Legend of the Dragon

Dragon's eyeDragons are strange creatures. Some, like Tolkien’s Smaug, are avaricious creatures who hoard their gold. Others like the dragons in Anne Mc.Caffrey’s Dragonquest stories can be benevolent. What they are and how they are described seems to depend on your experience of them. And of all strange things. The word “dragon” has as part of its etymology the sense of clear sightedness. That accords with my experience. Being clear-sighted is not always helpful. Or kind. (As some of my friends will testify. Sorry.) Perhaps that’s why dragons are seen as both malign and benevolent. It depends upon what they see. I remember one my patients telling me I was dangerous. I was a little bemused. Of all the accusations I’ve had thrown at me, this wasn’t one of them!

“Mmm.” I said. “Why?” (Always ready with a profound psychological insight.)

“Because you see too much.”

There wasn’t much more to say.

“I thought that was my job” I said. No answer came back and the conversation moved on to safer topics.

But I have always thought that was my job. To see. But not always, evidently.  This is one of the tensions for any counsellor, nurse or health professional. How much do we share what we see? I recall another patient who met me several years after I had worked with her.  She reminded me who she was and commented on something I had said to her in the second or third session of our work. I rather testily asked  her “Are you coming to me to work or simply to vomit all over the carpet?” She experienced this as a slap. It was. (I’m not recommending this as a therapeutic method!) The result was, she said, just what she needed. Someone who did not smother her. She reported that this was a turning point in the counselling.

Two different people both describing an encounter with a dragonish me who saw too much.



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