Psycho-Babble Psychology | about psychological treatments | Framed
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Posted by twinleaf on November 9, 2007, at 3:56:15

I am awake, when I should be asleep- but it is out of happiness! People who have known me here will probably remember that I have had a pretty severe depression since my mother died, and that I had four years of psychoanalysis (lying on the couch most of the time) which ended horribly when my analyst suddenly kicked me out of his office.

I eventually struggled into another analyst's office, and although I was very wary at first- and really terrified of another rejection- the new analyst has been wonderful. I have seen him for eight months, twice a week, face-to-face, and I feel SO much better. I'm not depressed any more, and find that my self-confidence, and social confidence, are much, much better.

I'm really wondering what on earth has happened to make this particular encounter so helpful. I keep coming back to the feeling that there is something extremely good about the match between me and him. He keeps very strict boundaries- much more so than the previous analyst- so there is no social aspect to our meetings at all. If I should mention that it was cold out, or that the traffic was bad, I wouldn't hear a word. He describes himself as "bearing witness", and as being there for "moments of meeting" in our feelings.. He does this, not by saying much of anything, not by empathizing, but by listening intently and keeping his eyes fixed quite steadily on my face and eyes most of the time. He looks at me more than I look at him, but I am always "checking in" every few moments to observe his expression. His expressions vary a lot- sometimes they are thoughtful, sometimes humorous- although the most common one seems to be a tender, attentive expression- the one a mother might have when her infant is not feeling well. At first, I found this silent intensity rather terrifying, but, gradually, that fear has dropped away. In it's place is a quiet, growing intimacy. Sometimes I mention that- I still need to say everything that comes to mind, as that's standard for analysts!-the most he will do then is nod, or perhaps say, "I feel that, too".

The immense power these non-verbal communications have makes me think a lot about how important getting a "good match" with a therapist really is. I thought I was a good match with the previous analyst, but it was more of a verbal good match- that is, when it was good. That relationship didn't seem to have the potential to really cause good changes the way this one does. I almost feel that much of this therapy could be conducted in silence, and by attending to one anothers' emotional expressions- it would probably come out well even if we dispensed with words altogether! Well, perhaps not really, but almost.

Many times, here on babble, people talk about the importance of a good emotional fit. I think the people writing about this are ones who have actually found it- often after several tries. It can be so hard, when you are in the middle of therapy, to wonder whether you have it. But, painful though that is, I think it is so worthwhile to search until we have found the right therapist for us. It's worth the pain and uncertainty of making a change, and of interviewing several, or more than several, therapists. I found that part- struggling through a number of initial interviews- all the while telling your story and simultaneously trying to gauge whether the therapist you are speaking to is right for you- close to unbearable. But it led, somehow, to the wonderful one I have now. I would wish this for everyone!




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Psycho-Babble Psychology | Framed

poster:twinleaf thread:794051