Friday, April 12, 2013

Diagnosing the "Problem"

Because guilt tends to hide behind other disturbances, we need clinical tools to help us bring guilt into the open where the real culprit can be seen and addressed. In our experience in our practices, guilt is never the presenting problem. We have never had a patient say, “I’ve come to get help for dealing with my guilt.” People who could define their main problem as guilt might as likely go to see a priest or rabbi rather than a therapist. The presenting problems of most people we see are anxiety and depression. Eventually, however, guilt often raises its ugly head. It is found hiding behind the anxiety and depression. Also fairly often the presenting problem is difficulty with relationships or concern with repeating patterns. Unrequited love is not an infrequent guest. Guilt also hides behind these painful experiences. In cases of unrequited love, the suffering soul almost always comes to the conclusion that there is something wrong with him/her, that he/she is not lovable. Ultimately, we find guilt behind repeating patterns. They feel guilty for being weak, for not being strong enough to alter the repetitious behavior. They feel inadequate to fix the recurring problem in their lives . . .
(from Chapter 5 of The Guilt Cure)
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