4 thoughts on “Tough Love Therapy

  • May 17, 2012 at 7:39 am

    “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” Alan Cohen

    A big step for many is to go to a therapist. Why bother if the therapist is just going to enable you to continue on the same path that caused you to seek help?

    Can the same be true for therapists as for patients’ partners? Pamela Wiegartz, Ph.D. wrote an article on Psychology Today where she talked about the importance of partners’ supporting, and yes, – showing some tough love on occasion. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-age-anxiety/201203/what-do-when-someone-you-love-is-anxious-0 She quoted research by Zinbarg, Lee& Yoon which seem to suggest that at least with regards to several anxiety disorders partner’s attitude and behavior seemed to predict how likely therapy is to work. Non-hostile criticism helped, – hostility and lethargy didn’t. http://www.wcas.northwestern.edu/psych/Documents/49%20%20%20ZLeeYoon%282007%29%20%282%29.pdf

    Here are my wife’s two cents, http://www.sociophobics.com/loving-someone-with-social-anxiety-disorder/

    Suggesting that maybe the truth is somewhere in between, relative to each person, each case? Some acceptance, some tough love… but never ever anger, putdown or hostility.

    • May 17, 2012 at 7:43 am

      I agree with your comment that “maybe the truth is somewhere in between…” Most often the truth is not at one extreme or another. Well said.

  • May 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    There does need to be a mixture of Honesty and Realism with acceptance which might happen as a result of trust and intimacy with the therapist. In an environment of Love, a person is empowered to do what they normally would not be able to do. In therapy, sometimes we want to avoid this intimacy- and messiness- we want the rules and the order- and the solutions. The solutions only come from within, when a person can change their life. A good therapist gives a person confidence to try something new.

  • September 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    The problem with the tough-love paradigm is that it even further weighs therapy’s power imbalance. Here the client plays the mesmerized subordinate who must account for her life to the stern disapproving taskmaster. The client goes to therapy to deal with problems, and then she’s attacked for presenting them.

    Many clients go to therapy because they’re coping with already-low social standing. The “tough love” client hands her power to a condescending therapist. This sounds like an derivation of the much-discredited “Gestalt” hippies back when the therapists thought they could scream their patients into authenticity.


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