I went to my ‘bio-session’ last Saturday. I think it was helpful but it’s hard to describe.
It was in a different location from Ron’s office, in a therapy school in an older Victorian building. The room was in the basement. It was very rec room like – fake wood paneling, grey wall-to-wall, mats piled up in a corner, and old sofa and chair at one end. It felt like a trip back to the sixties actually, complete with old wooden tennis rackets with peeling varnish and little pictures of tennis greats painted on. I remember those from my childhood.
It was much less talky than a regular session. Ron asked how I was feeling, where the feeling was located in my body, and we tended to follow that. I was asked to try different ways of expressing or helping myself feel better. I told Ron I was very anxious being in this new situation, as I wasn’t sure what was expected. As well, the openness of the space, with us seated in one corner on the couch and chair, was disconcerting.
At first, I didn’t want to try anything, sure nothing would work for me. For the anxiety, which was like a need to leave, I actually walked to the exit and made as if to leave. Sure, that feels fine, I tell Ron, returning.
The anxiety seemed like I felt like I was falling apart, because there seemed to be no boundaries. So advised by Ron, I experimented with moving to the couch and feeling the boundary of the couch at my back. Also piling some cushions in my lap for ballast. And this surprisingly did help me feel calmer and more at ease. Later in the session, we also brought over some folding screens to create another boundary around the sitting area, and that helped also.
A goal was to try and work with what was coming up in a way that would help, but didn’t just suppress the feelings.
One thing that really suited me was the emphasis on feelings and the body without talking a lot about what it all means. Not that Ron discouraged my talking, but as he didn’t encourage it, or rather focused more on moving around and responding to feelings, I ended up following his lead. It’s good for me because it means parts can get equal say. If I’m telling a lot of adult type stories, parts can be totally suppressed, and that feels bad to me later. By going with feelings, anyone’s feelings were valid, and no one had more right to time than anyone else.
After my anxiety had subsided, I started to feel black depression and some anger, so I walked around the space, looking for what I might do. Of course, I tried the wooden dowels, which I could smack against a large mat, and the tennis racket, which I liked the best. It felt fine smashing the mat with the racket and making various sounds.
At first, I was smashing against the black depression, but as that seemed like I was hitting myself, Ron said to picture hitting whatever was causing the depression, and that felt a lot better. I felt clear and strong, bashing the tennis racket. Ron said my family was intrusive with their constant judgements, and that felt possible.
Of course, being me, everything turns painful and sad. To this point, I’d really been noticing that I can work with what comes up, instead of having it overwhelm me. But now with expressing anger, up comes a huge amount of pain. I lose all my energy for hitting and go back to the couch and lie down. I feel so bad, and try to tell Ron about it, but I can’t really explain – I don’t have a story. We discuss that anger is attached to a whole lot of other emotions that come along with it.
That was about the end of the long session.
One thing I noticed, Ron looked tired and sad. I asked him if it was hard for him to work on the weekend, and he said no, and I left it at that. He’s a good therapist when he’s sad – he focused on me the entire time, and didn’t go off on any lectures or any kind.
The day after this was hard – I slept a lot, and stayed in bed for some of the day. But it wasn’t that kind of pain where parts weren’t heard from and the adult took over, which is worse for me. It may have been helpful to go through – how do I know?
One thing was really noticeable for me – I walked to Starbucks, and I noticed I was completely unafraid of people. Usually I have some low level fear of random strangers’ judgements about me, which I’m so used to I don’t even notice. But that day, even though I was awash in sadness, I couldn’t care less what anyone thought. Kind of interesting. I don’t think this has lasted, but it was very surprising at the time.