Psychodynamic therapy helped me overcome trauma when CBT couldn’t

This article by Lucia Osborne-Crowley has been published on the Psyche website. It begins:

“The first time I saw my therapist, she was standing in front of a room full of people, talking about William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies (1954). It was part of a series of book events on the theme of psychoanalysis and literature, and my therapist was dissecting the emotional and psychodynamic contours of the book, in particular the ending.

The novel concerns a group of English schoolboys whose plane is downed while they are being evacuated from a war that is raging at home: after being stranded on an island for weeks and brought to the brink of murderous despair, they are rescued by a British naval officer on the novel’s final page. But… my therapist was saying, the man represents rescue in only the least meaningful sense of the word. He would save the boys, yes. They would survive. But sometimes that is not enough. When the boys begin to cry, breaking down in front of the adults as they process what happened to them on the island, the naval officer turns away while they compose themselves. He will save them, but he cannot bear to witness their suffering. What does that kind of survival mean?

As soon as my therapist explained why the ending of the book was not a meaningful rescue, I thought: I know what that’s like – the worst effects of my own traumatic history were brought about by my mortal fear of allowing anyone to witness them. I know what it’s like to survive without being seen. To survive, but live forever in hiding. In that moment, I knew that she would not turn away. I emailed her every week following until an appointment slot opened up in her diary …”

You can read more from here.

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