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2022.07.28 如何在不谈论你的感受的情况下进行治疗

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发表于 2022-8-17 04:00:17 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式

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How to go to therapy without talking about your feelings
Two Chinese psychologists talk about divorce, stockpiling and crying into your mask

Jul 28th 2022

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By Alice Su

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Chuan He
I was born in Ningxia province, where the goji berries are grown. I studied psychology at medical school. But in the late 1980s, when I graduated, people thought psychologists were only for lunatics. It was shameful to see one – if you worked in that field, you starved. I taught medical ethics for six years, then I started a business. Potatoes grow naturally on Ningxia’s high plateau, but it’s so remote that many rot. My company imported starch-making machines, and for almost 20 years we sold potato starch for cooking. It was exhausting. In the second half of my life I remembered my original dream to be a therapist. So in 2013 I started my training in Shanghai.

Yun Juan
I’m from Wuhan, born and raised. I had some misconceptions about psychology at first. I thought therapists were like dustbins for people’s problems. That wasn’t for me. My ideas changed when I became a Christian. I was making hospital visits and realised that talking was a way to help people, so I started training in 2009. I was thankful for that when the pandemic came.

The virus first appeared in Wuhan, which locked down in 2020 just before Chinese new year. We usually celebrate with our families, but that year I was alone with my daughter; my husband and parents were locked down in other parts of the city. We knew so little then, we were afraid even to open the windows. The city was silent and dark. No cars, no sounds, just the garish new year’s gala playing on tv all bright colours and laughter. It hurt my eyes. In my 58 years, I had never felt that kind of loneliness.


But soon we were busy. My daughter went out to volunteer and I started providing therapy online. There was a woman, nearly 70, whose husband had been infected and taken to a quarantine facility. She was panicking. She threw everything that belonged to him outside. She’d call me in a sweat – it was winter, but her clothes would be soaked. I’d say, “Listen to my voice.” I’d tell her to lie on the bed or sit down. I’d teach her to breathe.

You can’t limit sessions like that to 50 minutes. You stay with people on the phone or computer, sometimes for the whole afternoon. You ask them to think of a happy memory, a time they felt safe. Sometimes they fall asleep, and that’s good. Or you help them cry, and that’s good, too.

Chuan He
Some of my patients were surprisingly happy when the lockdown began. There was a couple and the husband had had an affair. The wife was in pain, thinking, should I fight with my spouse, avoid him, or let myself go numb? Then suddenly they were inside together for months, forced to face their relationship. Things actually improved.

Other couples struggled. One of my clients is a high-performing businessman. At first he was OK, busy in his study all day. But after the fourth, fifth week of lockdown, work annoyed him and he started yelling at his wife and kids. He didn’t want to get up in the morning; he napped at lunch and then played mahjong and watched videos on his phone until 3am. He felt powerless and started to ask: What am I working for? What is this life for? Is there still meaning? That is depression. He needed a professional to tell him: “You’ve met something unprecedented. This is a stress response. It doesn’t mean you’ll always be like this.”

It’s like we’re all strings on an instrument that has been wound too tight

We dealt with many crises. I met one man whose parents had both been sent to hospital and he couldn’t reach them. He and his siblings were begging for help in every direction, but their money and connections had no effect. He was spiralling: When would it all end? What if they died? I helped him realise that his fear of what might happen was hurting him more than the reality of his parents being in hospital.

To be honest, I felt anxious and helpless, too. I remember thinking about whether to eat my last egg or save it for the next day, and then asking, why are we locked up, why must we fight for food? How could this be happening in Shanghai? Such questions fill you with anger, but what can you do as an ordinary person? So you drop the anger and go to the next stage: sorrow.


Many of my clients don’t live in Shanghai – they prefer talking to someone far away, because they worry that a local therapist would leak their stories. I often see common themes. Many Chinese are afraid of two things: negative feelings and shame. Often, if a grandparent dies when the child isn’t there, parents don’t tell them about it until later. The parents don’t want to “disturb” their children with bad news. They can’t allow them to be sad. So they deny their children the chance to say goodbye, which creates a deep sense of loss. The child needs help to reconstruct the scene and say what they feel.


There’s an idea that family harmony is more important than anything. I had a couple who’d already been divorced for half a year but didn’t tell anyone because they’d lose face. So they didn’t turn up to family get-togethers; they’d pretend to be on business trips. I’ve seen parents who divorced when their child was in primary school and tried to keep that secret until they were in high school. Of course, the kids always know. You’re performing for your child, but they know. Actually, you’re lying to your child. You think it’s a form of protection, but the child will have no sense of security. They feel deceived.

