Monday, June 13, 2011

Healing Rituals in Psychotherapy

Dutch psychotherapist, Dr. Onno Van Der Hart, wrote the book "Rituals in Psychotherapy: Transition and Continuity." He describes "rituals" as significant in overcoming traumas, griefs, and other severe problems. He pinpoints that "rituals" can change dysfunctional emotions and thoughts in ways that no amount of teaching, lecture, or usual strategies can.

Richard was a "rageaholic." He came to therapy to treat his "anger-addiction," which has been damaging himself, his wife and children. Asking for help was specially difficult for Richard who's used to handling things by himself and use his addiction to get him through. As part of his "ritual" with me in his therapy, I asked him to make free-flowing "calls and texts" to me, especially whenever he's on the verge of anger outbursts. Extensive reading, tests, and daily reflection were also prescribed to him, among others. The result was a mosaic of "rituals," which substantially taught him, solve problems, and provide coping strategies.

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