Saturday, June 17, 2017

Diary entry

I believe I haven’t had a new insight coming out of a client interaction in a long while. Most of my two-hundred-plus blog posts have reflected, each, a new idea or mystery for me. But the brain has faded, the posts have dwindled. I’m in a more conversational, mundane, clueless, even potboiler phase with most clients. There’ve been slight ruffles of interest. A young woman couldn’t understand why she’d have, when drinking, ugly thoughts about her father, when sober she knew her life was tv-perfect and he was as white knight as possible. I revealed, with my old flashlight, a series of clues that pointed inexorably to a troubled childhood (tattoos, sudden transition away from church to a druggie crowd in high school, the familys moral straitjacket of a gung-ho religion, a criminal goof-up, alcohol, briefly heroin-addicted brother, “good-natured” wrestling with siblings, absence of post-high school goal, enduring a few years of an abusive relationship), though they may exonerate her father for the crime on her mind. She hadnt seen any of these clues, but now it was she herself who excellently suggested the deep cause: lack of being a child, being “little mommy” taking care of the younger kids. Loss. I had never seen a client, in over twenty years of individual sessions, uncover this invisible and global loss of identity on her own.

Then there was the man in his sixties who presented with three problems: a bipolar diagnosis, and extreme psychotic episodes but which occurred only during traumas such as seeing a corpse or having a life-threatening illness. It was like a dormant schizophrenia, showing up once maybe every decade. After forty years of lithium, we pretty much ruled out bipolar, but then just faced the phenomenon of crazy-when-overwhelmed. My diagnosis was basically “it’s just one of those things”: A series of childhood traumas (coincidental, or gravitationally pulled by a toxically parented life) featuring horrific sensation and dissociative refuges made him susceptible, later, to weird collapses.

I have never wanted to be formulaic about my work. I’ve always wanted to reinvent the wheel of revelation and abyss-descending for each client. But I’m closer to seventy than sixty now, and maybe there’s a kind of burnout that just happened. Fortunately, there’s a part of me, a stubborn sliver, that is entirely unrealistic hope. I know it’s from my childhood when real and baseline despair was sabotaged by some unknown sense of positivity. It wasn’t a good birth: I was premature, incubated, never bonded with mother. Where did this stupid positivity come from? Whatever its nature, it insidiously finds its way into hope for those deep, rich moments with a new or old client. Fine! I’ll be working ’til I’m 92!

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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.