The Psychotherapist's Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinician Perspectives

By Jesse D. Geller; John C. Norcross et al. | Go to book overview

11
THE ROLE OF INDIVIDUAL
AND MARITAL THERAPY
IN MY DEVELOPMENT

CLARA E. HILL

One of my major lifelong goals has been to understand myself, who I am, and where I am going. I agree with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living. So I have engaged in many efforts to understand myself, my family, and almost everyone with whom I come into contact. Although I have trepidation about revealing myself in such a public forum, I have decided to do so because I hope that hearing about my experiences can help other people on their journey toward self-understanding. First I describe several nontherapy experiences that were influential in my development, to provide a context, and then I discuss the effects of long-term individual and marital therapy on my development.

My love of introspection probably came from my family, in that we all tried to figure out ourselves and each other. Unfortunately, these attempts to understand ourselves and others did not translate into clear and direct communication with one another but rather took the form of talking about (criticizing) other family members when they were not present. Furthermore, the family values were not toward seeking therapy for solving problems but toward turning to God and health food as the answers to all problems.

Religion was a strong influence in my childhood. My father had trained to be a Baptist minister, and my parents were devout Christians. According to my family, there was one true way, and the answers were all written in the Bible. There was a lot we could not do (dance, smoke, drink, play cards, premarital sex). We were encouraged to be different from others and to devote our lives to God. Although the church taught us not to think for

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