Why you can’t leave (1)

One reason why it is so hard to leave therapy – why people so quickly become so hooked and entangled in it – is because the truth about the situation is simply too horrible and upsetting to face.

The ‘client’ has ‘entered therapy’ because she is in a state of turmoil or upset about some difficultly or other. And, typically, because she has no one in her life who seems able to help. At first the therapist seems sympathetic. (You bet they do; it isn’t hard to feign a little sympathy for £30.00 for 50 minutes). The ‘client’ is encouraged to start talking about their difficulty. Then they are further encouraged to start talking about everything that has ever upset them in their life. Soon, then, all their vulnerabilities are on the table. They’ve been exposed. We can’t say shared because the therapist will have given nothing away about their vulnerabilities in return.

But the truth is that the therapist couldn’t give a toss. At best they are playing a game where they believe that there is some process where becoming dependent and vulnerable in this way will do the client some good. That this will ‘heal’ the client. But this is not true. Talking about your self in a monologue to a paid listener helps no one. At worst (and there is probably always an element of this even in the better therapists) they know that this (the monologue ‘heals’) isn’t really true – but hey it’s a good wheeze and, like everyone else, they have bills to pay…

It is hard, very hard, to face this truth. That this person who appeared, because they presented themselves so, as being so different from all the abusers in your life, is in fact, no more caring about you than anyone else. They’re just running a business. The litmus test being that the moment you stop paying the fees they won’t want to know anything else about you. And, remember, the ‘client’ was already somewhat wounded when they ‘entered therapy’. Where are they going to find the strength to admit that this ‘helper’ is just a cynical money-maker as indifferent to them as anyone else in their life who abused them or let them down? That calls for more strength than is normally required in life. And so therapy flourishes. By creating a situation for people from which it is hard to extract themselves.

What makes people strong is when you’ve been abused or let down you grit your teeth and pull yourself up. Almost everyone in life is let down or abused. Everyone who has been has the capacity to pull themselves up and get on with their life. That is what life is about.

For therapists life itself is wrong and needs fixing. It is pure American commercialism carried to its logical conclusion. The allure is offered that by paying a weekly fee you can have an easier life than life itself, that you can bypass the difficulties of life.

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer