Finding New Language

Part of what has been so challenging in therapy lately is that I have not been able to find words to really describe what I’m experiencing. It all feels so emotionally familiar, but also foreign and new at the same time.

My therapist always says that sometimes when we’re experiencing something new, it is hard to put words to it because we’ve never spoken about it before. This is particularly true when you are trying to speak the unspeakable.

In response to a recent blog post, a reader left a comment suggesting the book “Trauma and the Avoidant Client: Attachment-Based Strategies for Healing” by Robert T. Muller. I did a quick Google search and came upon the book, as well as an article titled “Trauma and Dismissing (Avoidant) Attachment: Intervention Strategies in Individual Psychotherapy” by the same author.

I had to read it a few times before my brain could settle down enough to make sense of everything I was reading. I have often been told I have an anxious-preoccupied attachment style or, more recently, a disorganized attachment style. I’ve done a lot of reading about those two styles to try and understand both myself and the work I should be doing.

So I was very surprised by how much I could relate to this article about individuals with a dismissive attachment style. It turns out this is fairly common in patients with intrafamilial trauma. Since these clients are by definition avoidant, it is a challenge to do research and develop treatment strategies for them. But Muller was able to tackle this important issue and what he came up with resonated with me in a very powerful way.

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