It's Not Always Depression, Sometimes It's Shame - Hilary Jacobs Hendel
As I start to gather my own thoughts to include in this blog, I wanted to feature an article that was widely viewed that offers a good lens into the kind of psychotherapy I practice. It was written by Hilary Jacobs Hendel, a member of the AEDP community in New York City, and it highlights many of the features that make AEDP unique. A few themes stand out to me:
1. The importance and power of attunement - the need for the therapist and patient to find each other and particularly for the therapist to meet the patient where they're really at. As she sits with this man and takes in his WHOLE self, layers of feeling and experience begin to reveal themselves underneath his depression.
2. The importance of shame as a force that inhibits experience - If you are interested in healing, it is worth asking what role shame plays in your life. In my experience, depression and anxiety often connect back to feelings of shame. We cope with them by inhibiting that experience either through disengaging (depression) or distracting (anxious activity), both of which come at a heavy price - we don't really get to be in the world, we always feel outside of it.
3. The importance of bravery - both by the patient to be witnessed and for the therapist to reach out to him. Life changing therapy requires risk. You may not be ready to risk something immediately, which makes sense, but at some point we all have to make a leap of faith into the arms and heart of the person in front of us and risk what happens when we truly let ourselves seen. Will it confirm our worst fears or will it open up a new way of being in the world?