Fear in therapy

I have been in therapy for a few years and I am very scared of what will happen when memories of the trauma reappear. It's a huge anxiety for me. guerriere46, 46 years old

Christophe Fauré

Psychiatrist and psychotherapist


It is difficult to give a precise answer to your question because you do not specify the nature of your trauma. You also do not tell me if there was indeed trauma. You suppose it - I imagine - with regard to your symptoms. Yet sometimes patients may be intimately convinced that they have been traumatized in the past ("because something must have happened otherwise I would not react like that") and they hope the therapy will emerge. possible memories, almost magically. Some even resort to hypnosis or emdr (while this is not his first indication), in this hope.

One must be extremely cautious: in fact, some people carry traumatic memories that may reappear during a psychotherapy work - certainly - but one must also know that the unconscious is able to build from scratch memories that do not correspond to reality: these are called "reconstructions in the aftermath" or "memories - screens". It must be known: when we expect to find something, we search with determination and it is very likely to find ... but if there is nothing! This does not negate - in any way - the suffering of people who think they have suffered a trauma, but it would be a mistake (in my opinion) to try hard to find a hypothetical cause in the past, when the person has absolutely no conscious memory. This can be a sign that there is indeed nothing. In other words, you have to take your recollections with great caution and circumspection - because taking them literally can wreak havoc ...

And finally, rest assured, the fact of "nothing" to find, in terms of trauma, during a therapy does not prevent to do a psychotherapeutic work of high quality. The daily experience shows it: the appeasement does not necessarily and inevitably come from the emergence of these possible traumatisms.

If, nevertheless, there has been real trauma, the unconscious is there to make sure that the memories that come back do not overwhelm the person. It plays a role of "regulator" by only allowing to bring to consciousness only what the person can manage psychically. If it is too traumatic to threaten one's inner balance, the unconscious will veto and keep the repressed memories in the unconscious.It may be only when the person is sufficiently advanced in their work and may have been better psychically structured than their unconscious "will know" if - and when - they are ready. Thus, given this system of internal control, any memories that may come back to you will remain within the framework of what you will be able to face, with the help of your therapist.

Do not worry ...

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