Therapy: Can Someone Unconsciously Try To Fulfil Their Unmet Developmental Needs When They Have Therapy?
If someone ends up having therapy, it could be due to a number of reasons. For example, they could find that they suffer from anxiety, often feel depressed and/or find it hard to experience intimacy.
Now, regardless of what is going on for them, this could be something that has troubled them for as long as they can remember. Their life could now be so unbearable that they have been forced to reach out for support.
It’s Crystal Clear
So, if they struggle with depression or this is their main concern, it will be clear why they have reached out for support. They are likely to have a strong need to feel lighter, have more energy and feel better about themselves.
Assuming that they have reached out to a cognitive behavioural therapist, this can be a time when they will be taking a closer look at what is taking place in their mind and how they behave. Their thoughts can be seen as solely defining how they feel, so changing their thinking patterns, along with their behaviour, will be essential.
As time passes, they may find that they start to feel better and a number of areas of their life could change as well. To be specific, they can feel stronger and more supported, whole and resilient.
As a result of this, they can come to the conclusion that changing what was taking place in their mind has allowed them to move forward. It will then have been all about their thoughts and behaviour.
However, what if there is more to this whole process than meets the eye? If they were to stop having therapy, they may find that it is not long until they end up going back to how they were before, or close to it.
What this would show is that simply having a relationship with the therapist had a positive impact on them and as this relationship has come to an end, some of the impact will have naturally worn off. To say that this is all there is to it, though, would overlook something significant.
Before this is discussed, what needs to be taken into consideration is that while there was what they consciously needed and wanted before therapy, there was also what they unconsciously needed and wanted. What this comes down to is that they have both a conscious and an unconscious mind.
When it relates to the latter, there will be needs and wants that were outside of their conscious awareness. Still, these would have played a part in why they reached out for support.
A Deeper Look
One way of looking at this would be to say that although they are now an adult, the child that they once were lives inside them. Or to be more accurate, many child parts live inside them.
These parts will still be looking to fulfil the needs that were met during their developmental years. It won’t matter that many, many years have passed, as the emotional part of them has no sense of time.
With this in mind, when they started having therapy, part of them would have unconsciously seen the therapist as their mother and/or father or perhaps another family member who was around during their formative years. By engaging in what is called transference, part of them would have believed that they would finally receive what was not provided all those years ago.
Now that they are having therapy, unless it has come to an end, this part can feel nourished and with that, will be the impact this continues to have on their mental and emotional wellbeing. And, as they feel nourished in a way that they were not nourished as a child, it is to be expected that their life will have improved.
This may have meant that they were deeply deprived during their early years but it might not have been that severe. Nonetheless, as this is something that takes place outside of their conscious awareness, there is going to be no reason for them to realise that there is another factor when it comes to why they feel different.
What it will show is how effective their brain is at deceiving them and it will do this to stop them from experiencing pain. If they were to come into contact with all their unmet developmental needs in one go and the pain that goes with them, it would probably be too much for them to handle and they would die.
One Step at a Time
If they were to commit to working through their baggage, they would probably soon come to see what is going on. That is, of course, if the therapist they are working with talks about transference and repetition compulsion - another defence against pain - and how these defences can stop them from being able to truly move forward if they are not made conscious.
Becoming aware of what is going on will allow them to gradually face their unmet development needs and the pain that goes with them. From there, they will be able to work through this pain.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.