The political situation in the US following Super Tuesday 2016, hot on the heels of John Oliver’s show on Donald Trump https://www.facebook.com/LastWeekTonight/videos/851020811693596/ brings me to write about a very specific choice in therapy: how to move forward depending on some conditions the client presents.
For Trump, emotions in his supporting public are raging and obliterating any connection to the reality of the social fabric of tolerance and co-operation. The levels of outright lying and of less obvious deceptions are very high. The level of language sophistication has fallen well below a grade 8 level. The ethic of "might is right" has ascended to obliterate sense in receptive listeners like the rampant growth of cancer obliterates sensation in a human body through a trajectory of escalating pain, ending in death.
Might is not right, whether it is physical or symbolic. Violence is not the ultimate expression of a human being or of human doing but rather an extension - a perversion - of healthy assertion which yields boundary creation and enforcement. Money is not the ultimate value and enabler of violence but rather a symbolic currency of exchange, and also healthy.
Where emotions rage unrecognized and out of relationship to current context and out of relation to the environment and its realities, but where those emotions rather connect mainly to fantasy, thought is the only initial avenue in to self regulation. Cognitive work is appropriate here. This situation is one of repair and healing of deep disintegration, when trauma has multiplied in the body as cancer does, obliterating sensation and emotion, so that action is taken in incoherent ways.
Even then, the therapist is not a healer but a facilitator of the body's own self healing nature.
Where emotions have some connection to the current context, and are not utterly fantastic, the appropriate starting place for growth is sensation and emotion. This is also the continuation place for therapy that has begun in a cognitive way and has facilitated an alignment of at least some of the client's emotional events with activity in the here and now around the client.
This is then the start of relational therapy. Click here to learn more about how i work.