin Ditch, mud Weapons Flying Old houses Dark areas Body mutilations Getting trapped Getting cornered Sharks Disappointments Unfulfilled wishes getting fulfilled Getting lured Sex dreams We use dreams to understand the conflicts, unfulfilled wishes, risks involved, dangers perceived, distortion of reality within minds of the clients.

The clients happily talk about -

- Happy carefree childhood, - Very caring and concerned parents (normal, adopted, step), - Resources provided by parents (normal, adopted, step), - Highest possible education provided by parents (normal, adopted, step) - Caring and protective siblings - Fun they had in summer vacations - Family get together/s and heart to heart talks with close ones - Friendship they enjoyed - Sport activities, Fine Art performances - Memories about falling in love with current fiances and spouses - Happy living together - Happy married life - Fun time with kids - Preparations of wedding - Religious rituals, Sunday masses, Singing chorus, Carols - Faith in God, a particular life philosophy

They speak about their aspirations:

- Reducing the need to pick and get the wounds healed - Getting appropriate job - Having happy family life - Working on discord with spouse - Working on self-defeating programs - Working on low self-image - Reducing perfectionism - Mustering courage to express their genuine feelings - Being healthy-happy-calm

How do they feel about their disclosure?

On an average, they express mixed emotions: - Happiness - Relief - Unloaded - Catharsis - Anxious to go ahead - Void - Depressing - Guilt - Sadness - Being afraid/nervous - A wish to withdraw - Restlessness - Tiredness - Escaping - Hope - Hopelessness (losing heart)

What happens to their picking?

- Some become aware of thoughts and emotions during-before-after picking. They note them and write about them to me. They thus provide very useful information. - Few freak out at the exaggeration in picking. Yet, they somehow know that they are working on dark areas of their mind so that is obvious. I get amazed by their understanding and patience.

What happens to clients?

I am very supportive and gentle and encouraging with my clients. I understand that this feat is difficult. Some of clients feel out of touch with the world. They become sometimes upset with that alienation. Very few overtly or covertly start backing off. I send them hellos, encourage them to stay on the battlefield. In spite of all this, some choose to stop and I respect their decision. They decide to leave in order to feel secured and safe in their cocoon. They unconsciously choose to remain regressed and refuse to move on. I calmly say goodbye to them and wish them well. Majority of our clients sustain with patience and trust and hope and optimism. I admire their courage and fighting spirit. I tell them that its a long way to go. We now need to do something about all these memories they have poured in and recycle the garbage.

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