February with St Valentines day stuck right into the middle of it can be another time of the year like Christmas and Easter that survivors dread. If you are in love with someone very special to you - it can be a great day - and for those feeling like that - congratulations.
But for survivors February with love and romance being sold as the perfect state the happy ideal, it can mean feeling excluded. Of course you dont have to be a survivor to feel like that - but with emotional abuse being the biggest problem in therapy - anything highly emotional, and love is about as emotionally charged as you can get is one massive trigger that is very hard to deal with.
Trying to work out what love is, probably best done by a process of elimination - i.e.: what it isnt. Its not about using people for your own needs, which is what abusive therapy is all about. Its not about lying or pretending to care when you dont. Which is another big problem in therapy. A lack of respect for someone else is also not very loveable. Its a kind of cynical behaviour that many survivors complain about. Love then could be said to be - Loyalty, Commitment, Understanding and of course Trust.
All of these things are needed in a loving relationship - and in therapy. If the only loyalty a therapist as got is to him or herself or to his/her income. Abuse will take place. Most therapist do not like the idea of clients seeing other therapists - the reasoning behind this is that the treatment can become confused. And yet a therapist income depends on him or her seeing as many clients as possible. A therapist with little or no loyalty to his existing clients can quickly become overloaded or even burned out. Commitment is also another big factor in love and therapy. Considerable damage is done to a client - if the therapist decides that he/she no longer wants to work with a client. Especially if there have been problems and the therapist as persuaded the client to stay. Which is the correct thing to do, but not if the intention was based on taking decision making away from the client - that is yet more abuse.
Good understanding comes from clear communication, saying what you mean, and meaning what you say. Therapists over reliance on jargon, buzz words, and labels can lead to considerable confusion in therapy - and that means the helping healing process is slowed down while a client tries to learn or understand what is going on or what is being said. Ask a therapist to explain something like Transference - which therapists sometimes claim to be 'love in therapy'. If you can understand it, give yourself a gold star.
Finally we get to trust. That is the biggest factor in love and therapy - without it - nothing works. Someone sooner or later has got to trust someone. Its at this point - when abuse will emerge - this is where people get hurt. If someone or a therapist as been playing games with someone feelings - trust is the thing that gets damaged first. Outside of therapy, someone could seek out therapy to try and solve this damage to their ability to trust. But to be hurt again on this issue of trust within the therapy process really does extensive damage -- damage which needs something special to repair it. Which brings us back to love. Is this the thing?
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