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Question:

Hi, & thank you for this website. I am a long-married woman, late middle age, pretty good marriage, 2 almost grown children both doing well. About 13 years ago I sought out a Gestalt therapist to do "inner child" work with me about how I still didn’t know what career I wanted to pursue…and this evolved into very intense (my choice) inner-child therapy in which I discovered (therapist NEVER suggested this, let alone pushing it) that I had experienced incest ("father") from a very, very early age. "The body doesn’t lie," she told me when I expressed disbelief at what I was "re-living." And now I know it’s true, & it explains a lot of things. From the mother, there was constant shaming & rejection; I learned from her that I was filthy, untouchable, & disgusting. I take Wellbutrin (have a psychiatrist for that, with check-ins twice a year); I have phone appointments with the Gestalt therapist & sometimes in-person appointments (we moved out-of-state a few months after I started with her). I journal, work with PTSD self-help books, etc., & meditate, but after all this time (and I will be in close touch with my therapist forever; she is a wise, loving, supportive ally & a lifeline to me) it feels like I still am not doing as well as I wish. I’m underemployed, afraid to do or say anything that will bring criticism from anyone, & feel despairing sometimes that I’ll ever be able to grow beyond where I am now (which is not good enough). I wish I knew what else to do —  some people just never manage to fully heal? Thank you for taking the time to read this; I hope there’ll be an answer from you (of course, so does everyone who writes to you!).

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Answer:

Hi,

I am very conflicted about what to tell you. You have a deep connection with your therapist but I have a couple of doubts and suspect that this is why you are not achieving your full potential.

First, therapy is not and should not be forever. It is always important to work towards termination. That is not happening and I do not think that is such a good thing.

Second, I do not know how you arrived at incest. It does not seem to have been a memory or a recovery of a memory. I also wonder if, assuming that there was incest, if you ever confronted your parents about it, assuming that they are still alive. The body never lies but our interpretation of what the body is doing may be incorrect. I have no way of knowing but it SEEMS as if the evidence to support incest is not very strong. Please excuse me if I am in error.

Third, you entered therapy to clarify career goals but selected a Gestalt therapist. That seems contradictory, at leas to me.

My comment is that your career issues were not addressed and remain an unfulfilled goal of your psychotherapy. By the way, termination should always be a goal of therapy along with other goals.

I would suggest you enter career counseling in order to learn how to find your priorities and focus on what you might want to do and how to get there.

Best of Luck

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