Posted by: Marie | April 26, 2010

(299) Something I must do – Part 1 of 3

Post #299
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, January 5, 2010]

Two more days before my session with Mark . . .

Am I making the right choice by going back to him? Can I have a therapeutic relationship with him that helps me move forward on my healing journey?

I really like Mark and feel emotionally bonded with him – I feel that he really cares about me. That is very, very important to me.

Going Down by Martin Chen

I really need a safe, healthy, non-sexual, emotionally intimate relationship with a man in a therapeutic context that can help me learn how to relate deeply with other men – and with people in general.

For my own sanity, I need to come out of isolation and start connecting with my heart. I deeply crave such a relationship.

I am clear that there are big issues in our relationship . . . but, I think every therapeutic relationship has good points and bad points . . . I think this one is strong in the most critical areas . . . I really want to give it another chance.

Maybe one of the reasons I want to go back to Mark is because I’m not yet willing to give up on the hope that, despite all of my faults and shortcomings and scars, I am capable of navigating the twists and turns of a healthy, emotionally intimate relationship with a terribly flawed but generous and tremendously good-hearted man.

I believe the history we share creates a scenario that is well suited for dealing with my issues around personal space and touch. It is rare to find a therapist who triggers me in so many ways (because he is closed-minded, opinionated and controlling like my dad and like the people in my church – in fact, he is so much like my dad that it is scary), whom I trust physically, who has skill in psychological counseling, who is located nearby and who is affordable.

I recognize that the extensive triggering is not usually seen as an ideal characteristic of healthy therapeutic relationships . . . it is not the way therapy is “supposed to be”. However, I believe it is beneficial to me, at least in this narrow context. It is beneficial because I get more valuable (and hard to ferret) information in an hour with him, specifically because of the triggering and conflict, than I do in hours and hours of reading and writing on my own.

I really value how this relationship holds the possibility of healing in the area of physical touch – that is what I need most right now. I unequivocally trust him to maintain appropriate physical boundaries. I believe we can safely practice establishing and enforcing boundaries related to touch – an area in which I trust him explicitly. I can let down my guard in this area because I know I am physically safe with him.

He seems to have a good level of skill in reading body language and knowing how to trigger me. He has a very clear sense of the difference between sexual and non-sexual touch – and he is willing to push the boundaries on non-sexual touch – I know for 100% sure that he will never take it to a sexual touch.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. It’s interesting that you talk about “safe” and “emotionally intimate” in the same sentence. I understand this. I feel I have achieved this with my “new” therapist. But, it’s hard. There are lots of times of confusion about the emotional closeness. We work through it, though, because I know that is one of the reasons why I am healing.

    • Hey, Paul –

      I’m glad you mentioned your “confusion about the emotional closeness”. That is a biggy for me — I almost feel ashamed for wanting that. It is encouraging to me to hear that you are learning how to embrace it.

      Whew . . . tough stuff.

      – Marie

  2. I have been told it’s a valid need and that it’s perfectly okay. Just be sure to maintain proper boundaries.

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