November 16, 2012

Identifying Underlying Emotions

I'm taking a clinical psychology class right now and realized that I made a very wrong guess about what type of therapy I've been receiving as my primary individual therapy... I didn't realize until taking this class that psychodynamic psychotherapy is actually very close to Freudian psychoanalysis... which is definitely not what I have been doing in therapy. So, I'm still not really sure how the various therapists I've had would define their style - but it's probably closer to some sort of cognitive therapy style. In view of that, I rewrote parts of the "Treatments" page of the blog (found here).

In other news, my CBT therapist pretty much destroyed a bunch of my defense mechanisms that I was using to protect myself from myself. Basically, sometimes my thoughts or feelings are unacceptable to me (even though they are actually probably normal) and I need to pretend that they aren't there so I have defense mechanisms so that I can avoid them. When my CBT therapist made me face those thoughts and feelings that I was avoiding, I had the most confusing mix of emotions. I was embarrassed, scared, angry, sad and completely exposed and vulnerable, all at the same time and all I could do was sit there and cry through most of my session with her. Afterwards though, the anger took over and at first I was angry with her for making me feel like that, but then it shifted to just being angry with life in general for putting me in this position. And that's where I still am. 

According to my primary therapist, anger is a more "acceptable" emotion to feel but if you narrow it down, there is often some other emotion that is creating that anger that is harder to accept or identify. For example, fear may be expressed as anger: a parent who yells at a child because they lost sight of them for a moment and were worried about their safety. Other emotions may be guilt, shame, or sadness. I guess now I need to figure out what other emotions I'm feeling. I think that a lot of it is probably fear and maybe feeling a little bit alone and sad. I don't know. I'm probably also just plain angry about having to deal with all of this.

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