As a therapist, it’s against my ethics to encourage people to stay married or get divorced. When a case ends in divorce, that doesn’t mean therapy didn’t work. The two people come out with clearer minds. They understand what happened in the past 10 or 20 years and what kind of life they want to live. But both society and the courts here encourage couples to stay together. Many women absorb that pressure. They feel if they’re divorced, they’ve failed, they’re bad at marriage. So I try to give them courage. I tell them it’s not shameful to be honest.

Yun Juan
Many families have problems with in-laws, especially when one member of the couple was raised by grandparents while their parents migrated to the city for work. One woman I treated struggled with her mother-in-law. Her mother hadn’t been around. Now she had someone who could finally be her mother, but she didn’t know how to build a relationship as an adult. When her mother-in-law said something critical or nagging – “Aiya! You did this wrong. You are slow!” – the wife reverted to childhood. She didn’t want to live with her mother-in-law anymore. This harmed her relationship with her husband, who was worried about his wife but wasn’t willing to cross his mother. And the in-laws would never come to therapy.

The older generation doesn’t understand. They lived through so many crises, and say things like: “You’ve had it too easy. If you could eat bitterness like us, you’d be fine.” My own mother was a child during the second world war. Her parents left the village to join the war effort with the nationalists. When the Cultural Revolution began, my mother’s family was marked as counter-revolutionary. The Red Guards would barge in to hold “struggle sessions” against her parents, breaking things, screaming at them and putting up posters denouncing their ideological crimes. Of course my mother was affected. Throughout her life she tried to join the Communist Party to prove she was a good citizen, but was never allowed to. That’s why she married my father: he was from a peasant family, which was considered good because Maoist ideology elevated the peasantry.


My mum always cites a saying: “If you made a mistake, fix it; if you didn’t, take the punishment as a warning.” I hate that. It’s what innocent people told themselves to survive that era. If they were attacked, they’d say: “It’s fine, I deserve it.” My mother treated me the same way. If my brother did something wrong, she’d discipline me, too. I had to be strong and self-sufficient. These things sit like a glacier between us. They also distorted my relationship with my husband. Before I had therapy, I became defensive easily. Because even my mum would never help me, I didn’t trust anyone. There was a distance in all my relationships.

My parents have always kept their supplies stocked up. My father buys too much, freezes it and fills an entire storage cupboard. He can never have enough. The two of them are constantly preparing “for war, for famine, for the people”, as they said in Mao’s time. They’re waiting for the moment when they lose everything. My parent’s generation passed this fear and numbness on to us, and we passed it on to our children.

Chuan He
After the Mao era, many people my age began to emigrate, get a Western education and express themselves differently. But in much of China, especially in the villages, people still live in the same, inward-looking way. In the past we were a suppressed people in a suppressed culture. Now we are an anxious people in an anxious culture. The years of reform brought super-fast development. Too fast. Our material lives reached a certain level, but our internal lives, our culture and our spirit couldn’t catch up. Everyone wants to get rich, everyone wants a big house, everyone wants their kids to go to good schools. You’re afraid to fall behind. Every day you’re rushing, but you don’t know what you’re rushing for.


Yun Juan
Did it get better after the lockdown was lifted? For so long everyone had one thought: I must live. Yet when the city opened, we felt not relief, but fatigue. I see clients in person now, but not their whole faces. Sometimes they cry until their whole mask is soaked, but they’re afraid to take it off.

And it isn’t over yet. Right now we are doing pcr tests every 72 hours. The community workers walk the streets with bullhorns shouting at us to test. If your neighbourhood has positive cases, guards come to the front door and lock you in. When you see someone who isn’t wearing a mask, you back away. When you forget to wear one, your heart clenches. It’s like we’re all strings on an instrument that has been wound too tight.

If anyone tries to bring up what happened under lockdown, someone else will cut in: “Forget about it. Let’s ganbei, drink up! Cheers that we’re alive!” People say everyone has been through the same thing, so why talk about it? But it’s also because of the government – they don’t want you to discuss negative things.

Even our happiness can’t be expressed. So what about unhappiness?

