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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

How A Psychotherapist Should Speak To Their Adult Patients

The historic psychoanalytic model of silently listening to patients interrupting only with an occasional cogent interpretation is rarely useful, lacking as it does much of a living experience. Nor is offering gratuituous hoary wisdoms like "all people have problems" helpful. Instead, the clinician should, by providing psychological information and enlightening anecdotes, educate their patient on the complexity of life, and the need to experience a "good-enough" parenting during childhood to avoid adult emotional difficulties, and their tendency to persist,.

A crucial fact is the power of fantasy, enjoyable even if sometimes fearful and threatening, to disrupt life, and the limited power ot the ego's defenses against the unconscious.

While brief psychotherapy is possible for a recent and isolated life problem, the treatment of deeper discontents must be lengthy (though not interminable), sometimes persisting intermittently for decades, since psychological limitations are long in development and the mind resists change, being inherently conservative.

Many patients deny the harm caused them by their parent(s), being unable to conceive they were not loved as a child since this belief serves as the bedrock of the human personality and is essential to survival. Yet there is also the mind's thrust toward psychological health and life fulfillment, evidenced by nightmares which communicate unconscious awareness of the need for change and its fear.

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