Cognitive Pearl #027 Tevet 14, 5775 January 5, 15

A client comes for treatment. He’s suffering. He’s confused. He’s ambivalent. He doesn’t know what he wants. But there is one thing that he is clearly afraid of: any changes in his social status. Humanity is a highly social species: just as the body needs oxygen, the psyche needs to social membership. Any threat to that membership, whether real or imagined, will evoke fear and avoidance. Clients need that membership even when that membership comes with an unspeakable costs. Therefore, we must proceed gently. Speaking against tribal affiliation, a destructive family relationship, work environment or any other social connection must be done, if ever, with great care. What we can do is to begin speaking about feelings, self worth, ambitions, failures, and any thing else that is taboo outside the four walls of our offices. With this beginning, we can weave a helpful therapeutic relationship with one of its goals being a change in the client’s social position.