Posted by: Marie | February 14, 2011

(515) Strange but not uncomfortable

Post #515
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, October 14, 2010]

Every Wednesday evening, I go to the home of my little autistic student, Matt. They now live about 20 minutes away from me, so it is a bit of a drive. When I arrived last night, his mom was really struggling to keep her emotions in check. She and I have become close friends over the last year+, so of course I felt comfortable asking her what was going on.

Photo by Martin Chen

As soon as she tried to tell me, a flood of tears broke loose and she started unloading all the stress she has been experiencing lately. Among other concerns was a big concern for the long-term welfare of her son – she was worried that he was never going to be a productive member of society, that once she is unable to care for him, he would end up locked in a mental institution, rotting away for years and years.

I couldn’t really say much to help her – I can’t assure her something like that won’t happen – so, all I could do was wrap my arms around her and hold her tight while she sobbed. We stayed like that for maybe 3-4 minutes until it felt like she was “done” being held.

It was a strange experience for me – but, not uncomfortable. In fact, it felt good. I think that is progress.


I don’t know what the deal is, but I am finding myself fretting about the stability of my relationship with Edward. WTF? Why now?

I keep having moments of intense panic when I worry I’m not doing enough to preserve our relationship – that I’m not being a “good enough” client. I logically know that is not a valid concern . . . Edward keeps reminding me that it is okay for me to relax and not push so hard. I know he thinks I’m doing enough.

Grrrrr . . . I guess I gotta just keep reminding myself that things are okay. Maybe if I tell myself that enough times it will become believable to me.

Anyway, I sent him a status report yesterday in preparation for our session next Wednesday:

Hi, Edward –

So . . . I don’t have much of a status report . . . I’ve been keeping busy, being productive and creative and having fun. I even bought a Halloween costume to wear in the Chamber of Commerce’s downtown trick-or-treat event and I’m getting excited about dressing up for the kids — I haven’t felt light enough and playful enough in my spirit to do that for about 20 years!

I’ve had a couple of emotionally connected moments with the mothers of my students this week and am finding it more comfortable to stay in that space. One of my special needs kid’s mother had a meltdown due to learning her son has been going backward in developmental progress. I just wrapped my arms around her and held her close for 3-4 minutes until I felt her body relax. I don’t think I’ve ever done something like that before. That’s cool! I’m sure it is a direct result of our (you and me) work together because I’m starting to believe I have permission to be emotionally available.

About our session next week . . . I really don’t have a preference on where we go next week. I’d like to just wait and see what you have to suggest and/or see what unfolds organically. We have lots of options.

I look forward to seeing you in a week! I trust your week will be a great one!

– Marie

He quickly responded with:

Dear Marie,

I’m delighted to read about the emergence of your playfulness and your emotional connectedness.

I look forward to our next meeting and its organic unfolding.



  1. It’s great that you are able to comfort your student’s mother. You seem like such a kind, gentle person from what I read on your blog, I’m sure you are a very comforting presence to people. I also wanted to tell you that reading your blog has helped me in my therapy immensely. I was never able to approach topics with my t, but reading how you walk into your sessions and say, “I’d like to continue our discussion from last week about xyz” and Edward is very validating and accepting about that gave me the courage to try it with my t. So last week I said, “I’d like to continue our discussion from a couple of weeks ago about growing up surrounded by illness” and my t was very accepting of that also. I told him that I got the idea and the courage from reading a blog – and that is your blog. I so admire you being able to take control of your therapy and lead the sessions and ask for what you want. I hope to get to that point one day. Thank you, Marie!

    • Wow, Harriet . . . I am very honored by your words!

      I did read in your blog how you said that to your T and I wondered . . . I’m glad you are finding encouragement from what you read here . . . that warms my heart!

      I have been enjoying reading about your journey . . . it sounds like you are doing some cool stuff with your new T! I’m happy for you!

      – Marie

  2. I think it is now because you went to a new vulnerable place in the last session and so that was scary for you.

    This is my guess about what was going on anyway.

    Which was a big step forward I think.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I bet you are right . . . because I’m used to men running away whenever I open up . . . so of course I expect the same with Edward.

      Thank you for the encouragement!

      – Marie

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