Sunday, December 4, 2016

Experiment one: Solve the private practice feeling

I think it is time to get experimental with the blog.

What to do?

I noticed a long time ago that I am comfortable, confident and effective when I see clients at a day job, but feel edgy, maybe depressed, “on the spot” and sometimes plainly impotent when I am getting cash payment in private practice sessions. Clearly my problem has to do with the feeling that a client producing real money should get a substantive packet of success at each hour. This is odd not because it is wrong, but because I do generally feel that my hours of “insurance therapy” are each successful in their own right. Why is that confidence gone when a client has to cough up something beyond the $15 or $25 copay?

The problem, I see at first glance, is rooted in my “inner childhood” sense of magical feeling. Anything that smacks of schedule, obligation, even work is wrong in my vestigial infant’s psyche which never progressed ego-syntonically into reality world. Complete outer anarchy, whether beauty or disaster, and personal freedom from all necessity – though within the basic and near-invisible safety net of parents’ existence – were in sync with my free-floating womb-like sense of unencumbered life. Some examples: My same-age cousin and I (around age six to ten) made up the game “Sneak,” which consisted solely of furtively prowling around the house, hiding behind corners and convincing ourselves, delusion-like, that the adult folks didn’t notice us. I remember that somewhere in my early twenties I developed a kind of wisdom motto for myself – “I like pandemonium.” That is, the out-of-norm. Once in college, I was the pianist in a late-afternoon violin-piano concert. This was on-stage in the chapel, back of which was a room with a door to the outside. It must have been Spring and the door was propped open. Suddenly a gust of wind blew through, scattering the violin’s and piano’s scores across the stage. I remember feeling, during that brief escapade, giddily splendid and free. I was in my medium of safe nihilism and shambles where the clocks blew away and there was just playtime in the world.

I saw that a client hour already paid for, a work hour already salaried, evokes that childhood feeling of timelessness, things free, and heart without an adult’s decadent brow beating it – maybe womb paradise. A place just to talk, feel and be meaningful. How silly! But I guarantee you that most or nearly all of us adults are somewhat founded in a child- or infant-self like that. Is it useful to know that? Yes: to see the mysterious invisible in each impaired person, the root that connects beginning to middle to end of life.

So how was I in the office today?

I was much better with my private practice client. Feeling and figuring out the reason for my stuntedness dissolved it. It gave me back the sense of childlike – and proper, at least for this therapist – timelessness and goodness.

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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.