I write these thoughts during these very scary and uncertain times for many people. As one client of mine put it, times that feel very different than any that have come before. I’m mindful of this as I write about space and about psychotherapy (and psychoanalysis) as about having a space, a place, to inhabit to reflect and to feel. That is what we do here: my clients and I create a space. It is a unique space, I believe. Nowhere else is there that space to just see what is. That is the essential question we pursue: what is? What do I feel? What am I thinking about? What bothers me? Sometimes we examine some of the major occurrences in a person’s life, events joyful as well as traumatic. At other times, equally significant I think, we (as a favorite poet of mine, William Blake, put it) examine the particulars. I am so often amazed about what my clients and I talk about. A client’s history of birthday parties; a dream; an interaction with a parent, child, or random stranger on the bus today. Sometimes the questions we ask are just startling and often reveal much about the person, her history, her present life. How did that interaction with a sibling affect you? What did it mean to have a paper route as a young boy? What impact did your parent’s weight gain, job loss, have on you as a child?
Given the current insecurity that so many feel about so much that is unpredictable, unknown, the break-neck speed of change, and pressure to do, be productive, and do more, it is therapeutic just to have this space in which to slow down, breathe, and attend to what is there. It’s so easy to lose touch given the demands and pressures. But it is healing to tune into oneself, in the presence of another human being, to even the smallest, most random thoughts or feelings. In this political climate, doing so is a political act.