Posted by: Marie | October 25, 2012

(734) Managing emotions – Part 2 of 5

Post #734
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 about a conversation between my therapist and me – continued from previous post]


Me: So . . . I have a new student that I think is going to be really cool – an adult male . . . he’s had one lesson. We met at the studio for his initial evaluation and he then stayed for his first lesson that same day.

Edward: Oh! What do you think is cool about him?

Me: Well, foremost, he is a clinical psychiatrist.

Edward: Oh, really!?!

Me: Yeah . . .

He has always wanted to learn to play the piano – he’s played the guitar some. But, he has always been hesitant about signing up for piano lessons because of something that happened to him as a kid . . .

In elementary school, the music teacher played a single note on the piano and asked Jeff – his name is Jeff, by the way – if the note was high or low on the keyboard. Looking back, Jeff thinks the teacher played a note near the middle of the keyboard – maybe even Middle C. At any rate, the note sounded to Jeff like it was mid-range, so he responded that he didn’t know if the note was high or low.

The teacher told him he didn’t have an ear for music and never would – that he shouldn’t even try to be a musician. Jeff said that experience had impacted him significantly and painfully – because he wasn’t sure if the note really was mid-range (meaning the teacher asked a question with bad form) or if he really didn’t have the ability to hear the difference between low and high notes.

However, in Jeff’s first lesson – with me, I mean – I noticed that he has a really strong natural sense of rhythm and melody. He plays quite a bit by ear . . . he can pick out melodies as well as chords, all by ear. And his playing seems to come from deep inside him . . . not from a cerebral place. I get the sense that creating music would come very naturally and easily for him.

Edward: Did you tell him that?

Me: I did . . . I’m not sure he is convinced, but I am . . .

He is a really laid-back guy . . . a few years younger than me . . . I would have never guessed that he was a doctor. I mean . . . he’s really smart and socially adept, but he’s not pretentious. That’s what I mean.

Photo by Martin Chen

He didn’t mention his profession for quite a while . . . at one point in the conversation, I mentioned to him that I kept getting the sense of a strong “energy” around his voice and heart – as in his emotional heart, not so much his physical heart . . . although they both are seated in the chest . . .

I told him that people with energy centered in their chest and throat often have – at least in my experience – a strong natural connection with and an ability around music.

Edward: That’s an interesting observation to make about someone . . .

Me: It is something I learned in a class I took about where people carry their creative energy in their bodies . . . I think Jeff has some strong “sage” energy . . . sages carry their creative energy in those areas . . . I’m a sage . . .

He also has very strong “artisan” energy, like you . . . he thinks outside the box and has a very unique way of doing things. I’m not sure which of those energies is his primary energy – he seems to be more of a sage in his physical presentation while he’s more of an artisan in his intellectual presentation.

Anyway . . . when I mentioned that it seems to me he carries strong energy around his heart and voice, he said that it might be related to what he does for a living . . . and that’s when he mentioned that he is a psychiatrist. He said it almost “off the cuff” . . . it seems it doesn’t make up the majority of his identity. And I like that about him – it makes him seem more accessible.

Edward: Would you like for him to accessible to you . . . to some degree?

Me: Sure . . . he seems to be emotionally mature, at least from what I know about him so far. At a minimum, it is clear to me that he is emotionally self-aware. I think it would be beneficial to me to have a relationship with him – as in, a relationship that is mostly professional with a side of personal.

He’s married . . . and it seems happily so . . . I believe he would maintain strong and “safe” boundaries . . . I think it would give me one more healthy and supportive relationship with a man. He has a gentle manner about him . . . and playful. I think I can be playful with him . . . it would be helpful for me if we can create a space in which I can be playful.

And, he wouldn’t be freaked out by anything I might tell him about my history . . . at least, I don’t think he would be. I’m sure he’s heard it all before.

Edward: I imagine he has!

Me: I shared the highlights of my story with him . . .

Edward: What highlights did you share with him?

Me: I told him that I had been molested by the music director of our church . . . and that the director used music – and the piano – as a way to groom me. And, I told him about the physical abuse from my parents.

I told him that I am still in the process of healing from all that, but that some good things have come out of those experiences . . . those experiences have helped me be a better teacher.

Edward: How did he respond to that?

Me: He was compassionate . . . he listened carefully . . . spoke supportive words . . . I felt really comfortable telling him.

Oh . . . and . . . here’s something rather humorous . . . when he told me about the mean music teacher, the story hurt my heart . . . so, I put my hand on my heart and said, “Ouch!” . . . I pulled an Edward!

Edward: What an appropriate response!

Me: Thank you . . .

The humorous part is . . . I guess I was shrinking the shrink!

Edward: (Laughing a bit) Well, great job of shrinking the shrink!

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


  1. I’d like to know more about where people carry their creative energies in their bodies.

    Could you say more or do you have a link?

    • Hey, Evan –

      I touched on this a bit when I was interviewing therapists . . . that is what the links in my post (above) go to . . . I’ll email you a document though. It is some pretty cool stuff . . .

      – Marie

      • Thanks!

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