Posted by: Marie | August 19, 2011

(580) In search of hope – Part 6 of 6

Post #580
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, February 2, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


After a while, I heard Edward’s voice. I wanted to open my eyes, but I couldn’t. I was having trouble making sense of his words so I started to fight to come back to the present. I started worrying about how much time I had lost – and if I was running over my allotted session time. I wanted to know how much time we had left so I could know if I should try to return to the session or if I could float for a few more minutes.

Even though I couldn’t get my eyes open, I did finally get my voice to work . . .


Me: I don’t know what time it is.

Edward: Would you feel more secure if you knew?

Me: Yes.

Edward: It is 11:05am. We have about 10 more minutes.

Me: Thank you.

Edward: You’re welcome.

(With that, I knew I needed to start working my way back – but that I didn’t need to hurry so much. I could return in a gentle manner. And, actually, I was able to return fairly easily and quickly. Within a minute or so, I had my eyes open and was re-establishing eye contact with Edward.)

Edward: How are you doing?

Photo by Martin Chen

Me: I’m okay.

Edward: Your asking about time leads me to think you may have lost time today . . . is that the case?

Me: Maybe not. If I did, it wasn’t much – maybe a few minutes.

Today’s session was kind of rough . . . I was fighting to not leave for most of the session.

Edward: Were you able to stay?

Me: For most of the session . . . when I did leave, it was only for a short time – and then it was fairly easy to return . . . I’m getting better at returning.

Edward: Good! I’m glad to hear the returning is getting easier. And, congratulations on being able to stick around more, even though the desire to leave was very strong. That is a huge step in a healing direction!

Me: Thank you.

(We sat silently for a few moments . . . he watched me intently.)

Me: Okay, here is something that is difficult for me . . . this sitting here like this.

Edward: Sitting here like what?

Me: Sitting here, doing nothing.

Edward: What would you like to do?

Me: I don’t know . . . I don’t know what next step should be. I just know I don’t like sitting here, doing nothing, wasting precious session time.

Edward: Do you think it is your responsibility to know what to do next?

Me: I don’t think it is always my responsibility. Sometimes I know what to do and sometimes I don’t. When I don’t, I’d like to think that you do know.

Edward: As the therapist, it is my responsibility to figure out what comes next. I like to check in with you first to see what is on your mind – and things that are heavily on your mind are my first priority. But then, the next priority is moving forward in the areas in which you are most ready for healing.

Me: I agree it is appropriate to first work with whatever comes up organically. But, once that has been done, we need to move onto something else – and I haven’t gotten the sense that you have anything in particular planned for when we are ready to move on.

Edward: You are right – I usually don’t have anything in particular planned. I tend to go with whatever you bring up or whatever seems most fitting in the moment.

Me: Sometimes I do have specific things I want to cover – but, often I don’t. That’s when it seems I’m obligated to think up stuff on the spur of the moment – like you are waiting for me to come up with something.

Edward: You don’t have an obligation to come up with topics – that is my job.

Me: So, would you be willing to proactively propose the agenda instead of waiting for me to always bring up topics? I would like for you to lead and for me to go wherever you take us – can you do that?

Edward: Absolutely! I’d be happy to! Let’s plan for that in the next session.

Me: Okay – that brings a sense of relief for me. Thank you!

Edward: You are very welcome!

We are coming down to the last few minutes of our session . . . how are you feeling about heading back into the world?

Me: Actually, I’m feeling relatively okay right now. Today’s session doesn’t feel like it hit me as hard as last session did – at least, I feel okay right now.

Edward: I know you mentioned in your email that you were having a hard time after the last session . . . can you tell me more about that?

Me: I had a very hard sleeping – a hard time going to sleep, a hard staying asleep, a hard time waking up . . . I was having flashbacks and terrible dreams . . . I was very emotionally fragile for several days, almost to the point of not being able to function.

Edward: I didn’t know things were that difficult for you. I am so sorry our session triggered you that strongly.

Me: It’s okay . . . I mean, I gotta go through this . . . it’s not going to be pretty, no matter how we tackle it. I just have to deal with it and move on. It’s not your fault . . .

Edward: I would have preferred that you had called me. When that happens, I really want to know about it at the time it is happening.

Me: It’s not bad enough that I need an emergency session . . . I’m not going to die . . . I’ve been dealing with this stuff all of my life . . . I know how to survive it. I mean . . . really, what can you do about it? I’ve just got to deal with it – you can’t do that for me – it’s something I have to do.

Edward: I can’t sit here now and tell you what I could or would do to help if you called, but we could figure it out together. I care about how you are doing on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes even just some encouraging words can be helpful.

I really want you to call when that happens. Or, at least send an email. I’m not comfortable with the idea of not knowing until two weeks later.

Me: Well, we’ll see . . . I don’t like bothering you if I don’t have to.

Edward: It’s not a bother . . . I want to know what is happening with you between sessions – good or bad.

Me: Thank you for saying that . . . it’s just hard for me to do something like that.

Edward: I know that is hard for you. Nevertheless, it is acceptable for you to reach out for help when you’re having a tough time – I want you to.

Me: Thanks . . .


And that brought us to the end of the session.

I’m not so sure about the idea of calling him between sessions . . . it is hard for me to imagine someone would actually enjoy that interruption. Surely he can’t afford the time it would take to talk with all of his clients between sessions . . . I find it hard to believe it wouldn’t be a bother to him.

I guess I’ll have to chew on that one for a while.


  1. It isn’t an interruption to his job Marie – it is his job.

    And it would be helpful for you too is my guess.

    That was quite a session. I hope it lead to positive things for you.

    • Hey, Evan –

      You’re hitting on something else I struggle with . . . feeling that I’m worth people’s time and energy . . . I’ve spent my life trying to take up the least amount of space and oxygen possible to avoid being punished and rejected and abandoned . . . I keep hoping that if I’m not much of a pain, people might let me stick around.

      I think this was such a powerful session for me because we hit on so many core issues.

      Thank you for your support!

      – Maire

  2. This was an amazing series of posts. I am very impressed by the fact that you and Edward were able to work through, in session, the fact that he had triggered you. That is incredibly important. I too hope that good things continued to come from this amazing work you did.

    • Thank you, David, for the encouraging words . . .

      Whenever I’m in the middle of working through sticky issues with Edward, I hear your words ringing in my head:

      “It is amazing how reasonable solutions can be found when addressing situations with reason people.” (Or something like that)

      I’m still amazed by that concept!

      – Marie

  3. Ha! That does sound like something I would say. :-) And it’s true…yet so very hard to believe. It’s something I’ve found again and again in my business, when I deliberately stopped working with irrational or abusive people…in the past year, I’ve had several transactions that presented problems so completely overwhelming and massive that nobody in my office, and nobody at my brokerage, had seen them before…including a client dropping dead in the middle of a transaction. Amazingly, all of the transactions closed…because everyone, despite the stress and confusion, was solution-focused…even the dead person (well, her heir, actually). For those of us whose emotional protections were formed in danger and chaos, the idea that not everyone is cruel and crazy…it seems like some kind of a joke, doesn’t it? I’m so glad you are getting to find out in this wonderful way that there are people who can meet you on your own level of ethics, integrity, and honesty…and who want to create a safe space of mutual understanding.

    • And, David, I’m also learning that not everyone in the world considers me an annoyance . . . that some people actually enjoy my company! Again . . . a whole new concept that becomes possible by choosing different people to be in my world!

      I’m glad that you, too, are creating a gentler world for yourself!

      – Marie

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