I had a dream last night that Adam Arkin was my supervisor and told me very clearly, “You are too aggressive in session and I hate the way you ask questions.”
This dream was so vivid, you guys. I woke up with my heart pounding. And it hit on the two areas I’ve been feeling insecure about.
I have really noticed how I can ramp up my own volume and pacing around certain triggering moments in session. This would be the “too aggressive” part. I’ve noticed that when I have a couple who appears to be in crisis, and have a frantic energy about them, and also start throwing out defeated jabs in session, I will ramp up and try to control what’s happening. On my best, best, best day, I can hold and validate. But sometimes I’ll have 10 sessions with a couple and that’s all I’m doing with the pursuer, and they’re sucking up 90% of the session time. I can get direct or stern in trying to mange the session and inside feeling like, “it’s another one of these sessions, and I just cannot turn down the fire hose or soothe the triggering of this Pursuer, but I also don’t want to spend another session focused almost totally on them.”
The other area is a little sillier; I do feel insecure that I can ask questions in a confusing way at the beginning of getting to know a couple. Sometimes I’m trying to force some attachment lens in, so I get jammed up and phrase the questions in a way that’s too flowery and obscure. I sound like a Victorian shop keeper in these moments, “Lovely! And how is it to hear how important you are to your lady when she’s wanting you to do the dishes, good sir?”
A wonderful part of learning EFT is that we’re constantly refining ourselves, and getting better. I love this pursuit of mastery. But there are the days where it is just so hard to feel like I’m not getting it right. I can get wracked with doubt – would another therapist have saved their marriage? Have I wasted their time and money?
The uncertainty can kill me. Even if I have a breakthrough session, I can think, “Would a better therapist have done this 6 months ago? What have I been doing all this time?”
I know well that anxiety and uncertainty are roommates. Especially if the anxiety branches into the mental OCD territory, the way mine can. Anxiety craves certainty, craves the guarantee. If only I could be certain I tried everything, if only I could know for sure another therapist couldn’t have saved them. Just like with OCD, reassurances (the “checking”) only soothes for a minute, before the anxiety rears up again. Someone could say, “Wesley, you’re a great therapist! I’m sure you’re doing the right thing,” but it won’t really touch this insecurity. The work is to instead sit and accept the uncertainty. I cannot be certain if another therapist would have done this better. I cannot be certain that I haven’t wasted their time and money. That is the reality, and to sit and accept that uncertainty is painful, but the only way through.
So I appreciate the feedback, Adam Arkin, I'm going to try and sit still with it.