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Christian Counseling

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By SLEWIS60
Words 6231
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A therapeutic crossroads
My client is a young woman, white, middle-class and well-educated. She came into therapy because she feels unable to proceed in any direction with her work life, or make meaningful contact with anyone apart from her partner; she has been very unhappy for a long, long time. In sessions, she often lapses into silence, unable to move or speak. Sometimes we can talk around this, and it soon became clear to both of us that this state reflects her inner relationship with her mother. She knows that her parents love her, and she loves them; but she grew up without really questioning that how she thinks, feels and acts must match what her mother expects and can cope with. Otherwise, and particularly if anger is involved, she is overwhelmed with foreboding and terrible guilt. Coming into therapy has brought these dangerous feelings to the fore; but it is as though I am her mother, and so she cannot speak.
As I sit with my client in her agony of self-consciousness, I have a choice to make. I could introduce an active mode of therapy. We could take her mother out of me and put her on a cushion where, with my encouragement, she might be able to develop communication back and forth. Alternatively, we might explore the acute bodily tensions that are part of her paralysed state, to help her give voice to what they are mutely saying. I would be taking the choice of standing alongside my client so that we could face her problems together. We would be locating those problems essentially outside the therapeutic relationship.
Or I could follow the other route. Instead of detaching her sense of her mother from me, we could leave it where it is. My client would then be encountering her mother in me, as it were, giving her the chance of resolving her difficulties ‘live’, in her own way. I would be taking the choice of standing opposite my client,and her problems...

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