Is it psychotherapy the perfect solution for everything?…
No. It has its limits.
No matter how much you increase your awareness and self-observation, after a while it becomes useless to expand your perception.
No matter how much you explore behavior alternatives and no matter how many actions you actually take, after a while you’re running out of options.
No matter how much you emphasize the “therapeutic relationship” in the “here and now”, after a while this becomes exhausted as well.
The more you know, the more you do, the more you feel, after a while, and in certain cases, you reach a point where failure is obvious. In that very point you understand that you need something completely different, something of a different quality: Reparenting.
If you reached this point when you need reparenting, you are a total mess. Your self is so fragile and damaged that it can’t activate the automatic built-in healing reaction. This is visible with therapy clients that come for a couple of sessions or even one session, they take what they need from the interaction, and then solve their problem immediately. But for those who spend months and years in therapy, you can decently be sure they need something that only time can give: reparenting by using the relationship with you – the therapist – as some sort of healthy model of parental relationship, in the absence of a healthy relationship in their families during their childhood or teenage. This is the moment when you, as a therapist, perform healing others by your very own presence. And that is the moment when you need to remain focused and extremely careful.
But what happens if your own self is damaged and there are no therapists available in your area or you don’t have money to pay them? What happens if fear and pain have replaced love in your heart? What happens when the smallest danger is perceived as a risk for the integrity of the self, a matter of survival?
Well… you reparent yourself.
You give yourself time. You talk to yourself. You care for yourself. And you give more and more time to yourself.
Self-parenting is quite simple and there are many resources online for this. After a while you achieve some sort of support in yourself; you learn to trust yourself. If you have a therapist it’s easier, because his or her reactions will be models of healthy behavior. Then gradually you achieve something else: Clarity. You begin to see that your fears are not real, that fear is essentially an illusion, and even if you actually begin to live the worst case scenario of your fear, you survive and your life continues. Eventually, you develop the skill of maintaining clarity of your vision, learn to identify when your fears are activated, and also learn to see yourself – the real you – free of fear.
I named this article the End of Therapy because it contains aspects that are rather spiritual or philosophical in nature: reparenting, clarity of vision… The last aspect I will cover is a term that is regarded as the next step following acceptance: Confirmation.
Most of what’s going on in difficult cases of therapy is about the struggle to be accepted or loved, usually by family members in early age, something that continues during the adult life. One reason for nasty emotional attachments or personality disorders is the lack of perceived love. Clients seek acceptance. Acceptance means to be validated entirely, with your good and bad characteristics, to be loved regardless of who you are. Therapists are trained to fully accept their clients, and this gives the distinct and unique feeling of the therapy relationship (in other relationships acceptance is rare or inexistent, for instance a couple is formed because you like the other person and not because you exercise your acceptance abilities).
Confirmation is something more; it is acceptance of who the person in front of you is (their history) plus the awareness of what or who that person might become or could be if she could use her full potential, a potential that she might not be totally aware of. From this perspective, Confirmation is stronger than Acceptance, because it deals with potential, with what you might be although you think you can’t be right now.
We arrived at the end of this somehow final article about psychotherapy and about the last important aspects I wanted to cover: Reparenting, Clarity and Confirmation. Beyond this frontier dwells a different zone – Spirituality.
As an ending line, I quote the words you can find on the front-page of this website, the motto that best defines me, my life and my path:
“I am made of everything to come, not just what has been”.