"So much of therapy is a struggle for me, not just to say the words, but to find them in the first place. A lot of times, it’s easy to feel alone in that struggle - but in that moment, I knew I wasn't alone anymore."
My psychotherapist has a lot of words. Sometimes this is a source of frustration for me, especially if he uses a lot of them all at once in a fashion that means I have to work a little harder mentally or emotionally than I want to, or listen a little longer than my patience seems to allow for. Sometimes his words are hard to hear, sometimes I don't hear them at all.
At other times, his words cross the divide between us, find the words I'm not saying and say them for me. That can be close to a transcendent experience. The part of me which was too scared to express itself is not only seen, but spoken to. That which was nebulous and yet to be formed suddenly takes on new life, becoming real in a way it never could be when it remained unsaid. Recently I was struggling to put into words my feelings around a break. I was trying to say something, and failing, and then he said it for me.
“You'll miss me,” he said. “And I'll miss you too.”
I felt like an alchemist, who having spent decades trying to turn lead into gold, had just watched the atom being split. How did he say the thing? He said it just with his words, so simply and so easily! He said the words, and in saying them, he found me.
A lot of time in therapy is spent stumbling around in the dark, bumping into painful things while my therapist sits there being so together and emotionally advanced that I feel the emotional equivalent of how a caveman who just daubed his palm with paint and mushed it against a wall and figured that was art would feel if he were to wander into the Sistine Chapel.
I have felt totally inadequate and wrong, and as if I have no right to feel any kind of connection to my therapist because really, who am I but a frequently annoying client who makes even the simple things hard. I feel as though missing him is wrong, because what right do I have to miss him?
At some point in life, I learned that I didn't really have a right to have feelings toward others, especially warm ones. I learned that people didn't like me and that I was bad and I may as well embrace the role of a useful nuisance because that was more or less all I was good for.
But with those precious few words, he not only acknowledged and welcomed my missing of him, but returned the sentiment. He expressed a connection between us that mattered to both of us. I would never have dared to presume such a thing on my own. I have always felt as though everyone was probably fairly glad to be rid of me, especially my therapist who sees a lot of the bad stuff that I've managed to suppress with most people. His saying not only that he'd miss me, but that I'd miss him too, was a gift. Anyone would be pleased and warmed by the sentiment those words expressed, but to me the greater act was his having said it at all. So much of therapy is a struggle for me, not just to say the words, but to find them in the first place. A lot of times, it’s easy to feel alone in that struggle - but in that moment, I knew I wasn't alone anymore.
These pieces of writing are by an anonymous client of Lucid Psychotherapy and Counselling. They reflect this persons experience of being a client in therapy; their struggles, their growth and their reflections. Everyone has a unique experience of therapy, however there tend to be some similarities between our experiences as clients - somethings we can all relate to. Hopefully these pieces of writing will inspire you to reflect on how you experience your life (and therapy, if you're a client), and provide you with some encouragement with whatever challenges you are facing in your life.