The past is gone. Yet, most therapists will tell you that you need to heal the past in order to move on in life, otherwise you won’t have a happy future and will keep repeating negative patterns. They’ll tell you that you need to heal your relationship with your parents else happy relationships are out of the question for you. Actually, not just therapists will do this, it’s quite the trend in the self-development sphere. Practices such as healing shame or releasing negative emotions are what we could just call secular rituals that simply don’t lead to a tangible change in the way people would conduct their lives.
Think about actors, the good ones can connect with any emotion they want. They can think about traumatic experiences they had, make it look super real, and use it to fuel a character. This is what you’d actually do in most therapy sessions and self-development workshops, they ask you to create a sad story in your mind and then suggest that, now that you cried a little bit, your future will magically improve. The truth is that no amount of emotional release will change anything because it’s not a release in the first place, there’s nothing stuck anywhere in your mind or body. Isn’t that common sense?
The difference between actors and past healers is that the former are aware of what they’re doing while the latter aren’t. Past healers are unconsciously acting; they innocently delude themselves into thinking they’re healing something. This is the perfect recipe for narcicism, confusion, never-ending issues like “my dad still coming up?!“, and an endless amount of nonsense that keeps people stuck. If a ten year-old did a research project on someone doing a year of therapy, would probably sum it up with threapists help people cry more often. This kind of low-mood therapy simply doesn’t work.
If we appeal to our common sense again, we’ll see that investigating the past doesn’t lead to happiness or fulfillment in the same way that watching documentaries about WWII won’t help a country improve it’s economy. What about improving your professional skills? People skills? Focusing on being useful in the world? Being a positive influence in the life of others instead of obsessing over the past? Therapy is about “me, me, me, me and me” while life is not that. It’s about both you and the rest of the world, we’re not alone in this planet. It would be much more useful to learn to navigate the world in productive and smart ways rather than investigating your foggy and often inaccurate childhood memories.
Personal growth is all about doing the work and having the values necessary to change your life, a much more productive plan than coming up with fifty different family patterns every week with your therapist. If there’s any value in investigating the past, that is to look at it from a less subjective perspective than the one you had while you were in it and see that you’re not its hostage, that can be useful to develop stronger values. Yet, you don’t need a therapist to do that, it’s called contemplation and it’s free.