Are you guys also in Seasonal Depression February? Spring can’t come soon enough! Also I’m a baby, because I’m not dealing with nearly as bad of a winter that my Midwest and northern friends are struggling through.
I’ve noticed I’ve become ungrounded again in my work (amazing how often this happens). I’m seeing the following in session …
- clients who have enacted with each other for 8 months and are still in Stage 1, and just don’t want to enact anymore and find it pointless. I go into carrying the enactment myself, making everything less impactful, and it leaves me over-working.
- clients who truly struggle to understand what we’re doing and feel so desperate, and continue to ask for something to do or something to take away. I go into explaining, which they don’t get, doesn’t give them anything, and leaves me over-working.
- clients where there is not enough safety yet to do an enactment without them going straight into blame/attack/defend, no matter how well we distill it beforehand, so I carry over the enactment myself and it leaves me over-working.
I’m seeing a theme here!!!!! This over-working leads too quickly to burnout. It takes a huge amount of energy, and can also feel a little ridiculous, like I’m tap-dancing my heart out in front of clients while they are exhausted and confused.
Man, the masters seem to do this so well. They stay in it, they stay close, they seem to ignore the explicit request the clients make of them and go for the implicit need. They trust staying so close to the model.
There are certainly clinical moves I can do to help circumvent this (I have no idea what they are right now, that’s why I go see Felicia! Thank you, God, for Felicia).
Instead, I want to give you (and me) permission for what feels grounding:
It’s ok to take some time off of consuming everything couples therapy. It’s ok to take a break from podcasts, my blog, trainings, and reading.
It’s ok to have a good night and enjoy yourself even if you had a shitty session that day.
It’s ok to take a long walk with no purpose even when the bathroom floor really needs a vacuum and you have 20 notes to write.
It’s ok to laugh and feel sexy with your partner even when you hear about sexual trauma and affairs all day long.
*I’m not saying this is easy, but first I need to just be ok with letting myself let go of all the trauma/affair stories. Then I need time apart from chore/doing mode and a way to connect to my own desire. How the hell is everyone having sex with their partners after all the pain we hear all week? How are you guys with kids having sex at all?? I have actual images of what my clients describe flashing through my head that I have to somehow get out in order to be present with my partner. If you have a gas-pedal sexual start-up (Nagoski) more power to you, but for those of us that don’t, there needs to be some help here.
It’s ok to be happy even if your last clients of the evening are unhappy and you are heartbroken for them.
You will serve no one well to get sucked under the bog of sadness, confusion, and pain. You can feel deeply for your clients, but you are not doing them a favor to get depressed with them. Your joy, your light, your centeredness is essential in this healing.