Home' LOTL : October 2005 Contents 45
By Dawn Cohen
QI bumped into my psychotherapist when I was out on the town.
She (tactfully) ignored me. I feel slighted but I’m not sure what
the correct etiquette is? Confused.
AYou are worried about being shamed by breaking ‘the rules’ in
this strange new world of therapy. Your concerns are
understandable, but first you must understand why your therapist
did not talk to you.
Your therapist is maintaining appropriate boundaries to protect your
therapeutic relationship with her. Once you engage in social chitchat
with someone, by definition, the space is a shared one. Therapy is the
only relationship you will ever have geared around understanding your
deepest psychological issues. The only equivalent to therapy is the
preoccupation of a mother with her newborn child. The opportunity to
re-experience this as an adult is a rare treasure that can, quite literally,
change your life.
Different modes of therapy dictate a range of approaches to where the
boundary should lie outside the room. Talk over your confusion with your
therapist. Make sure you discuss how the interaction felt. You can reap
riches by exploring what it reminds you of from your past.
Allow yourself your pain and anger that you can’t possess her outside
the therapy room. After a few experiences like this, you may be
surprised to discover you may also feel a safety in her capacity to
keep a boundary. You may also uncover a desire in yourself to protect
your sacred therapeutic space by developing your own sense of the
boundary, beyond ‘the rules’. The rewards for tasting that longing are
QI am compulsively eating, putting on more weight each day.
Every day I wake up promising myself I will be good. After work
I congratulate myself for my success. But the minute I relax at
home, I raid the fridge and only stop when I am filled with remorse. I have
tried overeaters anonymous, therapy, Weight Watchers and all the diets
in the world. What can I do? Miss Piggy.
AYou are self-destructing, and feeling there is nothing you can do.
The person who is eating seems completely separate from the
one who feels the remorse. These two aspects of you need to
start connecting with each other, because right now both of them are
colluding in keeping you eating. Your eating self indulges in all sorts of
mental tricks to avoid the consequences of your actions. If you listen
carefully you will hear yourself think ‘I will start dieting tomorrow, or ‘How
can something I put in my mouth hurt me,’ or ‘I can whip myself later,
and that means this binge won’t count.’ Your remorseful side believes
a little mental whipping is all that’s required. It’s time to exercise a little
mental muscle. Next time you overeat, get out a pen and paper and
write down all those delusional thoughts as they come up. Actively argue
back. Once you interrupt the overeating cycle you will be in a position
to explore the feelings eating has covered up. You will need therapy or
some support to do this.
QI know it sounds crazy but I can’t stop sudokus. I am not getting
all my work done because I sneak one in during the day, and my
partner says she is not getting enough of me at night, because I
do them at bed time. Obsessed.
ACompulsions soothe us initially, but in the long term create
problems of their own.
You are using the puzzle to get your world in order in some way.
Perhaps you wish life had a solution or maybe you are escaping the
anxieties of relating by burying your head in the numbers. Limit yourself
to one a day at a specified time. Don’t allow yourself to break that rule.
Talk gently to yourself about the anxiety this provokes.
The opinions expressed in this column are the personal views of the writer.
They are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. If you need
medical or psychological help please see your local GP or psychologist.
Individual and Relationship Psychotherapist
BA:BSW: Post Grad Dip in Adolescent and Child Psychology
Relationships • Depression Menopause Anxiety Grief
Childhood issues • Insomnia
Billyard Avenue Elizabeth Bay Ph: 02 93809234
HELPING YOU TO CHANGE
6 Weeks Beginners
Thursday 6-7pm $55
Starts October 20th
104 Erskineville Rd Erskineville
Ph Penny Gulliver 0411 808 451
BSW, Grad.Dip.Ed.St. MSW, Grad.Cert. M’ment
Member - Aust.Assoc.Social Workers
A lesbian counsellor with
25 years counselling experience
Working with you to make a difference
0412 882 219
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