We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We had a long run at the state hospital of people - usually women - admitted in crisis shortly after they had started "working on" their trauma issues. Therapists would encourage this "work," and patients found both feelings they could not contain and memories of mixed reliability. This whole idea of getting through pain by immersing yourself in pain in therapy has remarkable perseverance, despite the lack of evidence that it works.
That said, I think the new ideas of repackaging traumatic memories and storing them without the attached affect is going to prove out. I initially considered EMDR to be voodoo (and still think it has a lot of unnecessary bells and whistles), but I am coming around to the ideas based on memory research, that a memory is not permanent but is always reassembled each time it is brought forward, always with slight variation, will be used increasingly to damp down traumatic memories in therapy. At present, I still think it's a terrible roll of the dice, but I think that's where the solutions will lie.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
For the curious. These therapists were concentrated in Cheshire County in the SW part of NH. Choose your own theory why; I have only partial ones
Assistant VIllage Idiot
This is, in fact, Freud's theory of memory, and what you are describing as altering memory through reformulating it's relation to affect is what he - and all subsequent analytic therapists - call "working through". It is true that poorly trained therapists in recent years adopted a dangerous and misinformed "naive psychoanalytic" theory of trauma, which postulated that venting and catharsis of buried trauma was key. They did a lot of damage, especially by interfering with "adaptive denial" in the immediate aftermath of traumatic events by insisting that victims confront the emotions.
I grew up in a deeply dysfunctional family. So much so that I left home while still in high school and my brother ended up killing our parents (and then, sadly, himself). The extended family isn't a hell of a lot healthier.
I have enjoyed the happiest, healthiest years of my life since moving far away and removing them from life. Yet - two therapists I saw were adamant that I needed to connect to these people to heal and be truly happy.
I don't see any way that subjecting myself to violence, drug addiction and mental illness is a good thing and I refuse to do it. Thank you for posting this.
We have a pretty solid history of mental illness, diagnosed and non-, in my family. Those of us who live in the tough "past" seem to be the ones that cannot get out. The family member that suffers most deeply with mental illness is so encased in the past, she has revised and re-lived it, making it more horrific than any of the rest of us can fathom. Is that a cause or effect? I am not sure.
Anecdotal, I realize.....but the best therapist I have ever witnessed actually worked himself out of the client's life instead of trying to diagnose and continually have him re-live.
I am not downplaying therapy, please understand. I have benefited from it. I have also witnessed quite a number of patients get worse under it.