We learn lots of strategies to keep these things hidden in the hopes we can get on with life without so much pain, including minimizing our experience, denying parts of our history, and shifting responsibility to others. These patterns developed to protect us, but eventually lose their effectiveness because those feelings are then simply hidden and not processed.
As much as we may wish to distance ourselves from painful experiences, research tells us that unprocessed distress and trauma actually gets encoded in our DNA and gets passed down through generations. Trauma also affects a parent’s capacity to respond to the natural needs and distresses of their children, setting the stage for new traumas and creating both internal and external forces that make recovery difficult.
In Minnesota, we have a legacy of displaced and traumatized indigenous people, as well as waves of immigrants who came to develop beautiful land only to be faced with the fickle harshness of disease and winter. Self-denial becomes a virtue when it’s a matter of life and death, especially when it doesn’t feel like help is coming. However, psychotherapy helps to put the past in perspective and to create a new narrative that can change these repetitive patterns.
Lasting transformation is difficult to achieve in a matter of months. We think it works best when people commit to coming to at least weekly sessions, but that they get the most out of their treatment when they come as often as possible. You and your therapist should talk together about your needs and what seems best.
Both Jamie and Liz offer intensive psychoanalysis (ranging from 1-5 days per week for extended periods of time) for people looking for the increased support and depth often needed to reach their goals. If this interests you, contact either of them for a consultation.