Revisiting Topics in Psychotherapy-Article

Article

June 24, 2024 / by Ligia Hamada

No More Shame in Revisiting Topics in Psychotherapy

If you have ever left your psychologist's office thinking: "Oh my goodness! I can't believe I talked about that very same thing again! What's wrong with me?" I want to invite you to put your shame aside and join me for a few minutes in this reading, and I am confident that you will be surprised by the outcomes.

So, Why Revisiting Topics Matters

When you first begin psychotherapy, it might feel like the discussions are merely skimming the surface, focusing on current events or immediate concerns. However, as we revisit these topics, patterns begin to emerge, revealing deeper, underlying issues. This shift is crucial as it moves our conversations from general discussion to targeted, meaningful exploration.

Memory also plays a vital role in this process. Each time a memory is recalled, it’s not simply replayed but reconstructed. This reconstruction is shaped by your current emotional state, insights, and the therapeutic environment we create together. Thus, revisiting a memory repeatedly in psychotherapy can significantly alter its emotional impact and the meaning you attribute to it.

But there’s more, much more that revisiting topics in our sessions provides, such as:

* Offering you a safe space for processing and integrating emotions.
* Enabling us to identify and reframe your negative beliefs.
* Strengthening our therapeutic relationship, building trust and safety over time.
* Helping you recognise and reinforce positive changes.
* Assisting in normalising your experiences and breaking the cycle of shame and isolation.

What Studies Say

Research, including a study by John Norcross and colleagues in 2019, supports the effectiveness of revisiting core themes in psychotherapy. Their findings highlight how repetition helps both therapists and clients drill down into subconscious motivations and unresolved conflicts that dictate behaviour patterns, thereby enabling deeper understanding and more sustainable change.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) emphasises that understanding and modifying deep-seated beliefs requires us to repeatedly scrutinise the thoughts and assumptions guiding your behaviour. By revisiting these topics, we can help you identify automatic thoughts and challenge the validity of such beliefs, promoting cognitive restructuring.

Now, let me reassure you: there's nothing wrong with you or your therapeutic process. Revisiting certain topics is actually the best way to go, so you can unravel deeper layers of understanding of complex personal issues. This approach allows you to gain deeper insights, process emotions, reshape negative beliefs, recognise your progress, build trust, and feel less isolated. No space for shame in this, right?
As a psychologist, I will never get tired of listening to what's important to you. In fact, it delights me to be here to support you through this process with empathy, understanding, and technical expertise. Given that it is clear there is no sign of failure in it, I have to ask you:
Are you ready to jump into this rewarding journey with me?

References

Clinician’s Guide to Evidence-Based Practices: Mental Health and the Addictions. Oxford University Press.

Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond. Guilford Press.

Emotion-Focused Therapy for Depression. American Psychological Association.

 

Alliance in Individual Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 9-16.