Why your therapist SEEMS cruel, but really isn’t

Tales of a Boundary Ninja

We all know that therapy is a unique relationship, unlike any other relationship that we experience. It defies classification in that while it shares aspects of other relationships -friend, lover, parent, colleague – it is not quite any of these things. One of its unique characteristics is a therapist’s reaction to your pain.

In most relationships, when you express pain, the other person’s natural reaction is sympathy; they feel bad for you. This sympathy is often followed by some action whose clear intent is to make you feel better or help relieve your pain. Human beings (at least sane ones) do not like being in pain. So much so that we find it painful to see people we care about, and even people we don’t particularly like, in pain. So there is an almost automatic human response of answering someone’s pain with comfort. If someone is crying, we offer a…

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