Have you ever been in physical pain and gone to your physician? Of course you have. What was your experience? Did the physician do limited testing, give you a prescription, and send you on your way? You took the pills and the pain went away, or at least was dulled, for a short period of time. Then the pain came back, only worse. You might then have gone to a different physician for another opinion. This physician talked to you in depth and then did extensive testing. The results of such an evaluation revealed a serious problem that the pain medication masked, while the ailment worsened. You then had the necessitated surgery, which resulted in a lot of pain. Over time the pain disappeared and the physical problem was removed.

How about psychological pain? Have you had it? Do you have it? Too often a person in psychological pain, emotional distress, goes to a psychotherapist and wants to feel better immediately. Perhaps that person was able to locate “Dr. Feel Good” who served as a “rent a friend” saying all kinds of nice things and immediately prescribed a magic pill to take care of the painful symptoms. The patient/client enjoyed going to “Dr. Feel Good,” enjoying the 50-minute session, enjoying the empathy and caring. Does such a person really get better? NO!

Psychological pain has deep roots, even if the precipitating symptomology was a recent event. The trigger event connects with the deeper emotional wiring present. This emotional wiring began with the born gene pool and was further developed and “programmed” by life experiences, particularly those in the early formative years. Ideas and behaviors emanate from a deeper emotional base that energizes a person positively or negatively, productively or dysfunctionally.

Effective therapy challenges the patient/client to go beyond the current symptoms and find the root cause of the problem. Generally this is a complex process where the capable practitioner discovers the earliest and deepest brain “wiring” of the person. This investigative process usually is both challenging and painful. The psychotherapist has to be adept at getting behind the various defenses in place which have shielded the person from the psychological weakness present. The resultant analysis, the brain “x-ray,” reveals much about a person. It explains much about feelings, behaviors, relationships and vocational choice. Some people resist the painful process and results, “shoot the messenger,” and seek “Dr. Feel Good.”

I have be doing psychotherapy for roughly 30 years. For the last 19 years I have been refining this emotional “x-ray” process and found it to be an incredible aid in assisting patients/clients with their various psychological problems and relationship issues. I now can produce this “x-ray” in one or two sessions if the person is cooperative.

And, yes, it is painful, but it opens up the possibilities for “re-wiring” the brain where necessary. This in turn leads to increased emotional capacity, better choices, and increased long term happiness.

Too many people are looking for easy answers to complex problems. They won’t pay the price, emotionally and financially, “to get it right.” Back to my analogy with a physical problem. If you had cancer, would you not be sure you had a competent physician, who would do whatever it took to rid you of this ailment? The surgery and post-op would be painful, but you would be cured — and free to live your live healthily and happily. I invite you to use the same line of thinking with any emotional “cancers” you, or someone you care about, may have.



Dr. Stathas is a counseling psychologist, licensed marriage and family therapist, in the Lake Oconee area. He is the founder of the Stathas Life Development Center. He can be reached at 706-473-1780. E-mail: Stathas@plantationcable.net. Web site: drstathas.googlepages.com.

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