Catching your own therapeutic fish

Do you ever get a slight feeling of apprehension when you open your blog-reader and see what’s waiting to be read that morning? For me it’s a bit like going down to the post-box first thing in the morning, taking out the newspaper and scanning the headlines. I know that most of the world probably wakes up to either the radio or the TV but my first contact with the outside world beyond my street is the morning newspaper. After the political upheavals of the past week I am a bit apprehensive of further shocks.

But it’s also quite a relief to turn to the blog-world and read some well-observed and thoughtful descriptions. I’ve been thinking about that quote from C.S. Lewis that Dick Jones posted here and it reminds me of Buddhism and living in the moment. Just observing and describing first without rushing to judge and categorise and label what it is I’m observing. Easier said than done of course and then it makes me wonder about novelists and whether writing is a way of practising living in the moment. You need to describe in detail what your characters are seeing and thinking and feeling. I’m not sure that I could do that.

And then it makes me reflect about psychotherapy as well, and how difficult it is often to stay in the moment with my clients. They’re anxious and I’m anxious and both of us rush to fill in the gaps with solutions, with a neatly worked-out answer to the things that are troubling them. I’m not suggesting sitting back and letting them be overwhelmed but I think I should tolerate the uncertainty more. Not jump in with interpretations and observations. It’s difficult work and the client population here is very mixed. Very often what it most required and helpful is active intervention. They need someone to do their thinking for them and so I oblige. But then I kick myself afterwards. Wasn’t there a way that I could have got them to do the work instead of me? There’s a sense that I need to let them catch their own therapeutic fish.

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2 Responses to Catching your own therapeutic fish

  1. Litlove says:

    I used to think with teaching that I leapt in too quickly sometimes to keep the students comforted in the learning process. Now I figure the solution is to comfort them initially, let them know they’re held and then offer lots of time and space. That seems to reduce both of our anxieties. But I’ll bet you find your own process that works exactly right for you. The fact you’re thinking about it must mean it’s on the way.

  2. couchtrip says:

    Litlove – very true. I think that sometimes I do that without realising that I’m doing it. Comforting and providing the space for them to work it out for themselves seems exactly right. How very like a mother!

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