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therapy/contemplation clash? Login/Join 
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Hi everyone. About five years ago or so I found myself drawn to contemplative prayer, at least I think that's what I'd call it, by accident it almost seems (I won't go into the details as this might end up being a very long post!) At the time I was having therapy for severe trauma, which is still ongoing. Initially I didn't find it a problem to be doing both at the same time. I found it relatively easy to tell my therapist about it and she was encouraging. I could talk about how the prayer experience was for me at that time because I found it very healing. Now the nature of it seems to have changed, I think. It seems far more subtle. Sometimes I can't even remember it afterwards. But my therapist wants me to talk about it even though I have said it is very difficult to do this at the moment. I know a lot of her own experiences of spirituality have happened within group settings where people share things and I think she thinks this is healthier than doing it all alone. Plus therapists in general are all about the sharing! I partly don't want to talk about it because then during it I can be too aware of what I'm going to say about it afterwards and it feels this interrupts things. Is there just a clash of disciplines here?
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 18 April 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Welcome to Shalom Place, fluffy. I wouldn't call it so much a clash of disciplines as a clash with your therapist's model of therapy. Plenty of therapists come from a place where they respect the client's desire not to talk about a particular subject. When you say, "My therapist wants me to talk about it even though I have said it is very difficult," I would say that either you have to assert yourself and repeat your desire not to talk about it, or you have to change therapists.
 
Posts: 906 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Derek and thanks for the welcome. I think I will have to continue asserting myself if necessary. And maybe I'll have to face the fact that it could just not be working for me any more. It's hard after seeing a therapist for a long time, especially one who has helped me a lot. She did stop asking me about it after I made it clear that I didn't want to go there, but then I felt she started fishing a bit, saying things like 'it must be lonely to be experiencing profound things all on your own like that'. Perhaps I have interpreted this as her wanting me to talk about it. Maybe I need to check it out with her. As you can probably see I'm confused about it at the moment!
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 18 April 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Welcome, fluffy.

You noted:
quote:
. . . I partly don't want to talk about it because then during it I can be too aware of what I'm going to say about it afterwards and it feels this interrupts things.

I can understand how feeling somewhat pressured to share about contemplative experiences would intrude on them and mess things up (I think that's what I hear you saying). One really needs to just let go of control and monitoring what's going on to enter into contemplative experience.

Unless your therapist believes these experiences are relevant somehow to what's going on in therapy, then I don't see why you'd need to talk about it. Perhaps you could share something in a general way just to reassure her that it's not conflicting with the therapy.
 
Posts: 3516 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Phil. I do feel very much like you've described. Thanks, it helps a lot to read it put into words like that. I feel each time I contemplate I'm being taught how to let go, to a greater or lesser extent (and I really need to!)

It seems there can sometimes be a blurring of boundaries when a therapist is also interested in spirituality. It's a good idea of yours to talk around the edges of the experience like that. I'm guessing that's all anyone can ever do anyway.

I don't get the sense she's worried about me, more that she's trying to encourage me to talk about something that's positive in my life in order to affirm it. I'm sure this is a common technique in therapy and possibly in some approaches to spirituality too (although I'm no expert on this). It seems I have veered off in a slightly different direction though, somehow or other.

Thanks for the welcome too.
 
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