Therapy is an unparalleled situation between two people of unequal power which can produce considerable anxiety for the client. Over the years, I have become aware of many things that make me nervous of which my most excellent therapist is not aware – unless I tell her. We’ve discussed these things with much amusement and considerable insight into the unique world perceived by each and every client. Not all clients think in the same way, but chances are each long-term client has their own idiosyncratic way of responding to therapy, the therapist, the room, other clients, the interactions and nuances of other staff and the general therapeutic environment. A good-enough therapist will always respect and respond to her client’s whims and wishes as best she can.
1. Seeing your therapist in an untherapeutic space.
I always arrive half an hour early and park up the street, so I can chill out in the car and listen to the radio, read a book and think about what I need to say. Sometimes, my therapist arrives after me and parks up the street behind my car. On several occasions I have seen her in my rear-view mirror and I’ve slunk down in my seat with my sunglasses on till she’s past. To see her staring longingly into other people’s gardens or stumbling on the uneven pavement with a ham and salad roll in her hand is so out of context I break into a cold sweat and my heart starts thudding rapidly. On one memorable occasion she came out of her office, walked down the street and disappeared around the corner, ten minutes before my appointment time, which immediately put me in touch with my abandonment issues.
2. Therapists’ receptionists and waiting room.
My therapist has some lovely, caring staff in the office she shares with many other different health professionals. However, I’m very conscious of the fact that the same staff have been there for thirteen years, the same amount of time I have been coming to see her. So, after a year long break from therapy once, I got a comment from one of the receptionists, “Hi Sonia, haven’t …