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Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Knowing Is Never Enough
In my practice of therapy and counseling, I’ve always found insight in and of itself to be inadequate. At best, I helped my counselees see and know of the psychodynamics of their emotional or mental disturbances. But, I’ve always realized that their knowing is not the same as their capacity to change their thinking, their emoting, and their behaving so they could stop self-sabotaging.
One counselee I had recently gained insight into the fact that her rage or uncontrollable anger is traceable to her unconscious hatred of her mother. In her work and social relationships, she realized how she has been “transferring” that feeling into other females who have similar traits to her mother. Surely, she understands how she got the ways they are — but not what to do or the ability to apply what she already knows.
This makes me wonder, where insight and expression of repressed feelings alone don’t work in my sessions. Something more then needs to be incorporated in order for a broken person to heal. It sets me to do some tall thinking about psychotherapy. I went back to my techniques and tools of therapy and started giving application assignments, among others.
Insight alone is not enough for deep and lasting personal change. The truth is, most of us are very good at identifying what’s wrong with us and our experiences. Yet that knowledge in and of itself rarely produces deep level personal healing and recovery. In fact, without the appropriate steps and frames, insight may result in “re-traumatizing” a hurting person. So, make sure you have insights plus the experiential aspects in your recovery journey.