Greyzone – A Very Fine Line Between Today And Tomorrow

In my most recent therapy session A and I had a conversation which went something like this:

A: “I think you have this idea that you can control which parts of you other people are allowed to see. But, then, there’s the unconscious communication.. which also plays a part.” Pause. Then, a gentle offer: “You can let go of that phantasy.”

Pause.

S: “That leaves me feeling…… exposed..”
A: “Good!” *smiles*

I think this may be my favourite moment in therapy thus far. Something in that exchange felt very honest, genuine. Made me think of Mearns & Cooper’s concept of relational depth.

Also it lead on to thinking about what letting go of that phantasy would mean, not only in my therapy, but on a wider level. That, if I am to embrace this idea that I’m not actually as in control of what other people can and can’t see as I’d like to believe, it also means that I’ll have to let go of the highly held notion that, as a child, I was sooo good an actress that there was no wayyy anyone could have understood what was really going on, that something was very very wrong, and ultimately leaving me with the conclusion that either people were genuinely blind, or they chose not to see. Neither of which is particularly nice to think of.

So, tonight I have the dubious pleasure of torturing myself with trying to figure out which option applies to whom.. Not great. Especially since A. is now off for two weeks, meaning that I’ll have to somehow find a way on my own, to not let these thoughts spin completely out of control.

Oh, I know – I’ve got a pretty busy schedule for these two weeks [indeed, all of September will be fairly manic] – and if I can only hold on until tomorrow morning I should, logically, be ok, having far too many other, more pressing, things to fill my pretty little brain with.

So.. bis morgen, meine lieben Freunde –
Tschüs!

xx

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Unconscious Communication

Anxiety levels soaring, I’m trying to control it the best way I know how; by reading. Thankfully a book arrived in the post on Friday, one which I have been waiting for for over a year. (Yes – over a year.. It was meant to be released in Jan 2009, but wasn’t until just recently).

Regular readers of this blog will already be aware of my love of books of all sorts, but in particular books on therapy and/or psychology related topics. The book I’m currently reading is Dr Karen Maroda‘s most recent offering; Psychodynamic Techniques. I’m about a third of the way through this book, and I have to say, I’m liking it. It should probably be noted that this volume is primarily aimed at neophyte therapists starting out, and touches on issues like the use of self-disclosure in the therapeutic relationship, therapeutic and non-therapeutic regression and how erotic feelings can either help or hinder the process.

Having previously read Dr Maroda’s books “The Power of Countertransference” and “Seduction, Surrender & Transformation” (see links to the right and previous blog entries) I notice that this book is written in the same ultra-accessible style, with many case studies to illustrate the theory in a real in treatment situation.

In my most recent session with A. she made the comment that (in contrast to other situations in my life) I seem to feel that in therapy I perceive her as being the one holding all the power. I responded that I don’t entirely agree with that statement, but that, although I choose what to talk about and what to withhold, I am not the only person in that room, and that just as she plays off me, so I play off her; that she brings something to each session through being who she is. I don’t think I managed to quite verbalise what I meant, but reading Maroda’s chapter on mutuality and collaboration in the therapeutic dyad, I found something that much better expresses what it was that I was trying to say: both therapist and client will inevitably repeat past patterns (within the therapeutic relationship), and so, even though the focus of treatment is (as it should be) on me and my progress, A. does have a certain directional power in the way she responds to me and how she either encourages or discourages me to delve deeper into certain areas. Naturally, this is not necessarily a conscious choice and often not expressed verbally, but it nonetheless plays a part in how the therapy develops. I suppose what I am trying to get at is that far beyond our conscious and surface choices our respective unconscious are also in some way connecting, communicating; in short are aware of what the other is experiencing in the situation. Naturally not in a psychic I-know-what-you’re-thinkings ort of way, but on a more subtle level of knowing when we’re hitting the mark and when we’re not.

Anyway, must end this here. Time to (hopefully) watch Canada trash USA in the men’s ice-hockey final.

All the very best and more,

xx

Additional comment: YEEEEEAAAAAAHHH! Go Canada, go!