I volunteered as a therapist during the Shanghai lockdown, and out of nowhere, during lunch one day, I started crying. I was sitting in a restaurant with people staring at me. I thought, watch me if you want. I can’t control it. I’m sad now and I’m just going to cry.

As an ordinary person in China, self-reflection hurts, because you have no say. If you come to Wuhan, you’ll see the streets overflowing at night. Everyone is out eating, drinking, partying. When the cases come, the government closes everything down. We sleep in our offices, we prepare for “war”. When the cases go, we eat and drink again. How can we keep living like this, so mindlessly?

Chuan He
Everyone is expected to look calm and flat on the outside. We are not expressive or effusive. In the past, there was a saying that women should “smile without showing your teeth”. When I was younger, in my high-school photos, I looked like I was 40 years old. Women cannot speak loudly, cannot show their teeth, must sit and stand the right way. We are shrunken in and folded over – even our happiness can’t be expressed. So what about unhappiness?

Yun Juan
In China we are used to instructing our bodies with our brains, telling ourselves what we should feel. We are always saying, don’t be scared, it doesn’t hurt, don’t be angry, forget about it. We don’t know that if you’re fearful, you should stand up and fight. If you’re angry, you should defend what has been violated. This is why I feel my work is meaningful. It can help us live more truthfully. We are all wearing masks with big smiles drawn on our faces. We should take them off.■

As told to Alice Su, senior China correspondent for The Economist. Both therapists’ names are pseudonyms. These interviews have been edited for clarity and brevity

You can read the rest of 1843 magazine’s weekly coverage here

ILLUSTRATIONS: JAMES WILSON

This article appeared in the 1843 magazine section of the print edition under the headline "How to go to therapy without talking about your feelings"







如何在不谈论你的感受的情况下进行治疗
两位中国心理学家谈离婚、囤积和对着面具哭的问题

2022年7月28日


作者:Alice Su

何川
我出生在宁夏省,那里盛产枸杞。我在医学院学习心理学。但在20世纪80年代末,当我毕业时,人们认为心理学家只适合疯子。看到一个人是可耻的--如果你在这个领域工作,你就得挨饿。我教了六年的医学伦理学,然后我开始做生意。马铃薯在宁夏的高原上自然生长,但它是如此遥远,以至于许多马铃薯腐烂。我的公司进口了淀粉制造机,在将近20年的时间里,我们出售用于烹饪的马铃薯淀粉。这很累人。在我生命的后半段,我想起了我最初的梦想--成为一名治疗师。所以在2013年,我在上海开始了我的培训。

尹娟
我来自武汉,土生土长。起初,我对心理学有一些误解。我认为治疗师就像是人们问题的垃圾桶。这并不适合我。当我成为一名基督徒时,我的想法发生了变化。我在医院探访时意识到谈话是帮助人们的一种方式,所以我在2009年开始接受培训。当大流行病来临时,我很感激。

病毒首先出现在武汉,武汉在2020年中国新年前就锁定了。我们通常与家人一起庆祝,但那年我和女儿单独在一起;我的丈夫和父母被锁在城市的其他地方。那时我们知道的太少了,我们甚至不敢打开窗户。这座城市寂静而黑暗。没有汽车,没有声音,只有电视上播放的花哨的新年晚会,色彩鲜艳,笑声不断。它伤害了我的眼睛。在我58年的时间里,我从未感受过那种孤独。


但很快我们就忙起来了。我的女儿出去做志愿者了,我开始在网上提供治疗。有一个将近70岁的妇女,她的丈夫被感染了,被带到了一个检疫机构。她很惊慌。她把属于他的所有东西都扔到外面。她满头大汗地给我打电话--那是冬天,但她的衣服都湿透了。我说,"听我的声音"。我会告诉她躺在床上或坐下来。我会教她呼吸。

你不能把这样的会议限制在50分钟之内。你在电话或电脑上与人们呆在一起,有时是整个下午。你让他们想一想快乐的记忆,想一想他们感到安全的时候。有时他们睡着了,这很好。或者你帮助他们哭泣,这也很好。

何川
当封锁开始时,我的一些病人出乎意料地高兴。有一对夫妇,丈夫有了外遇。妻子很痛苦,想,我应该和配偶吵架,躲避他,还是让自己麻木?然后他们突然在里面呆了几个月,被迫面对他们的关系。事情实际上有所改善。

