Q: You can do that with an actual event. Or you could do it with, say, a woman who holds severe trauma as a kid, where there can be all kinds of events. So would you manufacture an event or how would you work with this?
Dick: First of all, if you are working with this client, who had a very abusive childhood, right? If she just had an abusive childhood and all she has is the word abusive, she must have memories, right? She may have a thousand memories. You pick one .... You say , "Give me an example". You need a specific memory, but we are not using it in terms of Freudian approach, the cathartic approach, we are just using that as a starting image.
.... Q: Can you use, what would have likely have happened?
Dick: Absolutely. This
is what you have to comprehend. Suppose you are sitting here and
we are going to work on something that happened to you
as a little child. You say, "All I remember is that the person
came into my room and that this happened there. You say, "Go
back and be there just before the person came into the room. What
were you doing just before the person came into the room? "Well
I was just lying there looking at the ceiling. And you say, Can
you see the window? Are there curtains there? What was the floor
like? What else do you see? "There is a chair in the corner
and my clothes are lying over it." That in itself is already
expanding the image. In terms of time, space, and content. And
then you can say, "Can you see yourself taking your clothes
off before going to bed? How are you feeling? What clothes do
you take off first? Then what?" It is the detail of that.
Now in order to be in the bedroom, you would have to walk in,
so when you come back to it, you say, "See yourself walking
into the bedroom." She may construct that from all kinds
of memories. "I see my bed over there." "Is it
neat or unmade? What else do you see?" "My pretty pink
spread that I always like, and the pretty pillows."
Q: What if she says, "I can't do this anymore."?
Dick: I say, "look at me."
Q And she says, "I can't look at you."(member is simulating client and Dick dialogues with the "client."
Dick: OK. Don't look at me. Do you hear my voice? Do you know who I am? You know I am your therapist. right? OK. You don't have to look at me, but you know why I am here. Now you know that you are here. You are not back there, right? All right. So I am not asking you to get into a time machine and imagine this. All right? That is the way you do that. And if they say, "It is so real that I can't go back, you keep referring them to their grounding in the here and now, and if they say, "It is so real that I can't go back" you say, "Wait a minute, you know that it is something that happened 30 years ago right? So you know that it doesn't exist now, right? And it you make an imagination about it in your head, it isn't really happening, right? Can you tell the difference between something that is really happening and something that you are just making up?
Dick: Well, if you don't, you should maybe be in a crazy house, because the definition of insanity is that a person can not tell the difference between what is real and what is not.
Cl: I'm afraid that I might be going crazy.
Dick: But you are not crazy yet. If you are, then I can't help you. We should have you put in an asylum somewhere. That is the way it is. If you don't like it, it doesn't bother me, I am trying to help you. (end of imaginary dialogue).
This is the way you go. And you work with them but
you do not let them define. . ., what J. Haley who wrote Uncommon
Therapy said in his latest book (I can't remember the name of
it but Therapeutic Paradox is an earlier good book)
in which he defines the client - therapist relationship in which
the therapist must define the terms. If you allow the client
to define the terms, you are not the therapist any more, and you
are better off saying, "I can't take your money. You will
have to find a different therapist." And he defines it as
a constant struggle, "Whereby the neurosis of the client
attempts to define the relationship and that must be thwarted."
I've said to this group that Fritz Perls said, "Frustrate your client." And not frustrate because he is an evil old man, but frustrate the clients attempt to relate to you in the same neurotic pattern that he or she is relating to the world, that is causing all their trouble. Fritz said, they come to you and they say, "Make me feel better, but don't take away my neurosis." And that is exactly where you frustrate them.
Q: You worked with a client where she said, I can't to this, and you said, "That's fine. But you will keep coming to this point over and over, so you can go on now or you can go on later.
Dick: We can stop, that's right. You will be stuck with your neurosis. This is the view. You have to frustrate the neurosis. You cannot give in to it. You don't do it by saying, "Line up and we will slug it out", you may do it by humor, you may do it by reframing something that they are saying, you may do it in lots of ways, but the principle is, that you frustrate the neurosis. Some of them can be pretty rough, That is the challenge to you. Fritz used to say, "I can't work with you, sit down." Later that day or the next day, the person would come up and he would say, "sit down and we will work now." ............... Fritz Perls story I will say to somebody, "If you really can't do this, then you can't do it. I won't try to make you, but I will tell you this, If you don't do it, you will just come back to this again and again. And the question is "How many more years are you going to do this. You make a choice: one year, three years, twelve more years, twenty five years. It is your choice.
Q: There was another instance when you talked about what you could work with and what you couldn't. ..... Dick put me in touch with what I was feeling, because I felt in a hole, I didn't know if this guy was sane, or not, or what was going on. I didn't say that the next day, But Dick kept getting into details about what the man was dealing with and they weren't there. He couldn't be specific. So the next day I am asking a question and he asked me what was happening for me and then I realized that I was getting afraid. What I am realizing now is that there are times with clients that I think I have to save them, and when that happens, I feel so inadequate, but I'm not in touch with it.
Dick: Don't be afraid to feel inadequate. By that I mean this, Don't put yourself in the terrible, terrible place of being ego invested. That I somehow had to cure him, or help him, but he insisted on getting the help on his terms, he was going to define it and what he was talking about ..... was all mixed up and in a crazy point and he wanted to get me to come to the belief that ................... I wouldn't take it as a premise unless he would substantiate it. He said he couldn't even substantiate it to himself it was just that he knows that it is true, and I said knowing that it is true is not evidence that it is true, it is just evidence that he feels very strongly about this.
Q: That is the position that I often find when women come to me and say, "I think I was ritualistic abused."
Dick: Oh, Jesus.
Q: And I can't say that I believe you just because you say that that happened. They feel so betrayed because I won't believe them
Dick: That is right. There is a whole spate of this stuff. And this has been encouraged by therapists all over who find this as a very dramatic thing to be working on. They love to get into it. It is awful.
Q: As a therapist, it feels like I'm in a dilemma.
Dick: The way I work with it, I work with their images and I don't raise the question of whether it is true or not.
Q: I have one client who keeps saying, "Do you believe this happened to me?"
Dick: Which is an indication that she doubts it herself.
Q: That is what I said to her, "It is not really important whether I believe it or not, what is important is what you believe about your own experience."
Dick: I am glad to hear
of your approach. Because many people who are on to this ritualistic
murder bandwagon, that it is all satanic.
Dick: Well thank you for a lovely day, I got a lot out of this myself. You made me feel the preciousness of life. And that is where it is at.