Posted by: Marie | February 10, 2011

(512) Drama welcome here

Post #512
[Private journal entry written on Friday, October 1, 2010]

In the two days since my last therapy session with Edward, I have been feeling giddy . . . alive . . . almost buzzed. I keep wondering about this feeling . . . what is it?

I have come to the conclusion that this is what it feels like when I am really seen and heard by another human being. Maybe this is what intimacy feels like.

I so appreciate that there is zero judgment with Edward. He doesn’t try to talk me into thinking or feeling a different way. He doesn’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t feel and think. He simply creates space for me to do whatever I believe I need to do. And, I’m able to do things I never dreamed I could do in the presence of another human.

That is awesome.

I keep thinking back to my sessions with Mark and the many times I planned out in great detail how I would act out my feelings . . . how dramatically I would demonstrate the overwhelming sense of I pain I feel. In my planning, I always had to figure a way I could act out without being overly dramatic . . .

Photo by Martin Chen

I wasn’t getting Mark’s attention . . . he was in the room with me, but he was focused on his own ego and drama and not on me and my experiences. So, I always felt like I was trying to get him to pay attention to me. I was hoping I could get his attention with a little bit of drama . . . just enough to get him to notice and understand my pain. But, not so much drama that it would seem I was looking for attention just for the sake of having attention.

Mark blocked off any areas of his office that might be used for dramatic expression – I could do it only if I followed his restrictive rules. I knew my dramatic expression would be severely judged by him.

Creating a plan that stayed within those tight parameters was next to impossible . . . I was never able to actually implement a plan like that; I just stayed frozen. There was always too much terror of what Mark might think of me if I acted out in a dramatic way.

With Edward, I don’t have to create intricate plans for being dramatic. He creates a space where it is perfectly acceptable for me to act out in the way I feel like acting out in that moment. He has made it very clear that drama is actually appreciated. He is trying to draw the drama out of my frozen body and into the open space. He offered up extra furniture and pillows in an effort to extend even more hospitality towards my dramatic expression. I don’t need to use the drama to get his attention; instead, I’m free to use the drama for my own healing.

What a concept.

It has been my history to glass over and pretend that nothing is amiss when I get triggered. But, in Edward’s office, I’m not glassing over – I’m staying with my experience and feeling it – verbalizing it and physically expressing it

Being in the corner of Edward’s office, hiding under the blanket, was a very effective way for me to demonstrate the severity of the pain. That was the first time in my life I have ever been given the space to demonstrate the pain and to have another human bear witness to the physicality of that pain. That was a huge gift to me.


Edward has occasionally called attention to my tendency to always push to be accomplishing things because I feel I’m “bad” if I’m not accomplishing. Whenever he has said something along those lines, my reactive thought has been, “But, am I supposed to sit and do nothing on purpose just to prove that I’m not attached to accomplishing?” That seems like a silly solution to me – it would just be doing nothing as a way to do “nothing” the “right” way.

So, maybe the better answer is to examine my reasons for staying focused and busy. I believe I stay busy and focused and goal-oriented because I’m doing what I want to do, not because it proves anything about myself. I have things I want to learn and skills I want to master – I enjoy learning.

And sometimes I feel like doing nothing. In those moments, I usually can give myself permission to do nothing because I feel I have worked hard enough to earn the right to do that. I think this is what Edward is trying to call my attention too – that maybe I don’t need to require myself to “earn” downtime. Maybe I can learn to see downtime as something I do because it provides a joyful opportunity for me to become aware of the now. That way, I can appeal to my need to always be productive and still give myself downtime.

However, the point with which I don’t agree with Edward is that session time is the time/place for downtime. It seems to me that is a good place for productivity. Edward seems to want me to give myself downtime during the therapy session. I don’t agree with him – or, maybe I don’t understand his point.


I was visiting Evan’s blog this week and found a link to a very interesting post on Harriet Welch’s blog. In her post, An Email to Dr. Riggenbach, Harriet expresses her great concern about the arrogant attitude demonstrated by mental health professionals in an advertisement for a seminar. It is a bit shocking to read.


It was my intent to turn in my resignation to the bus barn today. I was planning on October 29th being my last day. However, I have a persistent sense of terror in my gut when I think about doing that. For whatever reason, my gut is telling me not to turn in my resignation today – not yet.

It could be a matter of fear around walking away from a regular paycheck. But, I think it is more than that. Usually, when a “bad feeling” is this strong in my gut, it usually is my intuition talking – and my intuition is always right.

Even though my financial and time management calculations tell me it is time to resign, I have decided to follow my instinct and wait. I will wait until my gut says it is okay.


  1. It’s good to hear that you are following your gut.

    Re down time in therapy sessions. I’ve been playing with the idea of writing a post called Change Squared – and I think you have given the prod I need. My idea is that sometimes we need to not only change but also change the way we change. Thus the perfectionist needs to not do therapy perfectly.

    My fantasy of Edward is that he wants you to not be so driven – even though there are many benefits to learning and so on. That there needs to be change too in the way that you work to achieve the change (by working hard). This is just my guess and I could be entirely (this has happened before). I’ll be interested to see if this issue develops in future sessions.

    • Ah, Evan . . . I think you have hit the nail on the head!

      Yes, I do try to do therapy and healing perfectly. Now that I think about it, that is probably what Edward is trying to address. Thanks for helping me see!

      I look forward to reading your post on this matter!

      – Marie

  2. My T talked to me this week about my desire to do therapy “better”. I always say to myself “I’ll do better in therapy next week” and I told him this. He has always said that I set very high expectations for myself, too high actually. And so I never meet them and I’m always failing. It’s a hard thing to get over.

    Thank you for noticing my blog post about the seminar. I had a whole session with my T devoted to this, and I want to believe that most T’s are not like Dr. Riggenbach.

    • Yes, Harriet, I do the same thing . . . my performance “today” is never good enough. I keep hoping I’ll feel better or have more energy or not be so depressed tomorrow or next week, because then I’ll magically do what I wasn’t able to do today.

      You’re welcome for the link!

      – Marie

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