Sometimes, I’ll be researching something online, only to be amazed when I run across something else entirely that is exactly what I needed to hear in that moment, or in this case, read. That happened tonight. I began my train of thought by searching Google with the words, “feeling stuck.” This led me to searching for “feeling stuck in therapy.” The first article that popped up was an article titled, “Therapists Spill: What I Do When a Client Is ‘Stuck’” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., on Psych Central. That article wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I searched, but I thought it gave an interesting insight from the perspective of therapists rather than clients.
From there, I clicked on a link within the article to the Internal Family Systems Model, which led me to an article on that site titled, The Larger Self by Richard Schwartz, Ph.D. That was the article that inspired me to share my train of thought in this post to share a link to it for anyone interested. Again, the article is written from the perspective of the therapist, not the client; but it is a fascinating read. What I found so encouraging was that the author explained the different parts of the self with such candor and optimism, not an experience of a “crazy person” (my own psyche berates me constantly should I find myself talking to myself), but something that each of us experiences to a lesser or greater degree. From the article:
“To experience the Self, there’s no shortcut around our inner barbarians – those unwelcome parts of ourselves, such as hatred, rage, suicidal despair, fear, addictive need (for drugs, food, sex), racism and other prejudice, greed, as well as the somewhat less heinous feelings of ennui, guilt, depression, anxiety, self-righteousness, and self-loathing. The lesson I’ve repeatedly learned over the years of practice is that we must learn to listen to and ultimately embrace these unwelcome parts. If we can do that, rather than trying to exile them, they transform. And, though it seems counterintuitive, there’s great relief for therapists in the process of helping clients befriend rather than berate their inner tormentors. I’ve discovered, after painful trial and much error at my clients’ expense, that treating their symptoms and difficulties like varieties of emotional garbage to be eliminated from their systems simply doesn’t work well. Often, the more I’ve joined clients in trying to get rid of their destructive rage and suicidal impulses, the more powerful and resistant these feelings have grown – though they’ve sometimes gone underground to surface at another time, in another way.” ~Richard Schwartz, Ph.D.