We are talking about estrangement in the upcoming sequence of The Mirror. The topic is clean breaks. This is one of the snippets from research for the 12-week segment, which I will be accepting applications for in the next week. (A link to the application form is below.)
What is The Mirror? It is where we talk about things that the conversations precipitate. These conversations are usually email ones, but they are initiated by weekly prompts that I research ahead of time and also during the course of the workshop, too. In occasional forums or calls, no more than four can converse on low-key synched zoom calls, too.
Why ‘Clean breaks?’ It is inspired by a study on estrangement. Which is a thing, actually, and some people decided to focus on it for a study called ‘The Counseling Experiences of Individuals Who are Estranged,’ in which the authors write:
‘This is the first study designed to explore the counseling experiences of estranged individuals, focusing specifically on the aspects of counseling that were found to be particularly helpful or unhelpful. Therapy was considered to be helpful when counselors were supportive of respondents’ decisions and feelings and did not push them to think, feel or act in a certain way (e.g., to forgive family members, or to initiate estrangement). In addition to coming to their own decisions as to what choices and actions would be in their best interests, respondents also valued counselors who had expertise about estrangement. For example, therapists or counselors who reinforced commonly held assumptions or myths about family relationships (e.g., that mothers are always loving or that active and close relationships with family members is always desirable) were identified as being unhelpful. This echoes the advice of Scharp and McLaren (2018), who recommended that professionals resist telling clients that their parents love them because this is not how the adult children in their study experienced or perceived their relationships with their parents.
Sure is great to see this study and I have put an email out to them to get more details about how it relates, specifically, to our 4-person circle that will begin in mid-June. The topic is ‘Clean Breaks’. (Related is ‘no contact’ and ‘narcissistic abuse,’ but those are different and hard and big and require more than just me researching stuff and actual conversation with people who are qualified, and equipped, to handle them.) Though the interesting thing about the topic above is that only 50% of people felt like therapists actually helped. In some instances, people felt worse. There’s not a lot of dialogue on the topic of estrangement and the thing that was a key takeaway for me in reading the synopsis is the overlap between how to listen with real empathy that you would want from a therapist (or anyone who stands in, in that role) and what you would want in any relationship that you keep because mature relationships are those in which people do not push their views onto others. Or use them. Or make them feel guilty. Or otherwise try to subtract from other people in order to… well, hell. I don’t know what they do it for. ‘They’ are the people that we make our clean breaks from. And the reasons are myriad and yet, there is great solace in knowing that we are not alone.
I wrote a short memoir, The Elopement, and had published it in 2012. This was ten years after the events that took place, in which I decided I would be leaving home for greener pastures (southwest Ireland).
Doing so was the beginning of a series of shifts that moved things in impossible-to-have-imagined directions, from there, in my life. The next book is coming together for a release later this year. It’s called Big Work. I can leave the content open for your interpretation, but I will share parts of it in The Mirror, ahead. Note: there is a fee to participate. Very limited seats.
Apply first to get started, if you’d like to take part in The Mirror | ‘Clean Breaks’.
Here is a link.