其他夫妻则在挣扎。我的一个客户是一个表现出色的商人。起初他还不错,整天在书房里忙碌。但在禁闭的第四、五周后,工作让他烦躁,他开始对妻子和孩子大喊大叫。他早上不想起床;午餐时打盹,然后打麻将,用手机看视频,直到凌晨3点。他感到无能为力,开始问:我在为什么工作?这样的生活是为了什么?还有意义吗?这就是抑郁症。他需要一个专业人士来告诉他。"你遇到了前所未有的事情。这是一种压力反应。这并不意味着你会一直这样。"

这就像我们都是乐器上的弦,被绕得太紧了

我们处理了许多危机。我遇到一个人,他的父母都被送进了医院,他无法联系到他们。他和他的兄弟姐妹们向各个方向乞求帮助,但他们的钱和关系没有任何作用。他的情况在不断恶化。这一切何时才能结束?如果他们死了怎么办?我帮助他认识到,他对可能发生的事情的恐惧比他父母住院的现实更伤害他。

说实话,我也感到焦虑和无助。我记得我在考虑是吃最后一个鸡蛋还是留到第二天再吃,然后问,为什么我们被关起来,为什么我们必须为食物而战?这事怎么会发生在上海?这样的问题让你充满愤怒,但作为一个普通人,你能做什么?所以你放下愤怒,进入下一个阶段:悲哀。


我的许多客户并不住在上海--他们更喜欢和远方的人交谈,因为他们担心本地的治疗师会泄露他们的故事。我经常看到共同的主题。许多中国人害怕两件事:负面情绪和羞耻。通常情况下,如果祖父母在孩子不在的时候去世,父母直到后来才会告诉他们这件事。父母不想用坏消息 "打扰 "他们的孩子。他们不能让他们伤心。所以他们不让孩子有机会说再见,这就造成了深深的失落感。孩子需要帮助来重建现场,说出他们的感受。


有一种观念认为家庭和谐比什么都重要。我有一对夫妇已经离婚半年了,但没有告诉任何人,因为他们会失去面子。所以他们不参加家庭聚会;他们假装在出差。我见过一些父母,他们在孩子上小学时就离婚了,并试图保守这个秘密,直到他们上高中。当然,孩子们总是知道的。你在为你的孩子表演,但他们知道。实际上,你是在骗你的孩子。你认为这是一种保护方式,但孩子会没有安全感。他们感到被欺骗了。

作为一名治疗师,鼓励人们保持婚姻或离婚是违反我的道德的。当一个案例以离婚结束时,这并不意味着治疗没有效果。两个人出来后,头脑更加清晰。他们明白在过去10年或20年里发生了什么,以及他们想过什么样的生活。但这里的社会和法院都鼓励夫妻在一起。许多妇女吸收了这种压力。她们觉得如果她们离婚了,她们就失败了,她们的婚姻就不好。所以我试图给她们勇气。我告诉她们,诚实并不可耻。

尹娟
许多家庭都有婆媳关系问题,特别是当夫妻中的一方由祖父母抚养长大,而他们的父母则移居到城市工作的时候。我治疗过的一位妇女与她的婆婆争吵。她的母亲一直都不在身边。现在她终于有了一个可以做她母亲的人,但她不知道如何作为一个成年人建立关系。当她的婆婆说一些批评或唠叨的话--"Aiya! 你做错了。你太慢了!" - 妻子又回到了童年。她不想再和她的婆婆一起生活。这损害了她与丈夫的关系,丈夫担心妻子,但不愿意与母亲过不去。而公公婆婆也不会来治疗。

老一辈的人不理解。他们经历了那么多的危机,说了这样的话。"你过得太容易了。如果你能像我们一样吃苦,你就会好了"。我自己的母亲在第二次世界大战期间是个孩子。她的父母离开村子,与国民党人一起参加战争。文化大革命开始后,我母亲的家庭被标记为反革命。红卫兵会闯进来对她的父母举行 "斗争会议",砸东西,对他们大喊大叫,并张贴海报谴责他们的意识形态罪行。当然,我母亲也受到影响。在她的一生中,她试图加入共产党以证明她是一个好公民,但从未被允许。这就是她嫁给我父亲的原因:他来自一个农民家庭,这被认为是好事,因为毛泽东思想提升了农民的地位。


