May 21, 2010

Adventures in psychotherapy

Today two interesting things happened.

1. I was invited for another interview at UCSF (for a different job than the first interview). This is tremendously good news. The interview is Monday. Enough said.

2. I had my first psychotherapy appointment with Dr. J, and she was lovely. Her office was warm and inviting, with a big cushy couch and throw pillows and blankets and windows filled with sunlight.

I always find the first therapy appointment to be a little awkward, because a) you're meeting a stranger for the purpose of telling him/her the most intimate details of your life and thoughts and behaviors, and b) I never know how to begin. Do I start with the junk in my mind today? Do I immediately go way back to the beginning with, "So I was born..." or Do I offer a simple, "I'm fucked in the head. Please help?" I try to be up front about this uncertainty by admitting my discomfort to the therapist. Dr. J. was lovely and guided me by starting with simple and then increasingly deeper questions.

What is it about telling my story that makes me ball like a baby immediately? I mean, I've told it before. I'm years removed from these events. I'm in a safe place in the middle of the day. But I gush like a dam burst in me.

Dr. J. is more spiritual than what I'm used to, and I have to work actively to keep an open mind. I mean, I'm here for the purpose of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which sounds kooky enough as it is--so I might as well go with the flow. We didn't start any EMDR today, as she said we needed to get to know each other and develop some trust between us first. That makes sense. We spent some time having me connect with different parts of my body mentally and physically, and feeling my "soul space." (I know how it sounds, but I'm willing to try.) I realized from this experience that I'm incredibly out of touch with my body and my mind is way too analytical. I need to relax and loosen up more. I could use some help with that in so many ways.

Whether it was the crying or the compassionate ear or the soul space, I felt relaxed and much more peaceful when I left.

My homework assignments are these:

1. Practice hugging myself. Literally.

2. Rub my chest to take the positive energy out of my heart and then rub my bellybutton to transfer it to the source of my sadness.

3. Brace my hands against the back of my head and feel the force of my inner strength to survive anything I encounter.

4. Do a few sweet things for myself, such as rubbing luxurious cream on my body.

Stop laughing.

No comments: