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Continuing Growth Is Necessary For A Psychotherapist

loud-noisesNo, once chosen the profession of a psychotherapist or counselor requires continuing growth.  Sometimes in surprising ways.

Freudian psychotherapists have raised the subject of transference in the relationship between a therapist and a client.  Transference can go both ways.  Something about the client makes them see the therapist in a certain way.  Sometimes something about the therapist makes them see the client in a certain way.

Education in a profession such as psychotherapy can lead the practitioner to believe they must present themselves as  experts in the field and as not vulnerable to the types of things that bring ordinary clients into therapy.  This can lead to rationalization and denial on the therapists part.

Rationalization means that the therapst can create a good explanation as to why he or she is not vulnerable to the types of problems his or her patients have.  Denial can also result from the taking of this position and it can cause therapy to not move forward for the client.

Personal growth is one way possibly to help stop this from happening. Does the development of one’s self-concept and concept of life stop with attaining one’s maturity whether at 18, 21, or 35?  No, it does not.  Our perspective on life constantly changes with new experiences.

Honestly does a psychotherapist think that they can understand exactly how they learned to be who they think they are and stop growing.  Wouldn’t personal growth experiences for psychotherapists help with this?

Is there only one answer?  Hasn’t science found this out.  What things did scientists believe were true when your parents were children and what have you or your children learned in the present that scientists’ did not know or believe then?

Remember the old saying, “Do as I say!” not “Do as I do!”

Also the more defensive barbed wire a therapist puts between him or herself and what he or she is asking their patient to do, the more “phony” and indefensible they become as therapists.

New learning and new growth leads to enthusiasm to carry this over into the psychotherapist’s work.  Insights developed this way can help a therapist be more responsive in therapy.   I now hear and see more things than I used to see or hear in everyday interpersonal interaction.

For example I can still learn from a four year old that grandma is not always smiling and looking happy when she thinks she is especially when I am feeling that I am working at something and forgeting to enjoy doing it.

 

 

Sometimes You Have To Let Something Go To Make Room For Something New To Come In

rp_300px-Sabbatical_titlescreen.jpgAs you can see I am taking a sabatical this fall.  I have no classes to teach this fall which means it will be a squeeze financially but I will have more time to devote to writing for this website, more time to babysit grandchildren (which is a mixed blessing), more time to meditate in several different ways, and more time to pursue my own personal growth.

While I was teaching this summer (and taking an art class myself), I was feeling stressed out and at times it made me physically ill.  Do you think that as a psychologist I should have known better than that?  Maybe.  But I just know from past experiences that it is a sign that I should take heed of and do something about.

It took time and money out of my pocket in order to teach even though I have been enjoying it and growing a lot doing it.  Yes, I was paid but as a part-time instructor and only for what classes I taught each semester.  This summer I made an hour round trip trip to town four days a week for two months spending the whole day there two days a week.rp_300px-New_Life_Ranch_Sign.jpg

I will take two road trips this fall to see the evangelist Joyce Meyer and attend the homecoming celebration of my undergraduate college in honor of my class’s 50th anniversary.  I will be doing this on a shoestring; but I am not going to miss these chances to do something I want to do which only comes along once in a blue moon.

I have already gotten one surprise phone call offering me some financial help for one of my upcoming seminars after it was decided that I was not going to teach this fall. I also have recently found some books that answer questions I have been asking, but did not get the answers for that I have been gobbling up.

Yesterday, I caught up on some of my sleep and decided to do nothing that I didn’t have to do.  I missed one of my regular salesmen while I slept in the afternoon and I did not check on most of the things that I am checking on today and I did not turn my computer on.

I am growing.  I intend to explore new and old things that I have not gotten around to doing recently.

Neglected Gratitude

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium

Theresa Caputo, The Long Island Medium Helping Someone

Think of all the people who have helped you. For a moment, don’t count the times that they didn’t. Be appreciative of what you did get even if you can’t rely on them now. It is unusual to look back and not find at least one person who has helped you. Even people who have did you great harm might have done something that benefited you once. It is also easier to notice the things that have gone wrong than to count your blessings.
So often we do not remember or note in any way things that people who treat you right have done and value more what someone who has neglected us has done. Be truly grateful. Why is a favor done by someone who usually rejects us mean more than one by someone who consistently supports you. “Ah, you say when this happens, “It doesn’t count.”
chinese-grandparents-sitting-grandchildren-26098101There was a mother who had a lot of children. Two of them took care of her and even at one point had her live with each of them. Who did she get excited about when they came to see her or when she had a chance to go see them, the ones who usually did nothing for her and usually weren’t around very much. Seems shallow, doesn’t it.
You may feel the same way about family. If they are not the ones doing something for you, then it doesn’t count. Yet hasn’t God sent other people into your life to help you at times maybe when your family wasn’t there. People aren’t all or always bad.
rp_7297340494_bbd50a8706_m.jpgNo one’s family life is perfect and I spent some time when I was younger talking about what my parents had done wrong in raising me and did not talk about the good things (Oh, yes, there were some). For example, my parents put me through undergraduate school at a private four year college. Also holidays and family get togethers were important to them.
I don’t want to underestimate anything that went wrong in your upbringing; but many times there are more than one thing to consider if you are looking at how you were raised. Yes, the bad things might have outweighed the good ones; but the good ones still existed.

