Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate? - Forums at Psych Central



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Old 04-19-2019, 05:42 AM #1
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Default Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

I’m curious what people’s 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 couldn’t be soothed in my therapy with her, maybe because she was so blank slate and I couldn’t feel a connection with her?

I experienced infant emotional neglect, so I wonder if for me particularly, the blank slate didn’t help because I have more need for connection in therapy than others, and I have the propensity to feel a greater sense of insecurity?
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Old 04-19-2019, 06:16 AM #2
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

What do you mean by blank slate?

My T is a psychoanalyst which by some definition I suppose should mean blank slate. My understanding about contemporary blank slate means no explicit self-disclosure, no overt reassurance, not directing, not giving any advice. However, it also means allowing all emotions, including very negative towards the T, implicit self-closure by being very present emotionally in the sessions, being very attuned and flexible, very good boundaries, very safe.

My background is also emotional neglect and for me my blank slate T is perfect because our connection is genuine, fully following my pace and not enforced on me. The T is ok with not having connection with me when I don't feel ready for that but is always waiting for me and open for that once I show any readiness to be connected.

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Old 04-19-2019, 06:43 AM #3
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

The blank slate is pretty much an old school philosophy.If I wanted a blank slate for a t, I would talk to a wall. I need a t who is engaged with me.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:14 AM #4
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Wouldn’t work for me. I can stare at a carpet for hours. The only real motivation to work in therapy after I get in the door is to connect to T.
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:47 AM #5
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by feileacan View Post
What do you mean by blank slate?

My T is a psychoanalyst which by some definition I suppose should mean blank slate. My understanding about contemporary blank slate means no explicit self-disclosure, no overt reassurance, not directing, not giving any advice. However, it also means allowing all emotions, including very negative towards the T, implicit self-closure by being very present emotionally in the sessions, being very attuned and flexible, very good boundaries, very safe.

My background is also emotional neglect and for me my blank slate T is perfect because our connection is genuine, fully following my pace and not enforce on me. The T is ok with not having connection with me when I don't feel ready for that but is always waiting for me and open for that once I show any readiness to be connected.
The way you describe blank slate: no self disclosure and no reassurance, describes my T2. I had not previously thought of the lack of reassurance as being a part of the blank slate. A difference with my T compared to yours is that I don’t feel that she accepted my negative emotions (of insecurity) towards her. Which is ironic as I think her being blank slate elicited that. Maybe your T is just better at it than mine was. You describe your T as ‘safe’. I don’t feel that my therapy with T2 was safe. I’m wondering how your T is safe if he didn’t give reassurance? Is his consistency reassuring?
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:56 AM #6
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Baby T is as close as I've ever had to blank slate. He talks minimally about himself (at my request), he isn't very reassuring about anything, there is no outside contact.
However he TRIES to joke around a bit, or praise me (he knows I don't like it and says that each time), and he is "familiar" now I guess but I have no attachment. I don't feel any need or desire to talk to or see him outside session, I am fine with breaks. I am ok with this sort of T because it keeps me from getting into the "relationship" aspect too much.

Very first session when he was a stranger (along with 2 other Ts) I basically just started talking about personal stuff. I didn't want "time" to build trust or anything. I just wanted to talk and limit their talking time. It seems to work for me this time, although baby T's inexperience is showing now but that's a whole different story
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Old 04-19-2019, 07:59 AM #7
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

I would not see a T like that. They already don't do very much to start with, if they don't even engage in a conversation and make suggestions, I see no use for that time, especially at such high fee mine charged. I could just get a friend or something to sit in a room with me blankly while I talk and offer nothing.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:18 AM #8
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild at heart View Post
The way you describe blank slate: no self disclosure and no reassurance, describes my T2. I had not previously thought of the lack of reassurance as being a part of the blank slate. A difference with my T compared to yours is that I don’t feel that she accepted my negative emotions (of insecurity) towards her. Which is ironic as I think her being blank slate elicited that. Maybe your T is just better at it than mine was. You describe your T as ‘safe’. I don’t feel that my therapy with T2 was safe. I’m wondering how your T is safe if he didn’t give reassurance? Is his consistency reassuring?
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?
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:24 AM #9
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

R is a blank slate.

When we first started it did fuel my obsessive googling. Everything I found about him was online otherwise he wouldn't have told me. It was just because I wanted to know who he was. I still sometimes feel how can I love him if I don't know him? But I know therapy him. He has softened up a bit, and told me random stuff when I've gone on about it. We totally had this moment over Lord of the rings which was nice and game of thrones. I'm the poster child for daddy issues, so that really does come up a lot for me especially with the erotic stuff.

He does give me reassurance especially before exams which I need and I usually always email him right after I get results just to get a "well done, I knew you could do it".

He taught me that negative emotions weren't bad and that it was okay to show anger, to tell him when he gets it wrong and that I didn't have to worry about him.So I can feel safe showing him all that.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:31 AM #10
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Default Re: Do you think there’s a benefit in a T being blank slate?

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.
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