Freeze: Don’t React and Maybe the Diagnosis Will Go Away

Not every client I work with takes flight toward the first available treatment. Some don’t take flight at all. Instead, they sit and stare into space, literally and figuratively, waiting for the nightmare to pass, or for someone, often a family member, to step in and take charge. This is understandable. After all, between the shock of the diagnosis, and the fact that most of us are unprepared to make the decisions that are suddenly thrust upon us, it is no wonder that a shut-down can occur.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were afraid that, if you really let yourself react emotionally, you might lose control? When in freeze mode, the emotions appear to stop working, not because they are broken but because they are being tightly held in place. And while this might be an opportunity for the rational side to kick in and take charge of the situation, logic without emotion is not necessarily going to result in rational thinking, as evidenced by a client I will call John.

I just sat there when the doctor told me, and I guess I’m still just sitting still. I can hardly get out of the chair, to tell you the truth. I kind of decided to be philosophical about it. I don’t know much about this but I do know that statistically, the numbers are against me. I mean, what can I do when fate isn’t on my side?

John is using the defense that individuals in freeze mode often adopt, and giving himself up to fate. Unfortunately, this also means giving up.