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Re: the 50-minute hour...

Posted by Dinah on September 9, 2007, at 0:08:55

In reply to the 50-minute hour..., posted by twinleaf on September 8, 2007, at 22:17:26

We're supposed to be fifty minutes. But as I've long complained, he often starts later than he finishes.

I generally try to control the ending (big surprise). I used to watch the clock, but now I can generally sense where we are timewise in a session. I have my own internal map of where we should be. Ten minutes left? Winding down, calming down. Twenty minutes in? Good time to start an important topic.

And of course the pretherapy warmup. I either focus on my favorite dog's face imprinted on the inside of my eyelids, since she was obligingly black and white with a distinct face marking, or listen to my therapy playlist on my iPod. I relax, open myself up.

As I walk into the room, I try to sense his mood. Once he told me I looked like a puppy when I did that. He was probably right. Head tilt, practically scenting the air.

So twenty minutes catching up on the time since the last session, settling in, winding my way through afterthoughts from last session, etc., then twenty minutes of the meat of the session, then a ten minute cooldown.

I ought to set it to music.

If I don't, for whatever reason, bend down to my purse to take out his check and hand it to him, he picks up his sheet and signs his name. Like a well trained puppy that will usually prompt me to hand him my check. If he's shorting me on time and I care, I cross my arms and glare at him, he gets back to listening mode, sometimes with a statement that he wasn't indicating that the session was over, and we sit mostly in silence till I hand him the check.

If I try to hand him the check while I'm upset or angry, and he thinks I'm trying to control the outcome of the session rather than just the timing of the end, he'll just continue talking and ignore my outstretched hand. I'll wave the check a few times and he'll either taking it, admitting defeat, or refuse to notice it, at which point I generally admit defeat after having my hand hang there for a minute or so, and lower my check holding hand to my lap. Sometimes I'll beg him to end the session. In any case, he'll finish what he considers needs to be finished before I leave.

He does it well, and I don't think we've run over more than a handful of times in the thousand? or so times I've seen him.

We set the times for the next week as I hand him the check on Tuesday. I ask him if there's anything he needs to tell me at the beginning of each session (about future absences, etc.), and if I forget and he does have something to tell me, I guess he's well enough trained now that he tells me as I hand him the check. I often share a followup thought or small joke at this time. He rarely responds, and if he does, then briefly. My way of holding on? Sometimes I ask him if everything will be ok at the end of a session, and he says with great conviction that it will. He always tells me as he opens the door to call him if I need him. Sometimes he holds the door shut to make sure I know he really means it, if he thinks I'm in a fragile state of mind. If he forgets, I'll turn around and knock on his door or stop him as he goes down the hall and smile expectantly. He'll laugh and say it.

Have I ever said I think I tend to get into a rut?




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