Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fantasy impromptu #5: The tenth session

What is going on in therapy at the eighth or tenth session? The first half-dozen, for me, will seem new and psychoeducational and investigative and cathartic, maybe abreactive. If the client is still attending after a dozen or so, the process is often diluted or dead, and conversation (that I would like to think, in my diluted fantasy, is therapeutic) reigns. There will, it is true, be the occasional client who always has the engine working beneath the surface, so the conversation has the hidden meaning or the unspoken glance even when it’s breezy, eventful or humorous. For him or her, there is always the possibility for slipping into the deep chasm of healing fire.

The goal, of course, will always be to be on target, meaningful. But it’s very hard to hold your breath too long, to keep yourself under water too long, to stay in the lonely devastation of childhood memory and feeling (or to find yourself frustratingly unable to reach them).

At eighth or tenth session, what is happening? And, what could happen to make the longer stretch powerful, life-changing? I picture the client’s face, now. I might say, “Let’s stop, and see where you want to go.” She might say, “I want to go where we are,” and things would continue. But if I say, “We are just floating in an escapist place,” the question comes up again. But questions may be for me: Is there anywhere else for this client to go? She has abreacted about her years of incest; has touched, squeezed, shaken that ripped, bloody nerve in her mother’s face. Now she is justified, stronger, though still hollow. Is there reason to keep talking about whatever, because something “magical” might happen? There is no way to answer that except where “no” is very obvious. You’ll know this career intellectualizer when you see him. Or, the person whose tears just recycle at the surface, because to go below there is to be the baby in the crib, the shell-less egg. And as she still is the baby, it would be too hard to face it.

And so we go on, or we stop. I give some clients my email because I know that as life goes on, pain goes on and I’d like them to think they always have someone to give them the theme of visibility, of being seen and known throughout the years. Most of them, though, it seems, would rather go it alone, without a seer at the ready. That probably feels healthier: If there’s not a seer there, they must not need one.

1 comment:

  1. They have managed to become their own seer???? That is, they can be the parent they never had, to themselves??? And this has to be good enough. At least they (we?) have become functional, individuated, to a degree.


Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.