DNA… meaning do not attend…
Hello from rainy London!
Accidently a few days ago I happened to watch the following Ted talk…
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and during this talk, she was trying to summarise some points behind her research project on shame and vulnerability and their effect on people’s everyday lifes, their interactions, their associated feelings and people’s different reaction to them. I would strongly recommend spending 20 minutes watching it.
Listening to her, it made me realise that her words are very valuable when it comes to thinking about clients’ not attendance (aka DNA). I have been working as a psychotherapist for more that 6 years and there is the same repetitive pattern, of clients eventually not showing up for their sessions, regardless of society’s stronger need for communication, for self development, for connection…
What is it that makes clients’ initial decision so difficult to follow through? What is it with people’s ideas about going to a therapist’s office and the fear of being critised, of feeling ashamed for their own thoughts, feelings, behaviours?
While listening to Dr. Brown, I couldn’t help but thinking that if shame, failure and the sense of guilt go together with most of our everyday life activities, ideas, thoughts, how is it possible for people to be able to distinguish between these ideas and not fall in the trap of a vicious cycle? How is it possible not to fell exposed, or ashamed in the eyes of a THERAPIST?
Let me remind you of something very important… the therapist’s role involves assessing and understanding the presented problems but is that it? N0! The therapist is always accomodating to the client’s initial need for change, for support, and it is always with the client’s consent that they both agree on how they could move forward, aiming at achieving the client’s therapeutic goal. The therapist is in a continuous state of being informed and never comes to know fully.
Ι will never forget a comment I had heard from a client who was very ambivalent towards showing up for his first session, but in the end he had decided to go ahead with it. This is something we had discussed during the first session, as he felt the need to explain to me the reason of his delay; and towards the end of the session, he turned to me and said: “so what I have realised is that you are just an ordinary person who asks clever questions and makes people feel safe to answer them”!
Eva Lychrou is a psychotherapist based in London and in Athens, helping people deal with family issues, relationship difficulties and self development in general.
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