I feel like writing down a few snippets from the introductory session with the therapist I'm not going to see any more, not only because she just got a desk opposite mine at work. The therapist is young, ambitious, optimistic. She was happy about the blogging and the support we give each other, but said something kind of silly:
T: You can also see on those blogs that people with similar
backgrounds to yours become all sorts of successful professionals and
that's a positive example.
PA: (thinking WTF?!) Many of us indeed are quite successful outwardly, some only too successful, but...
T: So people can overcome bad childhoods!
Another annoying snippet:
T: What you need to do is accept yourself unconditionally.
PA: Sounds good, but how does one who was never accepted unconditionally for the first couple of decades of her life learn to accept herself unconditionally?
T: Don't give me that excuse!
PA: It's not an excuse. (Thinking later: A sentence beginning with "how" is, at least officially, a question. It may be a rhetorical question, but it is not automatically an excuse.) It's my reality. I don't know what you mean by your words. Imagine being born in Plato's cave, and being told you just need to go live in the sun. You don't even know what the sun is. You don't know which way to go.
T: But you can't use this as an excuse not to be moving out.
PA: I'm moving out. I've been slowly moving out for a couple of years now. But it's not going to just happen if you say it should.
(Thinking much later of the perfect analogy: You tell me you can see I'm hungry so I should just go to the restaurant across the street. I tell you I was raised in this room in absolute darkness and have never ventured out. You tell me that's an excuse - all I need to do is get out, go down the stairs, cross the street and enter the restaurant. I tell you I've heard these words before, but I don't know how to recognize "stairs," "street" and "restaurant," I might fall down the stairs, or a car might hit me, or I might get lost. So you have to show me, not tell me I need to get there or even how to get there. Telling me I just need to accept myself is cute, but won't produce any results.)
REBT is really not for me. The main technique seems to be constantly challenging the client's views, feelings, and perceptions. ACoNs DON'T need more of that, even if our constructs need changing. I noticed myself acting in a narcissistically defensive way and/or resorting to JADE a lot during the session - behaviors I thought were somewhat behind me.
Incredibly, I found a great therapist with a lot of training and experience online. He even has a blog, in which he reveals himself as empathetic, intuitive, extremely flexible, only too ready to admit he'd been thinking too rigidly about something before, but a client or a trainee challenges that and he accepts this... and also, he recommends Alice Miller's books. I wrote to him and he accepted me as a client, even with the condition that I can only afford one session per month.
I was so happy with the exchange, especially because I'd written to 4-5 other therapists and they all replied in manners which had red flags all over them ("What do you mean if I've worked with children or the personality disordered? I don't know, my clients don't have the expertise to diagnose their parents." "I'd ask you what it means to you that your parent is disordered, how you have accepted and interpreted and constructed that in your life" etc.)
Just the fact that there is a therapist in my country who's very much into Alice Miller and seems extremely open to understanding and validating and helping me truly experience my insights has had a huge positive effect. I've felt more in the last few days. I've relived some moments from my childhood, actually feeling them this time around. I felt betrayal, anger, and sadness. I have a pretty good feeling about this - I hope I've developed enough intuition and gut feeling by now.