The Need For Security Comes From Within

Women, men? Does the need for security control your life?  Are you afraid to fight with someone because it might end your relationship with them?  Women, people who put you down, often the man in your life, often win a potential conflict with the first blow.  If he or she is mad at me, it is all over.  It is very convenient to make a complaint or even make an angry comment when asking about something you don’t like or understand.

Anxiety and fFear

Conflict seems to be more natural for men.  They can almost fight one minute and be friends the next.  It can get pretty brutal one day and the next they are back to being the best of buds.  Many women are different making a denigrating comment to another woman can end a relationship forever.  So how does a woman react when someone puts them down.  If they are depending on the relationship for support and security, they go into emergency crisis mode and/or feel “knocked up beside the head” by someone they thought loved and appreciated them.

Women can take a lot of negative comments from a man in a relationship often things the man forgets about as it wasn’t that serious to him or the man didn’t even realize the woman took it seriously or so hard.  Men are constantly jousting, jockeying for position, and they don’t even think that seeing things ( from this perspective) that it was taken seriously.

Hypocrites? (Warning X-Rated?)

When  man “fools” around, he is just being a man.  When a man gets it on with a  woman he considers “easy”, he will often say later, when men are talking about women who are wh–res or sl-ts, that she is one of them.    What does that make him?  Some men have sex with a willing woman and then put her down for doing it.

What about countries where women who are the unwilling victims of rape are considered to blame for what happened, not the man who did it, and are put to death.

Aren’t men more easily turned on by physical things or how a woman looks to them and what they fantasize about her and then they blame the woman for leading them on when she refuses to cooperate or reciprocate their ardor.  Women are more carried off by romantic notions and anticipated intimacy.

Why can’t a woman be more like a man (from “My Fair Lady”, the musical) and why can’t a man be more like a woman?  Men and women are different in terms of what physiologically arouses them.  This is why it takes longer for a woman to be ready for intercourse and longer to “come” to orgasm once she is aroused and her partner could become impatient.

Thus women sometimes “fake it” because the woman wants to please the man in order to support the relationship which is import to her.  Women are often more concerned about pleasing others and putting the needs of others first before their own in order to do this.

Thus communication is important for the relationship,  Sometimes men and sometimes even women expect the other person to instinctively know what turns the opposite sex on.

No wonder women when talking to other women talk about how they “fake” orgasms and they are more likely to have had “unwanted” sex especially the first time.  Men have often had more solo practice at coming to orgasm and arousing themselves then women have so they may be more “ready” for sex than the woman is and can make a woman feel guilty if she doesn’t comply with their desires.

Sometimes a relationship implicitly implies that a couple will have sex.  This can be the origin of a “date rape”.  This can result in a man using the less than gracious “come on” line such as, “You wanna?” after a long, boring, and tedious date during which the man got drunk and ignored the woman.

Are there precious and gracious men out there?  Yes there are.  Ones who use rose petals and candles to set the stage (often for marriage  proposals).

Atmosphere can be very important.  Don’t choose a fishing camp or a hunting lodge for your first encounter whether before or after marriage.  The back seats of cars and the typical bachelor pad are often not very romantic.  In the front seat, the steering wheel and/or the gear shift can get in the way and the smell of dirty socks and well worn running shoes is often not very pleasant neither is a bare mattress that may have never seen sheets..  Nor is the possibility of a roommate snoring prone in the next bed or carrying on with another girl on the couch in the next room.

 

 

Sex? Before Affection. Worse Yet. Sex Before Honor and Respect

rp_272680378_bd063659bc_m.jpgSex was intended to be a beautiful expression of love.  Delicate and tender, unhurried without any worries.

A one night stand especially does not honor and respect what should be an act of love.  It should not be done with someone  you don’t know well enough to even know their name or remember it after one night out.

Clean sheets, privacy, or more than a chance meeting with soap, are necessities not just niceties.

Safety, trust, honor, and truthfulness should be expected not neglected.  Pregnancy is a precious gift not an unwanted result of thoughtlessness and impulsiveness.   Infertility can be the long-term result of taking a chance maybe just this once.

How do you know whom your shack up partner has been with and what calling cards were left from this encounter.  Some people don’t even know if this is so and can’t tell you the truth since they don’t even know it.

Everyone has a built in need for affection and touch itself is an important form of communication.  Why leave them out of the equation.  Most people are uncomfortable when touched by a stranger even in an unavoidable crowded situation like the subway.

