October 2nd, 2014

Hu design

More on therapy

One of the things I found myself saying in therapy last week was that, while I had a (perhaps somewhat naive) hope that I could bring "positive energy" from the Amma programs and retreats into my work environment, I found that the net result was that my increased sensitivity led to deeper emotional wounds on the job.

I think that therapists frequently take the position that there is something wrong with the psychological defenses that the client is using in order to try to make it through his or her daily circumstances, that somehow the defenses are being overused and misapplied as a general response to life, and that if the client can be persuaded to relinquish this "maladaptive" habit, then the client's life will automatically increase in vitality, "feelingfulness," and fulfillment. It is this kind of naive assumption that David Smail critiques in his work. While the comparative safety of the therapeutic environment can facilitate the (re)surfacing of certain kinds of feelings, that doesn't mean that the client then automatically has the power to influence his or her general environment into supporting a more "feelingful" and fulfilling life just because that's something that the client thinks he or she might desire.

Another thing I found myself saying in therapy is that I found, as a spiritual path, Islam/Sufism seems to support effective boundaries more easily than my experiences in the Amma organization did.