What your psychotherapist may not tell you ...

Published on 5 February 2023 at 14:01



One of the drawbacks of individual psychotherapy is that mostly only two perspectives are available – that of the client and that of the psychotherapist. Of course, the client may speak of other people’s comments and behaviours, but the therapist will still only have the client’s account and perspective. Since the client-therapist interaction is not intended to be reciprocal or symmetrical, the psychotherapist will never know what it is like to be in a relationship with the client in the real world. Moreover, the asymmetry of the therapeutic ‘relationship’ in which the client talks of his or her experiences and preoccupations, whist the therapist is endlessly attentive and refrains from speaking of his or her own concerns, will tend to obscure, and perhaps even reinforce any client tendencies towards egocentricity and narcissism. Another problem is that some of the more hidden impediments the client may suffer from might not show up in the unusual nature of the psychotherapy session (quiet, slow, protected, boundaried, and in many respects predictable).

Here are some examples of impediments that your psychotherapist might not tell you about:

ADHD. You have difficulty regulating your emotions, tolerating frustration, paying attention, staying on track, and persisting with important tasks that are not immediately interesting or rewarding. You may also be chronically late.

Autistic spectrum. You have difficulty sometimes in understanding the emotions and motives of others – and in processing social information. You may tend to find the world overwhelming. This may contribute to social anxiety - or even continual unfocused anxiety.

Left hemisphere dominance. Your left hemisphere is too dominant, so that you see the world predominantly in terms of tasks, rules and categories, and utilitarian value – and you have no sense of the unconscious mind and tend to be dismissive of emotions.

Auditory processing disorder. You have difficulty in processing sounds, including speech. Although you hear clearly, your brain is relatively slow to register meaning. This may be apparent when other people speak very fast – or if a teacher does not pause between the presentation of each piece of information or steps in an argument. Sometimes it may take you longer than others to grasp a joke. These difficulties may contribute to social discomfort and anxiety.

Visual processing disorder. You have difficulty processing visual information. This may be apparent in relation to words on a page but could also include visual information when driving or when trying to make sense of a complex or abstract painting. You may sometimes misinterpret facial expressions and other body language.

Egocentricity. You have difficulty disengaging from your own perspective and understanding how a situation might appear to, or be experienced by, another person.  You may have an implicit (non-conscious) assumption that you are more important than others.

Self-absorbed reciprocity deficit (SARD). You show a lack of curiosity about what the other person means or needs. In a conversation you do not seek to discover what is new that might emerge in a reciprocal exploration, but instead try to impose and elaborate your own pre-existing view. In a relationship, this can make the other person feel lonely and angry.

Excessive self-esteem/grandiose self. This disorder has been encouraged in recent decades by certain societal and cultural trends and erroneous psychological assumptions. Self-esteem is mistakenly seen as inherently good - but inappropriate self-esteem can be pathological and very damaging. If you suffer from this disorder, you will seek to distort your and others' perception of reality in order to sustain your grandiose self. It is also a way in which your ego, and the stories you tell yourself about yourself, has become a tyrant in your mind. You are probably left-hemisphere dominant.

Distorted perception of reality. You engage in selective attention and inattention, combined with flawed reasoning and insufficient self-doubt and self-criticism, to arrive at erroneous conclusions (or indeed delusions).

Spiritual deficit disorder (SDD). You are cut off from your higher nature and the spiritual realms. This concept has nothing to do with religion. My hypothesis is that no true healing is possible without an openness and striving towards higher spiritual guidance. When this is foreclosed, for example, in states of mind of ‘militant atheism’, the person is left fruitlessly seeking satisfaction in material possessions, bodily pleasures, and social status. SDD may be prevalent in the psychoanalytic (but not Jungian) tradition.

Subtle energetic disturbance. This is the realm studied by energy psychotherapists. Dysfunctional patterns may be encoded in your subtle energy field (of meridians and chakras and other components). The term ‘subtle energy’ was proposed by William Tiller, Emeritus Professor of Materials Science at Stanford University. There may also be parasitic formations in your subtle energy field. As a result, your energy may be experienced by others as repellent.

Phil Mollon

Energy Psychotherapist