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OfflineMushroomTrip
Dr. Teasy Thighs
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Irrational Views in Psychotherapy
    #11339235 - 10/28/09 04:56 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Recently I came across an article from the "American Journal of Psychotherapy" that amazed me on how off from any sense of rationality it was. The article is pretty long and I am not going to post all of it in here, but I will leave the link where those who are interested could go and read, and then maybe even comment on it. I will however quote a short passage, just to serve it as an example on how the entire thing is:

Quote:

A Chinese American female in her early 30s, Ms. L. was referred to an Asian therapist per her request after working with three previous therapists. Ms. L. immigrated to the United States when she was five years old, and she identified herself more as "American than Chinese," but she believed that an Asian therapist might understand her better. Her new therapist immigrated to the United States from Japan while in her 20s, and speaks English with accent. After the therapist worked with Ms. L. for three years regarding her intra- and interpersonal conflicts, Ms. L. felt empowered enough to enroll in college. She took a history class and learned about the war between China and Japan during World War II. Her positive transference to the therapist for being "Asian," quickly changed to negative transference for being from a different sub-ethnic group, "Chinese" vs. "Japanese." After the introduction in history class of the Nanking massacre, in which Chinese individuals were killed by Japanese soldiers, Ms. L. felt as if the therapist was killing her Chinese identity. Ms. L. said to her therapist, "You (Japanese) killed my people (Chinese)." Ms. L. struggled to integrate two different representations, her therapist as an "Asian" who suffered from the same type of stereotypes as she did, and the therapist as the representation of the Japanese who had killed Chinese people and now was killing her Chinese identity. Although the therapeutic process progressed, it slowed because of the therapist's failure to address ethnic issues earlier in the therapeutic process. Despite having numerous opportunities to address the emotions and meanings attached to ethnicities (Chinese and Japanese), the therapist chose to remain comfortable identifying herself under the umbrella term as "Asian."




What's your opinion on this?
Do you think that the therapist should have informed Ms. L about this historical fact, before she found it out on her own?
Do you think it is indicated to start a therapeutic relation based on the simple fact that both the therapist and the client have something in common, namely them suffering from the same "stereotypes"? After all, two people that create a bond as the result of suffering and frustration is which is counteractive to the mental healing process.
Does identity matter, especially when it comes to personal growth, which implies so much continuous change and acceptance of diversity, and freedom from mental boundaries?


--------------------
:bunny::bunnyhug:
All this time I've loved you
And never known your face
All this time I've missed you
And searched this human race
Here is true peace
Here my heart knows calm
Safe in your soul
Bathed in your sighs

:bunnyhug: :yinyang2:


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InvisibleChronic7
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Re: Irrational Views in Psychotherapy [Re: MushroomTrip]
    #11339306 - 10/28/09 05:04 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
Does identity matter, especially when it comes to personal growth, which implies so much continuous change and acceptance of diversity, and freedom from mental boundaries?




I feel this is at the heart of what your getting at...

Identity is the crucial factor when it comes to growth, change, acceptance, and especially mental boundaries

The limit of our identity is the limit of of our expression

So finding our true identity, rather than the identity we've been trained to beleive is 'me', is the one thing a being should strive for if they wish to truly express to their full potential

Im not sure if this is anything to do with what your talking about though...

:peace:


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________________________________


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OfflineAhimsa
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Re: Irrational Views in Psychotherapy [Re: MushroomTrip]
    #11339411 - 10/28/09 05:15 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

I don't know. But it feels like that if we make life so complicated we will end up with no space to turn. This situation feels claustrophobic in some sense... just my guess.


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InvisibleMufungo
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Re: Irrational Views in Psychotherapy [Re: MushroomTrip]
    #11339895 - 10/28/09 06:21 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
Do you think that the therapist should have informed Ms. L about this historical fact, before she found it out on her own?





There was no need to inform her of the historical fact before she found out on her own. A therapist can't know what every client will think about historical facts. Many Chinese people wouldn't go as far as making a generalisation between the therapist being Japanese and therefore "your people killed my people".

But after it came up as an issue, then it needed to have been addressed. I liken it to the client having a delusion about the therapeutic relationship which would hinder the progress of therapy.

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
Do you think it is indicated to start a therapeutic relation based on the simple fact that both the therapist and the client have something in common, namely them suffering from the same "stereotypes"?





Some people start therapy based on any manner of beliefs. Some clients prefer to have a therapist of the same gender, same race, same age...  Whatever makes the client comfortable. It's not about the therapist, it's about the client. And it's about respecting the client's choices and client's autonomy. If the client's stereotypes are causing a problem in their life then I see nothing wrong with utilising those stereotypes to get the client into therapy so that they might have a chance of addressing those stereotypes with someone they feel comfortable with.

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
After all, two people that create a bond as the result of suffering and frustration is which is counteractive to the mental healing process.





Are you assuming that the therapist agreed with the irrational beliefs of the client?

Would you reject a client solely based on finding out that they chose you because you both shared the same race, gender, age, or some other characteristic?

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
Does identity matter, especially when it comes to personal growth, which implies so much continuous change and acceptance of diversity, and freedom from mental boundaries?




For many people, identity does matter. But identity doesn't need to be a fixed thing with "boundaries" but rather something that continues to develop and change over one's lifetime. Part of therapy can be to assist a client transition through the development of who they think they are over their lifetime..


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OfflineMushroomTrip
Dr. Teasy Thighs
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Registered: 12/02/05
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Re: Irrational Views in Psychotherapy [Re: Mufungo]
    #11340253 - 10/28/09 07:06 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

There was no need to inform her of the historical fact before she found out on her own. A therapist can't know what every client will think about historical facts. Many Chinese people wouldn't go as far as making a generalisation between the therapist being Japanese and therefore "your people killed my people".

