Freud said that there was only one rule in psychoanalysis: say whatever comes to your mind, even most importantly when you don’t want to. It is through this honesty that we listen to different parts of ourselves and start to discover our internal dynamic.
Why You Should Say What You’re Thinking in Therapy
Although opening up to a stranger is hard, telling your therapist exactly what we’re thinking and feeling is the best way to discover how much of what goes on inside of us is blocked from our conscious brain. As we start to become more aware of our repressions, we can discover more about how we are conditioned, and why we are the way that we are. Most of us have a pre-defined narrative of ourselves, however, most of the time these have been created as coping mechanisms,
When there are parts of ourselves that we don’t like or that we feel don’t match the identity of someone who we feel is ‘acceptable’, it can lead us to be scared of those parts of ourselves. Psychotherapy allows us to understand these parts and lessen their power over us. Therapists may ask many questions in a non-judgemental light to find the root of these feelings. This can feel strange to patients, however, over time, patients will realist this behaviour is compassionate curiosity.
What is Compassionate Curiosity?
Compassionate curiosity is a combination of self-compassion and curiosity. When patients understand therapists are compassionately curious, it’s easier for them to become less afraid and more curious about themselves too. Their internal judge can be lessened as they accept what they previously believed was unacceptable.
The following poem hopefully gives a flavour of this:
“Be curious, not judgmental.”
Be curious. Wonder awhile, listen, allow yourself to not know.
Not judgmental. Not “I know what this means”, not imagining the worst, not coming to hasty conclusions.
Be here, not there. Be now, not then. Be curious, not judgmental…
Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy is a collective of experienced psychotherapists, psychologists and counsellors working with a range of client groups, including fellow therapists and health professionals. If you would like more information, or an informal discussion please get in touch. Online therapy is available.