Sep 24, 2017 3:05 PM
Many clients and even therapists believe that if something is therapeutic, it means it feels good. The truth is that sometimes it feels good and other times, it feels shitty. If something is therapeutic, it means that it aids in healing and sometimes that hurts! Have you ever heard of a bone needing to be “rebroken” so it can heal properly? Have you ever had stitches or surgery? Healing fucking hurts!!!
A lot of people think that their loved ones in therapy with me are spending an hour and good money to be complimented, to be told about how right they are and how wrong their loved ones are, or to talk to me while I sit passively nodding my head with smiles and “mm hmm’s.”
Here is a reality check for you. If your loved one is in therapy with me, they have one of the most confrontational and challenging therapists I know. It is true that my clients feel safe in their therapy. Feeling safe is my ultimate concern for my clients. I tell my clients often that while they should always feel safe, they will often feel uncomfortable. I also tell them that if we work together long enough and if they and I are doing our jobs right, I will probably piss them off. My clients hear me say things like,
- What do you need today?
- Your presence matters. Your absence matters. What you do matters. What you say matters. You matter.
- What do you need right now?
- I’m feeling protective of you right now.
- What do you need from me?
- When you allow yourself to show your hurt in here, you help me to understand how hurt you are.
- What do you need? (Are you noticing a pattern here?)
- I hate that you are hurting so much.
- I am pissed that that happened to you.
- Even if you smile or laugh in here, I promise I won’t forget how much you are suffering.
- What is preventing you from getting your needs met?
- Trust in your process, be patient with your timeline, be kind to yourself.
- Can you work to get your needs met in here?
My clients also hear me say things like,
- What gives you the right to tell other people how to feel?
- You don’t get to decide how _____ does life.
- It is none of your business what they are saying about you.
- How do you expect to get your needs met when you haven’t made them clear to anyone?
- ______ is not responsible for your emotions; you are.
- ______ is entitled to his experiences even if you don’t agree with or understand them.
- I am beginning to resent your frequent tardiness to your sessions.
- What are you avoiding?
- What are you doing right now?
- How does what you are saying have anything to do with what I just asked you?
- Talk to me about your anger with me right now.
Despite what stigma has taught society, THERAPY IS NOT FOR THE WEAK! My clients are so strong and brave! When I was leaving the clinic and had my clients meet their new therapists, what I heard my clients say the most to their new therapists were things like, "I need you to call me out on my shit like Nicki does," "Don't let me stay comfortable," "Push me out of my comfort zone like Nicki does." Therapy with me is rough at times. It is often uncomfortable, confrontational, challenging, brutally honest, and incredibly therapeutic.
Sep 10, 2017 9:54 PM
What is defensive communication? Why do we engage in it? Is it useful? How can we avoid using it to have healthier discussions with our loved ones?