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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

my return to the couch

after a 4-year hiatus, i decided it may do a mind good to return to the therapist's chair. others rave about their therapists like they do their stylist. i had seen him on referral years ago from a dear friend who went to him for years. we chatted boys for about a year or so, then i met beau so we chatted work. i decided i needed a consultant, not a therapist, so i moved on. after hearing yet another woman rave about weekly therapy recently, i thought it may be worth another try and i could add him to my must-have wellness team (massage therapist, pedicurist, hair colorist). when last friday rolled around i was frustrated that i had to take the hour out of an already busy day to talk about how busy i was. ironic, eh?

it was comforting to see him - like seeing an old friend who knows all about you. i updated him on what had happened in the past 4 years - building out a new space, wrote a book, started a foundation, got a pug, the podcast and blog, taking two online courses, started tranquilista gems, grew TranquiliT, and opened the arlington studio. we were spinning. he asked why i did it all. seemed like a silly question but i went with it. "because i want to realize my full potential and it's fun!," i exclaimed. he said that no one can ever fully realize their full potential because there are so many things people want to do. i found that ludicrous but got his point. i told him that i did feel overwhelmed but also elated with my work.

he told me to decide what i want to be different or feel different. good question. still pondering that one. he asked what i was missing out on by doing what i do. another good question. the two things that came to mind were 1) travel - i feel fairly tied down and unable to disconnect; 2) money - i make half of what i could if i were still a paralegal. however, the benefits are HUGE: fun, creativity, great people, passion for all i do, variety, helping others, teaching, designing - i could go on and on.

the insightful piece that he left me with was that i know no limits of myself or others. this pushes my edges too far sometimes (taking on more that he thinks i should) and leaves me continually disappointed with others. ah, that whole management of expectations. that's a hard one!

in the spirit of svadyaya (self-study) and sharing, i hope this has somehow been insightful. it was for me. however, sometimes self-study isn't so fun, eh? i prefer yoga, fresh blackberry eating, or good book reading instead!

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Caren said...

Thanks for sharing and so much honesty... very humbling. Good for you for hitting the therapist's chair. Its part of the evolution of the self, and such a healthy "check in" practice.


Anonymous said...

I have been with the most fabulous therapist for more than five years and it is such a special and sacred relationship. A place to bring your worries, fears and concerns, your struggles, challenges, dreams. A person who asks good questions, pushes us to see what we put in the way of our own happiness. Detangling the past, articulating and challenging our own personal "laws" of our own universes that we have created and live by. Making choices to "do things differently" and having support and guidance in that. I adore adore adore therapy, and I am so happy you've found your way back. It is definitely a wonderful and essential part of a whole and healthy lifestyle, as important as a yoga practice or eating well.

I highly recommend a book called "This Changes Everything: The Relational Revolution in Psychology" by Christina Robb, it is a wonderfully readable history of the feminist movement in psychology and I think it might help get you thinking about some things. The idea that "connection" to others is the source of the "zest" of life (as oppposed to the older, patriarchal ideals of individualism and independence) is central to feminist psychology. Connection with others is the place where healing happens, where understanding is possible.

good luck on your journey! enjoy!

Pink Heels said...

Your blog entry made me stop and is my Carrie Bradshaw moment without the sex...When we eliminate money as an indicator of success, do we over compensate by putting too much on our plates to prove our worth?

There is so much that can be said to support and oppose the premise of that question. Personally, I am going to think about that one for a bit. Since I started Pink Heels and went from make lots of money to having an annual income of $0, I have been busier then ever with very little freedom or flexiblity for myself. Why is this? Is it simply because we are small business owners and it comes with the territory or are we really compensating for something else?

Hmmm...there is a lot to ponder here.

Anonymous said...

I highly recommend "This Changes Everything: The Relational Revolution in Psychology" by Christina Robb. Its great, a very readable history of the feminist movement in psychology and how it "changed everything". I think a very central notion is that connection with others is the source of the "zest" of life and the place where healing is possible. Check it out, I think you'd get a lot out of it.

Anonymous said...

I agree; thanks for being so honest and forth-coming. It's comforting to hear that other people have questions asked of them that stump them! Good luck in your new journey and keep us posted!

Embrace Grace said...

I really appreciate your openness. I've been looking sideways at going back to therapy too for the same reasons. I think a fresh perspective can help me focus on my manic do-good tendencies to make sure my motivations stay pure.

and? to recycle the questions you asked us from this weekend's rereat:

What is your biggest dream?
What is holding you back?

Namaste Beautiful Lady.

M said...

I didn't enjoy therapy the first time I tried it. I was in a major depression and it did help me get out of it, after that it sort of stagnated and I quit.

Now, a decade later, I have tried again, for new reasons, and find that the approach my new therapist uses, which is sort of cogn. beh. approach works so much better for me than the traditional open ended talk therapy, which never really gelled with me.

I think the key is to find the process that suits you, but in all, I think we can ALL benefit from therapy (as long as we're open to it and honest with ourselves and the therapist). Who is at a point where they don't have room to better themselves? All therapy does is help us to do that, improve, no matter what stage or state we are in.

Good for you, I say, for taking steps to do just that, and for sharing with others in case your experience helps to inspire or comfort them.