Hitting the right note


I’ve started writing notes for my therapist between sessions. The idea is to put to paper what I am feeling and experiencing in the moment before it loses its shape and strength. Tonight, I’ll place these notes in an envelope, ready to hand over in my session with DS (Deep Soul) tomorrow evening.

It feels risky to try this out. The notes are revealing in the sense that I share pieces of my mind and heart. Yes, I also share myself in the weekly therapy session but that feels a teensy bit safer somehow. By the time the session comes around, I’ve had time to process and can choose what to share. Normally, we can only really touch on one or two things in that hour. The notes may just be a nifty way for him to know me more intimately, for the benefit of the work we do together.

They offer fresher and more raw insight into who I am. They read like conversations. To myself and to him. It feels so natural to write instead of speak. I think too much when I speak. Writing is a direct path to the less conscious elements at play.

Writing what is wrong…

Perhaps this is a sign that I am starting to trust him more.

I feel a bit safer after he clarified something last week which had left me quite hurt in the therapy room last year.

At the time, I had brought him a beautiful piece of classical music to listen to, thinking it would offer a relaxing few minutes after what I guessed was a busy Monday for him. I was ready to play the tune on my cellphone. The music really spoke to me. The female voices, soprano and alto, seemed to weave in and out of each other, creating a tapestry of heart-aching sadness and loss. At the same time, the melodies were so beautiful, you couldn’t help but feel you had been touched by something bigger than yourself. While I wanted the music to be an escape for DS, it was also extremely personal. I felt like I was handing over a piece of my soul for him to examine. I was ready to answer his questions about the piece after playing it.

Needless to say, the session did not go at all how I had intended. He seemed quite taken aback and abrupt. He wanted to know why I had brought the music. I explained it was for him. Obviously, it was not just a gift but something I was planning to use as a springboard for a topic I wanted to discuss in our session. He did not want to listen to the song before speaking and I immediately felt prickly and hurt. Why was he being so mean? Why was he rejecting the song, i.e. ME?! We battled back and forth for a few minutes and he asked what the song was about. I said it would be easier to explain if we just listened to the DAMN song. In beautiful therapist style, he asked: “And what would it mean to you if I just listened to the –dramatic pause– DAMN song?” Ha.

I swear some therapists sing their interpretations in the mirror…

I was so offended by this stage that I said I did not feel like playing the song or talking about it anymore. Very mature, I know. But my shame buttons had been slammed and I wanted to escape how small I felt in the moment. I honestly wanted to shrink into one of the crevices in his soft couch and disappear. The moment never really resolved itself.

Last week, I showed DS a magazine article featuring someone I had spoken to him about. He looked at it for a while and we had a good laugh. Out of the blue, I told him that I had wanted to bring him photos of my husband and perhaps a few others, so he would be able to put faces to the names he heard so often.

I was scared to do this after the song incident though, I explained. He seemed genuinely surprised and curious as to why I was scared. Feeling a lot calmer, I said I felt like he had rejected me at the time. His words were soothing salve to the wound:

“I’ve noticed a pattern, in your dreams and in the sessions, where you always seem to give of yourself, even when it’s not expected or appropriate in the moment,” he said. “You brought the song for me and I didn’t want to get drawn into this pattern.”

It made a lot of sense and definitely took the spotlight off me as a person. He was simply avoiding reinforcing a potentially unhelpful pattern. I don’t know why he didn’t just say this at the time. I mean really! ๐Ÿ™‚

So here we go DS. Let’s see how this note thing goes. I am doing it for me. DAMN. Just writing that down sounds selfish. But I’m willing to sit with this guilty feeling so he’s aware that this is more for me than for him.

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7 thoughts on “Hitting the right note

  1. Paul Mahlum says:

    I have really enjoyed reading this. Isn’t it incredible how powerful single moments of therapy can be, even years later.

    • Jay says:

      So glad Paul, thanks! I can honestly say the same for your writing. Have to agree that I’m constantly surprised by those unexpected moments of healing and insight in therapy ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the visit.

  2. Wow! What a powerful post.

    โ€œIโ€™ve noticed a pattern, in your dreams and in the sessions, where you always seem to give of yourself, even when itโ€™s not expected or appropriate in the moment,โ€ he said. โ€œYou brought the song for me and I didnโ€™t want to get drawn into this pattern.โ€

    I commend DS for being open enough to share this observation with you at a time when you seemed really open to hearing it. That sounds like a vital piece the true art of therapy to me.

    • Jay says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment here Amanda. Your support and insight is always appreciated and makes my heart warm ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have to agree that I really respected DS for being open with me about this. I think therapists have a difficult time balancing the need to provide a safe space to vent and the need to challenge and teach you things about yourself.


  3. I think DS handles the situation very well and refusing to be drawn into your patterns is indeed commendable. He needs to retain a professional distance but also appease you… And make sure you are getting what you signed up for out of the therapy experience. Tricky, and rather well-played.

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