Changing one's hard core perspective
When I feel its the right time, I disclose and explain at length, about the underlying unconsciously created, self-defeating theme to my clients. Almost all of them completely and readily and simply agree with that and feel a kind of relief. Now, they can link their pain and agony and confusion in a simple equation. They start looking at the mess with somewhat clear vision. They feel optimistic enough to work on their conflicts and move on with life, in real time. The simplicity and openness in acceptance of their unrealistic conviction about self, gives clients a feeling of break through. Now, they express their wish to clear off their pending emotional issues. Almost all clients feel that their mind is cluttered up and is occupied with issues from their past and they do not feel ready enough to work on their present issues. So, we generally keep their current problems bit aside, for the time being. We, with renewed enthusiasm start our work with past issues, in a systematic way. I go on giving them various types of exercises to be done at home. I club the issues as per my judgment of emotional load my client would handle at a given time. These exercises basically are designed to help them become aware of an emotional trap, understanding actual reality and, segregating projections, imaginations and illusive thinking. I request them to muster courage and inquire about truth instead of clinging to childhood prejudices. Now, client faces the challenge of gathering courage and investigating reality. They need to visit the concerned persons and, ask questions in a gentle and respectful way. If the persons are dead, I help them have a dialogue with the personified memories. Most of them do these exercises as per their convenience and comfort and their common sense. When I read some of their dialogues, reports of new explorations, fresh dreams, and their understanding about something vital very clearly, I feel very happy at my client's progress. I appreciate their hard work and brevity profusely. Clients get a knowledge about human life and suffering, about their unrealistic expectations, limitations of any human being to fulfill others' expectations. That decreases their intensity of frustration. The soap bubble of "I want/I deserve" breaks and people find themselves grounded. The dust in the sky of their mind settles down. They find life easy to live. We then start working on their present issues. Newly learned philosophy helps my client look at her current life in a different - realistic way. In the process of growing emotionally, client develops patience, internal locus of control and learns to, let go of cravings / shoulds / musts / oughts. My clients learn to understand their reactions to behavior of their abusers / parents / malicious-vicious friends / manipulating relationships. They learn that half the responsibility lies with them. They contribute in the game by allowing others to control them. This is a process of reintegration. We build new personality on the basis of understanding reality. Clients, who are physically and educationally and professionally adult, are "emotionally" small children, when they enter therapy. Therapeutic journey helps them leave behind their demanding manipulating helpless childhood. Growing as an emotionally adult is a long hard process in therapy, to be done under the supervision of a trained therapist. One easily and unknowingly tends to slip into childhood. Old habits die hard. Attainment of adulthood benefits clients to be strong-sure of themselves-calm-comfortable with them. Of course this does not happen overnight. It may take weeks/months sometimes years depending upon the speed of progress of the client in letting go of his wishes. Very few clients can not muster the necessary courage to face their internal battles with their close ones. They continue shuttling between guilt and shame at the disrespect felt about their parents and their anger-jealousy-sadness towards certain behavior of their parents/spouses/relationships. They refuse to see that they need to take responsibility of their unconscious contribution in the creation of any problem. They indulge in a never ending blame game. They continue to expect others to change, indirectly suggesting that they are "right/correct/perfect". They choose to cling to their childhood and withdraw from a challenge of opening their eyes/ears and see the reality in an adult way. Some of them just refuse to talk with their close ones about the discomfort they feel. They decide to keep the outwardly cordial relationship as it is. I do not suggest anybody to break any kind of relationship. Its the relationship within various parts of your self, we work at in therapy. I suggest them to have this dialogue inside their own mind instead of with their close ones, if that is overwhelming to them. Most of the times this exercise works best for them and they break the barrier and see their inner core of personality vividly. Very few clients continue to withdraw from therapy and I feel bad by witnessing my client wasting his opportunity to come out of his cage, crouching at the edge of the nest, been trapped in his cocoon. I gently withdraw from this game, as I can see that client is unconsciously playing the same game with me. I refuse to play "rescuer" that will end up in me feeling victimized by other two players. Having a wish to have therapy, undergo therapy and complete it is client's individual choice. I am not a party to push-pull-stop-persuade--cajole him/her beyond a reasonable point. Otherwise, it would become my need to be in therapy rather than client's need to grow. I am here to help and be there patiently till my client is on her own. It is my client's willingness, hard work and speed of progress that determines the time of termination.