Mike Cope's blog

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Don't miss the cover story in Time this week on new directions in marriage "therapy." For so often, too many therapists have focused on trauma: on what's gone BAD in the past and on what's gone SOUR in a relationship. Certainly, it can be helpful for someone to walk briefly through those tender points with a caring friend or therapist. BUT . . . too many therapists have kept people sick or made them worse by helping them stay focused on life's trauma. They keep patients coming month-after-month, year-after-year, as they continue walking back through the past. A much more helpful model is to focus on dealing with life as it is. Some therapists focus on strengths. They teach couples better skills. They accentuate what's healthy. They use HOPE as their trump card instead of trauma. Some who have listened to me have thought I'm against all therapy. Not true. It is true that I think we need friends, shepherds, and guides more than therapists. But there certainly is a place for helpful, trained therapists. What I'm against is trauma-based therapy: therapy that keeps pointing to the past, therapy that believes yesterday is more important than tomorrow, therapy that tries to help people "recover memories," and therapy that spotlights what's broken instead of what might work better. Therapy that tries to work over a short time with people and then sends them out into their world of relationships--well, that can be a true blessing!

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