Therapy is not parent bashing

Therapy is NOT parent bashing

There is an idea out there, that all therapy does, is just blames your parents for all your problems. This post is to help you understand a bit more about this process, why it isn’t that, and what it really is instead!

Many psychotherapists (myself included) spend time rummaging around in your childhood. Many people think “it’s the past, just move forward.” But our brains don’t work like that. They are wired and re-wired as a result of our experiences! Healing from the wounds allows some re-wiring to happen, otherwise you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over again (isn’t that the definition of insanity?). If knowledge was the answer, the world would be a different place. Problem is, we have feelings, and knowledge itself doesn’t heal feelings. It’s a bit more complicated than that.

Playing the “blame game” isn’t helpful. Sure in therapy we understand what wasn’t taught, that which needed to be taught, what wasn’t given that needed to be given. What was done that was hurtful. What would have been more helpful and what was damaging, etc. ect. But we can’t stay there and the goal isn’t to just blame away. Because guess what. We can’t undo, or redo. But we can UNDERSTAND more. And blame can be lifted of yourself, and of the situation, but understanding can happen and compassion can be cultivated.

For people who describe their childhood as “mostly good,” there seems to be much resistant to go to these places. Almost like we are blaming parents or calling them bad or something. It is this dichotomous thought process that everything has to be black OR white. Just because you had an unmet need doesn’t mean your parents were bad, or that you’re weak, or overly sensitive. It is what it is. Understanding these needs are essential in undestanding these patterns that have been set in motion, these defensives that have been build. With knowledge and awareness comes space to create change!

Now, you might be saying, “Stacey, but I did have really shitty parents, and they are the cause of all of my problems.” No doubt, as a trauma specialist I work with a lot of people, who have had super shitty parents. In fact, knowing what some people have lived though makes me marvel at what we can withstand as a species. Some people test our strength through extreme sports. Some people had no choice but to withstand what was given and kept living.

No matter where you lie in the spectrum of childhood experiences, you can say whatever you want about your parents, but the goal of therapy isn’t to blame them for all your problems and to not just speak ill about them. In therapy we explore the depth of the childhood experiences, understand how the past is impacting current relationships and other problems, and move toward a place of understanding, healing, and wholeness rather than blame, hurt, and emptiness.

MOST people have a mix of wonderful and not so wonderful memories of childhood. Unfortunately, some have horrible memories and not many good memories. Working out the attachment confusion of an abuser also being your only source of love is difficult and fucked up really, but the points I’m trying to make are:
1. you didn’t need to have to have a horrible childhood to heal old wounds
2. despite how horrible it was, you are entitled to your story and it’s not the therapists job to bash – we support and validate you, but when we bring to the table some tough stuff, it’s not in the spirit of bashing, but should be in the spirit of understanding.

Hope this clears up any fears or confusion around this topic!

If you are wanting to read more about this check out my older blog post

Blog about The practice of letting go

Practicing “Letting Go” is Helpful. Here is Why:

I bought new trail shoes the other day. I love buying new shoes and enjoying that new shoe smell and seeing all the bright shiny colors.

If you are a trail runner, or even if you’re not, you probably know that trail shoes get dirty fast… since you’re running through things like mud and dirt… and you sweat in the shoes.. and there goes the bright colors,the new shoe smell… the “newness” doesn’t last very long.

As a result, I experience ambivalence when I put on my new trail shoes for the first time, to let them touch the dirt for the first time, to go through a swampy area for the first time, a mud pile, a stream.. etc. I’m excited to break in my new shoes, but sad at the immediate loss I experience at the same time.

I remind myself that the best things are often well loved. I think about my favorite cook book covered in food splatters, my old dirty trail shoes I enjoyed, a favorite book with the pages all marked up…. the list goes on. I remind myself that well loved items often don’t look new…. nor would they!

Even with my reassurance, I reluctantly begin my run and try to allow myself to LET GO.

As I continue on my run I process my feelings and work on accepting the loss of newness. I become aware of the things I continue to try and HOLD ON to that are not serving me and I give myself permission to let go… let go of control.

I know I’m not alone in the fact that I like to be in control because it’s safe and comfortable. Anxiety happens when we try to control situations that are out of our control. My anxiety serves as a red flag to check in with myself – what am I trying to control? What can I let go of?

Learning to let go of the control is very difficult and frankly, uncomfortable. So during my run I practice letting go… letting go of my new shoes and letting go of my fears as I run. I recognize how letting go is beneficial for my mental health and learn to become comfortable with the uncomfortable process of letting go.

Why Practice Letting Go?

I find practicing letting go of little things to be helpful when the big losses come. Loss is painful, uncomfortable, difficult, pervasive…. just a bunch of wonderful emotions…

Practicing letting go is not the most comfortable thing in the world, but there is benefit in getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. When life faces us with really difficult situations, it becomes a familiar emotion rather than a super scary unfamiliar one. I gain confidence that I can MAKE IT THOUGH the difficult, uncomfortable feeling and know that the world is not coming to an end and I will come out the other side.

So that’s why I practice letting go and encourage others to do the same.

When we can let go and allow ourselves to be at ease with uncomfortable feelings instead of holding onto our comfort zone, we give our mind and body what it needs to move forward and onto the next chapter of life…