Question:-- I am in deep-feeling oriented therapy, and I am feeling worse and worse. In fact I have never felt so depressed and so fearful. Have I made a mistake in trying this kind of therapy?

All our lives we involve ourselves in what we might call security operations -- things we do or things we avoid to make us feel safe.

Our whole personality, our belief systems, and in fact all of what we are is an attempt to become secure in the face of the endless threat of being nothing, of being alone and of being unsupported.

Feeling-oriented depth therapy is open-ended, i.e., it doesn't foster belief systems in the usual sense -- beliefs which we can lean on. Instead it begins to challenge all these security operations in an intense way. In addition, it lays bear those hurtful things that prompted an overload of security operations in the first place.

Of course we get scared and depressed when we go through these dark places -- we are facing very scary issues. But fear is not a measure of therapy failure. It may in fact be a measure of therapy success.

These are very scary facts but nonetheless they are often true, because we are getting in touch with very deeply hidden parts of ourselves. And if the fear and depression that arises in therapy is more severe than our ability to continue, then we may have to stop this kind of therapy, or pause or slow down for a while.

Even if we choose to do this, we will still be left with a greatly expanded view of the depth and complexity of our issues. I don't recommend going through levels of deep pain in order to have only negative or minimal insights. But everybody grows in the process, even if it's only in a small way. Nobody gets left with nothing.

It must also be stated that once in a while this rising fear can be a signal that we are triggering a psychotic breakdown. This is rare, but possible. It would require a whole new re-evaluation of the therapy journey. One can withdraw or get on antipsychotic medication, and then make decisions about how far and how deep they wish to go when they feel stronger again. Psychotic material does not necessarily mean that self examination must stop.

If in the end all we have left, after ending therapy, is a life of conscious fear and trembling, then perhaps we could have chosen medications alone, patched up our lives and lived with a fear that we would never have felt so deeply.

However, this fear, unfelt would have driven us from its dark and hidden place; through a lifetime of failed integrity, and a failure to live in as straight and as honest a way as we might have. We would have turned our back on our full potential.

We might even receive great financial rewards to maintain the "lie" that human cultures seem so desperately to need. But is it worth it?

Nothing in life is free. Taking the risk and facing our deep pain and inner fears, is not an easy route to follow, and demands great courage. But if we are brave enough to go on this journey, it will in the end yield to us it's deep, dark treasures and we will have found the true core of ourselves.



Dr Vereshack is the author of an online book entitled Help Me -- I'm Tired of Feeling Bad

Other pages on this website about Dr. Vereshack's writings include:

Book Review of Help Me -- I'm Tired of Feeling Bad
The Primal Page's Favorite Quotations from Help Me -- I'm Tired of Feeling Bad
The Primal Psychotherapy Page Interviews Paul Vereshack, M.D.

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