Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate? - Page 2 - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 04-19-2019, 10:44 AM #11
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Yes, there is absolutely a benefit to Ts being a blank slate. Not everyone wants connection or warmth etc.

Some clients make progress with an impersonal or 'clinical' T whereas otherwise benefit from a caring, warm T. It depends on the client's needs or 'requirements'.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:48 AM #12
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

For me a blank slate wouldn't work. I need to feel connected with T in order to feel safe. I need to feel connected in order to open up and talk. If someone was a blank slate, I'd probably be very quiet and not say much and get no where in therapy. I like someone who is warm and compassionate. Current T: I don't know if she is those things but I do feel a connection to her. I'm not attached, I don't think, not like with Former T who it still feels like my heart was ripped out after we had to stop meeting. HUGS Kit
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Old 04-19-2019, 12:08 PM #13
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by feileacan View Post
The feeling of safe has come from within, from the experience of being together with him. Also, I suppose there has been some reassurance (funny, but I feel that I don't really understand what that means), but mostly the safe has come from how I experience and perceive him in session. It has taken time though. I suppose that means it comes from consistency because he has been extremely consistent.

May I ask, do you actually have any evidence that she does not accept your negative feelings or you just assume that?
This is an old T that Iím talking about, Iím no longer seeing her, but Iím still trying to understand what went wrong and lay it to rest. I felt that she didnít accept my negative feelings because when I tried to talk about it (shame at something she did), she cut me off.

From your description I just think that your T is perhaps better at it than this t was. Your T has helped you to feel safe, but that didnít happen for me with this T, it happened for me with the next T (who died), and has happened with my current T.

I too ponder about the meaning of reassurance, and what it is my T does that reassured me.
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Old 04-19-2019, 02:04 PM #14
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

I always describe my T as ďblank slate-ishĒ and what I mean by that is he doesnít self disclose much at all and isnít particularly warm and fuzzy. I had a hard time with this for a long time, feeling frustrated and angry at feeling left alone with the feelings that came up during and in between sessions. I finally feel like Iím done with that phase. He once said his goal wasnít to make me feel good which was a little confusing at first, but itís something I really value now. What has worked for me is his incredible consistency and the fact that heís been completely unphased by whatever I say to him (whether in person or via email). Right now heís helping me value my own emotions and reactions and figure out how my experiences have shaped who I am.
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Old 04-20-2019, 05:14 AM #15
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

I had Mr Blank Slate T, and as time went by I found it increasingly difficult to do therapy that way. I wanted my sessions to be about me and I didn't want in-depth details about his life, so I'm grateful I got that, especially in the early sessions when I was in distress. But as time passed, and he refused to tell me how old he was or who else was in the house with us (sessions were at his home) or even what he did on the weekend, it made me feel very pushed out. Over time it left me feeling powerless and like there was something wrong with me, because those kind of conversations are pretty normal, even in a professional context.

For example, I have a very private colleague at work that I like, and while he keeps mum about nearly everything personal, I do know he's married, that he likes his holidays in Cornwall, and that he went to see the Culture Club once. It just helps make the interactions feel human to know a tiny bit about someone. That's what I was looking for with my therapist. If my therapist had consented to a couple minutes of small talk at the beginning of each session I think it would have helped immensely.

I also had a somewhat mostly blank slate T in my teens that made sessions about me, but did self-disclose a little. She would tell me point blank when she couldn't relate to a problem I was having AND I asked (my religious crisis) but would talk briefly about her own experiences if she could relate AND I asked (having very critical parents).

She never overshared -- for example, I once called her house to rearrange an appt (this was before cellphones) and her husband let me know she didn't live there any more and her new number. She told me in the next session she had divorced a year prior and left it at that. I appreciated her up-frontedness and didn't feel the need to know more.

There was another time I forgot our scheduled appt. It was outside her normal hours, and the next session she did tell me she was annoyed with me. We talked through it and I appreciated having her honest emotions to consider while not feeling the relationship was under threat. I knew she could be honest, and that helped me open up more in later sessions.

While I don't think she was as talented as my blank slate therapist, I did feel more comfortable with her and didn't feel like someone was withholding from me for the sake of withholding. I felt more at ease with her, I felt ready when I ended sessions, and I didn't spend my spare time wondering who she was. From that perspective, I felt it was a healthier relationship.

Looking back, I think Mr Blank Slate therapist's problem wasn't that he was Blank Slate but more that he couldn't adapt whatsoever. He started with a client who needed Blank Slate, but couldn't change when that approach stopped working. I would tell him quite honestly both the helpful and unhelpful things I found in my first round of therapy, including honest and open reactions from the therapist, and gave him the above examples, but he never took those on board or seemed interested. He never modified his approach. I started feeling it was a helpful and compassionate relationship, but as time went on I felt it was actually artificial. By the end, it felt downright fake.

