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On the last track, we discussed four concepts regarding therapeutic crisis intervention in the case of a premature birth. These four concepts are four tasks for the mother of a premature infant, assessing the family, interventions, and anticipatory planning.
On this track, we will discuss crisis intervention following a divorce, and how the three losses of divorce can impact self esteem. I will describe for you the Terrible Name Monitoring technique I used with Yolanda.
Yolanda, 23, was in the process of divorce from her husband. She had been referred to the crisis center by her attorney. Yolanda was displaying symptoms of severe depression and anxiety, which had begun three weeks before when Yolanda was notified of the date of divorce proceedings. She had found it difficult to get out of bed or perform routine tasks, and she had lost her job due to her inability to control her frequent crying spells.
When I questioned Yolanda about the event, she stated that she had been informed on that date that the only way she would be able to receive alimony is to countersue for divorce. Yolanda stated, "Something must be wrong with me if I can’t hold a husband! I still love Jack! I don’t understand how I could have failed so badly!" Yolanda was adamant that she did not want the divorce, and the necessity of being an active participant in a divorce she did not want added to the factors that resulted in Yolanda’s crisis state.
Three Losses of Divorce
Loss #1 - Invulnerability
Loss #2 - Orderly World
In addition to the loss of invulnerability and the loss of an orderly world, a third loss of divorce is the loss of a positive self image. Although supportive individuals like Yolanda’s sister Terry assured her she was a caring, lovable person, Yolanda felt like "damaged goods." Yolanda stated, "I feel ugly! Ugly like a monster. My family keeps telling me I’m a good person, but I can’t be! I’m such a horrible woman men can’t wait to get rid of me!"
Loss #3 - Self Image
Technique: Terrible Names
Step Three: Next, I asked Yolanda how she would feel if another person called her those names, or spoke to her in that manner. Yolanda stated, "I’d really hate that. I’d probably feel awful."
Technique: Terrible Name Monitoring
If you can, include what happened that brought up the negative images. After you finish an entry, take some time to think about how these statements help you create a negative image of yourself that make you feel alienated from your friends and family."
In our next session, I discussed Yolanda’s journaling results with her. Yolanda stated, "I’m really shocked by just how much I’ve been putting myself down. The list of names I’ve been calling myself is huge! Some of them are names I’d never dream of calling someone else. I also noticed that every time I start in on myself, that’s when I feel like just going back to bed. I didn’t realize that before."
I suggested that one way Yolanda could reframe the negative self statement ‘no man will ever love me,’ would be to write, ‘Things did not work out with Jack, but that does not mean I am unlovable. It just means that things did not work in that one relationship. I stated to Yolanda, "It may feel like you have to force yourself to write positively at first, but keep practicing. Even though you may not feel positively now, as you practice these positive statements, you may notice that you start to believe them."
Think of your Yolanda. Would the terrible names monitoring technique help him or her?
On this track, we have discussed crisis intervention following a divorce, and how the three losses of divorce can impact self esteem.
On the next track, we will discuss maturational crises in four transitional periods. These four transitional periods are young adulthood, adulthood, late adulthood, and old age.
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