Learning about therapy has been pretty challenging as I sit with my client/patient (depending on what your particular discipline calls her). On one level I am remaining attentive, listening to the content of what she is saying. On another level, I am listening to the themes which arise and linking patterns for future reference. Then my eye must keep attentive to time (note to self - suggest wall clocks for MH centre at LH! Serruptitious watch glances take too much effort!). Then I am also trying to weigh responses to what I say - was that a disjunction or an elaboration? How can I stop and talk about that - bring attention to the intersubjectivity?
At this stage, my brain is overloaded and amidst it all I'm trying to behave naturally and comfortably. Thankfully, the person I sit with and practice all these skills with is also someone who has allowed me to know her and her life intimately. For 4 years we have sat weekly and talked together about life's struggles, stresses and surprising strengths. What we have is friendship and understanding - they lie within a strict frame and boundary - we do not interract outside our weekly sessions, we are not buddies.
The mind is an amazing instrument. So precise and able to multi-task in a complex way. Personal, individual, trainable and focussed. Open to the vagaries of relationship, with marvellous plasticity. Sometimes the language is complex but the reality is simple.
People are made for relationship, made in the image of a complex and relational god. Made to listen and to be together, to grow together and to move through life, hopefully maturing and strengthening. We both learn and grow in this 'therapy' and I hope I begin to get my 'intersubjectivity antennae' working.