Exploration of psychological past may not always be beneficial

“I am not questioning exploration of unique phenomenological experiences for potential validation of “abuse related experience” that need to be pursed in the context of personal psychological benefit, or from the perspectives of legal ramification, or personal or social advocacy. I am questioning the benefit of “exploration”in people with a long term history of psychological problems, who may have repeated exposures to explorations of their unique past involving their “problems,” and may have developed unique behavior habits to deal with these experiences. This repeated “explorations” may take away the focus on the Present Reality of how to make the most sense out of one’s present life circumstances. After all that is the Reality that we all have to deal with. Whatever the past we have is an integral part of our lives, they cannot be re-written. We have a choice to leave them behind and move on. It is difficult to pass a value judgement which is more adaptive. There is a danger in imposing one own commitment to a “model” or conceptual understanding of a situation to different individuals. It an individual case by case situation, and one needs to use the best judgement one has by being “open ” to different possibilities and approaches.”

“In any dialogue of two persons, counseling or routine social conversations, there is an overlapping area of the Venn Diagram, where communication is happening and possible, as both parties are using a shared framework and rules of communication. Correspondingly, there is always non-overlapping areas the two diagrams, each reflecting the two individuals’ unique phenomenological experiences of “Reality” that may not be fully communicable to each other. This may be referred to be in the domain of the Unknown and Unknowable from each person’s perspective. Any therapeutic/counseling dialogue could be both a process and an end. When I am using the “cauterization” simile to healing of the psychic wound,(as we did in our book, Mind Stimulation Therapy: Cognitive Intervention for Persons with Schizophrenia, 2013), I am emphasizing the effort of renewal of self and developing a newer “positive” identity by focusing on the Present ( the focus on the “What experience” – What one is doing now) than on the “Why- Past” experience. (Why exploration)”

“…From the psycho-social intervention perspective, one may also need to view how the traditional “talk therapy” or variant of it, focusing on “deficit focused” approach and revisiting one’s personal history and past “negative life experiences” is always helpful or not There is also a corresponding need for acknowledging the “intact areas” of one’s functioning and resiliency, and how best to promote stimulation of these areas to enhance a sense of well being and functioning, no matter how “disabled” or “compromised functioning” the person may appear to exhibit. Focusing on their “long standing habits described as psychological “symptoms,” or “maladapive behavior habits of long-standing nature, and focusing on their presumed historical origins, whatever they may be, may not be helpful. These strategies may “unwittingly generate a “negative relationship” between a therapist and the client, as well as may elicit covert or overt “agitation and stress arousal symptoms,” instead of “reducing them.” This process also may reinforce the person’s continued identification with the “illness persona” that the person has come to believe in, which may unwittingly counter the need for increased identification with positive self-image, a goal for seeing professional help. There is, thus, a positive benefit of emphasizing being in the presence of “here and now existence,” learning relaxation-mindfulness and other coping strategies, as well as learning to engage in a variety of mind stimulation techniques, , and also developing a sense of connection to others through discussions of various knowledge based topics and existential issues, and in the use of positive re-directional activities- and making the best of one’s present life circumstances. Again it is a a judgement call, as some people may benefit from focusing on the past (“Why”) versus for some people, focusing on the “What” might be productive.”