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Rafael Ritter

Irrational versus Rational Therapy? (Or: What is the Best Kind of Therapy?)

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I was going to therapy last year, and my therapist followed the "Family Constellations" method, which is a therapeutic method founded by Bert Hellinger. I am a bit skeptic of that approach, because it didn't seem very rational, at least the way she presented it to me. Here are some of the statements she made, based on that approach:

"The parent-child relationship is an imbalance relationship. The parent gave us life, which is a gift that we can never pay back, only to our children when we have them." — here she was basically saying that we owe our parents infinitely. That because they gave us life and it's the best gift, we have an eternal obligation to them.
"We shouldn't reject our parents, even if they have made a mistake."

She said those things in response to me telling her that my girlfriend does not want to talk to her father because he was never present in her life, that he is just a random stranger to her, who now wants to get close to her.

Do you agree that this approach is not very rational? What do you think of the argument that we owe our parents no matter what they do or have done because they gave us the best gift which is life? What is the best and most rational psychological method/approach/type of therapy?

I think I want a different kind of therapist but I really don't know what to look for. What do you recommend? Thanks in advance!

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I would say that the approach is very irrational. While we can't choose our parents, our parents did choose to have us, and with choices come responsibilities. Why should offspring feel obligated to be with people who they never chose to be born to, especially if they were abusive or negligent?

It's funny that your girlfriend's father suddenly wants to be in her life now. Where was he before when she needed him? Plus, as an adult, she doesn't have to be with him if she doesn't want to. After all, all adult relationships, even among relatives, are voluntary (and should be). 

However, I do believe in forgiveness of parents if they're truly repentant. His actions may be forgivable if his explanation and apology are sincere, and he's not just making excuses or has an ulterior motive. But, it's up to her to forgive (or not forgive) him since forgiveness is a personal choice, and it's even permissible for her to still not want to be with him if she chooses. 

I'm not sure which therapist to recommend. Perhaps you can search online. 

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Hi @Rafael Ritter

 

4 hours ago, Rafael Ritter said:

"(1)The parent-child relationship is an imbalance relationship. The parent(2) gave us life, which is a gift that we can never pay back(3), only to our children when we have them(4)." — here she was basically saying that we owe our parents infinitely. That because they gave us life and it's the best gift, we have an (5)eternal obligation to them.
"We shouldn't reject our parents, even if they have made a mistake(6)"

my amateur contribution:

1. True, a child can't fend for itself, protect-, clothe itself. Furthermore a child has no clue what social dynamics will lead to guaranteed survival, how to communicate, interpret the big shiny bright vast reality to navigate it sanely.

2. True insofar, as they created a new life. Biology.

3. It is a gift, however not sure if the reimbursement should be directed at the parents who actually can't own another individual, take over their free-will eventually. (slavery?) It's actually the parents who are forever responsible for their child for making the decision of bringing it into this world. (to a degree, in a sense, until the child is dependent certainly)

4. Not true. With the same logic, I'd only be able to repay a favour if I did a favour to someone else. Or, the gift of life is something that obligates the recipient to overlook certain things for the parents on the basis of not having been able to decline accepting a gift in the beginning. Un-chosen obligation.

5. To me, she was saying many more things than that with it, but perhaps what could be interesting for you is: If she did believe that, had that as a principle = What were the ramifications that followed because of that?

6. False. There's no get out of jail card in virtuous relationships based on... "We brought you here, now you have to be grateful for that forever, even if you don't like it, even if we don't treat you good! Why? Because you couldn't have a say(you can't have now, neither)!"

I warn against any sort of similar silencing, prevention of conversations about evaluating the past, exploration. Deterministic mindset it seems to me, avoidant and ignorant .

4 hours ago, Rafael Ritter said:

Do you agree that this approach is not very rational?

It's Nutts! (except if healing isn't a positive in parent-child relationship)

4 hours ago, Rafael Ritter said:

What is the best and most rational psychological method/approach/type of therapy?

With the exception of a few basics (for me: curiosity, intelligible language, facilitation of true-self... etc) , it's you who have to figure that one out for yourself. It's because you are the closest to most effectively comparing your own principles/preferences to the existing numerous options. Furthermore, discomfort or anxiety doesn't necessarily mean that the therapy isn't being useful for you.

MY TWO MAJOR RECOMMENDATIONS:

A.  Something to read (short, good insights)

B. Something to listen to (maaany more absolutely fantastic insights)

https://www.fdrpodcasts.com/#/1927/how-to-find-a-great-therapist

Hope you find your answers.

Would you like to chime back later, say a few words regarding how things progressed?

 

Barnsley

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The third generation of Cognitive Therapies are both rational and effective. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Coherence Therapy, ACT or Mindfulness based CBT are good examples for that approach.

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On 13/04/2018 at 5:14 AM, barn said:

Would you like to chime back later, say a few words regarding how things progressed?

I didn't start to look for a new therapist yet because I have to deal with some university stuff and some personal stuff at the moment. But when I do start looking for a new one, I will certainly take into account everything that you guys said and recommended here!

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2 hours ago, Rafael Ritter said:

I didn't start to look for a new therapist yet because I have to deal with some university stuff and some personal stuff at the moment. But when I do start looking for a new one, I will certainly take into account everything that you guys said and recommended here!

Very good on you!

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