I don’t know about you, but seeing clients again after Thanksgiving has ratcheted up my anxiety to about an 8. I have this fantasy, at the beginning of a break, that after time off of work I’ll come into session so much more rested, and more able to slow down and really tune in to what is happening with each person. What ends up happening is that come Tuesday morning, I can swan dive into all my doubt and dread about if I will be helpful for a couple, and get slowly crushed by the overwhelming idea of changing a marriage instead of focusing on the present moment process of EFT.
Something that is helping me ground today is the idea to watch the pace of the session. When I get anxious, my system goes FAST. When I want to fix and change things, my system goes even faster. Because I’m really verbal in anxiety, I can start to spout a fountain of words in these moments. I will be running the couple through their cycle so quickly that I’m totally losing attunement with them.
Perhaps your system does the opposite. Maybe when anxiety hits you, you freeze up, and worry you won’t be able to find any words at all. You scream at yourself in your brain to say something, anything! while the couple is devolving into their cycle in the room.
My offering to you and me today is: can we just be curious about what we do and feel in these deeply uncomfortable spaces? What do we believe in these moments? About ourselves and our couples?
My mantra for today is: I am going to go slow and be curious, and take time to really check in with how each client is doing, even when I get afraid we won’t even get to an enactment: “I’m concerned I’m losing attunement with you, can I slow down here and understand what’s happening with each of you?”
For someone who’s anxiety causes more of a freeze, a mantra could be: I am going to use my freeze to observe what’s happening for my couple, and when my brain regulates a little, I can share that reflection: “Wow, that cycle flare up even put me in a little freeze moment. And as I was observing just now, I noticed something I want to check out with you.”
If you are in the same anxiety boat with me today, I am sending you compassion, and you are not alone. And if you are not in this boat, and you are able to feel grounded and confident going into session, I also send you positive energy, and the aspiration that one day I also will feel that more frequently.
I’m headed out to Nashville this week for the George Faller training on Highly Escalated Couples. Are any of you also going? Let me know so I can say hi! I’m very excited to share with you what I learn from the training!