chapter  8
23 Pages

How to Respond to a Message that Indicates There Is Something a Patient Doesn't Want Himself, His Therapist, or Both to Know

Before discussing the view I hold, let us consider this issue by examining aversive motives (or defensive operations) in the exam-

ple of Sister Mary in chapter 7. Manifestly, Sister Mary poured out venom toward me and others from the first day of treatment. As long as her expressions of antagonism filled the stage, she could keep from revealing to herself and to me her extreme vulnerability to hurt feelings and devaluation. That is, she could bury her painful sense of shame under her bluster and defiance. By maintaining a constant and replenished list of enemies, mostly women, she could hide from herself and others tender feelings she was certain would not be returned. She maintained a private life of prayer shared with one spiritual advisor who had a sustaining faith in her. A loving tender God the Father replaced her father who, although loving to her, also terrified her.