Posted by: Marie | June 24, 2010

(342) Session trois – Part 2 of 4

Post #342
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, February 4, 2010, documenting a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]

With regard to the mirror exercise, it sounds like you think I am malingering. Have you seen a history of malingering with me?

I have seen how you behave when you are locked-up – and what I was seeing during the mirror exercise didn’t match what I have seen other times. So, I find it hard to believe you were locked up. I find it more believable that you didn’t want the results of the exercise to indicate that you are not as damaged as you think you are, so you made up a story to explain why the results couldn’t be valid.

Thailand by Martin Chen

Do you think I’m lying to you about what emotions and bodily sensations I experienced during the exercise?

No, I don’t think you are lying. I can’t know what emotions and sensations you are experiencing – only you know. And, I believe that you would not lie about it – my experience of you is that you are a very honest person. Rather, I am questioning your understanding of the cause/effect relationship.

I’m telling you that I was feeling trapped and angry and panicked – and that I was feeling separated from my body – and that I don’t remember being touched as much as you were saying you touched me. Do you believe that part of what I am saying?

Yes, I do. But, I only touched you three times and you said you remember being touched all three times.

Okay . . . I thought you said you had touched me more that that. So, now I know that I was aware of all of the touching.

My point is this . . . I told you I had locked up, and you responded that you didn’t think I had locked up. You said you thought I was making it worse in my mind than it really had been just to invalidate the results of the exercise.

I never cared about the results of the exercise because I already knew you can sometimes touch me without me reacting. I only cared that you were aware that the mirror exercise had caused me to lock up – and that I was not feeling comfortable with the possibility you might ask me to do the mirror exercise again in the future.

But you didn’t say anything about being locked up until several minutes after the exercise – not until I told you that the results of the exercise show that you can be touched without having a meltdown. If you were locked up during the exercise, why didn’t you say anything?

I didn’t say anything because I was locked up. When I am in that “locked up” state, I am unable to give any indication that I am locked up and that I have left my body. I have trained myself to continue functioning fully in all other ways as a survival mechanism. It’s something I do on a regular basis.

Well, how am I supposed to know when you are locked up if you can’t tell me and if I can’t look at you and see any indications of it?

This is what I have been trying to get you to understand all along . . .

You probably won’t be able to determine when it is happening – but that is okay. I just need for you to believe me when I tell you afterward it that has happened, and then I need for you to help me process it. I don’t need for you to try to stop it – I want it to happen so I can better understand it.

Can I trust that you will believe me in the future when I tell you what emotions and body sensations I am having or have experienced? What I really need for you to do is to make sure that I know that you believe me when I tell you . . . and then, we can talk about the causes and effects behind it all. But, first, I need assurance that you believe what I am telling you about my emotions and body sensations. Can you do that?

Well, sure . . . what you feel is what you feel . . . I have no choice but to believe you about that!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. Hmm. I’ll be interested to see where this goes. At the moment it feels mixed.

    • Hey, Evan . . . I had the same sense at this point in the conversation . . . knowing Mark wasn’t going to suddenly turn into wonder-therapist, but debating if I was gaining enough insight from this conversation to justify scheduling a subsequent session.

      – Marie

  2. Waiting for more. Interesting …

    • Hi, tobeme –

      Thanks for stopping by!

      – Marie

  3. It does feel mixed, but I’m also pretty impressed with Mark’s willingness to engage, which is revealing a lot of his own countertransference and vulnerabilities. The fact that he explained the “don’t blame me” thing is quite remarkable … and an excellent example of why therapists need to be consciously aware of, and actively processing, countertransference at all times.

    • Hey, David –

      I was able to learn a lot from what Mark said . . . I could see that he was bringing in his own “stuff” into my therapy, which should not have been happening . . . but, within the context of an emotionally intimate relationship that is typical for me, it gave me a chance to see the other person’s viewpoint. I’m sure that, in the past, my behavior has caused other people to feel the same way.

      Thanks for your input!

      – Marie

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