Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Okay, that was weird.

Therapy.

Ah, therapy.

Okay, it was weird.

See, usually, I talk to my wise friends (some of whom are actual therapists) when I have a problem. We might gab on the phone, grab lunch, or just plain hang out and chew the fat.

Therapy is not that. At all.

People have stated cynically that therapy is "paid friendship," but again, it's not that. At all.

Therapy is therapy. The word "therapy" means "treatment." You establish a professional relationship (i.e., somebody's paying, and it's not the silent person nodding a lot) and within this synthetic relationship, you work on how you have relationships with other people (interpersonal), or how you have a relationship with yourself (intrapersonal), and the problems therein.

When you're done, you terminate the relationship. Services rendered, thank you, good bye, and good luck.

So anyway, it was weird. Paying somebody to talk about myself and my problems made me squirm. I'm usually the listener. However, this is how talk therapy (in part) works. Client talks. Therapist listens.

It's a novel experience, to have time devoted to my issues. No friendly "so enough about me, what's going on in your life?" It feels selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic but you know what? I don't go to a doctor and stop the exam to see if her pulse is normal. I've never interrupted a massage to say, "Your hands must be tired, here, let me." I'm paying for a service.

I am so paying for a service that I keep an eagle eye on the clock. I spoke efficiently and didn't ramble as is my natural tendency. As we approached the end of our 50 minutes, I even proclaimed that our time was almost up.

"That's my job," said my therapist. (Great, now she knows I'm a control freak. Not that it wasn't obvious the minute I walked through the door. She has a GORGEOUS office, by the way, decorated like Indiana Jones. Mm! I could live there. See what I mean about rambling?)

Oh, yeah. I'm not on duty right now. I don't have to be the one to hold boundaries (I'm terrible with time-keeping in class role plays where I'm the therapist, so I guess I brought that concern with me into the office).

After the session, I felt unexpectedly raw and vulnerable. I thought I'd go in, chat about some challenges I'm facing, and be off.

It really is weird, telling a stranger your secrets. What a weird invention, this therapy thing.

Which isn't to say I'm not enjoying myself so far.

Invite Beauty,

I.
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