Monday, November 7, 2016

Cognitive therapy is garbage

I’ve noticed (yes, in passive mode) that my blog is winding down. I’m not really sure why, but it doesn’t feel wrong. I do have a “swan song” sense which is not angry – despite the title of this article. The idea is inspired by a positive not negative happening: my Diagnostic Assessment session with a client who wanted to know what “primal-related therapy” is.

He was one of those not too rare individuals who had tried Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and found it worthless. In his early thirties, he had been worn down by all the years of abuse and unlove from early childhood through his passing into adulthood, was suicidal, was a substance abuser, was a husband and father. Life was painted terribly dark and heavy. He was looking for a therapist and was serious enough to leaf down through all the smiley and model-looking young women in the Psychology Today ads until he got to my more sober (and less pretty) one. It mentioned how most therapy addresses only the persona that covers our real, utter lonely self, and doesn’t know the difference.

You can’t help people by getting them to change their thinking. I don’t even know that you can accomplish that: Are people really that shallow, impressionable and stupid that we out-logic them and get them to change a belief? And look at all the examples from this election season, all these surrogates and pundits with their absurd agreement with a Narcissist’s immaturity and bigotry. You can’t change ideas that they like. What makes therapists think it is any more possible to change negative ideas that have grown from the persons life?

There is a line from an old Intro Psych text (Carol Tavris was one of the writers) that is relevant here: ‘The fact that aspirin can cure a headache doesn’t mean that headaches are caused by a lack of aspirin.’ (The passage, I believe, offered the reader a serious questioning of the idea that psychological problems are chemical imbalances.) The fact that we try to think our way out of bad feeling doesn’t mean we feel bad because we don’t think good. As my father used to joke, “It only hurts because of the pain.” We hurt because of pain. Jesus H. Fucking McGillicuddy. You have to go to the pain.

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.