Posted by: Marie | September 17, 2010

(403) First steps in a new direction – Part 2 of 2

Post #403
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, March 30, 2010 – continued from previous post]

His making such a direct inquiry into such a sensitive topic caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting him to go that far in the first session, I figured we would build up to it.

But, at the same time, I felt a huge sense of relief . . . it let me know that, here, with Edward, I will not have to fight for the space to tell my story – the space already exists, starting from day one.

I struggled for a few moments to know where to begin. The story is so complex.

Photo by Martin Chen

As I rolled the story around in my brain, I started experiencing very strong emotions . . . anger, shame, disgust . . . they became so strong that I found myself moving out of my body and out the window into the tree branches of the big elm trees situated just beyond the yard of the old house.

How thoughtful of Edward to have lots of big, sunny windows for me to go through. Dr. Barb’s office had windows, but they were always covered, the blinds drawn tight. Mark’s office had no windows. I always felt like I needed to keep my blanket nearby so I could have a place to go.

But, with the windows, my soul is free to leave the room and float outside for a few minutes. I guess I won’t be needing my blanket here.

I heard Edward’s comforting voice tell me that I could take all the time I needed, that I didn’t need to say anything with my voice, if I didn’t want to, because my tears were already telling him the story.

I grabbed onto his voice and started working my way back into the room. I did want to use my voice today to start telling my story. I want to talk about it. I want to cry about it. My body aches to let it go.

I told him about the church I grew up in . . . how cloistered from the secular world we all were. I told him a bit about the openly exhibited parts of my relationship with “X” . . . how he called me his girlfriend and I told everyone I was going to marry him, how he let me sit on the piano bench with him as he practiced for choir.

I talked about how I’m not 100% sure “X” did anything untoward to me because I only have disjointed flashes of memory – and I have unexplained physical reactions to current events and I have the shameful movies that have been running in my mind since I was very little . . . and I have the fact that pain, violence and rape are shamefully intertwined with sexual arousal for me. I told him about my dream of the male dog raping the female dog and how I think it is a representation of what happened with “X”.

He asked me to tell him more about the shameful movies . . .

Talking about the shameful movies would mean getting into how I have used (and still do sometimes) violent pornography for masturbation.

I’ve written about it on my blog and I mentioned it to Mark. But, I’ve never really talked about it in detail to anyone.

I want to go there . . . I know talking about it in detail would release most (all?) of the power it currently holds over me. I want to talk about it.

But, not yet. I need to get to know – and trust – Edward a bit more before I can go there with him. I just shook my head in response to his inquiry. He understood and backed off.

I guess he was seeing how far I could go, finding the point at which I would start resisting, seeing how far along in my healing journey I had already traveled before arriving in his office.

As we were wrapping up, I found myself taking deep breaths and saying, “Okay, okay, okay.” Edward called attention to the fact that, when I do that, I’m pushing down my emotions as a way to “pull myself together” enough to operate in the “real world”. I can see that . . . and, it is interesting how hard I push downward on those emotions to keep them in place . . . it takes lots of effort.

He noted that I had gone quite a way today in telling my story. He asked if I felt okay with going that far – I did. He told me that, if something came up for me in subsequent days that made it not okay, he wants me to call him.

We set up the next two appointments . . . April 14th and May 12th. We have agreed to meet every three weeks, but I have jury duty in three weeks from now, so my schedule is iffy for that week. Our workaround is to have a session in two weeks and the next one four weeks after that.

Assuming this session is representative of future sessions, I am excited about the progress that will surely come through our work together.

There was no battling between us, just an effortless release of pressure for me. He didn’t talk much; he just asked questions and listened.

Coming out of this session, I’m finding there isn’t much for me to “figure out” for next session – my mind is calm. Contrast that to what I’ve become used to . . . which is a scramble to make sense of what happened so I can construct a battle plan for next session.

It’s rather like being in a windstorm and leaning hard into the wind, straining to stay upright – then the wind suddenly dies off and you almost fall over. I feel a bit toppled over today . . . but in a very satisfying way.

I can feel that my body is backing off the fighting stance and is relaxing. I don’t feel in danger of being squashed. I already feel safer with Edward than I have felt with Mark in a very long time.

I don’t know how he does it, but he recreated and held the same intensity and focus I felt in the last five minutes of the interview. It feels so good to me.

I am used to dragging my therapist (both Dr. Barb and Mark), kicking and screaming behind me, towards the direction I want to go. Today, my therapist was in front of me, creating space for me to proceed as quickly as I was able to proceed.

It was like we were rock climbing . . . he is the instructor, light-footed, sure-footed, leading the way . . . and I am the student coming behind him, moving as quickly as I am able. This new dynamic feels very strange to me . . . but, I like it! He moved faster than I could . . . he didn’t pressure me to move faster than I could, he just kept the space open three steps in front of me so nothing would be in my way when I was able to move forward.

Most importantly, he was leading me in the direction I wanted to go. What a concept!

He legitimized my desire to go in that direction . . . . he confirmed that where I want to go and the path I feel I need to travel are valid.

You know what . . ?? I think my broken picker wasn’t so broken this time. I think I chose well when I picked this gentle spirited man.


  1. Today, my therapist was in front of me, creating space for me to proceed as quickly as I was able to proceed.

    This is, IMO, the ideal way for the therapist/client relationship to work. Holding space. Being ahead on the path. Having a map with several different possible roads to one positive destination.

    • I so agree with you, David . . . and it sounds so simple! I guess it isn’t . . . I imagine it takes much maturity, experience, education, etc.

      – Marie

  2. That was quite a session. If you keep up that quality of work I think you will get remarkable places.

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Evan!

  3. Awesome, amazing session. This guy sounds very with it, and since you are with it as well and willing to work so hard, I agree with Evan that you are destined to get a long way with this therapy.

    At the same time, don’t be surprised if/when he disappoints you at times. Therapists and guides are just people and even the great ones have their rough spots. Just a little tiny point because its so easy to idealize someone who is being that helpful and powerful in your life. Ultimately YOU did that work.

    • Hey, Aaron –

      I was blown away by how simple and [easy?] he made it all seem. I understand I’m the one doing the work, but it makes my work so much easier when I’m not having to do battle with the therapist on top of having to do battle with my own demons!

      – Marie

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