Therapy Second Half

E. After the session, I had some of those choking flashbacks. Not too bad, but annoying. When my ex husband and I used to fight, and i would get angry, that would happen to me. I’d feel all these choking feelings, and it would shut me down entirely.

R. So they’re choking like how?

E. Like I always get. D reminded me a bit of my ex. He was hostile. Not to me though. My ex would rant and rave at me for maybe an hour or more at a time. So between D reminding me of that, and my feelings about you…..I ended up pretty angry, and with the body memories thrown in.

Ron looks at me.

R. I’d like to hear more about why you were angry with me.

He always wants to know that, or have me go into it more.

E. I told you why. I just told you.

I feel I’m not keeping anything back.

R. You told me a bit of it. You told me the table of contents…..

E. (smiling) You mean I need to click on the link to get to the actual contents?

Ron smiles back.

I consider the anger, and consider the hurt I felt after the group.

E. I don’t know anything more about the anger.

E. I actually feel entirely alone here.

R. You don’t feel I’m on your side?

E. Usually I feel like you’re on my side, but now, I don’t feel that. I feel like I’m by myself.

R. Ellen, what if you look at me. Look.

I’ve been looking around his office, but now I look at Ron’s face. I do feel absolutely and entirely alone with everything, and it’s a hurtful feeling to have. I gaze at Ron’s eyes, and he looks back entirely steadily. I don’t know how he does that. It’s like his whole self is there behind his eyes. We look at each other for I don’t know how long….If it was a minute maybe, or half. It was long for me.

R. Do you feel alone now?

E. No…..(I peer at his face again.) No, you do seem to be there.

R. I can’t even begin to understand what you are going through unless I feel with you….I have to be here with you.

I feel incredibly touched. All of a sudden, I do feel that Ron is here with me and I feel connected again. I’ve stopped believing all the fearful thoughts of him judging me and not caring. It’s as if he throws his whole being into this, into the breach as it were. It’s amazing. He can’t possibly do this 30 times a week.

Now I feel I want to talk to him.

E. (getting tearful) You know, those body memories are back.
I can feel them pressing in on me right then, and it feels bad.

E. (whining) Why did they come back? They were gone for about a month, now they’re back? I’m always trying to push them down, and it’s exhausting.

R. What are they like?

E. The same as always – choking and stuff. I wrote to you about it on Sunday, because I didn’t want to be entirely alone with it. I don’t have anyone else to tell. I tell my friend I can’t meet her for a movie…because I’m tired. Stupid. I’m not tired.

Ron nods.

R. What happens? What about going into the memory here with me. It’s coming up anyway.

E. Yeah, I can do that. It’s right there.

So I focus inwards, and feel the choking, and to into it a bit. I don’t fall into it though.

Now I’m having this odd internal experience, as if I’m seeing a scene from a long way off, but I can’t make out the details.

E. It seems like it’s in the apartment in Germany….my dad is there……

E. I can’t seem to call it up more than this. This is how it comes up. I get a kind of top layer, but I don’t actually remember it.

E. My father can’t have done this stuff. He can’t. A small apartment, three kids – how could he?

I am getting confused. Ron says nothing. I can’t call up any more of the memory.

E. The memory is in a part. That part is not wanting to talk right now, she’s scared. It’s like the voice that talked to you two sessions ago.

R. Had I ever talked to that voice before?

I shake my head.

E. That’s a voice I hear a fair amount. She always says the same phrases. I don’t know what they mean.

R. What about asking that part questions?

E. (not wanting to do this at all) I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. Look I’ll try now.

I ask some questions. It makes me angry.

E. So I don’t know. I don’t like doing this. I don’t like being like a crazy person, with voices that I don’t know what they’re talking about! I don’t like it.

We sit. I’ve piled two of Ron’s cushions in my lap, somewhere in the session. I add the fur blanket on top and clutch the whole pile for comfort.

E. So how much time do we have? Almost time to go.

R. We still have a few minutes. And you don’t need to cut it to the very second….

E. (smiling that he wants me to stay) OK, I’ll stay.

The kid has just shown up, drawn by the feeling of being wanted, however briefly.

I feel peaceful just sitting there, figuring Ron wants me to stay. I look around his office.

E. You have a nice office…small, but nice.

R. Thanks

E. (dreamily) What do you do on ….days? (Ron has one day where he doesn’t see clients – I’ve often wondered what he does on that day).

R. I have a peer support group I go to. And I go to a ‘type of psycho group’ …(I want to be sure no one can recognize Ron from my description, unlikely as that would be, so I’m not saying the exact thing he said).

E. Huh, interesting.

R. Would you like to go to one?

What an odd comment.