“Why don’t you show me you love me” is a popular line when seeking a good time.  A person may not be ready yet to be that deeply involved with someone they really like and might be afraid to lose so they decide to chose to give the gift that they are not ready yet to give.  It is priceless and expensive and can lead to bliss when properly used and reciprocated.

Putting the cart before the horse is usually not sensible or pleasurable especially for women..  There are ways that you can show person that you love them by how you treat them: a home cooked meal, a graciously opened door, a brush of a kiss, the tentative grasp of a hand, an arm around the shoulder, or a truthful compliment.

How often do we expect to get something in this world without earning it?  Can a car motor go from first to fourth or fifth gear without taking any of the intervening steps like going through second or third gear?

Does Therapy Come Too Late?

rp_228552603_150_150.jpgWhy didn’t we learn to help ourselves in school?  Where were the role models of good adjustment at home?  Parents are often as clueless as their children and are afraid to admit it when they didn’t also get the instruction at home or school.

There are self-help books for adults.  Where are they for children?  Do parents feel that it is to their advantage to have children who don’t know anymore than than they did when they were children?

rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgDo children learn how to deal with life from video games, violent programs, or from the drama they see and/or experience at home.  Values, ideals, and spirituality are close to being forbidden in schools or anywhere in the public eye.  Wholesome shows have been replaced by shows with lots of drama providing bad examples of how to behave in relationships or deal with problems.

Practicing therapy can be a frustrating business especially when it comes after a person’s beliefs and problem-solving behaviors have become crystallized and so much a part of a person’s identity that they feel threatened when challenged to change.  It has a lot to do with how a person’s self-esteem is developed and the practices that they are taught to maintain it.  Lying, deceiving, and avoiding responsibility are often used by someone when a person is afraid of being criticized and ultimately rejected.rp_Anxiety.gif

What results is a fear of change and a learned helplessness instead of developing helpful problem-solving skills and a desire to change for the sake of doing better.  We are evolving individuals and making mistakes and changing what we do or think is part of the process.  I once wrote a story or a poem about “Old King Never Ever Wrong”.

Stories are to teach and not just to amuse or vent rage.  Before most people could read or write stories were a way of teaching things and were passed down orally from generation to generation in order to do this.  What about the parables Jesus told in the Bible?  What about the Bible stories that are still taught in Sunday school or church?

Whistling In The Dark?

rp_300px-TV_highquality.jpgSmall children not only have problems with object recognition in a dimly lit bedroom, they also in early childhood as young as two or three have good imaginations often telling adults that they see or hear something vividly that is only a figment of their very colorful imagination.  Combine the two and they were easily could see monsters in the dark which their parents then tell them aren’t real and that they should act as if they are not there and go to sleep.  What this really means is that they still “see” monsters but know they have to act as if they weren’t there.

When a child is in bed, they see things from a different perspective than the one they have when they are sitting up or moving around the room.  There is the psychological concept of object permanency which is used when a child is able to see an object such as a bottle from different angles and in different types of illumination and still know that it is a bottle and treat it like one.

Another difference is the rods in the retina pick up and transmit the effect of a black and white picture which is more blurry than that the  very sharp image that the cones give in brilliant color (which are in the center of the retina) in very bright light.  Yes, black and white images in photos and motion pictures are almost gone and “little” ones are probably not familiar with them.The-Sacred-Shadow-Header-1024x462Could this be the origin of fears of sleeping in the dark which are topped off by the parent telling them that what they see and what it looks like (how they perceive it) is wrong and their feelings about it are foolish and should be denied so that the parent (not necessarily the child) can relax and go back to sleep thinking that they have banished the monsters effectively and gotten the child to believe there are no monsters in his or her room when they have done no such thing.  What they really have done has made the situation more scarey because the child still believes there are monsters but his or her parents don’t believe it and now they can’t depend on their parents for help and must face the perceived danger alone and probably without a light to illuminate the dark and scarey corners.

Don’t make children deny their feelings, they don’t go away, they just stay out of sight.  They must be seen from the child’s point of view.  For example, mommy, daddy, there is the monster over there and there is his head, there are his eyes and there are his hands and he has claws sticking out.  See he is breathing.  Fuzzy images in the near dark do look like they might be moving or breathing.  It can happen also from a child’s changes in perspective.rp_3363953427_ba6fe42f32_m.jpg

Recently I have been conducting experiments of my own.  There is a night light on in our master bedroom and I often wake up very early in the morning while it is still dark outside and I see things in the shadows and they even seem to move or look unrecognizable especially my husband’s clothes hung on the bedpost or the covers pushed up in a pile at the end of the bed.  It seems very easy to not realize what I am really looking at and could easily identify in broad day light. I’ve seen a goblin with a shiny eyes and a big male pig laying there with two twitching ears.  I have even reached out to touch the apparition in order to satisfy myself as to what the image really is.