It's a big part as to why I left. If my therapist isn't willing to trust my judgement on what helps me, or discuss why he disagrees with my judgement, or simply admit my needs are valid but he personally can't meet them, then that's not a person I want to see. I'm not a child.

I think one of the main things a therapist should be doing is helping clients find and trust their own instincts for what they want and need in their life, and if they can't do that I don't see the point in going to therapy.

It's not about being Blank Slate or not Blank Slate. It's about recognising when you can't work in the way your client needs. One thing I find is that therapists tend to think they'll be good at solving any problem and that their approach will work for everyone.

My first therapist stopped taking new 'general' clients on halfway through my therapy to focus working with parents of children with autism. She told me that while she thought she was good at the therapy I was receiving, her strengths were elsewhere. As a teen I didn't really get it, but now, as an adult, I have a lot of respect for her admitting that.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:13 AM #16
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by octoberful View Post
As someone with a history of severe neglect, I found a lot of benefit in this approach though it was a very difficult way to do therapy.

If you feel insecure around the T, that is your sense of self. I'm not sure I would have changed, becoming more secure with myself if I am always depending on the other person to make me feel secure. I found it to be disempowering letting another person determine how I feel, and working through this insecurity in therapy allowed me to master it within myself. It's freeing that my emotional state is no longer dependent on other's words or behaviors for the most part.

I also think the connection is more genuine once you get through the transference, and it seems my T has been more reciprocal since the transference dissipated. I used to relate to him as an attachment figure, and wanted soothing and nurturing from him, which is not who he really was. Relating to him as the person he really is has led to a stronger, more genuine connection.
Thanks for sharing that the blank slate way has helped you.

I think I view it differently to you. I consider that we are social beings and that from infancy our interactions with others play a big part in shaping our brain. If we have warm and loving care givers, this impacts us. Iíve read things written by Anthony Shore and others who discuss this theory. I view it that a therapist can give you a reparative experience if they are warm and accepting. I donít really see it as the client being dependent on the therapist, more that the experience can bring about lasting change.
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:48 AM #17
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

[QUOTE=tomatenoir;6508110

Looking back, I think Mr Blank Slate therapist's problem wasn't that he was Blank Slate but more that he couldn't adapt whatsoever. . .[/QUOTE]

I think this was also my Tís problem, she couldnít or wouldnít adapt. I think that meant that the power in the relationship sat with her.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:19 AM #18
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
I think I view it differently to you. I consider that we are social beings and that from infancy our interactions with others play a big part in shaping our brain. If we have warm and loving care givers, this impacts us. Iíve read things written by Anthony Shore and others who discuss this theory.
I think the same, we definitely agree here.

Did you mean Allan Schore? I've read his work.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:16 PM #19
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild at heart View Post
Iím curious what peopleís experience of therapy is around this. Maybe some people can benefit from a blank slate T? When I was seeing my blank slate T, a lot of childhood emotion emotion came up, maybe because she was blank slate. A problem was that I seemed to get stuck with the childhood emotion and feeling insecure, so much so that it affected my everyday functioning. It seems to me that it can be helpful in therapy to uncover this childhood emotion, but it couldnít be soothed in my therapy with her, maybe because she was so blank slate and I couldnít feel a connection with her?

I experienced infant emotional neglect, so I wonder if for me particularly, the blank slate didnít help because I have more need for connection in therapy than others, and I have the propensity to feel a greater sense of insecurity?
W-A-H,
My blank slate experience was, as Facebook status choices say, complicated.
This therapist was a Karen Horney school trained analyst, and 98 percent of the time was blank slate.

After scornful bully co-therapists and a syrupy mother-figure know-it-all, I mostly appreciated the therapist as a pleasant blank slate. She still communicated empathy and her few well-chosen words were actually pretty smart. Her scant responses didn't bother me because I understand this was the rule. I never thought her intrusive or doing a power trip with me.

However I took the thrice weekly sessions into obsession and madness. I literally was near-hallucinating, like I was on a chemical free drug trip. I saw God and signs and omens in everything. I felt in touch with the universe. From reading, this might be termed a spiritual emergence or emergency.

Unfortunately this brain trip did nothing to improve my on-planet functioning, and I lost several important friends during my hallucinatory phase. When I see a street-corner schizophrenic thinking he's the messiah I feel I understand him though.
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Old 04-22-2019, 02:41 AM #20
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Default Re: Do you think thereís a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by octoberful View Post
I think the same, we definitely agree here.

Did you mean Allan Schore? I've read his work.
Yes I do mean Allen Shore. Iím surprised we think the same! I thought you implied in your post that you felt you had got where you have got without warmth and connection from your T.
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