E. I don’t feel well, I can’t talk to you….

The kid couldn’t answer this, and the adult couldn’t talk.

E. (cheerfully) Well, time to go.

I get my coat.

E. Thank you.

Ron looks at me as I go out the door, and our eyes meet again. It’s like he’s being extra sure he is paying attention maybe. Or he’s being sure I’m present and not dissociated. Anyway, we never usually look at each other when I leave, it’s different. I’m also paying attention that I’m here and not dissociated. Yep, present and accounted for.

R. Take care

I feel cared for and soothed after this session. There are also disturbing feelings from the bit of the memory we touched I guess, so I can’t function well the rest of the day. But I also feel connected again to Ron and as if I was seen, and that’s a good way to feel. Less like I’m floating around in space on my own.

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11 comments
  1. di345 said:

    Ellen,I liked hearing about that session. You write so clearly I can feel Ron's presence. He seems like a very good therapist and I think it is good that you can feel connected to him by looking at him. I'm sorry that you struggle with body memories and disturbing feelings but I'm glad you have Ron to support you. hugs,di

  2. Here listening dear one….Glad you felt ministered to by Ron and felt cared for and important. Safe hugs.

  3. Ellen said:

    @ di – Glad you got something out of it. I do wonder if I need to put all the details or whether I should just focus on the parts that strike me the most, as most other bloggers seem to do. But I'm doing this for now. Eye contact is an issue for me. It is a way of feeling connected….People seem to say such different things with their eyes. Thanks for commenting and hugs to you also@ JBR – I never thought of this as being ministered to – it's an interesting description. thx and hugs

  4. Candycan said:

    Ellen, don't change your style of blogging. I love the details and I love reading your posts. I'm always pleased when I see that you've posted another blog entry and in my opinion, the longer the better.How can you stand to look Ron in the eyes for that length of time? Doesn't it make you feel intimidated? It sounds like it makes you feel good. I wish I could do that. I can't tolerate eye contact with anyone for more than a second or two. The only time I can comfortably look my T in the eye is when she's talking and even then it's only for a few seconds at a time. What Ron said about feeling here with you made me wonder if my T struggles because I don't make eye contact. Anyway, too much 'me' in this comment!It sounds like a useful session even though you touched on some serious issues in it with Ron. I bet you will feel more connected to Ron during the week now? It's so important isn't it?

  5. Thanks for this Ellen. And I really need to say that I think the blogging is for you, so do/write what works for you. But I do appreciate your openness and insight. I think you're doing amazing work.

  6. gniz said:

    Hey Ellen,Interesting about the eye contact. My "mentor" Steve worked with me by sitting across from one another and looking directly into one another's eyes. We would sit and relax and breathe and talk, usually while maintaining eye contact.Since making that a part of my practice, I find that I can tell a lot about a person by watching if they will meet my eyes, and whether they smile and have a sort of positive, optimistic energy to them. It's not like politicians who try to fake that warmth and put on a facade. When someone is truly being themselves and being open and vulnerable and looking me in the eyes, I can see that they are just being themselves.And when I am tense and fearful, I shut down and withdraw and can't look at other people around me. So I think this is also a positive step to become more engaged in eye contact, to learn how to open up through that practice, and to continue to become more fully yourself.

  7. Ellen said:

    @ candycan – Well, I'm so please you enjoy my style and posts. Sometimes I think I'm self-indulgent…but why criticize. thanks :-)I know what you mean about struggling with eye contact as I am the same. Now I think back, it was probably more like 15 – 20 seconds. It was enjoyable, though I saw a little more than I was really comfortable seeing, as Ron seemed to have a lot of sadness. But contact is inherently enjoyable I think, when it's not disrupted by fear etc. I think you'd find the same. I think it's your therapists job, if she finds connecting with you difficult for any reason, to explore that with you. It's not you. Oh and i like hearing your story. I do feel more connected and it does make a difference! take care

  8. Ellen said:

    @ NWNMG – Thanks! Good reminder. take care@ gniz – That's really interesting. I always think of meditation as strictly and interior type of practice, so the eye contact idea is new to me in connection with it. I am going to keep paying attention to this….it's like a new dimension in interacting with others. thanks for sharing your experience

  9. gniz said:

    Hi Ellen, Yes, I think people are somewhat misinformed about what meditation can be. I think it's about interacting with the world around me and relaxing with that experience…whether I am alone or with others, that is what I try and do. When I can remember to try and do it, that is!

  10. Harriet said:

    It sounds like a very intense session, but so connected. Ron is very special.

  11. Ellen said:

    @ gniz – huh, did not know that. Relax with outside world – not what I naturally do! thanks@ Harriet – Yeah, Ron is a sweetheart. That's my opinion today anyhow. 🙂 take care

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