Main concepts of psychotherapy
One of the most valuable inventions of the last hundred years is psychotherapy, with exceptional power to enhance our emotional well-being, improve our relationships, save the atmosphere in our families and help us develop our professional potential.
But at the same time, it is deeply misunderstood and associated with useless hopes, fantasies and suspicions. Her logic is rarely explained and her voice is rarely heard directly enough.
Symptoms and causes
People usually get into therapy when they are completely shocked by painful symptoms that they cannot understand. Why are they always so sad? Why are they so afraid that they will be fired, even though they have done nothing wrong objectively? Why is sex no longer possible?
Looking behind the curtain of the “problem at hand” and finding out what the real point is and how it can be helped is the purpose of therapy. It was with his incredibly subtle understanding of the devilishly complex way in which symptoms relate to the real causes that Sigmund Freud, the inventor of psychoanalysis, and his twin psychotherapy, earned his place in the history of the 20th century.
We can’t understand or imagine what’s causing us suffering, so we can’t get over it. Outwardly, we may be busy manically cleaning our homes, but through many therapy sessions we can understand that we are unconsciously trying to get rid of the sense of needlessness and “badness” that was passed down to us by a parent who neglected us in our early childhood.
It is no coincidence that Freud was a doctor by training. In body medicine, the causes of suffering are often (at first glance) completely unexpected; thumb pain can be related to a problem in the abdomen. Freud took this model and applied it to the suffering of the mind, suggesting that our current emotional difficulties are usually symptoms of problems hidden in the caves of children’s memories that are rarely visited.
Psychotherapy is a discipline that promises to lead us to the problems of our past, to give us a chance to address the real causes of our problems, to become freer, less anxious and with better prospects for the future.
In the ancient Greek word, trauma meant a physical wound. Psychotherapy is based on the fact that there are emotional wounds in any childhood. Nothing sinister should happen to us at all, so that we are traumatized in such a way that our chances of enjoying our adult lives deteriorate.
Little children are deeply vulnerable to completely normal things, parents quarrel or just a little distracted, it’s terrible if they are angry; a child can feel fear of abandonment or helplessness – even if they’re objectively safe. A parent doesn’t have to be a monster, it’s enough to bustle and try to protect themselves from everything, or to control it too much, or to be a little neglected, or just not very interested.
Fragile, immature I can be severely damaged by perfectly normal experiences, and this happens long before they can be experienced and understood correctly. In his essay on psychoanalysis, Freud defines childhood trauma as an inability to cope with an emotional challenge that could be more easily endured later.
In other words, in order to have serious and lasting consequences for our development, the trauma may not look like anything bad to us as adults. Maturity is getting to know your injuries before they ruined too much of our adult lives.
In psychotherapy, the idea of the unconscious is central. The mind is divided into two areas. Tiny pieces of what is called consciousness and huge, complex, dark, timeless lands that are called unconscious.
Due to the selective nature of consciousness, we forget and ignore the critical events that affect our behavior and mood here and now. Which nevertheless live in a dark, continuous present of the unconscious.
The traumatic episode – the denial or humiliation – that occurred when we were little, for the unconscious fresh as if we were yesterday, and their impact on today’s behavior can be disproportionately greater than our assumptions.
Our unconscious I may still be trying to appease an irritated father or hiding myself from my mother’s picky sanctimony. Part of us may continue to be afraid of a repetition of cases of disruption or humiliation (the catastrophes we fear in the future are those that have already happened to us in the past). All these battles that have taken place in the forgotten past can have a strong impact on our adult lives.
The central task of therapy is to reconnect us with our forgotten stories: to give us power over the lost provinces of our mental lives and to expand our knowledge of unconscious experiences. Therapy tries to help us re-discover enough of our hidden experiences internally so that we can rethink them with our adult abilities and free ourselves from their often painful and hidden influences.