Who am I ?


There are times when I suffer an identity crisis. In my conversations I try to be present with my guest but not intrusive. I hear what they are saying and try to reflect on this, giving it back as a comment or observation. Timing is crucial. The right comment at the wrong time is unhelpful. Sometimes downright dangerous. I try to be both present in my den but also outside of it at the same time. (We therapists are the original contortionists. Never mind Cirque du Soleil!) I’m listening to what’s being said but also thinking about what impact the words are having on me. What does my guest want me to understand? I learned a long time ago that simply “telling it like it is”  is not helpful. One person commented that she felt as though she had been slapped after  I made a particularly robust comment about what I understood to be happening in the room. So, one learns to be circumspect. Yet it can be difficult to stay in role particularly when someone wants me to be an object they already know. So, a maiden who has been held captive in a castle wants me to rescue her. A knight wants to fight me. An explorer wants to show me how much better he knows the land. My work about helping the maiden to discover she can be loved without being helpless. That the knight can be knightly as a  state of mind that doesn’t mean forever proving his valour. That the explorer can, sometimes,  enjoy hearth and home.The tension , for me, is to balance what my visitors want me to be with what is helpful for them. So I spend lots of time saying to knights “It feels as though the only way you can prove your knightliness is by constant new challenges. New castles to storm. New Wrongs to Right. New maidens to rescue.What would happen if you simply got on with being a Knight?”

I have dragon friends who  give their visitors books with titles like “How to be a successful maiden in 10 sessions.” Or “Vital ways to overcome your fear of dragons.” Part of me is quite envious. To be able to say “You have a problem with dragons? Fine. Here’s your homework. I guarantee you will stop being so afraid of dragons.” That places the problem outside of me. To say “Well, here I am. A dragon. Let’s think about you and me.Here. In this room.Now.” always seems that bit harder. It means we have to talk about us. Rather than the problem being the problem. But I am who I am so it seems unlikely that I’m going to start handing out tracts on “Overcoming your Inner Maiden.”

So, I shall continue to welcome my guests to my den .I’m always pleased that they come and see me. But I shall always continue to wonder “Who is the Me they think they’ve come to see?”


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