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August 15, 2012

“The more that I represent the perfectly satisfying feed, the more likely I will be eaten up.” Nicely said! And nicely elaborated in this article on how good therapists deal with clients’ projections.

I’m reminded of a social worker I read about, whose way of being a helper in the Aboriginal community where he lived and worked was to sit around being visibly available, but not to do anything until community members got annoyed and said, “When are you going to do something for us?” At that point they were able to start dreaming and planning together, in a community-driven way. Extreme, but there was no way for the community not to own those goals and achievements.

Also reminded of the angel-battleaxe-whore projections nurses face. In community health nursing, it can sound like: “You’re the only one who ever told me that/asked me that/helped me with this,” or “You don’t care about us; you’re just here to make money!” (That one is often after being woken up at 3 a.m. and refusing to go back to the health centre for a non-emergency call.)

Lots more to recall from a therapist’s perspective, but no need to add to what this shrink wrote.


what a shrink thinks

“Without in the least wishing it he (the therapist) draws upon himself an over-valuation that is almost incredible to the outsider, for to the patient, he seems like a savior or a god. This way of speaking is not altogether so laughable as it sounds…Nobody could stand up to it in the long run, precisely because it is too much of a good thing. One would have to be a demigod at least to sustain such a role without a break, for all the time one would have to be the giver….”
(C.G. Jung from The Personal and Collective Unconscious

To be a therapist, is to spend a significant amount of time each work day being actively idealized, attempting to sustain a certain type of idealizability, and tolerating the responsibility and anxiety of the role you have been assigned: carrying the idealizing projections of others.

It is tricky and…

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