I have decided that most adults are stupid. Especially the ones working in therapy.
I recently had a consultation with a child who had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which the parents said had happened as a result of an incident when the child was a baby.
The incident itself was very traumatic, it made me feel uneasy just to listen to the parents’ account of it – all of which the child had heard before from the various other counsellors and therapists she had been referred to by her GP in the past.
I felt uneasy because of the nature of the incident, I felt uneasy hearing the graphic details about the incident being spoken about in front of a child and I felt uneasy about the fact that this child had experienced this incident at an age when she shouldn’t remember it. But now she is having problems because if it.
As it happened the child was very open about the fact that she always noticed how going to the art therapist or counsellor made her feel worse. When I asked her why she said she always had to talk about the bad incident.
“It must be difficult to talk about it if you can’t remember it.” I assumed.
“No, she said, it’s easy to talk about it now as I’ve talked about it so much. But it doesn’t feel nice to talk about it, I always feel worse.”
“What I mean is” I said “If you can’t remember it, how can you talk about it?”
“Because I’ve been told a lot of details about what happened and so I can imagine how bad it would have been at that time.”
So the problems she had were based on her imagining how bad it would be to have a bad incident like the one she couldn’t remember. And the therapy she was having was all about doing that. Feeling the bad feeling to let it go. But it made her feel worse to do that.
I think that that is an insane strategy for therapy. Why make someone think about how bad something is that they can’t remember? I felt bad hearing about the incident and I’m a grown up with years of experience in hearing about bad incidents like that, but it still made me feel bad and it wasn’t even my problem. How sad to be a child being told by adults (who of course know better) to imagine how awful a bad event made you feel because your brilliant mind cleverly helped you to forget it to protect you.
I was so infuriated by these stupid adults, I almost told that mother outright never to take the child to those therapists that the gods in white coats had so cleverly suggested ever again. Of course that would be unprofessional. So instead when the mother asked “Do you think we should continue with the counselling?” I simply said “If you can see that this is having an immediate benefit – or can see how it will benefit long term then you should continue.”
Whilst violently shaking my head as I said it.
By Gemma Bailey