Until now, we’ve been discussing clients who have difficulty communicating their inner experiences with us. Their inability could be stem from an innaccesible inner world. It could also be due to their lack of verbal language that allows them to communicate their inner world and feelings to us. We’ll put them aside for now so that we can focus on those who’re unable to speak because of ‘political’ considerations.
Of course, when we speak of political consideration we’re not speaking of elections and primaries. We’re speaking of what is allowed for each individual members of a social grouping. All groups, whether they are marriages, friendships, or work relationships, have rules which limit and shape autonomy and expression. In some relationships, the cost of membership is silence.
‘So why do they come for treatment?’, I hear you asking. There are many reasons. Among them: Clients may come for other, ‘acceptable’ reasons which don’t threaten the rules of the relationship. In other cases, the ‘symptoms’ have become so extreme that the rules no longer seem to apply. For others, a downward spiral of connections with fringe groups and gangs allow them to break out of the control of their primary social group.
Regardless of how they arrive for treatment, group loyalty runs deep. These clients are ambivalent about violating social taboos. We can respond with wisdom and caring as we make our way through various minefields strewn before us.
More on that tomorrow.