Sunday, July 19, 2009

Unconditional Positive Regard

I’ve read enough to know the ‘keys’ to the ‘successful therapeutic relationship’…the ‘unconditional positive regard’, ‘make the client feel *accepted* where they ARE’…obviously I don’t need to list them – since it’s really a code you ‘live’ by. But I really wanted to talk about the 2 above. I realize you have them down pat – an expert in the field, I imagine – because it certainly worked on me – and I’m sort of a skeptic, when it comes to thought processes that are not logical – really – philosophical jargon just makes my brain hurt. I’m not wired to think that way – but that’s what makes the world go ‘round, isn’t DT – we all have our strengths and weaknesses ~ we all have are passions as well as things we like to avoid.

But suddenly, the thought of “unconditional positive regard” feels phony to me. You have spent so much time ingraining into my brain, “DT is human, humans make mistakes, humans have limitations.” Well…humans are not capable of “unconditional positive regard”, either. “Blanket acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does.”….And you called me “fake”?

Come on, DT! That doesn’t make sense!I disclose something painful for me, and you reply, “Well, there must have been a reason you did what you did.”
I respond, “Yes, I’m a spiteful bitch – and I did it because I could.”DT uses the “upr response”, “Well, that’s a reason, don’t be so hard on yourself.”WHAT? I’m guessing had YOU been on the receiving end of my spite that evening – you certainly wouldn’t “accept” it! (Again, just guessing –don’t really “know” you maybe you would.)

UPR – that’s not “real” – and now I just feel like nothing you say is “real”. (God damn border and her black/white thinking – but 2+2 is 4 …no matter how you do the calculation). So I’ve spent time thinking that through, as you know, my brain tends to do that…and I wonder how in the world it’s supposed to be ‘effective’ for you to tell me that – what I did that night is ‘understandable’. It wasn’t acceptable – sure – we all do things we shouldn’t – but they’re still wrong! Sure – move on – try to understand why you did it –so you can prevent it from happening in the future – but “accepted” – um, I don’t think so.

And then I do a quick panorama of my behavior last year, you know, before you changed, and it was NOT accepted by you. Um…I’m not sure I can understand that – of course I’m not a clinician ~ so I’m certain there are several pieces to this puzzle that I’m missing and therefore not understanding how this should all work.

So, what I’m going to say next is probably not *fair*, but “it is what it is”. You “accept” what I tell you about myself, and support me, no matter what I say or do (assuming the activities are “legal”) – and I guess I should also make the assumption that this is for “past” behaviors – because my recollection of the recent past ~ is that when I am honest with you – you “change” the rules and send me to a worthless class that wastes $1500.00 of my hard earned money. And frankly, I find that completely asinine (no offense).

But really, how the hell am I supposed to think you really ‘care’ when you accept something that’s completely unacceptable and deplorable! Why talk now – I can just have a DT/Grace conversation in my head – spill out the situation and then be DT and say, “It’s okay – you’re not bad, you had a reason. I ‘accept’ you. I (enter care/understand/realize how difficult) it was.) WTH? I pay you to “accept” me? (well, to tell me you accept me – who knows what you really think) That’s pretty stupid on my part, isn’t it?

That’s really how this works? Because my thought process was in a way different place! Now I think it’s all just all just sugar coated lies. Really. I actually did believe you ‘cared’ for a long time – but now I think it’s all fake.
Like the bullshit you used to tell me:
“And for now, I will care about you when you can't or won’t. Little Angry Gracie, I hear you and I do care.”
“I will reiterate that I do care about you very much”
“I stand firm in my ever constant attempt to be present and available to you to the best of my ability.”
I’m sorry that I ever believed you did care! And that I begged you for help – and you slammed the door in my face because it was after “10”. I’m sorry that I told you anything at all! Because obviously, your “answer” is the same no matter what the question! I’m sorry for all of it! Because it was obviously just a ‘job’ to you – reading from a book – saying what you were taught – I don’t hold you responsible…you were doing your job – I hold myself accountable for buying into the theoretical bullshit! That’s not “honesty”….

