A friend of mine told me about an interesting therapy event the other day. A group of participants came together in a tranquil town away from the city close to the sea and talked about their traumas and wounds for two days. Everyone was filled with a desire to share and to be understood. Everyone was glad to finally be heard.
But everything changed on the third day. The therapist, who had embraced the group with acceptance and understanding up to that day, suddenly began to openly mock the participants’ pain and traumas. Let’s say that a participant’s problem is that she lost her mother at a young age. Let’s also assume that she spent the first two days saying things like “I didn’t get enough affection, my hair was not caressed, I didn’t experience my mother’s love”. The therapist took all of that and said something along the lines of “OK, you couldn’t experience those. So what? What do you want us to do right now? How many days do you want us to cry for you? For how much longer will your cry for yourself? For how much longer will you use your mother’s absence as an excuse?”. With comments like these, the therapist turned the participants’ lives upside down. On the other hand, the therapist asked them what kinds of benefits they’ve gained from this sad story that they’ve been holding on to. The therapist invited the participants to remember instances in which certain deprivations and grievances were compensated for with various financial help, like scholarships, or extra attention and a tender approach by those around them. At the end, the participants realized they needed to write a new story for themselves. They had the courage to get out of the victim role.
This type of therapy may not be for everyone but I was very impressed by it. I spent a few days questioning my own stories. I questioned the stories of people I know. What are your stories afflicted with? Which pains are inseparable parts of you? Which past trauma is still casting a shadow to your life? How long will this last? For how much longer will you suffer? For how much longer will others feel sorry for you?
Translated by Talya Arditi