我妈妈总是引用一句话。"如果你犯了错,就改正它;如果你没犯错,就把惩罚当作警告"。我讨厌这句话。这是无辜的人们为了在那个时代生存而告诉自己的。如果他们受到攻击,他们会说 "没事,我活该。" 我母亲也是这样对待我的。如果我弟弟做错了事,她也会管教我。我必须变得坚强和自立。这些事情像冰川一样坐在我们之间。它们也扭曲了我和丈夫的关系。在我接受治疗之前,我很容易变得防备。因为即使是我妈妈也不会帮助我,我不相信任何人。我的所有关系都有距离。

我的父母总是把他们的物资储备起来。我父亲买了太多的东西,把它们冷冻起来,装满了整个储存柜。他永远不可能有足够的东西。他们两个人不断地准备 "为战争,为饥荒,为人民",正如他们在毛泽东时代所说的那样。他们在等待着失去一切的那一刻。我父母那一代人把这种恐惧和麻木传给了我们,我们又把它传给了我们的孩子。

何川
毛泽东时代之后,许多与我同龄的人开始移民,接受西方教育,以不同的方式表达自己。但是在中国的大部分地区,特别是在乡村,人们仍然以相同的、内向的方式生活。在过去,我们是一个被压制的文化中的被压制的民族。现在,我们是一个焦虑文化中的焦虑民族。改革的年代带来了超快的发展。太快了。我们的物质生活达到了一定的水平,但我们的内在生活、文化和精神却无法跟上。每个人都想发财,每个人都想有大房子,每个人都想让他们的孩子上好学校。你害怕掉队。每天你都在赶路,但你不知道你在赶什么路。


尹娟
解除封锁后,情况是否有所好转?这么久以来,每个人都有一个想法。我必须活下去。然而,当城市开放后,我们感到的不是解脱,而是疲惫。我现在看到客户本人,但不是他们的整个脸。有时他们哭到整个面具都湿透了,但他们不敢摘下面具。

而且事情还没有结束。现在,我们每72小时做一次pcr测试。社区工作人员拿着喇叭走在街上,喊我们去检测。如果你所在的社区有阳性病例,警卫就会来到前门,把你锁在里面。当你看到没有戴口罩的人时,你要退后。当你忘记戴口罩时,你的心就会揪起来。这就像我们都是乐器上的弦,被绕得太紧。

如果有人试图提起禁闭时发生的事情,其他人就会插嘴。"别提了。让我们甘拜下风,喝个痛快! 干杯,我们还活着!" 人们说,每个人都经历过同样的事情,所以为什么要谈论它?但这也是因为政府的原因--他们不希望你讨论负面的东西。

甚至我们的幸福也不能表达。那么不快乐的事情呢?

在上海封锁期间,我自愿担任治疗师,有一天午餐时,我突然开始哭。我坐在一个餐厅里,人们都盯着我。我想,如果你想的话,就看着我吧。我无法控制它。我现在很伤心,我就是要哭。

作为中国的一个普通人,自我反省很痛苦,因为你没有发言权。如果你来到武汉,你会看到夜晚的街道上人满为患。大家都在外面吃喝玩乐,聚会。当案件发生时,政府会关闭一切。我们在办公室里睡觉,为 "战争 "做准备。当案件结束时,我们又吃又喝。我们怎么能一直这样生活下去,如此无意识地生活?

传和
每个人都被要求在外表上看起来平静、平淡。我们不善于表达,也不善于流露。过去有一种说法,女人应该 "笑不露齿"。我年轻的时候,在我的高中照片中,我看起来像40岁。妇女不能大声说话,不能露出牙齿,必须以正确的方式坐和站。我们被缩在里面,被折叠起来--甚至我们的快乐也无法表达。那么,不快乐的事呢?

尹娟
在中国,我们习惯于用我们的大脑来指导我们的身体,告诉自己应该有什么感觉。我们总是说,不要害怕,不疼,不要生气,忘掉它。我们不知道,如果你害怕,你应该站起来战斗。如果你愤怒,你应该捍卫被侵犯的东西。这就是为什么我觉得我的工作是有意义的。它可以帮助我们更真实地生活。我们都戴着面具,脸上画着灿烂的笑容。我们应该把它们摘下来。

经济学人》杂志资深中国记者Alice Su获悉。两位治疗师的名字都是假名。这些采访已被编辑,以达到清晰和简洁的目的。

你可以在这里阅读《1843》杂志每周报道的其他内容。

插图。JAMES WILSON

本文出现在1843年杂志印刷版的栏目中,标题为 "如何在不谈感情的情况下进行治疗"
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