And it all makes so much sense now! The whole *puzzle*! You were “there” to get me to trust you – I tell you some things, you don’t judge me, so I trust you more. I reach out to you…you’re there…I trust you more and feel accepted and cared for. And I bought into it all – hook – line –sinker! You got the untrustable to trust! Wow! Amazing – AND even when you changed the “rules” I still stuck around – because I still thought you cared! But it was all fake – just your job – “show the client that you accept her no matter what and she’ll keep coming back because she’ll think you care.”Nice! See, here’s the thing…I realize I’m fucked up/mentally ill, basically a trailor trash whore who was fucked by her father – unloved by her mother – which really didn’t do much to provide a sense of safety or develop the ability to trust.

But here’s the thing – despite all that – I know right from wrong! I know my father was WRONG for doing what he did – it still fucks me up every god damn night! But he was wrong for doing it. But the rest of the shit I said Monday – I was wrong for doing it! ME! I “accept” the responsibility for what I did and I don’t need your bullshit answer of “unconditional positive regard” – because I don’t “accept” that! That’s not “real” – that’s fake and dishonest!

And the funniest part is if I were honest about the other shit, the PRESENT day SHIT! The shit we do to cope at night - You wouldn't accept that! WTF? I'm not stupid but it sure doesn't make sense to ME! If I screw up! If I'm wrong! Tell me that!!!! Just like you did about the "Email" and your "availability" and my "maladaptive behavior"! Just tell me the! You had no problem telling me then - did you? Since I realize this isn’t a “scheduled DT communicates with Grace” day - ou have your 'limits' and shit in place, I'll take the liberty of speaking for you..."No - I didn't - because I didn't have time to deal with your bullshit! And I don't really give a fuck - other than when you're in my office and that's "your" time - so I "accept" the matter what."ME: Yeah - well THAT'S FUCKED UP! And I don't *accept* that!
DT – Would you like a change to retort? Take as much time as you need…I’m sure you have to “consult” with your peer group, and probably your boyfriend, on what would be the appropriate response. Only took 4 days, huh? And THIS is what you came up with????

DT RESPONSE: “unconditional positive regard... some thoughts....Let me remind you that there are indeed things that in the context of our tx relationship are conditional and not acceptable (ie. and have consequences...). What emotions and thoughts you experiences are not places where human judgment belongs. Feelings of shame, guilt, self reproach, etc. carry enough burdens on the psyche. However actions and perhaps the intentions underlying them render a different understanding because ultimately they impact others... Also, UPR is there because, ultimately, it is up to you to discern what and who you want to become...not based on what I think is "right or wrong". If I were to directly impart my values, likes, dislikes, opinions of who I think you should be or become, then it is not your process of discovery. Having said that, I also recognize that this is not a perfect world (or perfect " therapeutic process") and there will be times when my body language, timing of responses, own human reactions, etc. will color our interactions such that you will inevitably internalize something about "me" you have already discovered....for better or worse...”

So, basically, what you’re saying (in a circular, not really saying anything, kind of way) is you pretend to not judge me for what I “disclose” to you. But the “consequences come into play when Grace can’t keep her behavior in check at night – and utilizes self destructive behavior in an effort to “get through” now that you’ve decided you won’t be available.

I think I get it now! And I hope you “get” why I am no longer willing to disclose what that “get through the night” behavior is – because THAT is the behavior that draws the consequences. And you “reacting” and “acting” on that behavior really just puts me in the same position I was in many years ago. The position of being FUCKED by someone I should be able to TRUST!

1 comment:

  1. i've felt hurt when my therapist has been too okay with things that i've done to myself to cope--i feel that's not caring--i know they want to keep us from feeling judged but at least for me i am trying to learn and internalize a new way of relating to myself/caring for myself (right now I can't picture/feel this one bit!) from her. sometimes it is so frustrating to deal with the therapist's therapy language and mask/performance of caring but also those nonverbal signals that say other things. it's crazy-making--just like home.