But after it came up as an issue, then it needed to have been addressed. I liken it to the client having a delusion about the therapeutic relationship which would hinder the progress of therapy.




I agree.

Quote:

Some people start therapy based on any manner of beliefs. Some clients prefer to have a therapist of the same gender, same race, same age...  Whatever makes the client comfortable. It's not about the therapist, it's about the client. And it's about respecting the client's choices and client's autonomy. If the client's stereotypes are causing a problem in their life then I see nothing wrong with utilising those stereotypes to get the client into therapy so that they might have a chance of addressing those stereotypes with someone they feel comfortable with.




I didn't say it is about the therapist, but I also don't think it is a wise decision for a therapist to encourage such beliefs or try to build a therapeutic relationship around the client's frustrations and based on their irrational beliefs, which more than certainly holds one back from growing up and out of the mentalities that bring them emotional suffering.

Quote:

Are you assuming that the therapist agreed with the irrational beliefs of the client?




No. I am stating that it was unprofessional of the therapist not to warn her client about the error she was committing when she decided to start a therapeutic relation only because of her cultural background.

Quote:

Would you reject a client solely based on finding out that they chose you because you both shared the same race, gender, age, or some other characteristic?




No, but I would explain them that during our collaboration I would help them realize that this not important and they should allow themselves to feel comfortable around people based on other more significant criteria, and not to judge someone before they actually get to know them. This kind of thinking, like I already said, has nothing to do with personal growth and maturity, and any psychotherapist that had at least a bit of real understanding of human nature is able to see that the patient will have to drop that line of thinking in order to be able to make some autonomous progress.

Quote:

For many people, identity does matter. But identity doesn't need to be a fixed thing with "boundaries" but rather something that continues to develop and change over one's lifetime. Part of therapy can be to assist a client transition through the development of who they think they are over their lifetime..




Agreed.


--------------------
:bunny::bunnyhug:
All this time I've loved you
And never known your face
All this time I've missed you
And searched this human race
Here is true peace
Here my heart knows calm
Safe in your soul
Bathed in your sighs

:bunnyhug: :yinyang2:


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InvisibleRationalEgo
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Registered: 06/15/09
Posts: 2,071
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Re: Irrational Views in Psychotherapy [Re: MushroomTrip]
    #11342404 - 10/29/09 12:37 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Anyone who regards 'ethnic identity' as something important is a racist. the therapist should have pointed out how irrational it is to judge another person based upon ethnic origin. The common ground a therapist should try to build with a patient IMO should be based upon mutually shared 'values' and not ethnicity of any kind.


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InvisibleMufungo
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Re: Irrational Views in Psychotherapy [Re: MushroomTrip]
    #11342416 - 10/29/09 12:39 AM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
I didn't say it is about the therapist, but I also don't think it is a wise decision for a therapist to encourage such beliefs or try to build a therapeutic relationship around the client's frustrations and based on their irrational beliefs, which more than certainly holds one back from growing up and out of the mentalities that bring them emotional suffering.





I haven't read the whole article yet. Did the therapist encourage the client to have irrational beliefs?
Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
No. I am stating that it was unprofessional of the therapist not to warn her client about the error she was committing when she decided to start a therapeutic relation only because of her cultural background.





I disagree that warning her would be necessary and that by not warning her would be unprofessional. It's one of those things that "depends". In some situations it might call for a warning other times not. If the irrational thought was confined to the client's process of "how I choose a therapist" and doesn't affect much of any other part of the client's life, then it doesn't matter as much. If the client was using the irrational thought to guide many parts of her life in many contexts, i.e. it is more pervasive thought process, then it might need to be addressed.

A therapist needs to "pick their battles" so to speak. The client's "issues" need to be weighed in light of the whole person and all of their issues and also what the client wants. Raising objections or warning the client of irrational thoughts every single time something comes up can waste time and overload the client. No need to fix what isn't broken. If the client is going to keep coming, a note can be made of an irrational belief, and maybe it can be raised at a later time if it's appropriate to do so.

Quote:

MushroomTrip said:
No, but I would explain them that during our collaboration I would help them realize that this not important and they should allow themselves to feel comfortable around people based on other more significant criteria, and not to judge someone before they actually get to know them. This kind of thinking, like I already said, has nothing to do with personal growth and maturity, and any psychotherapist that had at least a bit of real understanding of human nature is able to see that the patient will have to drop that line of thinking in order to be able to make some autonomous progress.





What makes you think that the client thinks it's overly important in the first place. Did the article say that she used the same sort of thinking in her decisions in other parts of her life or only in how she chose a therapist?

If the client was coming to see you with regard to "helping the client feel more comfortable around different people" then it would most probably be relevant and good to help a client realise that they can be comfortable around different types of people. But otherwise it could be just you pushing your model of the world onto the client, which may or may not be in the client's best interest in the short and maybe long term. Depending on the background of the client, it may not be all that relevant to the client's life either, i.e. if they live in a small community which has little cultural variation and if the client has no interest in leaving their community or little contact with different people. But like I said before, it's one of those things "that depends". To say that it has to be addressed for the client to develop maturity and become autonomous would be jumping the gun without knowing more about the client's specific circumstances.

When I hear that some value of the client's "has to be" addressed straight off the bat without specific info giving just cause or that is supported with assumptions solely from the therapist's perspective, then it smells of the therapist having issues with the world that they are trying to correct through one client at a time, rather than sincerely caring about each client's best interests. I'm not implying this to you by any means, I'm just saying that it sends up an alarm in my mind that it's about the therapist and not the client..


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