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Insight Essays for Therapy CBT

Insight Essays for Therapy CBT


This paper was written to show the technique of self-reflection exercises in therapy. The client should write out their major life events as they see them, but in a reflective style to analyse their self image, as part of how they see their life. The therapist in turn can use this type of self-reflecting essay to understand the clients thought processes and perhaps an insight into faulty thinking and behavioural adaptations to life events. The following essay is a true story and in the clients own words. As a therapist or someone interested in psychological thought process and analysis the reader should stay emotionally removed in the first reading. By this I mean read as if you are trying to understand the life-story of the client. In a second reading you should look for the significance in the writer’s comments and thought processes. Therapists, counsellors and psychologists may then try to answer the question of how they would treat this client if he came to them for help in understanding his behaviour over the years and how he could seek a more stable life-style. The names of the real people have been removed and substitutes inserted with some re-writing for clarity by the author.

Self Reflections of Love and Suffering

Two thoughts have crossed my mind in the last few days that I feel I should commit to paper before they scatter from my mind like leaves in an autumn wind. The first is my language – it came to me that when I was younger I had two fears about language the first being I could not spell very well and tended to be forced to write a short word that I was confident with, rather than a long word that expressed my meaning better but was fearful that I misunderstood its true meaning or that I could not pronounce or write it correctly. The second was in my speech, I knew I wanted to express myself in extended words but again used restricted language to talk. I knew the words but were afraid to speak them in case I appeared foolish or beyond my station. I think the timidity of language came about because I always felt I was special in someway over those people that I associated with. I think therefore I talked my language down in order to fit in with those who seemed to be my acquaintances. As time has gone by and my education has expanded by University and life experience, I now use longer words and more expressive ones than in my youth. However as a teacher I have always had the knack of talking to students at their level just as I did when young to my friends and associates of the time. I learned journalism when in my early twenties and it taught me to write short sentences with no adjectives or flourish of language, but to tell the story straight forwardly and clear. Later when I become a teacher this helped me to write better papers that expressed my meaning without opinion of fancy. I start this paper with this insight as an example of quiet suffering in life. What follows then is the suffering at the hands of love and relationships.

The second thoughts were about suffering. I have known two women in my life for a long period of time. Millicent my first wife and Joslin my long term partner, both I loved in my fashion but in these relationships I now think maybe I suffered for a long time without being able to articulate exactly why to myself. I as married to Millicent when we were both 20 years old, (for 10 years) in which time she bore me two daughters. Her family were low working class and she herself was very traditional of that society. Her siblings thought of me as pretentious as I wore a tie and sometimes talked about ambition, to which they connected to an inflated ego and talking beyond my station in life. (That is a peculiar way of saying this today but that is exactly how it felt to me at the time). I too come from a working class family but of a higher status in that my parents read, were home owners, had travelled around the world, my father was a veteran of WW11 and my mother an accomplished writer in her day.

Today I have been in China for over five years, mostly alone but in a few steady relationships that never really lasted very long. For the past year I have been with a young girl named Elle (Chinese) who I have come to love as you would a child who needs a father. I know the relationship is doomed, our ages are too different, our views are poles apart, and she has the arrogance of youth within her and does not yet see that even the wisest man can be wrong. I cannot fulfil her traditional need for security, wealth and family standing that in China is essential to their feelings of insecurity and need for social acceptance. However for now she provides me with some freedom and a sense of companionship that I feel I need. I like being alone but not lonely. I realise I need women, for sex, for companionship, for self-esteem and finally for my feelings of self-worth. An adoring woman satisfies my need to be wanted, to be looked up too and to be seen as someone important at least to them.

The future is hard to foresee now. I have started a business in China and have many friends here, more than in England. I do not miss England or the people very much. I would like to see my daughters more often but they have a good life of their own and I am not the most attentive father to them. I do feel I need to establish a more firm relationship with a woman – if only to feel secure in myself about the future. I ask myself could I go home to Joslin, throw myself on her mercy, ask her to forgive my absence and be with me once more. I think that is now too late, she is settled in her new life, she has grown confident, and has her education and her freedom. She may be lonely at times but she would see my return not as something wonderful but as a burden and a return to uncertainty. No – I could not ask her to do that for me even if it was something I wanted desperately to do. Why would I go back anyway it would only be to acknowledge another failure in my life? I have started to publish many papers and people are reading my works. Some are about teaching and some about my travels around the world. Maybe the fame I have been seeking all my life is here and now. Maybe just around the next corner is the adoration I always wanted from others? The reality I fear now is that in fact like others before me that I want an end to the suffering of life. The suffering of being with other people. Do not misunderstand I do not want to run away from life or the world but merely to finally find my place. To have a legacy that I can look at and think proudly of myself.

I finish this paper with a thought. I am an optimist and an extrovert, I like admiration and I like freedom to express myself, whether I be right or wrong is not important but the right to say and write what I think and not care about "them" those dissenters of free-thinking who see people like me as dangerous because I do not follow their neat rules and conventions in life. Show me a rule book and I will show you another person’s fear.

Concluding Summery:

This paper as the abstract suggested was written for the purpose of showing an example of self-reflection essays written by a client in therapy as a technique to help the client to focus on their life and the major events that shaped their behaviour today. It is envisaged that trainee therapists, counsellors and psychologists will be able to use this exercise to widen their analytical skills and analysis. Experienced trainers and supervisors may find the content useful to print for classes and work-shops in which to help trainees have a real-life case study to analyses and dissect.

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