People come to me to solve a problem. Something in their life is not working as they had hoped. They are holding back. Not only are they ‘stuck’ physically often they withhold vital ‘parts of their story.’ I know You may have things that happened you aren’t proud of. (Don’t we all?) This is a totally non-judgemental and very safe environment. I am not here to judge. I’m here to help you resolve the past and let go of guilt, shame, blame, anger, and any fears you may have. But it is difficult to do this if you hold back on the information that I ask you to provide.
As an example: I had a client who during a session said to me, “I forgot to tell you, I was raped when I was young. But, its not important as I am over that”. As she was telling me this, she curled up in a protective ball. There was definitely work still to be done, as she wasn’t ‘over that’ at all!
I believe that there are two reasons why people hold back on providing information;
- They have genuinely forgotten. This is a common unconscious survival tactic
- They are getting secondary benefits
Forgetting to Remember
People do genuinely forget traumatic events as it is a good way to move into the future. Often therapy can cause these events to emerge and the person remembers. Forgetting to remember is a good survival technique it, however, it may be that although the memory is squashed down consciously, it is causing problems in the subconscious mind. The symptoms of this will be expressed as anger, stress, depression etc.
Someone may also get secondary benefits from their problems. For example, if a person is in pain and everyone is running around for them. They cannot work. They receive a lot of sympathy and attention. That person may ‘talk about the pain being cured’ but because they get so many secondary benefits, subconsciously, they really don’t want to be cured. They may find they are holding back information. The downside of this person being well again maybe: Having to work again; less attention; less sympathy. But it may be even deeper. Often there is an insurance claim involved. “if I am better, I won’t get a payout!’ This latter reason can be huge, when the person will be classed as better physically but worse off financially.
These cases can be extremely difficult because until the person can see that the benefits of the ‘outcome’ we are striving towards, far outweigh the perceived benefits they currently get, they will not recover. May I add, these thoughts are not deliberate, they are unconscious in most cases.
The bottom line is that when you visit a therapist to solve a problem be honest and open. Make sure you give the person you are working with all the information. This especially essential when you are involved in any legal process. You may ‘think’ the information is not relevant, and it may not be, but holding back often results in nothing changing. Your unconscious mind has one job, that is to keep you safe. There is nothing it won’t do to achieve that. You cannot hide anything for it.