I'm hoping to explain today the intricacies of cognitive rational therapy which is better than tell-me-what-from-your-past-hurts therapy. To focus on the trauma is to relive it. I even heard that thinking about past trauma can make you feel the similar pain of that tragedy. Why would therapy that focuses on pain ever be helpful? I fear many people who have therapists may be suffering unduly from this style of pain-based therapy.
What does a person with autism do if their caregivers insist they go to such therapy? If the therapist likes you, that's a good start. If your therapist isn't treating you like a broken toy, that is also good. I suggest speaking up for yourself. Just say, "The past was bad enough. Don't make me relive it!"
I see so many people traumatized by the institutions that were supposed to help them. Now, finally, when they get out of those places, don't make them relive that experience. If you put your child in an institution you probably feel that was all you could do. Well, now that many of us know better, it's time to bring our folks back home and get institutions out of their minds. Don't double traumatize people.
Seriously, it is ridiculous that any Freudian-based psychologists or psychiatrists should get anywhere near our beloved and powerful autistic brothers and sisters. I'm not an advocate of Freud or institutions. If you can, please avoid them.
I was lucky that way, although I did end up in some day treatment centers that were really horrible. Once my mom found out, she staged a major Viking fit and pulled me out of there. They had me warehoused in a small white room with no music, no pictures, no anything except about seven other sleeping people. I got dehydration and walking pneumonia there.
Here's a little exercise I heard my mom tell my brother. Take a piece of paper and draw lines to make three columns. In the first column, write the incident, the exact thing that bothers you. In the second column, write down the anxiety-ridden thought that it creates, something like, "This always happens because people don't like me" or some other hideous conclusion. In the third column re-frame the hideous thought with an acceptable reality you can believe that is rational.
People with autism of course sometimes need a therapist. I have two, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. I'm very lucky they believe in me. They don't make me feel bad. They make me feel powerful and happy. They focus on my strengths. My shrink encouraged me to do the psychic savant website. She is psychic herself, so I get a special pass on the really weird stuff.
My point is if you're feeling unworthy at your psych appointments, just stop going. Get one who loves you the way you deserve. You are beautiful. Stay that way. As for the parents who may have handed you over to bad shrinks or institutions, they need to get over their mistakes quickly and apologize to their children for what looked like a huge trauma-making case of parental rejection.
Time to get your kids home no matter what age. Value them. Apologize for sending them away and making them so sad. It isn't parents' fault. They meant to do right. Move on, people. Just move on. I know there are better days ahead, my friends.
photo by Carolyn Reed