Something New, Here & Now

Something New, Here & Now

Breaking Free of the Habitual

By Ann Weiser Cornell

November/December 2013

You’re sitting with a client, fighting your own feelings of frustration and boredom as she tells you the same sad story that you heard last week and the week before. She’s explaining to you, again, what’s wrong with her and why she can’t change. You long to be able to help her, but nothing that you say seems to get through. You start wondering if someone else could do a better job. You even wonder if you should refer her to a physician for medication, which shows you’re really starting to get desperate. In the end, all you want is to see her eyes light up, her shoulders lift, her breath deepen, as she finally “gets it” and makes important connections, sees her life in a new way, feels fresh hope. These are the moments we live for as clinicians.

Of course, we know that not every session needs to bring that kind of dramatic change. Some clients just need to sit with difficult feelings without much seeming to change from week to week, and yet their sessions still feel productive. We appreciate their willingness to remain engaged in their own inner exploration, however difficult it may be, and we can tell they appreciate our willingness to hang in there with them. Even if we can’t foresee the outcome, we trust that eventually they’ll work through their trauma, or gain confidence, or learn whatever it is they need to learn through the safety and empowerment of their alliance with us.

But then we have sessions that feel like we’re slogging along with lead weights…

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1 Comment

Sunday, February 2, 2014 11:41:19 AM | posted by Micheline Barker
It flowed well I felt as if I was in the therapy room
Inspiring and helpful.