My schooling has been really intense the last few days. Not so much in the “I’m studying and writing a lot” kind of way, but in the “I am learning everything about myself and it is freaking the crap out of me!” kind of way.
Digging deep and really figuring out who I am, not just who I wish I was or who I try to be or who I think others think I am—but who I really am—is totally nuts and terrifying and also very eye-opening, of course.
The class I am taking now is called Lifestyle Analysis. We learn how to analyze a client’s Lifestyle, which is a term coined by Alfred Adler. It shows who a person is, who she strives to be, how she perceives and relates to people and her environment, and why. It is all very revealing and interesting and gives a clear picture of the client. A major part of collecting a client’s Lifestyle is through Early Recollections, which is another Adlerian term. In Early Recollections, a person gives a series of different memories from before the age of 10, in no particular order, and it doesn’t matter if they are factual or not. They are given in the first person, and described from the beginning to the memory until the memory ends. What matters in the Early Recollections gathering is the metaphorical data and what it tells us about the client’s perspective. Early Recollections tell us how a person lives her life now, in the present, and how they perceive themselves and the world around them.
My Early Recollections almost all involve me being alone or being only with my sister, doing something that is either a form of escape or satisfying my curiosity and/or my senses. They involve being outside, and feeling good in the situation. Through my ERs, I am categorized as a “comfort seeker”, among other traits. It’s unbelievable what little snippets like this can reveal.
Through my Early Recollections and Lifestyle Analysis, this is what I have learned about myself that I didn’t really consciously know until now. These are my Mistaken Beliefs:
People in power and people I admire hurt me.
People I admire cannot be trusted.
I do not want to be hurt, so I prefer to be away from people.
I get comfort through my senses, and not from people.
I use my own power to control my experience.
I take care of myself.
I protect myself.
Men are angry and powerful.
I have value when men approve of me.
There’s probably more to come, but that is where I am now. The tears have been flowing today. Once you get to that core and you hit the truth, it just comes pouring out. Oh my God, and holy crap. This is the work I have to do in order to become the therapist I want to be. It’s also the work I have to do to live a full life and be the person I want to be.
I am kind of terrified right now.