The following articles offer articulate firsthand accounts and reflections about transformative experiences in therapy.
1. How one therapist’s approach suggests trauma is passed down “like a genetic trait”
"None of these people was a villain. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years as a therapist, it’s that there are no villains. Rather, there are generations upon generations of hurt people who cause others pain because it’s the only way they know how to communicate their own.
"By turning away from Sandra, by failing to engage with her, by shaming her, Sandra’s mother showed her daughter what her own disaster felt like. Strange to think that mother and daughter shared that feeling, because it seemed to be all they did share."
2. How one author recognized that childhood incidents were affecting his present
“Three and a half years later, I am still with my therapist. My life has been transformed. The fog has lifted. I’ve learned not to overreact to threats, both real and imagined. I’ve learned to question and quickly parse an alarm. I’ve learned my abuse did have lasting repercussions. I’ve also learned that love means something. It matters. And before working with my therapist, I was closed to it. Now I see connection to others as the key that sets me free.”
3. How DBT cured this columnist's suicidal impulses
"And as imperfect as my D.B.T. practice was early on, I found that just taking anxiety down a degree or two gave me a measure of control over my decision making in the presence of intense emotion. The lesson was profound. I couldn’t eliminate anxiety from my life, but I could learn how to tolerate it, and cope without making the situation worse."
4. How group therapy held this author more accountable to change than individual therapy
"After 18 months in group therapy, I once again poured out my vodka in the yard. Since this was the 10th or 15th time I’d done it, I had no confidence I’d succeed. Yet this time it worked. I have been sober ever since. And there it was: a meaningful and measurable change as a result of therapy, the first. ...
"Individual therapy also encouraged me to focus on the past, the injuries I’d received in childhood; group therapy forced me to see who I was now, the sometimes injurious adult I had become. For me, that was the bitter pill that led to change."
5. How therapy empowered this blogger to live with “more freedom and authenticity”
"Ok, I get it. There is an unfortunate stigma against professional help. Our negative connotation of therapy pulls us into a belief that we should carry shame if we see a therapist, and that it needs to be kept as our deepest darkest secret. The truth is life gets messy. Things can crack, then break. We all have tendencies or coping mechanisms that are prohibiting us from living authentic joyful lives. Our pasts, experiences, families, or daily stressors can be catalysts for patterns that aren’t working for us. Professionals are equipped to navigate our stories and provide guidance that will improve how we approach life."
6. How discussing her dreams helped this writer connect to her “deepest desires”
"Underestimating my own dreams was my first mistake. Underestimating Rubin Naiman was my second. I’d found him by asking Google a throw-away question: Can dreams improve emotional health? The query led to Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., his face framed in a cloud of white hair. A sleep and dream expert at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, Naiman believes that many of our modern ailments are due to dream deprivation rather than sleep deprivation. Dreams, he thinks, are the most potent antidepressant known to man. Treat your bed as a flying carpet—your portal to other worlds—and you’ll find optimal emotional health on the other side."
about the author
My passion is helping people connect with their most authentic selves. Through this blog, I hope to offer resources to demystify psychotherapy and encourage you to think about your mental wellness.
In my integrative psychotherapy practice in Echo Park, my mission is to support you in finding your best self and living an examined life.