Random therapy things and thoughts:
(Please do share if you have similar or unique insights of your own)
A long, brown strand of hair. I spot it lying neatly on the couch as I sit down. I feel indignant. Why is this other “woman” intruding on my therapy hour? What right does she have to assert her position in a space where I am the focus, at least for a little while? I brush it onto the floor. She probably brushed her fingers through her hair in despair just 15 minutes earlier, wondering why she felt so alone, so unnoticed. My heart softens and for the few seconds before my therapist sits down, I send a mental note to this absolute stranger…
Dear fellow client. You are not invisible. You made an impact on me and I don’t even know you. You’re probably more beautiful and powerful than you think. Own that. Regards. Me.
My therapist looks at me from his seat with quiet curiosity. I open my mouth and tales of loneliness and powerlessness flow out of me.
A small wooden pedestal stands next to my therapist’s chair. It holds his glass of water or cup of coffee, tissues and a small pile of books which have no doubt been extracted from the bookshelf behind us. I cannot help but look at what books he’s been reading to prepare for our session. I am such a bookworm and I love psychology books…especially if it’s linked to my life in some way. Of course, the danger of this little game is that I may think a book is for me when it was for another client and hasn’t yet been returned to its niche. After taking an interest in the books and sometimes saying their titles out loud, he’s started facing the spines of the books the other way. Are the tools in the toolkit supposed to be kept hidden? It infuriates my curiosity. But nothing is impossible and I sometimes still manage to get a peek of the top book.
My therapist is technologically advanced (thank goodness) and uses an iPad and stylus to write notes in our session. I often wonder what his handwriting looks like. Is it messy and indecipherable like a doctor’s? Or are his letters small and neat, thoughtful, like him? Does he write things verbatim or does he use abbreviations he concocted and perfected? Does he draw?
I also wonder what electronic confidentiality system he uses to describe his clients’ files. Are we simply known by our initials? Or does he have nicknames inspired by our looks (Goldilocks?!), after characters in books (Scarlett O’Hara) or well-known public figures (Einstein or Lincoln anyone)?
It comforts me to see my therapist take care of himself by eating healthily. I know this because I am his last session in the evening and I often see what’s been left in his dustbin when I throw my tissues away. The wicker basket bin is right next to the couch and I can normally lean over from where I am sitting to put stuff in. I didn’t really click at first that the items in the bin were left by him. But I’ve noticed a common trend. I think he likes to buy healthy filled sandwiches from a fancy chain store because the brown wrapping and labels are always the same. Sometimes he also has a pack of nuts (maybe to prepare for those of us who are nuts?).
In one of our sessions, I noticed a big pot plant with a shiny red ribbon on a table in one corner of the room. If you’ve been seeing your therapist for a while, you’ll know that decor and items in the room rarely change- it’s supposed to be their way of creating a predictable, safe and comfortable place for you to return to. I was perplexed but immediately thought it had to have been a gift from a client. Then I wondered why he might have been given the gift… was it his birthday? Had someone been touched by his kindness and care? Or was it perhaps a parting gift for someone terminating a special and long-term therapeutic relationship? I didn’t want to ask because I felt like it might place him in a position where he would have to disclose more than he wanted to. So I sat with my curiosity instead. After two sessions, it was moved to the communal sink in the waiting room.
The washing up liquid that the therapists in the practice use at the communal sink is hilarious. It’s called “sensitive washing liquid”. Obviously I know it’s for sensitive skin. But I told my therapist that it was quite fitting that sensitive therapists use sensitive liquid.