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August 18, 2018 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Personality

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The game of therapy

Question:

I've been to too many counselors who cannot or will not see through the psychological games I play (which quite honestly I have perfected). I've been to many counselors and I have informed them of this issue and they always take it lightly. I believe if I can get past this I will really be ready to get to the deeper core problems I am experiencing.

I am sure counselors are well informed about the games people play with therapy. I'm talking about all the mind games that come from a lack of trust on the part of the client. My question is this - Is this a normal thing that clients do in counseling?

Skinnylizard (34 year-old woman)

Answer:

Dear Skinnylizard,

Therapy is a strange art/science. In general, people are taught that they should take care of problems themselves. This is a good thing for independence but often is overdone. People tend to feel shame to ask for help with personal issues and that is counterproductive. Therefore, they tend to seek help only when they are in intense pain and the problems overwhelming. This often makes treatment more difficult. This is especially true in marital therapy. Often the feelings are so hurt that reconciliation is unlikely.

I believe that most clients truly want to get help and relieve the pain, but they often want to do it without feeling that pain, displaying what they feel is shameful and without having to change. This is impossible of course. They therefore have two goals. They want to change and they want to stay the same and not share. This can make for a difficult course of treatment and often the counselor and the client become frustrated. It is not all that different from medicine. If I have a boil I want to get rid of it but in no way do I want to have it lanced. Who in their right mind would? What has to be kept in mind is the whole issue of short vs. long-term help. It would help me in the short haul not to get it lanced and hurt me in the long haul.

What we are talking about is the whole issue of resistance, which has been extensively written about in therapy since the beginning of therapy. In short, the conscious mind wants to get help and to change and the subconscious mind wants to stay the same. Although, this is a simplification it is still rather accurate. The subconscious mind tries to protect us in the short run and erects defenses to keep the pain out of the conscious mind and these turns into symptoms that cause us difficulties. What helps us hurts us in this case. If a trauma happens the subconscious mind hides it from the conscious mind and the client begins to have nightmares and depression.

Any competent therapist will realize that part of this is conscious and part is subconscious. Thy will also realize that this isn't something to take personally and they need to help the client through the process. As the client it will help if you take the long-term view and try to embrace the pain. The whole counseling process will be more effective and be much shorter. In the long run the pain will be less. It is like ripping a band-aid off quick rather than slow. Look at it as a collaborative effort and give your next therapist as much help as you can instead of looking at them as the enemy or as a game to be played.

Good luck,

Jef Gazley

This question was answered by Jef Gazley M.S. Jef has practiced psychotherapy for twenty-five years, specializing in Love Addiction, Hypnotherapy, Relationship Management, Dysfunctional Families, Co-Dependency, Professional Coaching, and Trauma Issues. He is a trained counselor in EMDR, NET, TFT, and Applied Kinesiology. He is dedicated to guiding individuals to achieving a life long commitment to mental health and relationship mastery. His private practice locations are Scottsdale and Tempe, Arizona. You can also visit Jef at the internettherapist, the first audiovisual mental health online counseling center on the net.

For more information visit the site or contact information page on QueenDom.

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