Thursday Thought — Is Therapy the Answer?
Our society’s answer to everything that troubles people has become “You should go to therapy.” But is talking with a psychotherapist succeeding at making people feel better? The outcome research is mixed; it shows therapy having modest benefits on average, with many clients not finding it particularly helpful.
Under what circumstances does therapy work for a woman who has had, or still has, an abusive partner? First, the therapist has to get what controlling and degrading men are like. The sessions become counter-productive when the counselor starts to make the abuse partly your fault, or makes excuses for your partner’s behavior. It also doesn’t help if you get analyzed about ‘why are you in a relationship like this”; the reality is that any woman can find herself involved with a man who turns out to be a bully.
Second, the therapist has to respect you and support your right to make your own decisions. If you are under pressure within the therapy to stay with your partner, or to leave him, or to continue in therapy when you want to quit, that’s inappropriate. It’s important that the counseling not start to have control dynamics like your relationship.
Third, you have to feel that your therapist cares about you and is happy to see you, and you need to feel good being with him or her. If you find the counselor too businesslike or analytical, you’ll end up feeling even more starved for love and kindness.
In short, it can take some hunting to find a therapist who is a good match for you.
Don’t think of therapy as the only option. It is one approach among many healing paths. . . The best place to begin is usually at a program for abused women.
[Entry from Lundy Bancroft’s Daily Wisdom for Why Does He Do That?* pp369-370]