delving into the past does not always mean “finding the guilty party”

First of all, I want to make it very clear that delving into the past does not always mean “finding the guilty party.”  This attitude was indeed part of therapeutic thinking for years; there was a tendency to blame parents, especially mothers, for just about everything.  

Although, I don’t see it that way, and I’m happy to say that nowadays that there are plenty of other therapists who don’t either.  We need to see and understand what happened in the past, and sometimes we need to mourn over it because lots of things happen that cause pain. Blaming doesn’t do the work.

So, Why Are Therapists So Obsessed With The Past?

This one’s complex.  On the one hand, we are the total of our physical and genetic characteristics plus the thousands of experiences we have had.  That’s what makes a person.  So if I, as a therapist, want to get to know you, and help you know yourself in a more useful way, we need to wander through your inner library of experiences to see what’s there.  Good experiences are no less important than “bad” ones. On the other hand, most of us have disconnected from some of our unpleasant experiences, and as I said they sit there in the corner making things difficult for us.  

If you’re coming for therapy, you’re coming because you feel there are things inside you that are giving you trouble. We need to see how they got there, how they developed over time, and what resources you have to overcome them.

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Licensed marriage and family therapist #112104. Registered dance & movement therapist R-DMT #1937 ADTA.
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